Students Harassing Students

Laws should make clear that it is prohibited for students to sexually harass other students, sometimes known as peer-to-peer harassment. Laws that prohibit any person from committing harassment in the course of educational activities generally include this behavior. Some countries have chosen to specifically prohibit harassment perpetrated by students. Legislation in New South Wales, Australia provides that students over the age of 16 years are “adult students” and are prohibited from harassing other students or their teachers. “Adult students” are subject to sanction, but students under the age of 18 are not liable for monetary damages. (See: Anti-Discrimination Act, sec. 22E) Courts may also interpret laws to cover peer-to-peer harassment, such as has been done in the United States where federal Title IX anti-discrimination legislation has been held to impose liability on school districts for peer-to-peer harassment in certain instances. (See: H. Lewis & E. Norman, Civil Rights Law & Practice, 290-92, 2001)