Cases of Sexual Harassment in School

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Sexual harassment at school is a common problem for students at all levels of education from elementary school through graduate school and many articles on sexual harassment have been written about them.  It is probably under reported because students feel intimidated or believe there is nothing that can be done about it.

Some examples of the form sexual harassment at school can take are:

  • Verbal – includes comments about your body, dirty jokes spreading sexual rumors, or accusations
  • Visual –pornographic pictures or cartoons, sex relate d objects or obscene gestures
  • Physical – touching, pinching, mooning or grabbing in a sexual way

There are two types of sexual harassment that can occur in schools:

  • Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a teacher or other person in authority offers to give a higher grade in return for sexual favors.  It can also be a threat to lower a grade if sexual favors are not given.  
  • Hostile environment sexual harassment in schools happens when unwanted sexual touching, comments, and/or gestures are so bad or occur so often that it interferes with your schoolwork, makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at school, or prevents you from participating in or benefiting from a school program or
  •  activity.  This type of sexual harassment at school can come from a teacher, other staff, or other students.

Sexual Harassment is Illegal

A federal law, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 (Title IX, prohibits discrimination because of sex, including sexual harassment in education programs and activities.  Public and private education institutions that receive any federal funds must comply with Title IX.  Title IX protects students from sexual harassment connected to any of the academic, educational, extracurricular athletic and other programs or activities of schools, regardless of the location.  This law protects boys as well as girls and applies to the entire institution even if only one program receives Title IX funds.

How do you Enforce Your Rights Against Sexual Harassment?

The agency responsible for protecting your rights under Title IX is the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.  Every institution is required to have Title IX Coordinator who has the responsibility of carrying out Title IX responsibilities.  This includes having knowledge of sexual harassment laws and responding sexual harassment cases in school.

Do You Need a Sex Discrimination Lawyer?

If you think you have been a victim of sexual harassment in school, consult with a sex discrimination lawyer.  They can advise you on the strength or weakness of your case, give you information about what you need to prove and what timelines are important.  A sex discrimination lawyer can provide you with information on any rights you have under Title IX and appropriate remedies.  State law may give you additional protection against sexual harassment in school.


Sexual harassment settlements in school occur more often than many people realize.  It often goes unreported because students are intimidated or believe there is nothing they can do about it.  Sexual harassment is illegal in schools because of Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972.  The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education enforces the law.