June 1, 2018

Education Department ditching civil rights cases

Common Dreams - Weeks after civil rights advocates began receiving notifications from the Department of Education that their cases regarding discrimination in schools were being dismissed, three national groups filed a lawsuit Thursday arguing that the department's new complaint guidelines are undermining its own obligation to investigate civil rights violations.

Claiming that civil rights complaints can place an "unreasonable burden" on its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as revised the department's procedures. The new guidelines allow officials to dismiss hundreds of complaints regarding unfair treatment of students of color, inadequate resources for students with disabilities, and other forms of systemic discrimination. The appeals process for resolutions has also being eliminated.

The NAACP, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates argue that the changes are unlawful and have asked a judge to block the department from enforcing the new guidelines.

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