NAACP files federal suit against Betsy DeVos and Department of Education

 

Betsy DeVos, the clueless Education Secretary who can’t answer basic questions about civil rights, has dismissed hundreds of civil rights complaints, and now, the NAACP has filed a federal lawsuit.

The Root reports that the NAACP, along with the National Federation of the Blind and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, filed a joint suit against DeVos and the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.

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“Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education have determined that civil rights no longer matter. They’ve decided to abandon DOE’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) responsibility to investigate racial, gender or disability discrimination complaints,” said NAACP Spokesperson Malik Russell to The Root.

According to the Washington Post, the Education Department under Secretary Betsy DeVos began dismissing complaints that placed “an unreasonable burden” on the department. And it dispensed with cases filed by the same person or group against multiple institutions—a tactic commonly used to show a pattern of violations.

The three civil rights groups allege that by doing so, the Education Department may be dismissing complaints even if students or their families provide ample proof of discrimination—which is unlawful. Representatives believe this effort closes a critical avenue for students—particularly those with disabilities—to defend their right to an education in classrooms and on college campuses.

“In March 2018, DOE’s Office of Civil Rights revised its Case Processing Manual thereby altering the rights of complainants to have their discrimination allegations reviewed or appeal decisions made by OCR. These changes, made without the legally required notice and comment, prevented the NAACP and other organizations from voicing our opinions about how the proposed rule changes would affect students of color, students with disabilities and low-income students, and thereby violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act,” an NAACP press release reads.

NAACP General Counsel, Bradford M. Berry, added: “By summarily changing policies to allow for the dismissal of civil rights complaints and the ability of organizations to appeal their rulings, DeVos is basically saying protecting civil rights and the rights of those with disabilities no longer matter at the Department of Education.”

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DeVos has been known to have a lack of concern for the civil liberties of students of color. The controversial political appointment has been called out concerning the discrepancies in how students of color are punished for misconduct versus the much more lenient way their white counterparts are often reprimanded for the exact same offenses.

“It’s important for people to realize how the racism and rhetoric emanating from the White House is seeping its way into law and policy, and this arbitrary change is just one more example of where Trump is taking the nation,” Russell said