(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and its co-counsel, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for its failure to provide requested documents related to sexual harassment in schools. The lawsuit—filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—alleges that the department violated the Freedom of Information Act by not releasing records in response to the Center’s January 2017 request. The records would 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:
“Radio silence from the Department of Education in response to our simple request to see documents about its enforcement of prohibitions against sexual harassment in schools is totally unacceptable. There is a lot at stake. Without the release of these documents, students, families, and advocates are kept in the dark about whether the department is enforcing legal protections for student survivors of sexual harassment and rape. Without their release, survivors won’t know if they can trust the government to intervene on their behalf. This sends the wrong message to schools and students. We urge the department to comply with the law by responding to our basic request.”
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.