Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Government Supports Plaintiffs' Arugment in Peer Harassment Case

Staehling v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville is an ongoing Title IX peer harassment case pending in the Middle District of Tennessee. Last week, the court received a brief that "address[ed] two misconceptions regarding Title IX's legal standard promoted by Defendants in its motion for summary judgment" specifically:
First, the actual notice requirement of Title IX does not confine liability to school districts with individualized notice, i.e., notice to the threat to the specific victim or from the particular perpetrator of sexual harassment. Notice of a more generalized threat to students in a program operated by the District will sustain a claim under Title IX. Second, Defendants incorrectly assert that a one-day or two-day episode of sexual battery, as alleged by Plaintiffs, cannot constitute "severe and pervasive" harassment as a matter of law.
Are you wondering who is challenging the school district's attempt to narrow the liability standard for peer harassment under Title IX? I'm pleased to say, it is our very own Department of Justice, submitting an amicus brief behalf of United States government. From an Administration that often lags when it comes to civil rights enforcement, this brief is noteworthy!

[Thanks, DC!]