Thursday, November 10, 2011
8th Circuit Holds Title IX Plaintiff Must Prove Actions Motivated By Gender As Opposed To Sexual Orientation
Wolfe v. Fayettesville Sch. Dist., ___F.3d____ (8th Cir. Aug. 9, 2011), is an interesting case. The Eighth Circuit held that a student, who was subjected to anti-gay taunts by classmates, was not entitled to a jury instruction that Title IX’s requirement that discrimination be “on the basis of sex” was met by such taunts regardless of proof that the taunts were motivated by the student’s sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. It concluded that Title IX requires proof of sex-based motivation for a Title IX deliberate indifference claim. The panel rejected the student’s argument that Title IX does not require that the harassment be based on the victim’s gender.