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What Can DOJ Do?

The Educational Opportunities Section works to protect students from discrimination in the enrollment and registration process, to safeguard their and their parents’ rights to receive adequate language assistance services, and to ensure that schools respond effectively to national-origin based harassment and bullying. After receiving a complaint alleging national origin discrimination, the Section may open an investigation into a school district’s policies and practices. The Section may work toward identifying and resolving any issues through settlement agreements or litigation.

The Section enforces the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, which requires public school districts to take affirmative steps to overcome language barriers that prevent students from participating in the district’s programs. 20 U.S.C. § 1703(f). This includes, among other things, providing parents with language assistance so they can participate meaningfully in their children’s education, and implementing effective language assistance programs for students learning the English language. For over four decades, the Section has investigated and secured agreements with districts and states across the country to address these issues.

The Section also enforces Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which authorizes the Attorney General to address equal protection violations on certain bases, including race, color, religion, or national origin, in public schools. 42 U.S.C. § 2000c. Finally, the Section can enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under certain circumstances. 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. Title VI prohibits federally funded programs, like most public schools, from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

If you would like to file a report about possible discriminatory harassment, please visit the Civil Rights Division Portal.

Updated February 22, 2024