Re: Davis v. Monroe decision!

From: Peggy Weeks (
Date: Thu May 27 1999 - 16:53:54 EDT

It is, in some respects, a victory for Davis. Her case is returned to the
lower court for consideration.

It is, in some respects, a victory for students in that peer sexual harassment
is 1) recognized by the Supreme Court as existing as a violation of statute and
2) an area of school behavior which can lead to liability for schools which
choose to ignore "proper" notice of such behavior.

The problem that I see with the decision involves the need for actual notice to
the school. In one place in dissent, Justice Stevens (in the dissent) notes
that this notice must go to the school board or (at least to the principal.)
That is pretty scary to me. It shows an serious ignorance of students and
their fears regarding "telling." Further, a number of schools currently tell
students to talk about these problems with any adult employee they trust in
order to help the students feel safe in reporting. I don't know too many 7th
grade girls who would go to their school principal or to any member of their
local school board to get help. Particularly if the principal is male and the
girl(s) is/are embarrassed.

There are other problems w/ the decision.
I think that it makes it difficult for students to complain- harder than it
is for an adult employee to complain. How ironic. There are other
problems- but, this is long enuf now. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad
that the decision came out as it did. I'm still very worried. These 5-4
decisions are close. They show confusion in the Court. If the Justices
are confused, it is no wonder that others are confused, too. Hmm.

Peggy Weeks <>

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