A complaint of discrimination can be filed by anyone who believes that a school that receives federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability or age. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination, and may complain on behalf of another person or group.
File a complaint with:
U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), or
contact OCR’s Customer Service Team at:
U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, or
contact the Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section at:
- Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations
You can access a description [PDF, 674KB] of the compendium, or you can access the tool itself online.
The Hidden Cost of Suspension: How can kids learn if they're not in school?
Explore three interactive maps illustrating out-of-school suspensions, by district. Zoom in and find your community!
Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline
How schools can administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin.
English [PDF, 587KB] | Enespañol [PDF, 644KB]
2014 Discipline FAQs Translated into Vietnamese, Khmer, and Lao
Three new versions of ED's Discipline Frequently Asked Questions—translated into Khmer, Lao and Vietnamese—provide an overview of:
a Dear Colleague Letter that explains how public elementary and secondary schools can meet their legal obligations to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin;
Guiding Principles that describe three key principles to guide efforts to improve school climate and school discipline; and
Various tools, including a Directory of Federal School Climate and Discipline Resources and an online Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations.
School Discipline Guidance Package FAQs
Paquete de Orientación Sobre la Disciplina Escolar, Preguntas y Respuestas
សំណួរដែលគេសួរជារឿយៗ (FAQs) សម្រាប់កញ្ចប់ឯកសារនៃសេចក្ដីណែនាំអំពីវិន័យសាលា
Những câu hỏi thường gặp về Tài Liệu Hướng dẫn Kỷ luật Nhà trường
OSEP Memorandum 07-09 to State Directors of Special Education, April 2007
Clarifies the requirements governing overidentification and disproportionality under section 612(a)(24) of IDEA and the requirements governing significant disproportionality under section 618(d) of IDEA.
[MS Word, 34KB | PDF, 104KB]
Equity in IDEA, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
The nation's special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) aims to ensure fairness in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities. Yet disparities persist. Students of color remain more likely to be identified as having a disability and face harsher discipline than their white classmates. The U.S. Department of Education took a critical step towards addressing these widespread disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities by proposing a new Equity in IDEA Rule. This NPRM has a comment period that ended in 75 days (05/16/2016).
View a Presentation on How to Comment on the NPRM:
Questions and Answers on Discipline Procedures, June 2009
Reviews discipline procedures required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including: hearings, interim alternative education settings, manifestation determinations, functional behavioral assessments, behavioral intervention plans.
[Word, 59KB | PDF, 43KB]
- Gun-Free Schools Act Non-regulatory Guidance, 2003 [Word, 52KB]
Reviews the requirements of the Gun Free Schools Act, including that each state receiving federal funds under the ESEA must:
have in effect a state law requiring LEAs to expel from school for a period of not less than one year a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to school, or to have possessed a firearm at school;
have in effect a state law allowing an LEA's chief administering officer to modify the expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis, if such modificationis in writing; and
report to the Secretary on an annual basis concerning information submitted by LEAs to the SEA.