What are Civil Rights?
Before you can protect your civil rights, you must recognize and know what they are. Civil rights are an expansive and significant set of rights that are designed to protect individuals from unfair treatment; they are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment (and to be free from unfair treatment or discrimination) in a number of settings -- including education, employment, housing, public accommodations, and more -- and based on certain legally-protected characteristics.
What are Civil Liberties?
While civil rights have revolved around the basic right to be free from unequal treatment based on certain protected characteristics (race, gender, disability, etc.), civil liberties are more broad-based rights and freedoms that are guaranteed at the federal level by the Constitution and other federal law such as fundamental rights including the right to vote, free speech, or the right to privacy.
DPSCD does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, religion, height, weight, citizenship, marital or family status, military status, ancestry, genetic information, or any other legally protected category in its programs and activities.
Key Civil Rights Laws and Reporting Requirements
Title VI Law of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
- Protects against discrimination based on age, race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or homelessness.
- Applies to students, parents, and employees.
- Prohibits discrimination in student class assignments or ability tracking and protects English Language Learner (ELL) students.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972:
- Prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive financial assistance.
- Prohibits discrimination or harassment related to gender, including sexual harassment.
- Refer to the District's Title IX manual for specifics regarding steps taken to investigate grievances.
- Refer all Title IX grievances to your building principal, Assistant Superintendent, or the EACR Office.
Age Discrimination Act of 1975:
- Prohibits discrimination based on age in programs or activities that receive financial assistance.
Title II (American with Disabilities Act):
- Prohibits discrimination against: access to programs and facilities; a free and appropriate education for elementary and secondary students; employment discrimination.
- Applies to special education services, evaluations, Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and student discipline.
- When an IEP exists for a student, it is the responsibility of all educators who work with that student to provide accommodations and/or modifications. This is a legal requirement.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973-Section 504:
- Requires that no qualified disabled person shall be discriminated against or be excluded from participation in an activity.
- Defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that limits a person’s major life activity (self-care, walking, seeing, learning, breathing, speaking, working). Reasonable accommodations/modifications must be made to provide access to programs and/or facilities.
Employees: A reasonable accommodation is one that would allow the person to perform the "essential functions" of their position with the accommodation.
Students: For benefits or services provided to be “equally effective,” they must afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity to obtains the same results, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement as other students.
- The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.
- Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
- When a 504 Accommodation Plan exists for a student, it is the responsibility of all educators who work with that student to provide the accommodations –this is a legal requirement.
- Recent case law indicates that educators who do not provide accommodations listed in 504 plans may be personally liable for failing to do so.
- No discrimination against a person with a disability will be permitted.
Federal Civil Rights Laws require schools to:
- Remedy discrimination and harassment.
- Regularly notify students, parents and employees that the district schools do not discriminate on the basis of sex or disability.
- Implement and disseminate prompt and equitable complaint procedures for handling allegations of discrimination and harassment.
- Designate an employee responsible for coordinating compliance with these federal civil rights laws.
HAVE A CONCERN? Inform us of a Civil Rights Matter