*PPRA stands for The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232h
Checklist for a Comprehensive Approach to Addressing Harassment - Is your School District breaking the Law? Birdville ISD is! Please see link to the left on How to File a Complaint
- Board members, district administrators, and the superintendent recognize the urgency of the problem of unlawful harassment and hate crime, identify people and agencies that can help them develop effective prevention and response strategies, and compile a library of useful materials
- School officials select personnel to work on creating an effective anti-harassment program in consultation with parents, students, and community groups
- Compliance coordinators are appointed and trained
- School personnel assess the school climate to determine the prevalence and types of harassment that may exist and the potential for hate-motivated violence
- School district adopts a written anti-harassment policy or reviews and revises existing policies for accuracy, clarity and legal compliance; the policy is clearly communicated to all members of the school community; and school personnel and students are held accountable for their actions
- School district develops a formal grievance procedure and takes steps to make sure it is working properly
- Instructional personnel use or supplement the district's curriculum and pedagogical strategies to foster respect and appreciation for diversity
- School sites institute, improve, or expand age appropriate student activities to prevent or reduce prejudice and conflict
- School district and individual school sites institute specific measures to respond immediately and effectively when harassment occurs to stop the harassment and prevent recurrence
- School officials flexibly apply response mechanisms to both the victim and the perpetrator, taking into account the parties' ages and the context of the behavior
- School personnel continually monitor the school climate and promptly address problems that could lead to harassment or violence or that indicate that harassment could be occurring
- Appropriate school officials become familiar with pertinent civil and criminal laws at the state, local, and federal levels, so that they are able to recognize possible civil rights violations, hate crimes and other criminal acts
- Schools develop guidelines and procedures for collaboration with law enforcement officials, make appropriate referrals to outside agencies, and designate liaison personnel
- Crisis intervention plans are in place to minimize the possibility of violence or disruption of the educational process
- District-level personnel and individual school sites form continuing partnerships with parents and the community to prevent hate crimes and harassing behaviors
- Staff training and professional development programs support the district's anti-harassment efforts
- All harassment incidents are carefully documented and incidents are reported to outside authorities as required
- District regularly assesses the effectiveness of its anti-harassment efforts
Source: Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime, A Guide for Schools, January 1999
The Office for Civil Rights enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Discrimination on the basis 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 age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. These civil rights laws enforced by OCR extend to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive U.S. Department of Education funds. Areas covered 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. OCR also has responsibilities under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting disability discrimination by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance). In addition, as of January 8, 2002, OCR enforces the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act (Section 9525 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001). Under the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, no public elementary school or State or local education agency that provides an opportunity for one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after school hours shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code as a patriotic society.
A complaint of discrimination can be filed by anyone who believes that an education institution that receives Federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination, but may complain on behalf of another person or group.
Most of OCR's activities are conducted by its 12 enforcement offices throughout the country. These enforcement offices are organized into 4 divisions carrying out OCR's core work -- preventing, identifying, ending, and remedying discrimination against America's students. Two Enforcement Directors in the office of the Assistant Secretary oversee the work of, respectively, the Eastern and Southern and the Midwestern and Western divisions. OCR administrative offices in Washington, D.C., provide additional administrative support, coordination, policy development and overall leadership.