Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents
Jan 22nd, 2015 by

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) released joint guidance reminding states, school districts and schools of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential.  The guidance, fact sheets, and other resources (including translated versions of the guidance and fact sheets) are available at


Schools’ Civil Rights Obligations to English Learner Students and Limited English Proficient Parents

The obligation not to discriminate based on race, color, or national origin requires public schools to take affirmative steps to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) students, now more commonly known as known as English Learner (EL) students or English Language Learners (ELLs), can meaningfully participate in educational programs and services, and to communicate information to LEP parents in a language they can understand.

The following materials include information for students and parents, OCR guidance and resources for education officials about their obligations to EL students and LEP parents, and added resources with related information.

For Students and Parents

For Education Officials

OCR Policies

Self-Evaluation Materials

Enforcement Activities

Related Resources

U.S. Department of Education Resources

U.S. Department of Education Funded Resources and Partnerships

Other Resources


ACLU sues 7 New Jersey districts alleging student enrollment ID requirements discriminate against immigrants
Jun 5th, 2014 by

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has filed lawsuits against seven New Jersey school districts, alleging that the districts are discriminating against families on the basis of their immigration status. Continue reading…

New York district settles Title IX suit, agrees to build softball facility
Jun 5th, 2014 by

The Batavia City School District has settled a Title IX suit brought on behalf of softball players alleging that the district provided girls with substandard playing fields. Continue reading…

Cyberbullying Law Challenged in Court
Jun 5th, 2014 by

New York’s high court on Thursday will consider one of the first legal challenges to state and local laws that make it a crime for people to bully others online, especially children.

The 2010 Albany County law, one of more than a dozen around the country that criminalize cyberbullying, pits free-speech advocates against a community that has given prosecutors a larger role in affairs that typically had been handled by schools.

The court’s ruling could set the tone for other state high courts hearing challenges to such laws, as well as for states and localities considering criminal penalties for cyberbullying, legal experts said. Besides Albany, four other New York counties and more than a dozen states, including Louisiana and North Carolina, have similar laws.

A wave of states passed cyberbullying laws after the 2006 death of 13-year-old Megan Meier in Dardenne Prairie, Mo. She committed suicide after a neighbor pretending to be a teenage boy on Myspace sent her cruel messages.


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Supreme Court declines to review I ♥ boobies bracelet decision
Mar 20th, 2014 by


Supreme Court declines to review I ♥ boobies bracelet decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Easton Area School District’s (EASD) petition asking the Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s en banc decision in B.H. v. EASD, according to an Express-Times report in the Pocono Record. The Court’s rejection leaves in place the Third Circuit’s 2013 decision striking down a ban on students wearing I ♥ boobies bracelets. The precedent set by the Third Circuit that the bracelets represent a form of protected free speech applies to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit against EASD on behalf of Easton Area Middle School students, who wore the bracelets in October 2010 despite a school-wide ban and were suspended from school.

Noting that very few cases reach the Supreme Court level, John Freund, the attorney representing EASD, said he was disappointed nonetheless. ”Local school authorities need the ability to enforce dress codes and maintain reasonable decorum of the manner of expression in an educational environment, while respecting the legitimate rights of students to express themselves,” Freund said.

In Freund’s opinion, the Third Circuit Court’s decision departed from previous Supreme Court precedent on the subject, which likely means a similar case will be heard sometime in the future. ”Indications are that the Supreme Court will one day revisit that question,” Freund wrote. “Unfortunately, it will take more lawsuits, more attorneys’ fees and more chaos in the classroom before we get the answer.”

Mary Catherine Roper, an ACLU attorney who represented the students, applauded the Supreme Court’s decision. She said the Third Circuit Court’s decision opened the door to protecting student speech on political and social issues, even if the language used is sometimes considered lewd.

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