Speak Up! - View Question #450
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Question: Can a student make a law suit against their teacher if he is being prejudiced against students, or in other situations? In other words does a student have a right to sue the school or a teacher?
Answer: Yes, students are allowed to sue their school if they have been 'wronged'. I believe that your question deals more with, what types of wrongs can a student sue a school for? To avoid a complex discussion on every type of lawsuit that a student can file against a school, let's review two basic areas that relate to your question.
If a student, or any person, is denied their 'civil liberties' - that is, anything that our Constitution says we shall be protected from - then we have a claim [a lawsuit]. You may note that some of those 'civil liberties' protect us from being treated differently from other people for no legitimate reason. A legal term is called 'due process' - that is, if we are not given an opportunity to defend ourselves when something is taken away from us, or if a new rule treats one specific type of person [you or me] differently than other people.
If a student is discriminated at school, a student may have a lawsuit. Discrimination is when someone is treated differently than other people, because of gender [sex], race, disability, religion, or national origin. For example, Title 9 is an area that protects against a form of discrimination - it prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.It states that:
'[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance'. 20 U.S.C. §1681 (a).
In order to win a Title 9 lawsuit, a plaintiff must show that he or she has been denied participation in a federally funded educational program or activity, and that the denial was based on the person's sex. (See, e.g., Bougher v. University of Pittsburgh)