July 27, 2020 Articles

Finally, Some Good News: New Support for Treating Interpersonal Violence as Actionable under Title IX

At least two courts and the Department of Education have concluded that cases involving dating violence fall squarely within Title IX’s reach.

By Kimberly M. Hult and Lauren E. Groth
Title IX has become an important means of combating sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination in the nation’s schools.

Title IX has become an important means of combating sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination in the nation’s schools.

Over the last two decades, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, has become an important means of combating sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination in the nation’s schools. But as Title IX claims have increased, the battles over what constitutes “sex-based” discrimination have likewise grown, with many schools arguing that plaintiffs cannot prove that their harassment was based solely on their gender or sex. One recent development, however, has brought some welcome good news: Despite repeated challenges by educational institutions, at least two courts and the Department of Education (DOE) have concluded that cases involving intimate partner violence (IPV)—also known as “dating violence”—fall squarely within Title IX’s reach. These rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, and the revised DOE-issue regulations should help students seeking relief for an often-overlooked form of sex-based discrimination that jeopardizes not only their physical and emotional health but also their access to equal educational opportunities. 

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