Sixty years ago, in its landmark decision in Brown v. Board of
Education, the Supreme Court held that the intentional segregation of
students on the basis of race in public schools violates the Fourteenth
Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Subsequent federal legislation and
court decisions also mandate that school officials not discriminate against
students on the basis of sex, national origin, language barrier, religion,
or disabilities. The Educational Opportunities Section enforces these statutes
and court decisions in a diverse array of cases involving elementary and
secondary schools and institutions of higher education.
Specifically, the Educational Opportunities Section is responsible for enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in public schools and institutions of higher learning; the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 which, among other things, requires states and school districts to provide English Language Learner (ELL) students with appropriate services to overcome language barriers; and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Section also plays a significant role in enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin by recipients of federal funds), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex by recipients of federal funds), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds). The Section may intervene in private suits alleging violations of education-related anti-discrimination statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Section also represents the Department of Education in lawsuits.
Friday, June 19, 2015
The Justice Department, jointly with the state of Mississippi and city of Meridian, Mississippi, has reached settlement agreements to prevent and address unconstitutional youth arrests and probation practices by the Meridian Police Department and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services, and submitted them to the court for approval.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
The United States District Court of the Western District of Louisiana approved a court-ordered agreement with the Lincoln Parish School Board to desegregate classrooms at four elementary schools serving students in grades K-5 in Ruston, Louisiana.
Friday, May 22, 2015
The United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana approved a comprehensive consent order filed by the Justice Department, the Avoyelles Parish School Board, and private plaintiffs in United States v. Avoyelles Parish School Board.
The Departments of Justice and Education issued an updated set of guidance documents to all public school districts reminding them of their obligation under federal law to provide equal educational opportunities to all children residing in their districts, and to offer assistance to ensure they are complying with the law.
The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued Questions and Answers regarding the Supreme Court's June 24, 2013 decision in Fisher v. Texas.
The Departments of Justice and Education release joint civil rights guidance to schools on how to meet their obligations under federal civil rights law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.