Equal Educational Opportunity
Complaints that allege that a public school discriminates on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, a school district’s programs or activities are under the jurisdiction and authority of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR and TEA enforce several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal funds. In addition, TEA implements a review process for school discrimination complaints (PDF) and informs individuals of the appropriate complaint resolution options.
U.S. Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights Guidance
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights provides guidance to districts through a series of letters.
October 26, 2010 Dear Colleague Letter – clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment, and reminds schools that by limiting their responses to a specific application of an anti-bullying or other disciplinary policy, they may fail to properly consider whether the student misconduct also results in discrimination in violation of students’ federal civil rights.
April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter - concerns obligations by school districts, colleges, and universities to protect students from sexual harassment and sexual violence. The Dear Colleague letter explains the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as they relate to student‐on‐student sexual harassment and violence. The letter also discusses the proactive efforts schools can take to prevent sexual violence and educate employees and students, and it provides examples of the types of remedies that schools and OCR may use to respond to such conduct.
May 6, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter - informs school districts and state education agencies about their obligations under federal law to provide equal educational opportunities to students residing within their school district. The letter includes an explanation of the types of information that districts may lawfully collect from students and families ( birth certificates to establish age of a child and telephone bills and lease documents to prove residency within a district), and the types of information that districts are prohibited from using as a basis to deny school enrollment to a child ( a foreign birth certificate or lack of a social security number).
May 26, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter - informs elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools that as the use of emerging technologies in the classroom increases, schools at all levels must ensure equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of the technology for all students, including students with disabilities. The dear colleague letter includes a "Frequently Asked Questions About the June 29, 2010, Dear Colleague Letter" developed by the USDE OCR.
December 2, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter - issues this guidance to explain how, consistent with existing law, elementary and secondary schools can voluntarily consider race to further compelling interests in achieving diversity and avoiding racial isolation.
Public School NonDiscrimination Policy
The following person has been designated to handle complaints and inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy in public schools:
Darrell McKnight, Correspondence Management
Phone: (512) 463-9290
FAX: (512) 475-3665
Individuals can also contact the Dallas Regional Office of OCR:
Texas OCR Enforcement Office
The Office for Civil Rights
Dallas Regional Office
1999 Bryan, Suite 2600
Dallas, Texas 75201
Telephone: (214) 661-9600
FAX: (214) 661-9587
TDD (877) 521-2172
US Department of Education - Office for Civil Rights
TEA Resources for Section 504
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. A frequently asked questions document about Section 504 is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.
TEA Employment and Employees
The Texas Education Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. For information about TEA's non-discrimination policy, contact:
Lynn Beasley, Manager
Office of Organization Development
For more information about TEA customer service standards, visit the agency's Compact with Texans page.
If you are a TEA employee or job applicant and you believe you have been discriminated against, you can file a formal complaint with the agency.
Human Resources Director
Texas Education Agency
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Telephone: (512) 463-8200