Public Comment

Civil Rights Data Collection: Public Comment

August 2020

In September 2019, the U.S. Department of Education proposed removing gender-based harassment—including harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes—from the Civil Rights Data Collection’s definition of harassment or bullying on the basis of sex.

  • Luis A. Vasquez
    Staff Attorney, Former
  • Adam P. Romero
    Legal Scholarship & Federal Policy Director, Former


The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) obtains vital data related to the civil rights laws’ requirement that local educational agencies and elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. provide equal educational opportunities to all students. Prior iterations of the CRDC have included incidents of gender-based harassment as forms of sex-based harassment.


Research shows that gender minority youth experience significant disparities in harassment while in school, which is associated with a high prevalence of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidality. Failure to collect data on incidents of gender-based harassment would deprive the Department of Education, public policymakers, educational agencies, and the public of an invaluable resource for understanding and addressing the patterns of harassment that make our schools unsafe for significant numbers of students.


The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bostock v. Clayton County makes it clear that OCR’s enforcement responsibilities under Title IX require it to take action to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as forms of sex discrimination. The CRDC exists as a means of ensuring that OCR is meeting those enforcement obligations, and therefore should collect information on harassment based on all areas covered by the law.

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Civil Rights Data Collection: Public Comment