sexual harassment, title IX


This Note argues that in peer harassment cases, school districts should face liability under a “known or should have known” standard where the school’s intent to discriminate may be determined by the circumstances of the case. Part I provides a brief historical overview of Title IX and the traditional forms of hostile environment harassment that it has been used to combat, demonstrating that courts use the statute to punish harassment where the school has reason to know of the harassment and fails to take appropriate action. Part II explores a subset of hostile environment cases where U.S. circuit courts are divided – peer sexual harassment cases, and analyzes the rationale supporting each position. Part III provides guidelines for when courts should extend Title IX protection to peer sexual harassment claims and articulates standards for school liability.

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