Data released from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) show high rates of sexual harassment and assault and seclusion and restraint in K-12 schools
Senator Murray: “This data is a reminder of how much work still must be done to protect students—especially Black students, students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, and others.”
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to the recently released 2017-2018 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), a survey of K-12 public schools carried out by the Department of Education each year.
“Every student deserves to be safe and secure at school—but this data makes clear that right now, we’re failing to live up to that promise. Thousands of students are experiencing sexual harassment at school, or are being disciplined using the dangerous practices of seclusion and restraint—it’s completely unacceptable.”
“This data is a reminder of how much work still must be done to protect students—especially Black students, students of color, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, and others. Throughout the past four years, Secretary DeVos has shown a constant disregard for students’ safety and civil rights—from her efforts to roll back sexual harassment and assault protections, undermine the collection of critical civil rights data, and even to encourage schools to reopen for in-person learning against the advice of public health officials. That’s why I’ll keep fighting to rollback her harmful policies and do everything we can to keep students safe at school and defend their civil rights.”
The CRDC revealed that rates of sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools increased from the previous year, with nearly 15,000 incidents reported in 2017-2018 and less than 10,000 incidents reported in 2015-2106. Despite the unacceptably high rates, the data brief touts Secretary Betsy DeVos for “strengthening protections”—though in reality, Secretary DeVos rolled back the Obama-era Title IX rule in September 2017 and since then has worked to replace it with a weaker version, finalized in May 2020, that made it harder for students to report sexual assault and strips away protections for survivors. The report also reveals that in 2017-2018, 101,990 students were subjected to the dangerous discipline practices of seclusion and restraint. According to the data, these practices were used disproportionately on students with disabilities, boys, and students of color.