During the Trump Administration, the Department of Education added questions regarding lewd crimes by teachers against students to the civil rights survey conducted every two years. This week, Joe Biden’s education officials announced that the questions would be kept in the survey.
The department had initially planned to eliminate the Trump-era questions but withdrew its proposed survey on Monday. The Washington Free Beacon reported that when the questions were left out of the survey as initially proposed, Biden’s Education Department officials said they were removed to “reduce the burden” on government school personnel.
The administration officials said the lewd crime questions were added to the survey after “further reflection.”
President Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, added the questions after the Office for Civil Rights survey for the 2017-18 school year demonstrated a rise in lewd violence in schools. While that survey listed almost 15,000 reports of abuse, attempted carnal abuse, and physical assaults, it did not specify whether the reports were of students’ attacks or teachers’ against students.
DeVos also asked whether assault allegations against teachers led to retirement or resignation before formal resolution of the charges.
The physical assault questions were first added to the 2020-21 academic year survey, which was delayed for a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to officials with the Office for Civil Rights during the Trump Administration, adding the additional questions is essential for accurate reporting as accused teachers may leave their employment before investigations are completed.
Kimberly Richey served in the Trump administration as assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights. She told reporters that the proposal to remove the physical assault questions from the survey was the “ultimate act of bowing” to the national teachers’ union.
Lewd crimes in government schools have become public relations problems for Democrats and teachers unions. School officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, were accused of covering up a physical assault case during this year’s gubernatorial election. Outraged parents favored Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, who won a narrow victory over former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe.