University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name D.H. v. Moss Point School District ED-MS-0003
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00466-HSO-RHW ( S.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On December 17, 2013, D.H., a lesbian student in Moss Pointe School District, filed this federal lawsuit against Moss Point School District ("MPSD") in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiff alleged ... read more >
On December 17, 2013, D.H., a lesbian student in Moss Pointe School District, filed this federal lawsuit against Moss Point School District ("MPSD") in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the plaintiff alleged MPSD violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She sought injunctive relief, damages, and attorneys' fees and costs.

Specifically, the plaintiff's complaint alleged that the school district had discriminated against D.H. on the basis of her gender expression and sexual orientation by failing to adequately protect D.H. from harassment by employees and students. While attending Moss Pointe Middle School, students and staff referred to D.H. as "it" and "he/she." On several occasions the staff refused to let her participate in gender segregated activities, claiming they did not know her gender, and refused to let her use the women's bathroom. The plaintiff's complaint also alleged that the school district's acts and omissions surrounding the harassment created a hostile climate that deprived D.H. of access to educational opportunities.

On January 27, 2015, D.H. and MPSD reached a settlement agreement. The agreement is not published, but the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote a summary providing general details of the agreement. According to the summary, within the settlement the school district agreed to implement new anti-bullying and discrimination policies and publish them in the parent/student and employee handbooks as well as on the school district's website. MPSD also agreed to adopt and implement new equal educational opportunity policies geared toward prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. Lastly, MPSD agreed to reform its procedures for addressing student and parent complaints of bullying and harassment. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The case was dismissed with prejudice as to all parties on February 18, 2015. The court retains jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.

Heather Turner - 06/06/2014
Mackenzie Walz - 11/08/2017


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Training
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Failure to discipline
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Moss Pointe School District
Plaintiff Description Parent, on behalf of his minor student daughter
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
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
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Montgomery Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Blackman. v. District of Columbia
http://www.bazelon.org/blackman-v-district-of-columbia/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  S.S. v. Springfield Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org/springfield-massachusetts-school-system/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Doe v. Pasadena Unified School District
http://www.bazelon.org/doe-v-pasadena-unified-school-district/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  A.J. v. Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools
http://www.bazelon.org/a-j-v-cesar-chavez-public-charter-schools-et-al/
Date: 2017
By: Bazelon Center (Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

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

Docket(s)
1:13−cv−00466 (S.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
ED-MS-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Ozerden, Halil Suleyman (S.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0003-9000
Walker, Robert H. (S.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
ED-MS-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ittelson, Alesdair (Alabama)
ED-MS-0003-0001 | ED-MS-0003-9000
Johnson, Elissa F (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0003-0001 | ED-MS-0003-9000
Nair, Anjali (Alabama)
ED-MS-0003-0001 | ED-MS-0003-9000
Owens, Jody E. II (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0003-0001 | ED-MS-0003-9000
Wolfe, Samuel (Alabama)
ED-MS-0003-0001 | ED-MS-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hooks, John Simeon (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0003-9000
Keith, James Allen (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0003-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -