In an apparent move to appease teachers’ unions, the Biden administration’s Department of Education intends to repeal a Trump-era effort to collect data on sex crimes committed by teachers against their students.
The Department of Education said on Thursday that the Office for Civil Rights will not ask school districts any questions about teacher-on-student sexual assault allegations as part of its 2021-2022 Civil Rights Data Collection.
The change is supposedly designed to “reduce burden and duplication of data,” according to a department spokesman who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
“This is the ultimate act of bowing to the teachers' unions,” said Kimberly Richey, the former acting assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights under the Trump administration. “Through this proposal, the Biden administration is actively helping schools cover up these incidents, which we were intentionally shining a light on.”
Instead of collecting the data, the Department of Education will only ask school districts to report documented cases of rape and sexual assault, but not allegations that resulted in the resignation or retirement of an accused teacher or school staff member.
In addition to halting data collection, the Department of Education will not ask districts to report pending cases or cases in which a school staffer was reassigned elsewhere prior to the conclusion of an investigation.
That fact alone should disturb parents concerned about the well-being of their sons and daughters under the care of public school teachers.
The move to hold teachers and school districts accountable for their actions was added by former Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who added the optional questions to the 2020-2022 data collection.
The Washington Free Beacon reports:
Reporting alleged sex crimes in addition to documented cases provides a fuller picture of sexual violence in schools, as the accused may retire, resign, or seek employment elsewhere before a district can reach a conclusion in the case.
Public schools' mishandling of sexual assault cases has become a political liability for Democrats across the country. Allegations that school officials in one Northern Virginia school district covered up a double sexual assault case roiled parents just weeks before the gubernatorial election. Teacher-union-backed Democrat Terry McAuliffe lost to Republican Glenn Youngkin by 2 points in the commonwealth, where President Joe Biden handily won by a 10-point margin.
Office for Civil Rights data collected during the Trump administration found that sexual assault and rape cases surged in public schools over the past decade. DeVos added those optional questions to the 2020-2021 data collection after the 2017-2018 survey found that nearly 15,000 allegations of rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault were reported during that school year, according to an October 2020 brief on the statistics. That data set did not distinguish between teacher-on-student and student-on-student crimes.
Max Eden, a research fellow for the American Enterprise Institute said it was not surprising that the Biden administration would move to protect the teachers due to its ties to teachers’ unions.
“Teachers' unions have a structural interest in protecting all of their members—including alleged pedophiles,” Eden said. “Data suggesting systemic nonchalance about child sexual abuse in public schools would be quite politically inconvenient for teachers' unions. Now the data won't be collected.”