Dept of Ed Survey to Ask Questions About Anti-LGBT Bullying
GLSEN Lauds Groundbreaking Moment in Effort to Make Schools Safe for LGBT Students
NEW YORK, JUNE 21, 2013 - In a groundbreaking decision, the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights announced today it intends to begin asking questions this fall about anti-lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) bullying as part of its Office of Civil Rights Data collection, which covers a wide range of school experiences.
After a comment and review process, the Civil Rights Data Collection questionnaire will be updated to ask about incidents of bullying and harassment related to actual or perceived sexual orientation. The survey already asks about bullying and harassment based on race and gender, including questions about gender stereotyping and gender nonconformity.
"This is a watershed moment in education data collection," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "One of the stated barriers to federal action has been a lack of official government data to demonstrate the pervasive problem of anti-LGBT bullying that GLSEN has documented for more than a decade through our National School Climate Survey. We applaud the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights for taking this crucially important action. LGBT students deserve equal access to a quality education, and we moved a huge step closer toward that goal today."
The purpose of the Civil Rights Data Collection is to obtain data related to the nation's public school districts and elementary and secondary schools' obligation to provide equal educational opportunity.
A group of GLSEN student leaders met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan earlier this year. One of their requests was to make the Civil Rights Data Collection LGBT-inclusive, something GLSEN has urged for years.
GLSEN currently provides information on LGBT students who are bullied, harassed or discriminated against to the Office of Civil Rights through our Claim Your Rights campaign in partnership with PFLAG. The campaign has resulted in several complaints being filed with the Office of Civil Rights, which has been diligent in recent years in pursuing action against schools on the basis of anti-LGBT bullying.
GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey found that 82% of LGBT students experienced harassment in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 64% because of their gender expression.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.