Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-11-99

Supreme Court to Hear School Sexual Harassment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a school sexual harassment case tomorrow that will determine whether schools can be held liable for student-to-student sexual harassment under Title IX, a law which prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex. The Court previously held that schools are liable for sexual harassment committed by teachers.

Ten-year-old LaShonda Davis, who is now 16, charged that a male classmate repeatedly grabbed her breasts and crotch area, simulated raping her and threatened her with rape several different times. Davis complained to her teacher and her Macon County, Georgia school's principal several times, but no action was taken to punish the boy who abused her, and she was forced to continue sitting next to him in class.

Davis filed a criminal complaint against the boy and he plead guilty to sexual battery. Given his juvenile status, the boy's sentence was not been publicly disclosed.

The National Women's Law Center represents Davis in the suit, which was filed to punish the school for ignoring Davis' pleas for help. NWLC co-president Marcia Greenberg commented on the impact the case could have on girls. She believes that if her client does not prevail in the case, the decision would "give schools a green light to ignore sexual harassment, no matter how severe."

Counsel for the school counter that, because Title IX lacks specific language about sexual harassment, the school cannot be held liable for student-to-student sexual harassment, noting that the Department of Education's guidelines on sexual harassment were not made available to schools until 1996.

Similar arguments were made women first attempted to sue their employers under Title VII, which prohibits sex discrimination in the workplace. Despite objections that Title VII did not include specific references to sexual harassment among co-workers, the Supreme Court ruled that employers were responsible for employees who sexually harass their peers and that employees may sue employers under Title VII.

The plaintiff's mother, Aurelia Davis, has pledged to support her daughter in any way that she can. "I never wanted her to say that she went to everyone -- her teachers, her principal and her parents -- and they never did anything," said Ms. Davis.

Media Resources: AP - January 10, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/22/2014 Students Protest Fordham University's Anti-Birth Control Policy - Students at Fordham University are engaged in a battle against the New York City Catholic school's anti-birth control policy. Students for Sex & Gender Equality and Safety (SAGES) has launched a petition drive, calling on Fordham to provide free and confidential access to birth control and STI testing on-campus, free condoms, professional gynecological services at the university, and resources for pregnant women, among other things. . . .
 
10/22/2014 Doctors Warn That Measure 1 Would End In Vitro Fertilization in North Dakota - Doctors at North Dakota's only clinic offering in vitro fertilization (IVF) are speaking out to warn voters that Measure 1, a proposed personhood amendment in the state, would make the practice illegal. Dr. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women. Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .