Supreme Court rules that students may sue under federal statute and civil rights law.

American Association for Justice
News Brief

USA Today (1/22, Biskupic) reports, “The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 Wednesday that students who are sexually harassed may sue under a federal statute covering schools and a broader civil rights law,” which clarifies the “conflict among lower courts” and “revives a lawsuit brought by the parents of a Massachusetts kindergartener who said a third-grade boy repeatedly harassed her on the school bus.” The decision was commended by Marcia Greenberger, co-president of National Women’s Law Center, who said, “Sex discrimination … is still all too common in (schools). That is why it is crucial that a full range of remedies remain available.” However, “Francisco Negron, general counsel of the National School Boards Association, disagreed, saying the decision could encourage litigation: ‘Why should school districts have to go through that pressure (of possible lawsuits), especially at the time of limited funds?'”

CNN (1/22, Mears) reports, “‘We hold that Section 1983 suits based on the Equal Protection Clause remain available to plaintiffs alleging unconstitutional gender discrimination in schools,’ Justice Samuel Alito wrote.”

Bloomberg News (1/21, Stohr) reported, “The decision means students can press gender-bias complaints against individuals and cities, in addition to the so-called state actors who may be sued under Title IX,” and will also allow students to sue military service schools and traditionally single- sex public colleges, both exempted from Title IX, and will be able to challenge the admissions policies of elementary and secondary schools under Section 1983.” The AP (1/21) and the New York Times (1/22, A19, Liptak) also covered the story.

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