Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District

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Determined the right to sue schools for teacher-to-student sexual harassment under Title IX.

Full Case Title: 

Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District, 524 U.S. 274 (1998)
  • Equal Educational Opportunities


  • Authored Amicus Brief


Summary of the Case

This case concerned the circumstances in which school authorities are liable in damages for a student's sexual harassment by a teacher. The high school teacher allegedly initiated sexual relations with plaintiff while she was a fourteen-year-old student. Plaintiff did not report the teacher's actions to the school authorities.


In a 5-4 decision, the Court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims. The Court held that Title IX only imposes damage liability on school authorities when a school official with authority to take corrective measures has actual knowledge of the harassment and fails to take appropriate action. Legal Momentum supported an amicus brief, which argued for a broader liability standard than that which the Court adopted.