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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 12, 2015

U.S. Attorney Announces Formation Of Educational Opportunities Civil Rights Working Group


Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced the formation of the Educational Opportunities Civil Rights Working Group to address civil rights violations by public and private educational institutions, afterschool programs, summer camps and day care centers.

U.S. Attorney Daly stated that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut regularly receives complaints from concerned parents and caregivers alleging that their children were discriminated against by schools, afterschool programs and summer camps because of the child’s disability, gender, gender identity, or limited ability to speak English.  In addition, the Office has received an increasing number of complaints about bullying, sexual harassment and school segregation in public and private schools.  Over the last several months, the Office has settled cases against schools, afterschool programs and day care centers for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.  These settlements have resulted in monetary settlements to parents, comprehensive training for providers, and sweeping policy changes to entire educational programs and systems.

Most recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement with Quinnipiac University to resolve allegations that the university violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by placing a student who had been diagnosed with depression on a mandatory medical leave of absence without first considering options for the student’s continued enrollment.

Recognizing a greater need to address and help prevent civil rights violations in educational and camp settings, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has partnered with federal and state agencies and advocacy groups to form the Educational Opportunities Civil Rights Working Group.

Participating in the Working Group are representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, Connecticut Department of Education, Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, African American Affairs Commission, Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Connecticut Center for Children’s Advocacy, Connecticut Afterschool Network, Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association and the Connecticut Summer Camp Network.

The Working Group is developing and implementing a strategic action plan to address civil rights violations through educational outreach programs as well as law enforcement actions.

“Civil rights violations in educational and camp settings undermine the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens – our children,” stated U.S. Attorney Daly.  “Through aggressive outreach and enforcement initiatives, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our working group partners strive to eliminate these violations to improve the health and welfare of all children and young adults.”

To contact the Educational Opportunities Civil Rights Working Group, please call 203-821-3836.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONTACT:

U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722
thomas.carson@usdoj.gov

Updated March 18, 2015