DAVIS v. MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
97-843
Petitioner 
Davis
Respondent 
Monroe County Board of Education
Advocates
(Department of Justice, for the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Aurelia Davis sued the Monroe County Board of Education (the "Board"), on behalf of her fifth grade daughter LaShonda, alleging that school officials failed to prevent Lashonda's suffering sexual harassment at the hands of another student. Davis claimed that the school's complacency created an abusive environment that deprived her daughter of educational benefits promised her under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). On appeal from successive adverse rulings in both district and appellate court, the Supreme Court granted Davis certiorari.

Question 

Can a school board be held responsible under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, meant to secure equal access of students to educational benefits and opportunities, for "student-on-student" harassment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Davis, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Education Amendments of 1972

Yes. In a 5-to-4 decision the Court began by noting that because there is an implied private right to education under Title IX, private damage actions may lie against schools that act with deliberate indifference to harassment that is severe enough to prevent victims from enjoying educational opportunities. The Court added that Title IX's prohibitions against harassment in school are clear enough to have served proper notice to school boards in general and the Board in particular. As such, consistent with the Spending Clause, the Title IX guidelines that Congress attached to its school funds obligate all recipient schools to comply or face the pain of legal action. The Court also observed that the Board acted with deliberate indifference, since it ignored several complaints by Davis, and that the harassment in question was serious and systematic.

Cite this Page
DAVIS v. MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 August 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_843>.
DAVIS v. MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_843 (last visited August 31, 2014).
"DAVIS v. MONROE COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 31, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_843.