Thirteen educational institutions in Kansas are under monitoring by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights according to records obtained by The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The school districts and universities are being monitored to ensure compliance with Title VI’s prohibition of discrimination based on race or national origin, according to the education department. Title VI is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
OCR may open an investigation after receiving a complaint. Institutions can enter into a resolution agreement to address a range of concerns including segregation, equitable access to educational opportunities, racial harassment or discriminatory discipline practices. OCR also has jurisdiction to investigate complaints based on sex, disability and age, according to the office’s case processing manual. When an agreement can’t be negotiated, OCR can refer the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for judicial proceedings.
Though cases are considered resolved when an agreement has been signed, OCR may continue to monitor schools. Depending on the nature of the agreement, the office can review reports and other documentation, conduct interviews and make site visits.
“OCR will conclude the monitoring of a case when it determines that the recipient has fully and effectively implemented the terms of the resolution agreement, including any subsequent approved modifications to the agreement,” the manual reads.
USD 501 spokeswoman Misty Kruger said a parent filed a complaint in April 2012. The district entered into a resolution agreement requiring training in October 2012. USD 501 also made changes to policies related to verbal requests from parents about evaluations for students with disabilities and how information regarding a student’s disability status is communicated during in-district transfers.
At the University of Kansas, a discrimination complaint was made in June 2010. The school entered a resolution agreement in December 2010. In February 2011, the university submitted an amended discrimination complaint resolution process to OCR and has been using that process since, spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said.
Kansas State University conducted training in 2014 after a complaint was lodged. While the education department still lists K-State as an institution under monitoring, university spokeswoman Cindy Hollingsworth said they haven’t had contact with OCR on the case since the training and wasn’t sure why the case shows as being monitored.
Missouri has 18 institutions under monitoring with three districts having two cases. Nebraska has three cases. 475 cases are being monitored nationwide.