Skip to main content
Press Release

Justice Department Secures Settlement with San Bernardino City School District to Protect the Rights of English Learner Students

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today it has secured a settlement agreement with the San Bernardino City Unified School District to resolve the department’s investigation into the district’s educational program for English learners. The department investigation, conducted jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, concluded that the district was not providing English learners with the necessary services and supports to become fluent in English, or to meaningfully participate in core content classes like math, science or social studies. The district has agreed to improve its services so that English learners have access to the same crucial educational opportunities as their peers.

“Education is a fundamental part of achieving the American dream, but for many students learning English across the country, their school districts do not provide the services and support they need,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will fight to hold districts to their obligations under federal law to provide all their students, regardless of language ability, with a full and meaningful education.”

“Federal laws protect the rights of English learners to fully participate in the classroom,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California. “Today’s agreement is an important step in ensuring that students learning English receive the programming they need to progress towards fluency and to participate in school on an equal basis with their peers. This agreement will improve the services and support offered to English learners.”  

The department’s investigation identified failures to ensure that all teachers providing English language instruction were qualified. In addition, teachers of core subjects like math, science and social studies were often not trained and qualified to provide the supports that English learner students need to learn grade-level material, among other concerns. 

Under the settlement, the district will provide language instruction to English learners to help them develop fluency in English, and will ensure that its teachers are trained and certified to provide that instruction. The district will also provide training to teachers of core classes, such as math, science and social studies, on the use of tools that help English learners understand the content of those courses. And The district will also effectively monitor student progress and identify whether students need additional services or supports to guarantee that English learners have access to gifted and talented programs and advanced courses, including Advanced Placement classes. The department will monitor the district’s compliance with the settlement for three years.

The Spanish version of the press release is available here. The enforcement of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 is a top priority of the Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at, and additional information about the work of the Educational Opportunities Section is available at Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at

Updated December 16, 2022

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 22-1379