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As President Donald Trump’s Education Department dismantles Obama-era civil rights policies, the flood of complaints coming in will probably be ignored.

See Also: Trump’s Education Secretary Feels Burdened By Civil Rights Cases

More than 200 civil rights complaints from families who allege racial disparities in school discipline, landed on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ desk in fiscal year 2017, The Huffington Post reported.

Last year, the department’s Office for Civil Rights received 216 racial discrimination complaints. That figure is lower than 2016 (265 complaints) but higher than the 208 complaints received in fiscal year 2015.

As this steady flow of complaints comes in, DeVos’ department has said that it will ignore many of them because it feels overwhelmed by the volume that the Obama Education Department investigated.

In March, DeVos approved new rules that permit civil rights investigators in her department to disregard cases, as she explores ways to dismantle Obama-era guidance to school districts on eliminating disparities in how students are disciplined, according to the New York Times.

The Education Department has been careful not to say that it is “ignoring” cases. Instead, the department is using language about passing on cases in the name of efficiency.
In May, the NAACP was one of three civil groups to sue the department on this issue. The federal lawsuit accused DeVos’ department of taking an “arbitrary and capricious” approach to civil rights under its new procedures.
“Effectively, they’ve reserved the right to dismiss cases just because they’re hard. The objective is not docket maintenance. The objective is doing justice,” NAACP General Counsel Brad Berry said, according to the Washington Post.

Black students account for about 40 percent of students who are suspended, even though they make up just 16 percent of all public school students, according to a Government Accountability Office report published in March. African-American students are also more likely to get arrested or punished more harshly than their White counterparts for the same behavior.

During the Obama era, the Education Department invested a record number of civil rights cases in fiscal year 2015. It opened more than 3,000 investigations into complaints based on race, national origin, gender, or disability, according to the department’s report titled Delivering Justice. Officials resolved more than 1,000 of the cases.


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