Department of Education Office of Civil Rights

News & Analysis as of

U.S. Department of Education Issues New Guidance Interpreting Civil Rights Laws Protecting Students with Disabilities

Regulators have given school districts new guidance on how to remain compliant with federal laws concerning services to students with disabilities thanks to some year-end agency filings. U.S. Department of Education...more

Office for Civil Rights Issues Dear Colleague Letter: Restraint and Seclusion of Students With Disabilities

On December 28, 2016, the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), issued four guidance documents concerning students with disabilities. Along with two frequently asked questions documents concerning students...more

Title IX Enforcement and Interpretation: The Winds of Change are Blowing

Seyfarth Synopsis: Title IX enforcement issues continue to notably permeate the agenda of colleges and universities. The winds of change to Title IX enforcement may be blowing in 2017. This Management Alert will review the...more

Top Ten Education Developments, Breaches, and Settlements of 2016

This year has been a busy year for education law in the area of data privacy. Educational institutions continue to be a rich target for hackers. Additionally, there were some important developments in the interpretation of...more

OCR Complaints – Trends and Predictions

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued two reports highlighting its work during both fiscal year (FY) 2016 and President Obama’s entire eight-year term of office. The number of OCR...more

Website Accessiblity - An Introduction to the Problem and Best Practices for Education Agencies and Schools

Are you reading this article on a computer? I would venture to guess that you are. How did you access this page? Did you have to navigate through multiple web pages? While you were at it, were you surfing the internet,...more

Title IX Enforcement: Potential Changes for Schools and Universities

Schools and universities should be informed that Title IX enforcement in the area of campus sexual assault might be scaled back or even eliminated under the new Trump administration. This is particularly significant for...more

Supreme Court Will Review Fourth Circuit Decision in Transgender Student’s Rights Case

On October 28, 2016 the United States Supreme Court agreed to review the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. This case is about whether a Virginia School Board’s policy limiting students’...more

Gavin Grimm v. Glouchester County School Board—Is the Supreme Court Finally Weighing in on the Transgender Bathroom Debate?

On August 3, 2016, the United States Supreme Court granted a stay to a Virginia school Board pending Supreme Court review of the case. In an action reminiscence of the same sex marriage controversy, the Supreme Court's...more

Recent DOJ Settlement Agreement Offers Valuable Guidance Regarding Mandatory Medical Leaves of Absence

A recent settlement agreement entered into between the Educational Opportunities Section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, and the University of Tennessee provides some useful insight into what...more

Department of Education Issues Guidance Regarding Meeting the Needs of Students with ADHD

The Department of Education recently issued a Dear Colleague Letter explaining the obligations of school districts to students with ADHD under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The guidance notes that over the last five...more

United States Department of Education Issues Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

On July 26, 2016, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter and resource guide (“Guidance”) to LEAs, preschools and post-secondary education institutions...more

Safeguard Your Federal Funding – Transgender Students And Title IX Compliance

On May 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice published a guidance document for elementary and secondary schools that reaffirmed its 2015 opinion letter on how Title IX’s regulations apply...more

Legal Update: School Website Accessibility and Digital Communications Requirements

To ensure compliance under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title II), both of which are enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office for...more

Office of Civil Rights Releases “Dear Colleague” Letter on Transgender Students

On May 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) addressing a school’s Title IX obligations regarding transgender students, and explaining how the U.S....more

Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights Issue Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students

On Friday, May 13, 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice released joint guidance entitled Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students (“Guidance”). This guidance is provided pursuant to the Departments’...more

Legal Update: 5/13/16 OCR "Dear Colleague" Letter Regarding Title IX -Transgender Students

As a follow-up to prior updates regarding transgender students’ rights, on May 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding LEA’s Title IX obligations for...more

OCR Investigating Accessibility of State and Local Government Websites

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has reportedly opened as many as 350 recent nationwide complaint investigations into whether educational agencies’ websites are accessible to individuals with...more

Fourth Circuit Decides Case on Transgender Students’ Rights

On April 19, 2016, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision addressing transgender and gender nonconforming students. In G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board the Fourth Court was presented with the question of...more

Federal Court of Appeals Defers to OCR and Concludes Title IX Permits Transgender Students to Use Restrooms Based on Gender...

In a closely watched case, the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a lower court decision and, in a 2-1 split opinion, held that, based on guidance from the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within...more

U.S. Senator Questions Whether U.S. Department of Education Has Overstepped Title IX Authority

Last week, U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, sent a letter to John B. King, Jr., the Acting...more

Office for Civil Rights Names Diane Henson as New Director for Region 1

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has named Diane Henson to serve as the Regional Director for its Region I office, which covers the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New...more

OCR Finds That Title IX Requires Equal Locker Room Access for Transgender Students

The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently confirmed that transgender students are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX and found that a public school district violated Title IX...more

OCR Finds Title IX Violation for School District’s Prohibition of Transgender Student’s Use of Locker Room

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) recently concluded that a public school district in Illinois violated Title IX both by prohibiting a transgender high school student from using the locker...more

OCR Issues Title IX Coordinator Resource Guide

On April 24, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued new materials on Title IX. The materials include a Dear Colleague Letter to educational institutions, a letter to Title IX Coordinators and a...more

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