Student Civil Rights
Discrimination may occur at any level of educational programming ranging from elementary school through graduate school. Discrimination may be based on race, gender, national origin, disability, age or sexual orientation. For example, students may require accommodations for a learning disability or may be the subject of harassment based on their minority status or gender.
Section 504 - Disability discrimination
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination based on their disabilities. This law applies to all organizations that receive financial assistance from any federal department or agency. Because all public schools receive some form of federal funding, Section 504 applies to schools.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, it extended the reach of Section 504 protections to apply to all public and private entities that provide services to the public, essentially providing protection for individuals with disabilities against discrimination in almost all situations.
title vi - Race Discrimination
Title VI prohibits discrimination and harassment of students in educational institutions based on their race, color, or national origin. The discrimination or harassment must be so serious that it limits or denies a student's ability to participate in the educational program, the school must be aware of it, and the school must fail to take prompt and reasonable steps to eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and correct the effects.
Generally, schools have notice of discrimination or harassment if a school employee knows or should have known about the discrimination or harassment. However, notice may be imputed to a school if the pervasiveness of the harassment is widespread, well-known among students, and openly practiced.
title IX - sex discrimination
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex at educational institutions that receive federal funds. It also prohibits discrimination at private colleges and universities that receive federal loan money through their financial assistance programs.
Title IX is probably best known for its prohibition of sex discrimination in school athletics. Title IX, however, has been extended to cover a wide variety of sex-based offenses on school district and college campuses across the country. This is a rapidly developing area of the law with very high stakes for clients who are often still in the process of completing their educations.