Thursday, February 26, 2009

Changes in harassment law in just a decade

We have posted about the harassment experienced by Arkansas (former) high schooler Billy Wolfe, (here and here) who is engaged in a lawsuit against his former school district. That lawsuit is ongoing.
But this article reminds us that there were very few avenues for students who were victims of sexual harassment when that harassment was of the same-sex variety.
In the same schools that Wolfe attended, William Wagner, in the mid-90s, experienced harassment of a very similar nature to that which Wolfe endured not that long ago. But back then there was no protection against same-sex harassment and no remedy under Title IX. In 1997, just after Wagner's incidents, OCR released guidelines that applied the law to same-sex harassment.
That was the change. Unfortunately the administrators in the Fayetteville school district have not changed much. Actually, the have not changed at all. Those named in the Wolfe lawsuit are the same that turned blind eyes and deaf ears to William Wagoner over ten years ago.