Fighting for Justice: Legal Remedies for Title IX Violations Impacting Students’ Educational Experience

Title IX Background

In 1972, the United States Congress passed a landmark legislation known as Title IX. The legislation prohibits sex discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, fundamentally altering the landscape of education and athletics in the U.S Title IX Explained. The purpose of this article is to examine the legal remedies available to students when their rights under Title IX are violated, causing them harm in their educational experience.

Title IX requires schools and educational institutions to respond promptly and effectively to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Institutions that fail to meet these standards risk losing their federal funding and may also face legal action. In spite of this, instances of Title IX violations are all too common, and many students and families are left wondering what recourse they have when these protections are breached.

Reporting to The Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

The first step a student can take when they believe their rights under Title IX have been violated is to report the violation to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is a part of the Department of Education and is tasked with enforcing Title IX OCR’s Role. Students or their families can file a complaint with the OCR online, via mail, or over the telephone. The OCR then investigates the complaint, and if they find that a violation has occurred, they can require the school to take corrective action. This may include providing remedies for the individual victim and making changes to prevent future violations.

Lawsuit Against the Institution

If a student’s Title IX rights are violated and the school fails to take appropriate action, the student may also bring a private lawsuit against the educational institution. Such lawsuits can be complex and require experienced legal counsel. These lawsuits generally fall into two categories:

  • Retaliation claims: If a student reports a Title IX violation and faces retaliation from the school, they may have a claim. Retaliation may include punishments, grade reductions, or other adverse actions taken because of the complaint.
  • Deliberate indifference claims: If a school knows about sexual harassment or assault and does not adequately respond, a student can sue the institution for deliberate indifference.

Damages in these cases can include compensation for emotional distress, harm to reputation, and other out-of-pocket costs related to the violation. In some cases, courts may also award punitive damages. If the lawsuit is successful, the court may also order the school to make changes to prevent future violations. Recent case law has demonstrated the willingness of courts to hold schools accountable.

Administrative Complaints Against the School

A third remedy available to students is filing an administrative complaint against the school. This involves filing a complaint with the school’s Title IX Coordinator or other administrative body responsible for enforcing Title IX at the school. The process varies by school but typically involves an investigation and a hearing where both parties can present evidence.

The process is designed to be neutral, but in practice, it can be difficult for students to navigate without legal assistance. If the process does not result in a satisfactory resolution, the student may still have the option of pursuing a lawsuit or a complaint with the OCR.


The fight for justice in cases of Title IX violations is often a challenging journey. It requires courage, resilience, and knowledge of the various legal remedies available. Importantly, it necessitates the involvement of experienced legal counsel to guide students and their families through the intricacies of these legal processes.

While these remedies do not guarantee a particular outcome, they are critical tools in holding educational institutions accountable for upholding their obligations under Title IX. It is essential that students know their rights and the legal avenues available to them in seeking justice and ensuring an educational environment free from discrimination.

Brian Roark is an attorney at Botsford & Roark law firm in Austin, TX, specializing in education law and civil rights litigation.

Need legal help? Contact us now to get the help you need.

Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Roark

About the Author

Brian Roark is an experienced criminal defense attorney and Title IX lawyer, and former professor of Trial Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law. He has successfully represented clients in a wide range of criminal cases, including DWIs, drug offenses, and violent crimes. Brian has extensive experience representing clients in university Title IX proceedings, helping students navigate these complex and often stressful processes. He is committed to providing his clients with compassionate and personalized legal representation and has a proven track record of achieving positive results.

Scroll to Top