Title IX / Campus Sexual Assault / School Bullying

Title IX and Sex Based Discrimination
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices. The purpose of Title IX is to provide meaningful protections to victims of on-campus gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

Under Title IX, schools have a legal duty to proactively prevent gender-based harassment, discrimination, assault, and violence. Such federally funded schools, colleges, and universities are obligated to comply with the requirements of Title IX with respect to recruitment, admissions, counseling, athletics, sex-based harassment, treatment of pregnant and parenting students, discipline, single-sex education, and employment. These protections apply to male, female, and gender-nonconforming students alike.

Title IX requires schools to provide policies and procedures for reporting and investigating illegal gender-based discrimination, harassment, and assault. Additionally, these programs and institutions are required to have policies and procedures in place to ensure prevention of retaliation against victims and complainants.  In addition to Title IX investigations by the program or institution, victims of discrimination, harassment, and assault based on sex can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which is tasked with Title IX enforcement.

Title IX also creates a private right of action wherein victims can recover damages and attorney’s fees when the program or institution had notice of the violations and failed to take appropriate action. In other words, where the school had notice of similar gender-based discrimination, harassment, and assault and failed to take adequate action to address the conduct, a victim may be entitled to recover money damages.

Title IX can be a complex area of the law to navigate without the assistance of counsel. Victims of discrimination, harassment, or assault based on sex should consider consulting with an attorney with experience in this area of the law. A Title IX attorney can provide assistance in evaluating your claim, navigating the program or institution’s Title IX policies, filing a complaint with the institution, filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights and filing a civil lawsuit.

Campus Sexual Assault
Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence are unacceptable, intolerable, and all too common on campuses across the country. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s current Campus Sexual Assault Fact Sheet states that 20-25% of women will be sexually assaulted during their time in college.

Often, victims feel ashamed and are reluctant to come forward and bring the matter to the attention of school officials and law enforcement.  According to the NSVRC’s Campus Sexual Assault Fact Sheet reports that 90% of sexual assaults on college campuses go unreported. Those victims that do have the courage to speak up are all too often marginalized, disregarded and even blamed for the assault.

Campus sexual assault is one of the most difficult events a young person will ever have to endure. Victims should know that there are support groups in every city and state to provide assistance. An experienced attorney can assist in reporting allegations to institutions and law enforcement, assist in facilitating investigations, assist in holding schools accountable for acting in accordance with their policies and procedures, and advising victims on potential civil remedies.

Fraternity Hazing
Greek life on American campuses dates back to the late 18th Century. Fraternities and sororities are ubiquitous on today’s college and university campuses. The benefits of such organizations are numerous. Unfortunately, the dark side of Greek life can result in serious injury or death.

Fraternity and sorority hazing comes in various forms. Subtle hazing in the form of performance of tasks, lineups, carrying items on your person at all times, and tests on meaningless information are common and usually don’t constitute actionable conduct. However, harassment hazing and violent hazing are highly concerning and can lead to serious consequences. Sleep deprivation, forced consumption of alcohol or drugs, forced exposure to extreme temperature and weather conditions, and forced participation in extreme physical activity can all result in serious injury or death.

News reports from across the country describing terrible injuries and deaths of young men and women as a result of hazing incidents are far too common. Schools and national Greek life organizations must be held accountable when they have been careless or reckless in failing to educate fraternity and sorority members on acceptable standards of conduct and keep their members in check.

School Bullying
It is unclear if the incidents or school bullying are on the rise or if the media and concerned parents are simply bringing greater attention to an existing problem.  Regardless, school bullying has finally entered the social consciousness in a meaningful way and efforts are underway in schools across the country to educate administrators, teachers, parents and students about bullying prevention, recognition and response.

We have handled a number of disability-based school bullying incidents.  In these heartbreaking cases, children were singled out for verbal, cyber and physical bullying because of their disabilities.  Some of the children were on the autism spectrum, while others had intellectual and physical deficits.  All were covered by Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), which the schools were not following.

Title IX / Campus Sexual Assault / School Bullying Attorney
It is important to retain counsel who are experienced in evaluating and litigating Title IX, campus sexual assault and school bullying cases to maximize the value of your case. The application of both state and federal law in these cases can be complex.  If you suspect that you are the victim of malicious prosecution or abuse of process, please contact us to discuss the legal options available to you.