Annual Report to Congress FY 2005
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Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act Rulemaking
The Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, part of the No Child Left Behind Act, addresses equal access for the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups listed in Title 36 of the U.S. Code. The act applies to any public elementary school, public secondary school, or state or local education agency that has a designated open forum or limited public forum and that receives funds from the U.S. Department of Education. On Oct. 19, 2004, ED published a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in the Federal Register, inviting public comment on proposed regulations. Among other things, the proposed regulations required that OCR collect assurances of compliance with the law from applicants for funds made available through ED that are covered by the Boy Scouts Act.
More than 3,000 parties submitted comments on the proposed regulations. During FY 2005, OCR analyzed the comments and began the process of drafting final regulations. OCR also worked with other offices within ED and with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop a revised assurance of compliance form. On Feb. 14, 2006, OMB approved OCR’s revised assurance of compliance form, the Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate, which now lists the Boy Scouts Act as well as other laws enforced by OCR.
On March 24, 2006, ED published the final regulations in the Federal Register. The regulations will be codified at 34 C.F.R. Part 108. In July 2006, ED mailed out a “Dear Colleague” letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe to more than 17,000 state and local education agencies. The letter provided background information on the Boy Scouts Act and the need for assurances of compliance, enclosed a blank OCR Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate form, and contained instructions on how to complete the form and return it to OCR. OCR began collecting signed Assurance of Compliance—Civil Rights Certificate forms shortly after the issuance of the assistant secretary’s letter.