Sexual Harassment in Education

Sexual harassment in education in the United States is an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a American's student’s ability to learn, study, work or participate in school activities. It is common in middle and high schools in the United States. Sexual or gender harassment is a form of discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Sexual harassment involves a range of behavior from mild annoyances to sexual assault and rape.

The definition of sexual harassment includes harassment by both peers and individuals in a position of power relative to the person being harassed. In schools, though sexual harassment initiated by students is most common, it can also be perpetrated by teachers or other school employees, and the victim can be a student, a teacher, or other school employee. Sexual harassment of students by teachers or other school employees can cause particularly serious and damaging consequences for the victim. While sexual harassment is legally defined as "unwanted" behavior, many experts agree that even consensual sexual interactions between students and teachers constitutes harassment because, they say, the power differential creates a dynamic in which "mutual consent" is impossible.