Hazing on School Athletic Teams

Dean Susan P. Stuart, Valparaiso Law School, recently authored Warriors, Machismo, and Jockstraps: Sexually Exploitive Athletic Hazing and Title XI in the Public School Locker Room, 25 W. New Eng. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2013).  This article details the increasing national trend of sexual and physical hazing incidents on student sports teams, and how these incidents may qualify as sexual harassment under Title IX (20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)).  Included in the examples are several athletic hazing incidents in Indiana.  The ABA Journal noted these hazing incidents as part of an increasing trend of abusive treatment of children by other children, often with few repercussions.

The key case governing a student’s right to a legal action against a public school for peer-on-peer sexual harassment under Title IX is governed by Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, 526 U.S. 629 (1999).  The U.S. Supreme Court found that public school districts would be liable “where they are deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment, of which they have actual knowledge, that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offense that can be said to deprive the victims of access to the educational opportunities or benefits provided by the school.”  Id. at 650.  Obviously, this behavior could also result in juvenile delinquency allegations for battery and other charges.

Dean Stewart also wrote an earlier article about peer sexual harassment, Jack and Jill Go to Court:  Litigating a Peer Sexual Harassment Case Under Title IX, 29 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 243 (2005).

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