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Title IX Liability of Schools in Sexual Abuse Victim’s Compensation

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Sexual abuse or harassment in schools can occur between students or between a teacher or other school employee and a student. Both types of sexual abuse or harassment can be pursued under Title IX of the United States Code. Under Title IX, recipients of federal funding, such as public schools, can be liable for student-on-student sexual harassment. In order to properly allege a Title IX sexual harassment claim for student-on-student sexual harassment, a victim must show that a sexually hostile educational environment existed; actual notice of the sexually hostile environment was provided to an appropriate person who had the authority to take corrective measures; and the school responded to the harassment in a way that amounts to deliberate indifference. A sexually hostile educational environment exists when a victim is subjected to severe, pervasive and objectively offensive sexual harassment. When the sexual abuse or harassment is committed by a teacher, a victim can also pursue a claim under Title IX. It is still necessary for the victim to show notice to an appropriate person and deliberate indifference by the school. However, rather than proving a sexually hostile environment, a victim will need to show that quid pro quo sexual harassment existed. This can be shown by proving that the victim belonged to a protected group; was subject to unwelcome sexual harassment; the harassment was based on sex; a tangible educational claim resulted from his or her rejection of the sexual harassment; and the harasser is an employee of the school.

Andreozzi + Foote have represented survivors of sexual abuse or harassment in schools from across the country. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to sexual abuse or sexual assault in a school setting and might need a lawyer, or simply would like some legal guidance, do not hesitate to call our office. We do not charge for consultations, and even if we cannot be of assistance we will do everything we can to help point you in the right direction.

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