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Amicus Brief to be Filed in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee

The Women’s Rights Project of the ACLU and the National Women’s Law Center will file an amicus brief late in August. Their memorandum on this brief says: “In Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, the Supreme Court will decide whether a plaintiff who brings a Title IX claim to remedy sex discrimination by a school district receiving federal funds is precluded from bringing an equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the school district and the superintendent for unconstitutional sex discrimination.” Section 1983 is the vehicle used to “provide for redress for persons who have been deprived of their federal constitutional and statutory rights by state and local officials.” The Feminist Majority Foundation will sign on to the brief.

The case began with the sexual harassment of kindergartner Jacqueline Fitzgerald on a school bus by a classmate in the 2000-2001 school year. The school refused to put a monitor on the bus and offered to place Jacqueline, but not the harasser, on a different bus. The Fitzgeralds’ filed under Title IX, the Equal Protection Clause (under § 1983), and Massachusetts state law in federal district court. The Federal Courts in different circuits around the country have disagreed “as to whether claims can be asserted under both Title IX and § 1983, or only under Title IX,” according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Sources:

National Women's Law Center Memorandum 8/15/08; Feminist Majority Foundation