April 01, 2018 Children

Objectively Offensive: The Problem of Applying Title IX to Very Young Students

By: Amy B. Cyphert

I. Introduction

In December of 2011, Levina Subrata received a paper informing her that her son had “[c]ommitted or attempted to commit a sexual assault or sexual battery.” Although any mother would be distraught to receive such devastating news, Ms. Subrata was utterly stunned––her son was only  six years old at the time. His offense? During a recess game of tag with   a classmate at his elementary school in a San Francisco suburb, he had allegedly touched the upper thigh and/or groin of the other boy. Despite the absence of witnesses, and indeed even the absence of a complaint from the other child, Ms. Subrata’s son was suspended and his principal placed an official notation in his school record that he had been involved in a case of “sexual assault.” Only after Ms. Subrata hired a lawyer and threatened legal action did the school assure her that her son’s record had been cleared.

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