Department of Education Addresses Race/National Origin Discrimination in Huntington Beach, CA, Schools:

Resolved on January 16, 2015, this case involved allegations of peer harassment based on race/national origin and disability and whether the District failed to respond appropriately to notice of the harassment. OCR’s investigation yielded troubling information about student name-calling and harassing activity and the District failing to investigate some incidents or take corrective action  and failing to identify whether the bullying affected implementation of the student’s free appropriate public education services.


Prior to the conclusion of OCR’s investigation, the District entered into a voluntary agreement requiring it to develop and implement a plan to assess and monitor the climate at the school; provide investigative training to District and school administrators; to provide student instruction about harassment; and to communicate with parents the District’s prohibition of harassment. The agreement also obligates the District to assess the potential effects of bullying on the student’s learning and to ensure the student has sufficient supports to address disability-based challenges in socializing with peers.


Resolution letter:

Resolution agreement:



Department of Education Completes Compliance Review, Examining Discriminatory Harassment Against Students in Yakima, WA:

On February 3, 2015, OCR resolved a compliance review of the Yakima School District, Washington, with a comprehensive resolution agreement. OCR examined whether the District has taken appropriate action to address harassment of students on the bases of sex, race, color, national origin, and disability. After identifying relatively high rates of bullying in the District, OCR found that the District had violated Title VI and other federal civil rights laws by failing to provide nondiscrimination notices or procedures for prompt and equitable resolution of student or employee complaints, failing to provide what steps the District must take to address the harassment, and for failing to maintain sufficient records to allow OCR to determine whether a hostile environment exists for students based on sex, race, color, national origin and/or disability.


Under the agreement, the District agreed to take the following actions: promptly investigate all incidents of harassment based on sex, race, color, national origin, and disability of which it has notice; take appropriate action to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects where appropriate; hire or assign an equity consultant to assist with the District’s implementation of the agreement; create a non-discrimination and anti-harassment statement that complies with Title IX, Title VI, Section 504 and Title II; provide effective notice of the statement to students, parents, employees and third parties; establish grievance procedures compliant with Title IX, Title VI, Section 504 and Title II; provide effective notice of the procedures to students, parents, employees and third parties; designate compliance coordinators and provide effective notice of the coordinators to students, parents, employees and third parties; conduct annual school climate checks related to harassment incidents; create a task force to suggest strategies for dealing with harassment in schools; train staff and coordinators on obligations related to identifying, reporting, investigating, and taking appropriate action in response to harassment incidents; train students on recognizing and reporting harassment; create a system for investigating, record-keeping and tracking complaints and incidents of harassment; and create a system for monitoring the effectiveness of its response to harassment and conducting a self-assessment.


Resolution letter:

Resolution agreement:


HHS Combats Discrimination in Patient Placement:

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) entered into a Voluntary Resolution Agreement with Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility in Corunna, Michigan. The Agreement resolves Title VI compliance issues identified during OCR’s review of Shiawassee, a 136-bed skilled nursing facility that is Medicare and Medicaid certified. OCR initiated a review to examine a report that hospital nursing staff were assigned based on patients’ racial preferences. The Resolution Agreement with OCR calls for the appointment of a Title VI Coordinator who will be charged with overseeing Shiawassee’s overall compliance with Title VI and will have special responsibilities for the investigation and adjudication of any Title VI complaints filed internally with Shiawassee. In addition, Shiawassee will train its workforce on relevant aspects of Title VI. The Agreement will remain in effect for two years and requires Shiawassee to submit reports to OCR regarding compliance.


Read the HHS Bulletin

Read the Resolution Agreement

Seal of the Department of Justice

Hawai’i Courts Improve Language Access: On March 24, the Department of Justice announced the successful completion of its review of the Hawai’i Judiciary’s Language Access Program, which included providing the state court’s system with substantial technical assistance. As a result of DOJ’s efforts, the court system agreed to issue a clear policy stating that all limited English proficient individuals would be provided competent court interpretation free of charge; implement an awareness campaign to increase the public’s knowledge on how to access the court’s language services; create a language assistance complaint system; revise its court interpreter assignment system, training interpreters and providing mandatory training for judicial staff on the interpreter assignment process; and implement oversight measures to ensure that the language access program complies with Title VI. The Judiciary is committed to continuing this work and will seek ongoing assistance from the Department.


Closure letter:

 Press Release: