(Washington, D.C.) The U.S. Department of Education released to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) a list of school districts that are the subject of sexual harassment complaints—one day after NWLC and its co-counsel, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, filed a lawsuit against the department for its failure to provide requested documents related to sexual harassment in schools. Department officials also stated that they will soon provide NWLC with the additional information it requested about Office for Civil Rights resolutions in sexual harassment cases. Yesterday’s lawsuit—filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—alleged that the department violated the Freedom of Information Act by not releasing records in response to the Center’s January 2017 request. The records will reveal whether the department is protecting students’ rights to be free from sexual harassment, including rape, under Title IX—the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has refused to publicly commit to enforcing Title IX, as she is legally required to do.
The following is a statement by NWLC President-elect Fatima Goss Graves:
“It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to get the Department of Education to comply with the law by releasing requested documents that will show us whether the government is enforcing legal protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and assault. We are still waiting for the release of additional critical documents that will tell students, families, and advocates whether they can trust the government to intervene on their behalf in cases of sexual harassment, including rape. We will closely track the release of these additional documents that the department must legally provide us and continue to monitor its actions in enforcing Title IX.”
The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.