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Educational Opportunities : Civil Rights Division
Educational Opportunities Section

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.

Educational Opportunities Section News
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released joint guidance reminding states, school districts and schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced a Correctional Education Guidance Package aimed at helping states and local agencies strengthen the quality of education services provided to America's estimated 60,000 young people in confinement every day.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the DeKalb County, Georgia, school district to resolve the department's inquiry into the district's ability to prevent and effectively respond to peer-on-peer harassment based on national origin and religion.

More News and Speeches

Featured Initiatives
Departments of Justice and Education Issue Guidance to Ensure Equal Opportunities for English Learner Students
The Departments of Education and Justice issued a joint guidance reminding states, school districts and schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.

Guidance (English) (Spanish) Additional information

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.

Guidance (Spanish)

General Information Educational Opportunities Section
 
Leadership
Anurima Bhargava
Chief
Contact
How to file a complaint.
Educational
Opportunities Section
(202) 514-4092
1-877-292-3804 (toll-free)
(202) 514-8337 (Fax)
Email: education@usdoj.gov
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