The Department of Education wants to roll back a Trump-era effort to collect data on teacher-on-student sex crimes.
The department’s Office for Civil Rights will not ask school districts questions regarding teacher-on-student sexual assault allegations as part of its 2021-2022 Civil Rights Data Collection, proposed Thursday. The change is designed to “reduce burden and duplication of data,” an Education Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon. But critics say eliminating the question is the Biden administration’s attempt to appease teachers’ unions.
“This is the ultimate act of bowing to the teachers’ unions,” Kimberly Richey, who served as acting assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights in the Trump administration, told the Free Beacon. “Through this proposal, the Biden administration is actively helping schools cover up these incidents, which we were intentionally shining a light on.”
The Education Department will still ask districts to report documented cases of rape and sexual assault. But it will not ask school officials to report allegations that resulted in the resignation or retirement of the accused. Former secretary of education Betsy DeVos added those optional questions to the 2020-2021 data collection, which was delayed one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The department also won’t ask districts to report pending cases or cases in which a school staffer was reassigned to another district school prior to the conclusion of an investigation.
Reporting alleged sex crimes in addition to documented cases provides a fuller picture of sexual violence in schools, as the accused may retire, resign, or seek employment elsewhere before a district can reach a conclusion in the case.