Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

Under Title IX, can a school board be held responsible for student-on-student harassment?


Reversed and remanded. The lower court improperly dismissed the plaintiff's lawsuit.


Aurelia Davis, mother of student LaShonda Davis, sued the Monroe County school board and school officials, seeking damages for the sexual harassment of LaShonda by a classmate at her public elementary school. She alleged that the school’s deliberate indifference to persistent sexual advances toward LaShonda created an intimidating, hostile, offensive, and abusive school environment that violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits a student from being "excluded from participation in, be[ing] denied the benefits of, or be[ing] subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." Davis lost at the district and appellate levels before the Supreme Court heard the case.

Importance of Case

The Supreme Court defined peer-on-peer harassment in the educational context as conduct that is, "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, that the victim-students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities."

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