Authored by: Ollie Lammers
Public Justice has taken on a Title IX case in support of a high school student in Gwinnett County School District.
Jane Doe-the student in the civil rights suit is a 16-year-old female student who attends high school in the Gwinnett County School District. Ms. Doe was sexually assaulted by a male student at her school while on school property.
The school did not treat this as a sexual assault and blamed Jane Doe for the assault. Ms. Doe was disciplined for violating the school’s policy on sexual misconduct and indecency. The school suspended Ms. Doe for “participating” in a sexual act for 10 days. Ms. Doe was also forced to attend class with her male classmate who allegedly assaulted her.
The lawsuit alleges sex discrimination and retaliation under Title IX and includes a constitutional claim under § 1983 for failing to train school officials on how to address sexual harassment.
Ms. Doe’s experience received media attention in 2016 when Public Justice was representing her when filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. This filing leads to protests by students in Georgia and an investigation by Gwinnett County District Attorney.
The school district tried to have the case dismissed in August 2019 but the district court denied the school district’s motion on all three of Ms. Doe’s claims.
After discovery, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. In September 2021 the district court denied Ms. Doe’s motion for summary judgment and granted the school district’s motion for summary judgment. The court then dismissed the case.
Ms. Doe appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
Public Justice filed the opening brief on behalf of Ms. Doe in December.
For more information on this case click here, to be taken to Public Justice’s website.
Advocate Capital, Inc is thankful for the opportunity to support Public Justice and its work to keep everyone safe. If you would like to be a financial supporter, click here to be taken to Public Justice's website.
Photo Credit: superohmo, 123rf.com