U.S. Department Of Education Releases Fact Sheet Protecting Students From Discrimination Based On Shared Ancestry Or Ethnic Characteristics

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Jan 30, 2023

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released a fact sheet titled “Protecting Students from Discrimination Based on Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics.” OCR enforces Title VI, which prohibits discrimination in any school or education program that receives funding from the federal government. The fact sheet describes ways Title VI protects students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, or of another religious group.

The OCR recognizes that some students may face discrimination based on their physical appearance, skin color, foreign accent, foreign names, and other ethnic characteristics. Additionally, because Title VI does not protect students from discrimination based only on religion, such as a school’s denial of a student’s request to miss class for a religious holiday, OCR refers complaints of discrimination based exclusively on religion to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has jurisdiction on this issue. Ultimately, if a student makes a complaint that they were discriminated against because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics, and the school does not take effective action to address the reports, the school may be in violation of Title VI.

Anyone who believes that a school has discriminated against a student based on race, color, national origin, shared ancestry, or ethnic characteristics has the right to file a complaint against the educational institution. Complaints of discrimination must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination to the U.S. Department of Education’s OCR.

Parde had argued that Los Angeles County, which had contracted with Parde’s employer to handle payroll, was complicit in withholding the dues without proper authorization.  The County generally deducts union dues from employees’ paychecks automatically, so long as the County has a signed authorization.

LCW argued that Los Angeles County was never aware of, and could not have been aware of, any alleged forgery because Parde had never notified the County of any dispute as to the veracity of the signature.  Because Parde could not show that Los Angeles County knew or should have known of this alleged malfeasance, the court dismissed her case.

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