Parents Defending Education Files Freedom of Information Request Suit Against the Department of Education

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Washington, D.C. — Parents Defending Education (PDE), a nationwide membership organization whose members oppose political indoctrination in America’s schools, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Education for unlawfully withholding records of the Department’s coordination with advocacy groups on Title IX and gender identity issues.

To inform the ongoing public debate about the Title IX protections in K-12 schools, PDE submitted a FOIA request in July 2022 for the Department’s communications with several progressive organizations regarding “gender support plans” and other “gender affirming” policies that may implicate parental rights. In the nineteen months since PDE filed its request, the Department has not produced any responsive records and refused to provide an estimated timeline for when it might do so.

Our membership has grave concerns about the Department’s ties to these outside groups. By withholding these documents from the public, the Department is only reinforcing the appearance of impropriety. Refusing to release these documents leaves Americans in the dark about the Department’s coordination with ideological activist groups as it contemplates sweeping regulatory actions that will affect millions of children across the country.

Since the Biden Administration is refusing to comply with its statutory obligations, we are forced to file this complaint to obtain public information that should be readily available, so parents can have a better understanding of the parties who are pushing an agenda that could alter educational programs for generations to come.

The first rule in policy interpretation and enforcement should be “do no harm.” Withholding these documents for fear of retaliation or pressure from third party groups may point to underlying unethical behavior in specific areas of the Department and that is what we intend to uncover.