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A classification of Web content alterations and changes in access to Web resources



<#>) Department of Education Transgender Students’ Rights Removals

This Tracker item was last updated: 10/16/18

Summary and context of findings: Between November 14, 2017 and February 19, 2018, the “Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students” page (Key Webpage 1) on the Department of Education’s website was altered to remove links to court documents, including resolutions to seven federal civil rights complaints and three federal court filings. These documents, which are still live, focus on transgender student rights, including fair access to bathrooms and other facilities. Text referencing Title IX protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students was removed from the introductory paragraph, and the title of the webpage was altered to remove mention of the terms “Transgender” and “Gender-Nonconforming.” An Education Department spokesperson told Politico that this reduction in access reflected the rescission of a transgender student rights directive from the Obama administration.

Classification of change:

  • [1.a] Altering or removing text and non-text content > Change or removal of text snippets (word(s), sentence(s), title(s), link text).
  • [2.c] Altering or removing links > Removing a link to a page that has not been permanently removed or has not been removed at all.
  • [4.a] Altering or removing an entire pertinent section of a webpage or collection of webpages > A section of a single webpage is altered or removed.


Public agency communication:

  • Advance public notice: No
  • Acknowledgment of change: Corroborated (See statement from Education Department spokesperson to Politico)


Detailed Description of Changes in Access and Content

Change details:

  1. Between November 14, 2017 and February 19, 2018 the “Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students” page (Key Webpage 1) was altered.
    1. The title of webpage was altered from “Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students” to “Resources for LGBTQ Students.”
    2. Introductory text was altered to remove mentions of sex discrimination protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming students under Title IX, including the removal of the text: “Once a school is notified that a student will begin asserting a gender identity that differs from previous representations or records, the school must begin treating the student consistent with the student’s gender identity. When a school provides sex-segregated activities or facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
    3. Removed 7 bullet points, containing links and text under the “OCR Case Resolutions” section, including:
      1. Dorchester County School District (SC) (11-15-1348): Resolution Agreement and Resolution Letter (Both links lead to currently live PDFs)
    4. Removed 3 bullet points, containing links and text under the “Court Filings—Statements of Interest and Amicus Curiae Briefs” section, including:
      1. Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Plaintiff-Appellant and Urging Reversal, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, No. 15-2056 (4th Cir. Oct. 28, 2015).
      2. Statement of Interest of the United States, G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, No. 4:15cv54 (E.D. Va., June 29, 2015).
  2. No federal Web archive is publicly available for the “Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students” page.


Key Webpages (content in this section is taken from webpage mentions in the “Change details” section above)

  1. Page title: Resources for Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students