NWLC signed on to an amicus brief submitted by the Women’s Law Project and Education Law Center on May 22, 2019 in support of Ms. Wible in her case against the School District of Philadelphia. Despite her reporting repeated verbal sexual harassment and physical assault, Ms. Wible’s school failed to take action to stop the ongoing harassment. The lower court ruled in favor of Ms. Wible and the school appealed the ruling claiming immunity from such lawsuits.
The amicus brief asks the appeals court to affirm the lower court’s decision that the school was legally responsible for addressing the harassment under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act’s protections against discrimination in public accommodations. The lower court held, for the first time under the Act, that educational institutions must take prompt and effective action when notified of student-on-student harassment. NWLC joined other signatories in urging the appeals court to affirm this decision so that Pennsylvania students have another avenue to hold school districts accountable for failing to adequately address sexual harassment, and also advocated for a lower standard of liability than the high bar set by the Supreme Court for Title IX claims.
The Women’s Law Project’s related blog is available here. In addition to NWLC, other organizations who joined the brief include: AAUW, the ACLU, ACLU of Pennsylvania, Atlanta Women for Equality, California Women’s Center, Education Law Center-PA, End Rape on Campus, Gender Justice, Gwen’s Girls, Juvenile Law Center, Legal Voice, National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh, National Crittenton, PA Chapter of NOW, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, Philadelphia NOW Education Fund, Southwest Women’s Law Center, WOAR, Women Against Abuse, Women and Girls Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland.