Dear Colleague Letter: Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline
Regardless of the program adopted, Federal law prohibits public school districts from discriminating in the administration of student discipline based on certain personal characteristics.
Te Deme f Jse’s Cl Rs Ds (DOJ)
is responsible for enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title IV), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000c
, which prohibits discrimination in public elementary and secondary schools based on race, color, or national origin, among other bases. T
e Deme f E’s Offe f Cl Rs
(OCR) and the DOJ have responsibility for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d
, and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 100, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by recipients of Federal financial assistance. Specifically, OCR enforces Title VI with respect to schools and other recipients of Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.
The Departments initiate investigations of student discipline policies and practices at particular schools based on complaints the Departments receive from students, parents, community members, and others about possible racial discrimination in student discipline.
The Departments also may initiate investigations based on public reports of racial disparities in student discipline combined with other information, or as part of their regular compliance monitoring activities. This guidance will help public elementary and secondary schools administer student discipline in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race. Federal law also prohibits discriminatory discipline based on other factors, including disability, religion, and sex.
The Department of Justice enforces Title VI with respect to schools, law enforcement agencies, and other
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(OJP OCR) is the principal DOJ office that enforces Title VI though its administrative process.
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Under the CRRA, which amended Title VI, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)
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context of a school district, mean all of the operations of a school district. 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000d - 4a(2)(B); 20 U.S.C. § 1687(2)(B);
29 U.S.C. § 794(b)(2)(B).
While this guidance explicitly addresses only race discrimination, much of the analytical framework laid out in this document also applies to discrimination on other prohibited grounds. Title IV also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and religion by public elementary and secondary schools. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by recipients of Federal financial assistance in their education programs or activities. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681
Section 504 prohibits disability discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance, and Title II of the