Civil Rights Case Investigation Process Changed

BALTIMORE, MD– Recently, in response to a June 2018 lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Education by the NAACP, the National Federation of the Blind and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates; the Department of Education reissued its Office of Civil Rights Case Processing Manual to remove provisions that severely curtailed students’ and parents’ ability to have discrimination complaints against educational institutions investigated by the Office of Civil Rights.

In so doing, the Department appears to have concluded that that the version of the Case Processing Manual published in March 2018 did not adhere to the mission and goals of the Office for Civil Rights as set forth by Congress.

“We’re pleased that the Department has finally recognized that its actions in implementing these substantive restrictions on enforcement of the civil rights of students were improper, illegal, and unwise. The right to an equal education is fundamental to the principles of this country and denying students the right to enforce their civil rights denies them the foundation they need to succeed and contribute to their communities. For over 80 years, the NAACP has fought for equity and justice for all school children in our country. The central tenet of the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education is to ensure the civil rights of students and parents are respected and that civil rights protections are enforced,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

“While we are pleased with this initial action, we are still concerned about the 692 complaints submitted by at least 5 people which were dismissed under Section 108(t) in the Manual released in March. Those persons have a right to have their complaints investigated.

Because section 108(t) was invalid from its inception, our case insists that the Department open these complaints and fully investigate them and obtain the relief required under federal law. We will continue working with our counsel to ensure that down the line, the Department won’t once again reverse itself and reinstitute 108(t) or something similar into its practices,” added President Johnson.

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