Examples of Claims
     

Below, please find three examples linking the bullying, harassment, and discrimination of LGBT student or students perceived to be LGBT to sex discrimination defined under Title IX. In their current form, these claims would likely be investigated by the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Education Department:


Example One: Student Claim
Background:  Dylan, age 18, filed an OCR claim reporting that he was denied an appropriate high school education because school administrators and teachers failed to protect him from sexual harassment by other students.  In Dylan’s report, he stated that he was subjected to derogatory names, and was subjected to sexual-based rumors and innuendo starting in the seventh grade. The harassment continued until he left high school during his senior year. Soon after dropping out of high school, he earned his GED.  In his claim, Dylan reported that he is not gay.  He also stated that his parents repeatedly asked school administrators and teachers to protect him from the bullying but their pleas for help went unanswered. In his claim, Dylan stated that he did not have very many friends and that verbal abuse was hurled at him in the halls, in classrooms and even during sporting events.

  1. Enter Information about yourself:
    First Name: Dylan
    Last Name: Smith
    Address: 15 Main Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    Best Time to Call You: Day
    Primary Phone: 555-555-5555
    Email Address: Dylan@example.org

  2. Who else can we call if we cannot reach you?
    Contact’s Name: Ryan Smith
    Daytime Phone Number: 555-555-5555
    Relationship to You: Dylan’s Dad

  3. Who was discriminated Against?
    Yourself

  4. What institution discriminated? (OCR’s laws cover educational institutions such as school districts, colleges and universities, public libraries and state vocational rehabilitation agencies)
    Institution Name: Truman High School
    Address: 15 Fake Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    School or department involved: Entire high school

  5. Have you tried to resolve the complain through the institution’s grievance process, due process hearing, or with another agency?
    Yes
    Agency Name: Truman High School
    Date Filed: 10/2010
    If yes, what is the current status of the complaint?
    My parents and I approached the school principal to attempt to formally file a grievance, and we discovered the school lacked a formal procedure addressing the type of bullying I endured during my time in high school.

  6. Describe the discrimination. 

  7. OCR enforces regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin; sex; disability; and/or age.  On what basis were you discriminated against? (You may select more than one).
    Sex

  8. In the space provided below please describe each discriminatory action separately.  For each action, you need to provide the following information:
    Date(s) the discriminatory action occurred;
    Name(s) of the individual (s) who discriminated;
    What happened;
    Witnesses, (if any);
    Why you believe the discrimination was because of race, sex, disability, or whatever basis you indicated above or why you believe the action was retaliatory.

    Starting in August 2007 through March 2010, I was subjected to repeated bullying and harassment by other students.  In November, 2007, my parents initially visited with my school principal to address the verbal harassment I endured which created an incredibly hostile school environment. The school principal was deliberately indifferent to the reported bullying.  In April, 2008, my parents visited the school again and tried to find some kind of solution to the bullying I continued to experience.  The school administrators again failed to adequately make the classroom safer for me. 

    During this time period, students repeatedly harassed me verbally because they thought I was gay.  I was teased, called names and subjected to crude sexual gestures over a four year period. I believe this behavior is a form of sex discrimination because students were bullying me based on gender stereotypes – i.e. I didn’t play team sports, and chose to participate in chorus, for which I was relentlessly bullied and harassed.  The teasing was particularly bad in gym class when I would be called many derogatory names like “faggot,” and “sissy boy” from most of the guys on the football team.  Also, verbal harassment occurred when I just walked down the halls, showed up in class and even when I went with friends to different school events. While most of this harassment was verbal, I did take pictures of my locker, which was vandalized shortly before I dropped out of high school.

