Education Dept to limit scope of civil rights investigations at schools

Education Dept to limit scope of civil rights investigations at schools
© Greg Nash

The Education Department is considering changing how civil rights investigations are conducted at schools.

Currently, investigations into discrimination complaints in schools look beyond the specific incident of discrimination and probe for any possible "systemic" or institutional issues that lead to civil rights issues in the first place. The education department could change that so future probes focus instead on the main complaint at hand.

The proposed change, which was revealed in a document obtained by The Associated Press, removes the word “systemic” from guidelines on how to probe civil rights violations.


Discrimination advocates told the AP that the change could allow for the continuation of the same widespread behaviors that lead to investigations in the first place. 

The policy change was included in a draft of new policy proposals, and a final version of the policies will be published next year, The AP reported.

Another proposed change would allow the department to negotiate agreements with schools or school districts without releasing the findings of an investigation to the students and parents involved in discrimination complaints.

Education experts told the AP that change would also leave parents out of the process and give them less of an opportunity to advocate for their children.

These policy changes come as the Education Department streamlines policies amid an administration-wide push to roll back regulations that are considered unnecessary.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Biden administration reversing Trump ban on pandemic aid for undocumented students Biden taps ex-consumer bureau chief to oversee student loans MORE has come under fire for rolling back several Obama-era policies since her confirmation.

The department rescinded Obama rules on campus sexual assault and guidelines on the rights of students with disabilities earlier this year.