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Acting on the complaint of a young girl whose classmate made inappropriate sexual overtures, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999) that school boards could be held liable for such harassment under certain circumstances. Its ruling is based on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which states that “No person … shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” In so doing, the Court applied Title IX to student-on-student sexual harassment.

Before this ruling, lower courts had asserted that school boards could not be liable for student-on-student sexual harassment under Title IX because they ...

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