    After my locker was spray painted, my parents made one final attempt to alert school officials to the extent of the harassment I experienceed. They spoke with officials on the school board that claimed they would work with my principal on developing a grievance procedure and some solutions to student bullying. Sadly, nothing ever became of this promise, and I continued to endure teasing that made it almost impossible to learn. I believe that the school district discriminated against me by refusing to act on the bullying and harassment I was facing daily based on gender stereotypes. With only a few months before my high school graduation, I decided to drop out and earn my GED because I felt so unsafe in school. I am filing this claim today so that no other students don’t have to go through what I experienced during my time in high school. I hope you will work with the school district to ensure that students like me have the ability to learn in an environment free from bullying and harassment.

  9. Do you have written information that you think will help us understand your complaint?
    Yes (I have pictures of my locker, which was spray painted)

  10. Your complaint must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory action. The laws that we enforce require that complaints be filed with your office within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory event. If any of the alleged discriminatory actions took place more than 180 days before the postmark or receipt date of this complaint, you may request a waiver of the 180-day limit. When did the last act of discrimination occur?
    Enter the date: 09/17/2010

  11. Are you requesting a waiver of the 180-day filing time limit for discrimination that occurred more than 180 days before the filing of this complaint?
    No

  12. What would you like the institution to do as a result of your complaint – what remedy are you seeking?
    It’s too late to improve the school environment for me, but I would like to see that the Education Department work with the school to ensure that policies are in place to protect students like me. I also would like to see the principal and counselors who deliberately ignored my requests to stop this kind of bullying suspended and training for teachers provided on how to stop this kind of bullying and harassment.

  13. Please read the information about OCR’s complaint processing procedures, OCR notice about investigatory uses of personal information, and consent form. All these documents are downloadable. Before we can complete initial processing of your complaint, we will need your signed consent authorizing us to proceed. Please sign and date A or B on the consent form and mail it to the OCR Environment Office responsible for your complaint.


Example Two: Parent Claim
Background:  Lauren Smith, filed an OCR claim on behalf of her 12-year old daughter, Katie, reporting that she was verbally harassed and teased by students who called her daughter "gay girl," and "lezzie." The claim also alleged that Katie was constantly shoved into walls, and had her books and homework stolen from her on several occasions throughout the school year. She also reported that her daughter experienced physical violence by having her hand stabbed with a pen by another student. Additionally, she experienced unwanted sexual contact - her shirt was ripped by students with another threatening to rape her by taking his pants off before another student intervened.

  1. Enter Information about yourself:
    First Name: Lauren
    Last Name: Smith
    Address: 12 Main Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    Best Time to Call You: Day
    Primary Phone: 555-555-5555
    Email Address: Parents_of_Katie@example.org

  2. Who else can we call if we cannot reach you?
    Contact’s Name: Katie Smith
    Daytime Phone Number: 555-555-5555
    Relationship to You: My daughter

  3. Who was discriminated Against?
    Someone Else

  4. What institution discriminated? (OCR’s laws cover educational institutions such as school districts, colleges and universities, public libraries and state vocational rehabilitation agencies)
    Institution Name: Washington Elementary School
    Address: 174 Fake Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    School or department involved: Elementary School Administrators

  5. Have you tried to resolve the complain through the institution’s grievance process, due process hearing, or with another agency?
    Yes
    Agency Name: Washington Elementary School
    Date Filed: 10/2010

  6. If yes, what is the current status of the complaint?
    I approached the school principal and guidance counselor to attempt to formally file a grievance, and discovered the school lacked a formal process to address the type of bullying, harassment and physical harm my daughter endured during her time in school.

  7. OCR enforces regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin; sex; disability; and/or age.  On what basis were you discriminated against? (You may select more than one).
    Sex

  8. In the space provided below please describe each discriminatory action separately.  For each action, you need to provide the following information:
    Date(s) the discriminatory action occurred;
    Name(s) of the individual (s) who discriminated;
    What happened;
    Witnesses, (if any);
    Why you believe the discrimination was because of race, sex, disability, or whatever basis you indicated above or why you believe the action was retaliatory.

