Hill v. Cundiff (Madison County School Board)

Hill v. Cundiff (Madison County School Board)

This case arose from the sexual harassment and assault of a 14-year-old female student in an Alabama public school. The girl was raped by a male student in a school bathroom after the school used her as bait in a plan to catch the known sexual harasser. Under school policy, a student could not be disciplined for sexual harassment unless “caught in the act.”

The plaintiff appealed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granting summary judgment to a school board, administrators, and staff, leaving the student without any recourse against the school. The student’s guardian alleged Title IX claims against the school board, as well as constitutional and state law claims against school administrators and staff. The amici brief, filed by over thirty organizations, focused on the plaintiff’s claim under Title IX. Under Title IX, a school may be liable for student-on-student or “peer” sexual harassment if its official policy caused the harassment or if it was “deliberately indifferent” to known acts of peer sexual harassment.

The Eleventh Circuit held that a female student sexually assaulted at school by another student could proceed to trial on her Title IX claim against the school board.

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