Schools are required to have rules and guidelines which safeguard their students from illegal behavior that could be taken by faculty, staff or even fellow students. Schools are required to effectively address and investigate claims of illegal conduct when it occurs in school, on their campus, and/or during any extracurricular activity. For example, if a student is sexually assaulted in the dormitory and complaints to Student Affairs. The school must take immediate action to investigate the claims, remove the accused from the victim, and take other steps in accordance with the law. Failure to do so within a certain period of time is likely to result in liability to the school. Another example could be a professor who engages a student in “quid pro quo” sexual harassment (Professor threatens to fail a student unless the student performs a sexual act). To elaborate, this situation arises when pressure is placed on the victim to engage in a sexual relationship through explicit or implied threats of negative consequences for refusal – or “hostile environment” – where unwelcome words or actions of a sexual nature are inflicted on the victim in a severe or pervasive manner resulting in the creation of a hostile educational environment.
The United States Supreme Court in the case of Davis v Monroe County Board of Education ruled that schools and their employees could be held strictly liable for sexual harassment against students if the school was able to take action, had knowledge of the act, and then showed deliberate indifference when correcting it.