(2016, December 12) | Useful to Parent Centers in learning more about and working with others to prevent racial discrimination in schools.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education issued a 25-page Dear Colleague Letter on Preventing Racial Discrimination in Special Education on December 12, 2016, to help ensure that all students, regardless of race, color, or national origin, have equitable access to high-quality general and special education instruction.

The letter provides a brief legal summary of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and explains, through analysis and illustrative examples, the Title VI requirement that students of all races, colors, and national origins have:

  • equitable access to general education interventions and to a timely referral for an evaluation for disability and special education and/or related aids and services under the IDEA or Section 504; and
  • equitable treatment in the evaluation process, in the quality of special education services and supports they receive, and in the degree of restrictiveness of their educational environment.

The Department also issued a 2-page fact sheet called Preventing Racial Discrimination in Special Education.

Find both documents online at:

Dear Colleague Letter (PDF, 449KB):

Fact Sheet (PDF, 157KB):

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