From [HERE] The U.S. Department of Education has been receiving thousands more racial discrimination allegations in schools than it has previously publicly reported, HuffPost has uncovered through an analysis of department data.
The HuffPost analysis, based on data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, found that between the fiscal years 2013 to 2016, there were over 2,000 allegations regarding racial discrimination in schools that were not previously publicly recorded in the department’s annual reports.
The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces federal civil rights laws in schools. A vast majority of legal complaints that are filed with the office are dismissed for mundane reasons like lack of detail or lack of timeliness. Some complaints are investigated, and if a violation is found, have the potential to spark school district or university-wide changes.
There can be multiple allegations of racial discrimination within one complaint. HuffPost also found about 700 complaints of racial discrimination in schools between FY2013 and 2016 had not been publicly reported. In FY2016, for example, HuffPost found more than 300 complaints of racial discrimination weren’t included in department reports.
When asked about the reason for the disparity between publicly reported numbers and those provided in the FOIA request, a spokesperson for the Department of Education noted that “between 10 to 15 percent of complaints received during the fiscal year are not yet categorized when data for the Annual Report is compiled.” However, HuffPost found that deflated numbers continue to be used even years after the annual reports are released in documents like the 2019 budget request. HuffPost only analyzed data for racial discrimination, but these numbers are likely deflated for other categories of discrimination in schools, like gender discrimination.
The number of racial discrimination allegations filed with the Department of Education has generally increased over the years ― sometimes in unexpected ways, HuffPost found in an analysis of data from fiscal year 2010 through 2017.
Allegations involving racial discrimination against white students have seen a consistent uptick over the past several years, although the number of overall complaints regarding this type of discrimination remains small. In 2010, allegations of racial discrimination involving white students made up 3.2 percent of overall Title VI allegations ― the federal law covering racial discrimination in schools. In 2017, this number had reached 5 percent, reflecting nearly 200 allegations.
The pattern was similarly reflected in allegations of racial harassment against white students. In 2010, complaints involving racial harassment against white students made up 2.71 percent of all racial harassment complaints, but by 2017, this had increased to 6.86 percent, while still only reflecting 50 complaints in real numbers. [MORE]