GP v. Lee County School Board, 060518 FED11, 17-14657

Docket Nº:17-14657
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:GP, minor child by and through her Mother, JP, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant-Appellee, LEXINGTON MIDDLE SCHOOL, Defendants.
Judge Panel:Before TJOFLAT, NEWSOM and HULL, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:June 05, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

GP, minor child by and through her Mother, JP, Plaintiff-Appellant,


LEE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, Defendant-Appellee,


No. 17-14657

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

June 5, 2018


Appeal from the United States District Court D.C. Docket No. 2:15-cv-00728-SPC-CM for the Middle District of Florida

Before TJOFLAT, NEWSOM and HULL, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiff GP, a minor female, by and through her mother JP, appeals from the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant Lee County School Board (the "Board"), in GP's action alleging sex discrimination in education, in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 ("Title IX"). After careful review, we affirm.


In January 2017, plaintiff GP filed the operative revised second amended complaint in this action. In her Title IX claim, GP alleged that the Board discriminated against her based on sex when the Board (1) failed to respond adequately to GP's report that a male classmate was bullying her, and (2) responded more favorably when a male student complained of bullying by the same classmate.1 On September 19, 2017, the district court granted the Board's motion for summary judgment on GP's Title IX claim, and dismissed the action.

Because this is a summary judgment appeal, we present the facts in the light most favorable to GP, the non-moving party.2

A. November 22, 2013 Battery by NM

From September to December of 2013, plaintiff GP was enrolled in the seventh grade at Lexington Middle School, which is located in Lee County, Florida. Beginning in September or October of 2013, GP began to experience bullying at the hands of NM, a male classmate. NM would push GP, pull her hair, pull books out of her hand, or shake a chair as she was standing on it to try to make her fall. This usually occurred during orchestra class, the last class of the day, which was the only class GP shared with NM. At first, GP never told anyone other than a few friends about NM's bullying.

On Friday, November 22, 2013, the bullying culminated in an incident during orchestra class. The incident began when NM approached GP, pushed her into a corner, and told her to "move." GP responded with a derogatory slur, saying, "You move, jit."3 NM left to retrieve a spiral notebook, then returned to GP and asked her, "What did you call me?" GP replied, "You heard me." At that point, NM struck GP in the face with the notebook. The spiral part of the notebook hit GP in the eye.

Immediately after being struck by NM, GP reported the incident to the school principal, Linda Caprarotta, who is now known as Linda Berry. Principal Caprarotta told GP it was too late in the day to do anything about the incident, but said she would look into the situation "first thing Monday morning."

B. November 25, 2013 Meeting with School

On Monday, November 25, 2013-the next school day after the incident- GP's parents visited the school. The family met first with the Assistant Principal, Jason Peters, and other officials. Assistant Principal Peters began to develop a plan to protect GP from NM. Peters proposed having another student accompany GP between classes. Peters also planned to examine GP's and NM's schedules to see when they crossed paths between classes. Peters said he would give GP an elevator pass so that she could avoid seeing NM in the hallway.

At some point, Principal Caprarotta joined the meeting. Caprarotta allegedly said she was there because she believed NM did not do anything wrong, and that she "want[ed] witnesses" and wanted GP "to prove these allegations." Caprarotta also allegedly suggested GP's appearance may have provoked NM into hitting her, saying to GP's parents: "But look how your daughter looks. She could provoke him at any moment. She could provoke anyone."

Later that same day, GP's mother reconvened with Assistant Principal Peters. Peters told GP's mother that NM had now admitted striking GP with the spiral notebook, and that several others witnesses confirmed the incident.

C. November 26, 2013 Meeting with School

The next day, November 26, GP's mother met again with Assistant Principal Peters and Principal Caprarotta. Assistant Principal Peters told GP's mother that the school would not implement the full remedial plan discussed at the November 25 meeting. However, Peters said that GP would be removed from the orchestra class she shared with NM, which meant the two students would no longer have any classes together. GP would be placed instead in an art class that met across the hall from orchestra.

At the November 26 meeting, Principal Caprarotta allegedly suggested again that GP's appearance may have contributed to NM's striking her in the face, saying to GP's mother: "Look how she...

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