Office for Civil Rights
Annual Report to Congress FY 2005

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Compliance Reviews and Other Proactive Initiatives

In addition to resolving complaints, OCR initiates compliance reviews and takes other proactive steps to focus on specific compliance problems that are particularly acute or national in scope or that may not have been raised by complaints.   It has been OCR’s experience that targeted compliance reviews and proactive initiatives increase the impact of OCR’s resources, complement the complaint resolution process, and can benefit larger numbers of students than sole reliance on complaint resolutions, which may involve only one student per case.

The review your office conducted was quite helpful in ensuring that our district is in compliance and that we are consistent in disseminating information about Title IX to students, families, staff and administrators in our schools and in the broader community.

Comment from school official to OCR, 2005

OCR initiated 73 compliance reviews in FY 2005 and successfully resolved 66, some of which had been started in previous years.   Compliance review sites are selected based on various sources of information, including information provided by parents, education groups, media, community organizations, members of the public and in certain circumstances, by statistical data to the extent it is supported by other sources of information.

In FY 2005, 39 of the 73 compliance reviews initiated by OCR focused on the responsibilities of elementary and secondary school districts and postsecondary institutions to ensure they meet Title IX procedural requirements, such as designating a Title IX coordinator, adopting and disseminating a nondiscrimination policy, and putting in place grievance procedures to address complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex.

OCR initiated 11 compliance reviews in FY 2005 focused on eliminating barriers for postsecondary students who have physical disabilities, including such issues as accessibility of residence halls, classrooms, academic buildings, and parking facilities.   Continuing a nationwide initiative under Title VI, Section 504 and Title II to address the misidentification of minority students in special education, OCR initiated 10 compliance reviews in FY 2005 examining whether minority students were being denied important educational benefits because of inappropriate inclusion in or exclusion from special education. 

Special education programs also are essential to ensure that students with disabilities, including those who also have limited English proficiency (LEP), receive an appropriate education.  In FY 2005, OCR conducted seven compliance reviews in school districts around the country to determine whether LEP students were being inappropriately included in or excluded from special education because of their limited English proficiency and to ensure that such students are provided the services they need so they can participate meaningfully in the districts’ educational programs.

Some of the 66 compliance reviews OCR resolved in FY 2005 included:  24 involving Title IX procedural requirements; 19 involving special education misidentification of minority students; and 12 involving physical accessibility of postsecondary education facilities.

Figure 3 shows the number of reviews initiated and resolved by compliance issue.

OCR Compliance Reviews by Issue
Compliance Issue
High Stakes Testing
Limited English Proficient Students and Special Education/Services for Students with Limited English Proficiency
Magnet Schools Assistance Program
Minorities and Special Education
Procedural Requirements (Title IX)
Sexual Harassment
Student Benefit/Treatment
* Includes compliance reviews carried over from previous years.
Figure 3

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Last Modified: 11/01/2007