Students talking around a cafeteria table

The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service (CRS) has a long history of working with schools across the nation in a variety of ways to help support their efforts to:

  • Strengthen problem-solving and mediation skills
  • Establish programs to eliminate racial and ethnic misconceptions and resolve conflicts
  • Expand cultural awareness of diverse communities
  • Ensure inclusive and diverse leadership and representation of administrators, faculty, and students
  • Expand training for school resource officers and campus police
  • Develop strategies to prevent conflict and improve intergroup relations among students, faculty, staff, parents, and community groups
  • Resolve student racial conflicts
  • Effectively address hate or bias-motivated crimes and incidents in public schools and on college campuses
  • Develop multi-cultural student centers
  • Effectively address school disturbances, such as protests and demonstrations
  • Strengthen educational opportunities and ensure fair discipline
  • Effectively address school climate issues, including: student/teacher, student/administrator, and student/student-related conflicts, tensions, and bullying

The Community Relations Service is a conflict resolution agency. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only federal agency dedicated to helping state and local governments, private and public organizations, and community groups prevent and resolve racial and ethnic tensions, civil disorder based on race, color, or national origin, and to address and prevent hate crimes. CRS supports the U.S. Department of Justice in some of its most important missions-providing assistance to state and local authorities in their efforts to prevent violence, resolve destructive conflicts, and promote public safety and ensuring that the rights of individuals are protected. CRS works with police chiefs, mayors, school administrators, other local and state authorities, community-based organizations, and civil and human rights groups to resolve disputes, disagreements, and difficulties relating to discriminatory practices and to prevent and address hate crimes.

CRS' highly skilled conflict resolution specialists-called conciliators-have helped resolve thousands of cases involving excessive use of force incidents, hate crimes, demonstrations, changing community demographics, and many other emotionally charged issues in which disagreement and conflict arise on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS conciliators do not take sides in a dispute, and they do not investigate, prosecute, impose solutions, assign blame, or assess fault. They are required by law to conduct their activities in confidence and without publicity and are prohibited from disclosing confidential information about cases in which they have provided services. Since CRS' activities are federally funded, conciliators are able to offer services without cost. Conciliators deploy to communities nationwide from 14 regional offices. They serve all 50 States and the U.S. Territories.

Case Highlights

Updated December 10, 2014