Creating Peer Sexual Harassment: Mobilizing Schools to Throw the Book at Themselves

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2006

See all articles by Jodi L. Short

Jodi L. Short

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Abstract

This paper describes how peer-to-peer sexual harassment rapidly was transformed from an unremarkable reality of secondary school life into a serious social and legal problem. First, it shows how organizations and professionals served as an entry point for social change and legal mobilization. I argue that schools were quick to address peer sexual harassment because activists framed it as a moral and pedagogical issue that resonated with educators' deeply held professional values. Second, the paper shows how law and organizations developed endogenously. Without any legal mandate, schools created and institutionalized harassment policies. Courts then looked to these organizational practices to determine the content and scope of Title IX. In this way, schools literally "enacted" the law through their practices. This finding goes beyond previous work on endogeneity in that school policies influenced law at the level of doctrine, not simply at the level of meaning, enforcement, or application.

Suggested Citation

Short, Jodi L., Creating Peer Sexual Harassment: Mobilizing Schools to Throw the Book at Themselves. Law & Policy, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 31-59, January 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=871538 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9930.2005.00216.x

Jodi L. Short (Contact Author)

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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