US Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights Dismissing Civil Rights Complaints

By Hubert Plummer posted 04-23-2018 03:22 PM


On April 20, 2018, the New York Times reported on a new policy put in place by the U.S. Department of Education regarding civil rights complaints.[i]  The Office for Civil Rights is charged with enforcing the civil rights laws relating to educational institutions. The new policy allows the department to dismiss claims that are “serial filings” or “burdensome to the office”, without ruling on the merits.[ii]

As of the time of the article, more than 500 complaints have been summarily dismissed.

The department cannot pick and choose which complaints to investigate.  If they have evidence that a violation of the law has occurred they must open a file.[iii]  This new policy allows the department to dismiss complaints without even looking into the allegations.  This combined with the reduction in the number of attorneys and investigators employed by the office[iv] severely restricts the office’s capability and will result in more discrimination and less enforcement.



[iii] 34 CFR 100.7


The author[s] is solely responsible for this blog submission.  It does not represent the position of the New York State Bar Association or its Committee.