Office for Civil Rights Guidance on Harassment
This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. All federal agencies that provided grants of assistance are required to enforce the Title VI regulation. Under Title VI racial harassment is considered discrimination. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Under Title IX include sexual harassment is considered discrimination. The resources provided offer links to OCR guidance documents addressing disability, racial and sexual harassment in the school setting.
OCR Guidance Resources
This investigative guidance, under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, has been provided to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Regional Directors on the procedures and analysis that OCR staff will follow when investigating issues of racial incidents and harassment against students at educational institutions. The investigative guidance incorporates and applies existing legal standards and clarifies OCR's investigative approach in cases involving racial incidents and harassment.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment of students can be a form of discrimination prohibited by Title IX. The Office for Civil Rights has long recognized that sexual harassment of students engaged in by school employees, other students or third parties is covered by Title IX. OCR's policy and practice is consistent with the Congress' goal in enacting Title IX — the elimination of sex-based discrimination in federally assisted education programs. It is also consistent with United States Supreme Court precedent and well-established legal principles that have developed under Title IX, as well as under the related anti-discrimination provisions of Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
An OCR pamphlet providing school administrators, teachers, students and parents with fundamental information to assist them in recognizing and dealing with sexual harassment under Title IX. It can be shared with school board members, administrators, teachers, parents and older students.
This July 25, 2000, OCR letter to schools addresses the issue of disability harassment under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Though not an exhaustive legal analysis, the letter was intended to provide a useful overview of the existing legal and educational principles related to this issue.
Source: Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
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