About ED OFFICES


OCR: Office for Civil Rights
   Current Section
Ensuring Equal Access
To High-Quality
Education

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OCR Receives Discrimination Complaints from the General Public

One important way that OCR carries out its responsibilities is by resolving complaints filed by students, parents, and others. The person or organization filing a complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination but may complain on behalf of another person or group. Generally, OCR will take action only on complaints that have been filed within 180 calendar days after the last act of alleged discrimination, or on complaints that allege a continuing discriminatory policy or practice.

OCR receives more than 6,000 complaints each year. The complaints involve some of the most important issues affecting equal access to high-quality education.

Under Title VI — race, color, and national origin discrimination — complaints include such issues as:

  • use of racial or ethnic classifications, including ability grouping;
  • access to alternative-language services by English language lerners;
  • disciplinary practices;
  • student assignment policies, including assignment to gifted and talented programs;
  • interdistrict student transfers;
  • school desegregation;
  • racial harassment;
  • student housing on college campuses; and
  • academic grading.

Under Title IX — sex discrimination — complaints include such issues as:

  • sexual harassment;
  • equal opportunity in interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics;
  • treatment of students who are pregnant; and
  • admission to postsecondary institutions.

Under Section 504 and Title II — disability discrimination — complaints include such issues as:

  • accessibility of school facilities and programs;
  • appropriate special education services;
  • evaluation and placement of students who may need special education services;
  • teaching students in the least restrictive environment consistent with their educational needs;
  • suspension and expulsion of students with disabilities;
  • disability harassment;
  • academic adjustments and modifications; and
  • auxiliary aids for students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.

Under the Age Discrimination Act complaints include such issues as:

  • student treatment;
  • program requirements; and
  • admissions.

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Last Modified: 03/03/2011