Public Comment

Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection: Public Comment

February 2022

In November 2021, the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education issued proposals calling for the collection of information related to sexual orientation and gender identity as part of its upcoming 2021–2022 Civil Rights Data Collection.

Public Comment

Issue

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) collects data from public primary and secondary schools in the U.S. to aid in the monitoring and enforcement of various civil rights laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, that guarantee equal educational opportunities to all students. The current proposal would maintain reporting related to allegations of bullying or harassment related to students’ sexual orientation and restore reporting related to allegations of bullying or harassment related to students’ gender identity. It would also create an inventory of school anti-bullying policies that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and would provide for reporting on nonbinary students in specific areas like enrollment and discipline for a limited number of schools.

Impact

There are nearly 2 million LGBT youth ages 13–17 in the United States and approximately 150,000 of these youth are transgender. In addition, our 2018 study found 27% of California youth—approximately 796,000 students—identify or are perceived as gender nonconforming. 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.

Summary

Scholars support the current proposal by noting that Title IX is now fully understood to prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of SOGI, and therefore it would be consistent for the CRDC to collect certain information on the experiences of LGBTQ students as a way to monitor schools’ compliance with civil rights laws. In addition, scholars document research demonstrating the persistence and impact of discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ students in schools and provide guidance on expanding the proposed data collection to allow for additional insight into the role played by SOGI in students’ experiences across the country.

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Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection: Public Comment