AGENCY TITLE VI AGREEMENTS, SETTLEMENTS AND FINDINGS

AGENCY TITLE VI AGREEMENTS, SETTLEMENTS AND FINDINGS

Department of Education Reaches Agreement with Michigan School District:

On April 21, 2015, OCR resolved a complaint against Pickney Community School District alleging that minority students were being harassed by other students based on their race and/or national origin and that District staff and administrators were made aware of the harassment but failed to take appropriate action to stop the conduct.  OCR found that the District was aware of but failed to appropriately address an ongoing hostile climate at the high school based on race and national origin. 

 

Click through to read the Resolution letter and the Resolution agreement in this case.

Department of Education Addresses Lack of Language Services in Ohio School District During a Teacher Strike:

On May 27, 2015, OCR resolved a class complaint against the Reynoldsburg City School District alleging that the District discriminated against English Language Learners (EL students) on the basis of national origin by failing to provide alternative language services during a teachers strike at the District from September 19 to October 9, 2014.  Prior to the completion of OCR’s investigation, the District indicated its willingness to address any loss of EL intervention services to the approximately 486 EL students.  The settlement agreement requires the District to offer remedial services consistent with the students’ EL intervention plans to each affected EL student.  The agreement also requires the District to revise its work stoppage procedures to prevent service disruption for EL students in the event of a future teacher strike or other work stoppage, and following OCR approval, to publicize the revised procedures. 

 

Click through to read the Resolution letter and the Resolution agreement in this case.

Department of Education Secretary Duncan and Assistant Secretary Lhamon Highlight Exceptional Efforts to Remedy Discrimination by Colorado Recipient: 

In a June 2015 blog post, entitled Colorado District Delivers Civil Rights Change, Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon recognized the leadership of Colorado’s Adams County School District 14 Superintendent Patrick Sánchez.  In response to concerns that the district’s practices resulted in a hostile environment, Superintendant Sánchez has led efforts to improve school climate.

Seal of the Department of Health and Human Services

HHS Resolves Complaints of National Origin Discrimination Against Arizona State Agencies Responsible for Distributing Federal Benefits:

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has entered into a voluntary resolution agreement with two Arizona State agencies: the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), which are responsible for administration of Medicaid, CHIP, and TANF.  The agreement resolves national origin discrimination issues under Title VI resulting from the way AHCCCS and DES implemented an Arizona law requiring State employees to report persons discovered to be unlawfully present in the United States to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  This agreement specifically addresses circumstances where immigrants seek public benefits for themselves, on behalf of an eligible child, or on behalf of other eligible persons living in a mixed U.S. citizen/immigrant family or household.  AHCCCS and DES have agreed to do the following: adopt and implement OCR-approved policies and procedures providing nondiscriminatory access to public benefits; utilize public benefits applications that reduce obstacles to those seeking public benefits; provide outreach on available public benefits; and conduct staff training.  The agreement and press bulletin is on the OCR website at go.usa.gov/3629C.

 

HUD Reaches Agreement to Address Race Discrimination in a Section 8 Housing Voucher Program in Ohio:

On May 13, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity announced that it had entered into a voluntary compliance agreement (VCA) with the Medina (Ohio) Housing Authority to address allegations of racial discrimination in the housing authority’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.  The Medina Housing Authority had a residency preference point system that effectively imposed a residency requirement, thus putting African-Americans who did not live or work in Medina County at a disadvantage.  Under the agreement, the housing authority will create a $35,000 relocation assistance fund, with payments of $500 per household, to support persons moving into Medina County with a Housing Choice voucher.  The housing authority will also eliminate its residency preference, purge its waiting list, and provide voucher assistance on a first-come, first-served basis.  In addition, the housing authority will market its voucher program to minorities who do not live or work in the county and develop a plan to increase access to its services by persons whose ability to read or write English is limited. 

A press release and the agreement are found at http://go.usa.gov/362XT.

HUD Resolves Complaint Alleging National Origin Discrimination Against the Hazleton Housing Authority:

In a complaint alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and Title VI, the Hazleton (PA) Housing Authority agreed to resolve a complaint that the Housing Authority violated the rights of Latino families when it required them to supply their own interpreters in order to communicate with housing authority staff.  Under the terms of the agreement announced on May 12, the housing authority will provide the Community Justice Project with a monetary settlement of $14,000 that will be distributed among the residents who filed complaints, and $4,000 for attorney’s fees.  The housing authority will provide language services for complainants and others with limited English proficiency, including interpretation and translation for persons who visit, write, or call the housing authority about housing or HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.

A press release and the agreement are found at go.usa.gov/3625e.

Seal of the Department of Justice

DOJ and Mohave County Arizona Courts (MCSC) Work to Ensure Equal Access for Non-English Speakers: 

On May 11, DOJ announced a resolution of its review of the Language Access Program of the Mohave County, Arizona Superior Court.  The resolution follows MCSC successfully completing its obligations under an agreement to provide language assistance services to all limited English proficient (LEP) court users.  MCSC made significant improvements to services for LEP court users including:  providing all LEP parties, witnesses, and victims with interpreters, free of charge; obtaining and utilizing equipment to provide video remote interpretation; and training staff on the improved language access plans, policies, and procedures. 

Press Release at go.usa.gov/362NV.

Resolution Letter at go.usa.gov/362NH.

Justice Department Reaches Settlement in Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Maricopa County, Arizona, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office:  On July 17, the Civil Rights Division announced it has reached a partial settlement in its civil rights lawsuit against Maricopa County, Arizona, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio.  The settlement resolves the United States’ claims that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) conducted unlawful detentions of Hispanics during worksite raids of local businesses in violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments and Title VI, and retaliated against critics of Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO in violation of the First Amendment.  The parties filed a joint motion requesting that the federal district court in Arizona approve and agree to enforce the settlement agreement.  The motion is still pending.  The parties also reached a separate settlement, which was effective on signing, resolving the United States’ claim that MCSO failed to provide adequate language access for limited English proficient Hispanics in MCSO jails in violation of Title VI.

Press release and links to the settlement agreement and other background information at go.usa.gov/362nC.

UPDATE: Parties in Historic Title VI Language Access Case, Lau v. Nichols, Reach Agreement in Modified Consent Decree: On June 24, 2015, the parties in the historic case of Lau v. Nichols, first decided in 1974, jointly filed a motion and supporting memo seeking court approval of a Modified Consent Decree (MCD) to resolve the United States’ and private plaintiff’s consistent concerns about the San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) compliance with a 2008 court order and Master Plan governing SFUSD’s services and practices for English Learner (EL) students.  The MCD, approved by the court on June 29, 2015, requires SFUSD to, among other things: promptly identify, assess, and place EL students in effective EL programs; offer a range of EL programs and services to meet the needs of all EL students, including new students, students with disabilities, and long-term EL students; expand translation and interpretation services for limited English proficient families; adequately train employees who serve EL students so that they can fulfill their roles; and conduct robust monitoring. The MCD also protects the educational rights of the district’s at-risk and vulnerable EL students who are learning in alternative education or juvenile justice settings.  If SFUSD implements the MCD fully and in good faith, the MCD and this historic case are expected to end in the fall of 2018. 

Translated copies of the MCD are available in Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Arabic.

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