Supreme Court declines to settle Title IX issue on sexual harassment

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition to review a Title IX case regarding sexual harassment.

The petition was brought by Virginia’s Fairfax County School Board where a female student at Oakton High School who was sexually assaulted by a male student on a bus in 2017 while on a band trip organized by the school has filed a lawsuit against the school board.

The principal consideration is whether an educational institution could be held liable for an assault under Title IX when there was no notice or actual knowledge of the incident.

Critics of the petition were afraid a Supreme Court decision would limit the rights of sexual assault victims. But supporters say that Title IX has to consider the circumstances schools operate under and the practical challenges to responding to situations they have no knowledge of.

Differing legal decisions on the issue led the school board to petition the highest court in the land to rule on the matter. The Supreme Court’s decision or lack thereof means that the lawsuit against the school board can proceed.

A similar case raised by the University of Toledo was also declined by the Supreme Court.

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