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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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High School Student Brings Multi-Million Dollar Title IX Claim

A 15-year-old female student is suing Metro Nashville Public Schools for $3 million, claiming that the school violated her civil rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. The case stems from an alleged incident that took place in a classroom. One student secretly videoed another student engaging in unwanted sexual activity with the female student. The video was published on the Internet resulting in humiliation and backlash against the female student.

The claim was filed after she left her high school to be home-schooled because of the incident. The lawsuit claims the following:

  • The school district failed to independently investigate the matter.
  • The school district didn’t adequately discipline any students involved.
  • The school district allowed the female student to continue to be cyberbullied and sexually harassed.

We’ll keep an eye on this case for new developments.

High Schools May Violate Title IX More Often Than You May Think

While Title IX is most often associated with colleges and universities, any educational institution that receives federal funds is required to comply with Title IX. Such requirements include ensuring that students are free from sexual harassment and assault and have equal opportunities to education and amenities at school regardless of their sex.

If a student reports an incident of sexual assault, harassment, or unequal treatment based on gender in another manner, the school district has a duty to fully investigate the matter, act to prevent future occurrences and protect the victim. If the school district fails to meet all requirements, it may face a lawsuit like the one described above.

The Palo Alto Unified School District is one example of the importance of having a strong Title IX compliance program at the high school level. The school allegedly failed to investigate a report that an older male student sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl at school and allowed the male student to continue his classes and athletic activities. There are also reports of assault dating back to 2007 that the school is now looking into with its new Title IX office.

Not all high school Title IX issues involve sexual assault claims. There’s been a series of “bathroom lawsuits” in recent years brought by transgender students claiming the right to use the bathroom of their identified gender. These cases have not been decided. In addition, high school athletic programs regularly face Title IX allegations claiming that girls’ teams are not given the same opportunities or access to high-quality facilities as boys’ teams.

One high school recently settled a claim brought by a female softball team. The team stated that it did not have the same access to practice hitting facilities or on-campus turf fields as the male baseball team. Instead, it played on a dirt field away from campus and did not get the same hitting practice as the boys. These are only a few of many examples of how high schools can violate Title IX regarding athletics.

Contact Our Connecticut Title IX Attorneys for Help Today

Whether you’re a college student or high school student, you’re entitled to many rights under Title IX. If you believe that your rights or your child’s rights have been violated in any way, your first call should be to the highly experienced Title IX lawyers at Duffy Law. We have firsthand experience handling this type of claim and we can help you. Call today at 203-946-2000.

Felice Duffy

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.