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Discrimination in Education - Federal Laws

Several federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Discrimination on the bases of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
  • Sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972;
  • Discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance); and
  • Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

These civil rights laws extend to all education programs and facilities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education, including:

  • State education agencies,
  • Elementary and secondary school systems,
  • Colleges and universities,
  • Vocational schools,
  • Proprietary schools,
  • State vocational rehabilitation agencies,
  • Libraries, and
  • Museums

Programs or activities that receive ED funds must provide aids, benefits, or services in a nondiscriminatory manner. Such aids, benefits, or services may include, but are not limited to:

  • Admissions,
  • Recruitment,
  • Financial aid,
  • Academic programs,
  • Student treatment and services,
  • Counseling and guidance,
  • Discipline,
  • Classroom assignment,
  • Grading,
  • Vocational education,
  • Recreation,
  • Physical education,
  • Athletics,
  • Housing, and
  • Employment.
Next Steps
Contact a qualified civil rights attorney
to help you protect your rights.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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