After several high-profile cases of bullying, ED sent letters to schools, colleges, and universities across the country on Oct. 26, reminding them of their federal obligations. Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, said ED was responding to what it senses as a growing problem within schools.

She said the Office for Civil Rights had received 800 complaints alleging harassment over the last fiscal year, and that reports from the field indicate an increase of anti-gay harassment.

In September, 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after his roommate secretly webcast his dorm-room tryst with a man, police said. The roommate and another student have been charged with invasion of privacy, and authorities are considering whether to add a hate-crime charge.