Education Dept takes steps to dismiss hundreds of civil rights complaints: report

Education Dept takes steps to dismiss hundreds of civil rights complaints: report
© Greg Nash

The Education Department has started dismissing hundreds of civil rights complaints that investigators deem onerous or unnecessary. 

The New York Times reported that the Education Department's Civil Rights Office has begun dismissing the cases under a new provision implemented as part of a plan to revise the agency's manual for handling civil rights complaints.

The revisions are intended to help the department better manage its docket, Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, told the Times.

ADVERTISEMENT

The provision allows the Office of Civil Rights to throw out cases that signal "a pattern of complaints previously filed with O.C.R. by an individual or a group against multiple recipients," or that place "an unreasonable burden on O.C.R.’s resources."

So far, more than 500 disability rights complaints have been dismissed under the provision, the Times reported. 

Many of the Education Department's civil rights complaints are filed by the same people. Of the 16,720 complaints filed in 2016, 41 percent came from the same three people.

In 2017, 23 percent of the 12,837 cases filed came from the same three, the Times reported. 

The new manual also does away with an appeals process that lets filers challenge decisions by the Office of Civil Rights, and prohibits complaints from being filed based on news media reports and journal articles.