Virginia High School Student Files Lawsuit Against Fairfax County School Board Under Title IX

Plaintiff Jane Doe is a 17 year old female student at Oakton High School, which is part of Fairfax County Public Schools (“FCPS”) and run by Fairfax County School Board. In her Complaint, Plainitff asserts that in March 2017, she was sexually assaulted by an Oakton High School student on a school bus trip while being supervised by FCPS administrators and teachers. When FCPS learned of Doe’s sexual assault during an overnight school trip, it did not assess her wellbeing, offer or provide her any assistance, notify her parents of the incident, explain her rights and options to move forward, or commence any investigation. The school left Doe, a minor at the time, and her assailant on the overnight trip without any intervention or contact regarding the sexual assault.

After Jane Doe confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted on the band trip, FCPS employees told her she might be disciplined for what had occurred, interrogated her with victim-blaming questions, and discouraged her from reporting the sexual assault to the police—all without informing her parents. Indeed, school officials never informed Jane Doe’s parents that she had reported being sexually assaulted, instead leading them to believe that their daughter might be punished for engaging in consensual sexual activity during the band trip. School officials conducted a hasty, slipshod investigation of the incident and did not inform Jane Doe or her parents of the result. It became obvious that school officials did not impose any meaningful consequences on Doe’s assailant, as he continued to attend band class as if nothing had happened and was given an award by the school a few short months after assaulting Doe.

Fairfax County’s discrimination against Jane Doe is part of its history of ignoring or minimizing student-on-student sexual harassment. In November 2014, FCPS entered into a Resolution Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to resolve a student’s sexual harassment complaint under Title IX. Pursuant to the Resolution Agreement, FCPS agreed to make a series of significant changes to its policies, procedures, and practices to comply with Title IX. Despite this commitment, and despite facing more investigations of Title IX sexual harassment complaints since 2014, FCPS continues to violate Title IX. As the tenth largest school division in the country, FCPS’s deliberate indifference to student-on-student sexual harassment is subjecting a large population of students, including Jane Doe, to a hostile educational environment based on sex.

Doe, through her parents, filed a lawsuit against Fairfax County School Board for sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. She is represented by Correia & Puth, Public Justice, and Ates Law Firm.

Read the Washington Post article about Doe’s case here.