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.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama has approved a consent order filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Huntsville City Schools to reconfigure school attendance zones, improve access to quality course offerings and address racial discrimination in student discipline, among other areas.
Friday, February 13, 2015
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama approved a consent order yesterday afternoon filed by the Justice Department, together with private plaintiffs and the Calhoun County, Alabama, School District.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the Robertson County, Tennessee, school district to resolve the department's determination that the district had yet to fulfill its desegregation obligations in the areas of student assignment and school construction.
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.