    My daughter, Katie Smith, is 12 years old and is now in the seventh grade.  Beginning August 2009, which was sixth grade for Katie, through October 2010, my daughter experienced repeated verbal harassment and humiliation by other students, calling her “gay girl,” and “lezzie,” among other horrible sexual epithets. I believe this behavior is a form of sex discrimination because students targeted Katie based on sex stereotypes – i.e. Katie is a tomboy and enjoys playing sports and is often teased for not wanting to participate in “traditionally feminine” school activities like dance and chorus.  

    In December of 2009, my daughter first told me about being shoved into walls, and having her books stolen. I immediately scheduled a meeting with the school principal and guidance counselor to explore ways to formally file a grievance and discuss strategies teachers could use to help intervene to stop this terrible treatment before incidents escalated further. Much to my surprise, there was no formal grievance procedure, and I was met with resistance from these administrators to take any formal course of action. 

    Shortly after this meeting, the bullying seemed to amplify.  In January, I had to rush Katie to the emergency room because a student had stabbed her with a pen (I have medical records that I would be happy to provide, documenting this incident).  While I was hesitant to send Katie back to this school, I had very few alternatives.  There is a private school in the area, but I have limited financial resources, so I didn’t have much of a choice. 

    When Katie returned to school, she experienced unwanted sexual violence – her shirt was ripped by other students with another threatening to rape her by taking his pants off before any intervention took place. This behavior is clearly a form of sexual harassment and violence. After hearing about this account, I immediately pulled Katie out of this school and sent her to private school – something I am still struggling to pay for, but I’m fearful to expose her to such a hostile school environment. No child deserves to experience this unchecked violence every day. I want my daughter to flourish, not be frightened in school. 

  9. Do you have written information that you think will help us understand your complaint?
    Yes. I have several letters I sent to the school principal and superintendent along with medical records from our visit to the emergency room.

  10. Your complaint must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory action. The laws that we enforce require that complaints be filed with your office within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory event. If any of the alleged discriminatory actions took place more than 180 days before the postmark or receipt date of this complaint, you may request a waiver of the 180-day limit. When did the last act of discrimination occur?
    Enter the date: 10/05/2010

  11. Are you requesting a waiver of the 180-day filing time limit for discrimination that occurred more than 180 days before the filing of this complaint?
    No

  12. What would you like the institution to do as a result of your complaint – what remedy are you seeking?
    Even though Katie no longer attends the elementary school where these incidents took place, I would like to see that OCR staff immediately work with this school to ensure that anti-bullying policies are in place to protect students like my daughter. I also would like to see that the principal and counselors who deliberately ignored my requests to stop this kind of bullying are suspended and trained during their suspensions, so that they are better prepared the next time this type of egregious bullying and harassment occur. I would also like to see all teachers trained so that they can recognize bullying and harassment and effectively intervene when this behavior occurs.


Example Three: Teacher Claim
Background: Greg Davis filed an OCR claim on behalf of a 14-year old transgender girl, reporting that she was not permitted to use the girls’ bathroom. In Davis’ claim, he reports that he advocated for the student to have access to the girls’ bathroom because she identifies as a girl, dresses as a girl, and is perceived by her classmates as a girl.  Davis also reported that the girl was subjected to verbal harassment and discrimination from certain students, teachers, and school administrators. Since Davis advocated on behalf of the student, he was reprimanded by the school principal, suspended and eventually fired because he refused to direct the student to the boys’ restroom.

  1. Enter Information about yourself:
    First Name: Greg
    Last Name: Davis
    Address: 123 Fake Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    Best Time to Call You: Day
    Primary Phone: 555-555-5555
    Email Address: Teacher@example.org

  2. Who else can we call if we cannot reach you?
    Contact’s Name: N/A
    Daytime Phone Number: N/A
    Relationship to You: N/A

  3. Who was discriminated Against?
    Self and Someone Else

  4. What institution discriminated? (OCR’s laws cover educational institutions such as school districts, colleges and universities, public libraries and state vocational rehabilitation agencies)
    Institution Name: Twain Middle School
    Address: 4 Main Street
    City/State: Anytown, USA
    School or department involved: Elementary School Administrators

  5. Have you tried to resolve the complain through the institution’s grievance process, due process hearing, or with another agency?
    Yes
    Agency Name: Twain Middle School
    Date Filed: 10/2010

  6. If yes, what is the current status of the complaint?
    I reported directly to the school board superintendent that the harassed student should have access to the girls’ bathroom because she identifies as a girl, dresses as a girl, and is perceived by her classmates as a girl. I also reported that the student was subjected to verbal harassment and discrimination from certain students, teachers, and school administrators, and no action was taken to remedy the situation.

