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Case Name Department of Education investigation of Fayetteville Public Schools ED-AR-0003
Docket / Court 06971182 ( No Court )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
This Title IX matter was apparently the first time the federal government agreed that harassment against an LBGT student constituted unlawful sex discrimination. Accordingly, its 1998 settlement was a landmark -- albeit one that very few people know about.

On February 25, 1997, a gay ... read more >
This Title IX matter was apparently the first time the federal government agreed that harassment against an LBGT student constituted unlawful sex discrimination. Accordingly, its 1998 settlement was a landmark -- albeit one that very few people know about.

On February 25, 1997, a gay high school student filed a complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 with the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, against Fayetteville (AR) Public Schools. The student, represented by Lambda Legal, claimed that the school's failure to respond to the sexual harassment he suffered at the hands of other students constituted sex discrimination under Title IX because the school district would have responded differently to a similarly situated female student. Specifically, the student claimed that he was harassed by several students from grades eight through ten, including daily harassment and destruction of his possessions and one incident that resulted in a broken nose and a bruised kidney. The school failed to address the ongoing harassment, and the student's parents eventually pulled him out of school in fear for his life.

On June 17, 1998, before the OCR investigation finished, OCR and the Fayetteville school system came to a settlement agreement. The school district agreed to train faculty to handle sexual harassment among students, including harassment on account of sexual orientation. It also agreed to hold an orientation for students on the subject of sexual harassment; respond in an effective and timely manner to all complaints of sexual harassment, regardless of the gender of the student; and report to the Office of Civil Rights until the end of the 1998-1999 school year.

Katherine Reineck - 11/08/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Fayetteville Public Schools
Plaintiff Description A gay high school student who suffered sexual harassment at school
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1998 - 1999
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Commitment to Resolve 06/17/1998
ED-AR-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Resolution Letter to Plaintiff 06/17/1998
ED-AR-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Resolution Letter to Defendant 06/17/1998
ED-AR-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers August, Taylor D. (Texas)
ED-AR-0003-0001 | ED-AR-0003-0002 | ED-AR-0003-0003
Buckel, David S. (New York)
ED-AR-0003-0001 | ED-AR-0003-0002
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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