Policy & Advocacy

Claim Your Rights

In partnership with PFLAG.

Have you or someone you know experienced lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ)-based bullying, harassment, or discrimination in school? You are not alone. According to the 2017 National School Climate Survey, 70.1% of students reported being verbally harassed based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, 59.1% of students reported being verbally harassed based on their actual or perceived gender expression, and 53.2% of students reported being verbally harassed based on their actual or perceived gender. Even more troubling: only 12.6% of LGBTQ students report that their schools have comprehensive anti-bullying and harassment policies that enumerate protections based on sexual orientation, gender, and gender expression. Clearly, many school communities are in desperate need for a way to address LGBTQ-based bullying, harassment, or discrimination. Without adequate federal protections, what can we—the stakeholders in school communities across the nation—do about protecting the rights of all students subject to bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression?


If you have experienced school-based bullying, harassment, or discrimination, file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Education Department today.


Things to know about filing a complaint

  • You are entitled to file a claim. Nearly every public school receives some level of federal funding and is therefore protected under Title IX, which entitles you to file a bullying, harassment, or discrimination claim with OCR.
  • Time is of the essence. A complaint must be filed within 180 days of when the bullying, harassment, or discrimination occurred.
  • Your confidentiality is assured. Every claim remains confidential and will not be shared without permission.
  • A third party may file a claim on behalf of another person. In other words, the person making the complaint doesn’t have to be the one who experienced the harassment. A friend, family member or school faculty member can file the complaint.
  • It’s safe. The school cannot retaliate against anyone who has made a complaint, or testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under Title IX.
  • You must complete the entire form in order for the report to be counted. Make sure to fill out the entire form. Incomplete information will result in a dismissal of your complaint. 


How to file a complaint

Go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html to file your complaint online. Read the instructions and click Continue to Complaint Form at the bottom of the page to get started.

Contact Us

If you have questions on how to take action, please don’t hesitate to contact us: