Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Another Litigation Roundup

Here are some updates in various cases where Title IX is being used to challenge sexual harassment and sexual assault in high schools:
  • In Michigan, a former student has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the Traverse City Area Public Schools, alleging that the school district was indifferent to harassment and retaliation he faced after reporting that a teacher had engaged him in oral sex and had been sending him sexually explicit text messages.  (The teacher was later criminally convicted.) 
  • In a similar matter, a federal judge in Pennsylvania refused to dismiss a mother's claim against the Susquehanna Township School District challenging the hostile environment her daughter faced after police arrested the principal for having sex with her daughter, a 16-year-old student. (The principal has plead guilty.) 
  •  In yet another matter involving teacher-student harassment, a court refused to dismiss a student's case against the Seattle School District where the student alleged that she reported the teacher's harassing comments, stares, and touches to the principal, and that the principal did not follow up in any meaningful way, allowing the teacher's conduct to escalate to more egregious physical contact.  R.P. v. Seattle Sch. Dist., 2015 WL 418001 (D. Wash. Jan. 30, 2015).
  • The State Board of Education in Hawaii will have to continue to defend a lawsuit arising out of the repeated instances of rape of a female special-needs high school student by one of her male special-needs peers. In rejecting the state's motion to dismiss, the court agreed that the plaintiff adequately alleged that school officials failed to supervise the male student even though they were on notice of the fact that he had attacked the female student off campus, and that the lack of supervision provided the male student the opportunity to rape the female student in a coed bathroom on campus.  Kaukaho v. State Bd. of Educ., 2015 WL 470230 (D. Ha. Feb. 3, 2015).