Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Law Review Article Addresses School Officials' Individual Liability Post-Fitzgerald

An article in the recent issue of the Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender and Society examines the Supreme Court's 2009 decision in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, which held that Title IX does not preclude a concurrent claim for Equal Protection violations under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The author, attorney Jennifer Kirby Tanney, explains that one potential consequence of this ruling is that school officials may be held individually liable for violations of Title IX, including in the peer harassment context. This is because while Title IX only covers institutions and not individuals, the 1983 remedy allows plaintiffs to sue individual defendants unless immunity applies. Tanney argues, however, that while the Court was right to hold that Title IX does not preclude relief under 1983 as a general matter, the Court should not in future cases extend this holding to allow for the individual liability of teachers and administrators, a consequence she argues that Congress did not intend.

For more see: Jennifer Kirby Tanney, A Back Door to Individual Title IX Liability? The Implications of Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee on the Liability of Teachers and Administrators for Peer-to-Peer Harassment, 26 Wis. J. Law, Gender & Soc'y 23 (2011).