Washington Law Review


Carrie L. Hoon


The U.S. Supreme Court held in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education that schools may be liable under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments for student-to-student hostile-environment sexual harassment. Although the Court required that conduct be severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive to qualify as sexual harassment under the statute, it did not establish an objective reasonableness standard to evaluate allegedly harassing conduct. In the context of Title VII employment-discrimination jurisprudence, some courts apply a reasonable-woman standard to determine what conduct is objectively hostile or abusive such that it constitutes actionable hostile-environment sexual harassment in the workplace. This Comment argues that a reasonable-girl standard, which is an amalgamation of reasonable-woman precedent and the reasonable child from tort law, is consistent with previous U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of Title IX. This Comment further contends that courts should adopt the reasonable-girl standard because it will further girls' equal educational opportunities, thereby serving the goal of Title IX.

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