Copyright (c) 1997 University of Dayton Law Review
University of Dayton Law Review
NOTE: A SCHOOL'S DUTY TO PROTECT STUDENTS FROM PEER-INFLICTED ABUSE: NABOZNY V. PODLESNY, 92 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1996)
22 Dayton L. Rev. 317
Maggie J. Randall Robb
For years a child could continually be harassed, beaten, and urinated upon by fellow classmates at school; the school, however, has no affirmative duty to protect the child from such a clearly known danger. Jamie Nabozny endured four years of such torture as his classmates repeatedly harassed him, beat him, urinated upon him, and performed a mock rape on him because he was gay. 1 Eventually, at age seventeen, he dropped out of school in order to protect himself. 2 After Nabozny sued the school district for failing to protect him, the Seventh Circuit held that the school violated Nabozny's equal protection rights but not his substantive due process rights. 3 The school violated Nabozny's equal protection rights because the school failed to give him the equivalent levels of protection that it would give female students and students who are harassed for reasons other than sexual orientation. 4 The court, however, held
that Nabozny's substantive due process rights were not violated because the state had no duty to protect students from peer-inflicted abuse. 5 The court reasoned that because children and parents have substantial freedom to act in order to protect themselves, the school had no affirmative duty to protect students from known peer-inflicted abuse. 6
This Note argues that public schools do have an affirmative duty, grounded in substantive due process, to protect their students from any clearly established risk of physical harm and harassment created by classmates. 7 Section II of ...
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