  7. OCR enforces regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin; sex; disability; and/or age.  On what basis were you discriminated against? (You may select more than one).
    Sex

  8. In the space provided below please describe each discriminatory action separately.  For each action, you need to provide the following information:
    Date(s) the discriminatory action occurred;
    Name(s) of the individual (s) who discriminated;
    What happened;
    Witnesses, (if any);
    Why you believe the discrimination was because of race, sex, disability, or whatever basis you indicated above or why you believe the action was retaliatory.

    At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, 14-year old Sarah Jacobs was not allowed to access the girls’ bathroom simply because she is a male-to-female transgender student. She also experienced repeated verbal harassment from certain students, teachers, and school administrators to tell her to “dress like a boy,” and “act like a boy.” I was and remain incredibly concerned by the apparent disrespect to Sarah and her self-determined gender identity. Since Sarah dresses like a girl, acts like a girl, and for the most part is recognized as a girl by her teachers and classmates, it only makes sense to advocate that she have access to the girl’s restroom. Anything less would be sex discrimination based on people’s own biased sex stereotypes.

    I noticed that the school principal and guidance counselor also repeated instructions to Sarah mandating that she use the boys restroom and often made her go to detention when she refused. In early September, I approached both the school principal and guidance counselor urging them to allow Sarah to use the girl’s restroom. I saw how their treatment adversely impacted her studies in my class alone, so I attempted to provide them resources from organizations like PFLAG and GLSEN about gender identity and how to support gender non-conforming students. Much to my surprise I was met with a teacher suspension and Sarah was still refused access to the girl’s restroom.

    Shortly after I was suspended, I met with the school board superintendent to try to appeal the suspension and advocate for Sarah. Again, to my surprise, I was met with little concern for Sarah’s well-being or with the fact that I was suspended for looking out for the welfare of one of my students. One week after I meet with the superintendent I was made aware that I was being fired because of “insubordination.”  Since, I am unemployed and can’t afford legal counsel, I am filing a claim in hopes that the federal government can at least investigate the school and help students like Sarah feel a little safer.

  9. Do you have written information that you think will help us understand your complaint?
    Yes. I have several letters I sent to the school principal and superintendent documenting the times Sarah was forced to use the boys’ facilities along with some of the verbal harassment certain students, teachers, and school administrators directed at her.

  10. Your complaint must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory action. The laws that we enforce require that complaints be filed with your office within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory event. If any of the alleged discriminatory actions took place more than 180 days before the postmark or receipt date of this complaint, you may request a waiver of the 180-day limit. When did the last act of discrimination occur?
    Enter the date: 09/15/2010

  11. Are you requesting a waiver of the 180-day filing time limit for discrimination that occurred more than 180 days before the filing of this complaint?
    No

  12. What would you like the institution to do as a result of your complaint – what remedy are you seeking?
    Even though I am no longer employed, I would like to see this middle school become safer for transgender students.  There are a few things I see as being good remedies to help make this school safer. Firstly, it would be excellent if there was an anti-bullying policy that included protections for LGBTQ students. Secondly, it is important that teachers willing to advocate on behalf of these students have adequate non-discrimination protections so that retaliation does not prevent them from ensuring that these students are not targeted. Additionally, trainings should be provided to both teachers and students to learn ways to stop bullying before it plagues the school. And finally, it would be nice to have LGBTQ resources readily available in the school library and school counselor’s office.

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