Re: Alternative school for gay youths?

kristen galles (
Thu, 14 May 1998 19:29:02 -0400

C123S105L wrote:
> For the last four days there has been a conflict betwen members of
LIGALY (Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth) who claim that BOCES promised
them an alternative
> school for some gay youths who could not longer attend their own schools
> of peer harassment only to be told that ''it was a misunderstanding''. LIGALY
> claims that they now have children who already had dropped out of their
> to join this ''new'' school they had been promised. I called the organization
> and discussed TITLE IX with one official who admitted not to be too familiar
> with this law. He was polite but said ''a lawsuit would not be in the best
> interest of these students. When I suggested that they at least tell the
> that if they did not stop the peer harassment aimed at the students they
> mention the possibility of having a OCR officer come to the school they 'were
> still NOT interested !!! There are 500 families of these gay students
> involved!!!! There must be something else going on. I finally told this person
> that I thought that the least they could then was to ''inform the students
> regarding TITLE IX so the they were aware of this possibility....I find this
> indifference hard to digest....

Title IX does NOT cover harassment based upon sexual orientation. In
fact, most courts laugh gay suits out of court --- much to the detriment
of gay youth. However, if one can make a harassment claim along the
lines of Oncale (eg, sex based harassment rather than orientation
harassment), then Title IX may work. The Nabozny case out of Wisconsin,
however, relied on the 14th Amendment after saying that Title IX did not
apply. It held that the school would have responded more firmly if a
female had been harassed by the boys rather than the gay male who was
harassed. Success very much depends on how a plaintiff can argue the
facts to fit the windows in the case law.

Kristen Galles
Equity Legal

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