Last month, 18-year-old Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after police say his roommate secretly webcast his dorm-room tryst with a man. The roommate and another student have been charged with invasion of privacy, and authorities are considering whether to add a hate-crime charge.
Late last month, Buchanan High graduate Justin Lacey, committed suicide shortly after she started living as a transgender woman named Chloe. Her family says she was terrified of being bullied for coming out.
The department is sending out letters Tuesday telling schools they could be violating federal anti-discrimination laws if they tolerate or fail to address ethnic, sexual or gender-based harassment.