A student committed suicide after being bullied by his classmates. His parents sued the school district and some school employees, alleging that they were deliberately indifferent to the bullying.
According to the lawsuit, the 13-year-old boy was accosted on multiple occasions by a group of boys in the locker room. They allegedly removed his underwear, and on one occasion stripped him nude and tied him up. He was placed in a trash can and subjected to derogatory names. Many students witnessed these incidents, and on one occasion the attack was videotaped and uploaded to YouTube. The boy committed suicide shortly after this attack.

The parents alleged that the bullying constituted sexual harassment. The case was initially dismissed, but the parents appealed. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is a higher court that hears cases on appeal from Texas and other states, agreed that the conduct amounted to sexual harassment, finding that the removal of a person’s underwear without their consent on multiple occasions amounts to pervasive harassment of a sexual nature, even when the bully and victim are the same sex. The case was reinstated and is now able to proceed to trial.
Most districts have adopted board policies that deal with bullying and sexual harassment. A typical district policy that prohibits discrimination and harassment of students states that “any District employee who suspects or receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced prohibited conduct shall immediately notify the appropriate District official listed in this policy and take any other steps required by this policy.” If a district employee suspects or has notice that a student is being bullied or harassed, the employee must report and follow the school district’s policy.