Dear Colleague Letter on Civil Rights Enforcement in Juvenile Justice Residential Facilities, U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice
This letter from the Department of Education and Department of Justice emphasizes that federal civil rights laws apply in juvenile justice facilities to the same extent that they apply elsewhere. This includes, among others, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibiting discrimination based on sex, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, prohibiting discrimination based on disability, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion in educational institutions, and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or sex by educational agencies. The letter notes that students in juvenile justice facilities must have the same opportunities to meet academic content and student achievement standards as students in public schools. In addition, juvenile justice facilities must also provide transition services and work with both the student’s previous school and with the school the student will attend after release to ensure complete, accurate, and immediate transfer of student records.
In addition to ensuring that the quality of correctional education is equal to that of public education, those involved in developing and administering juvenile justice education must work to provide education in an inclusive and nondiscriminatory manner. This includes taking affirmative steps to allow English learner students meaningful participation in educational programming, as well as providing appropriate communication support for people with vision, hearing, or speech disabilities. In addition, those involved in implementing education in correctional facilities must take steps to investigate and address any potential instances of harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. Finally, the letter stresses the importance of nondiscriminatory disciplinary policies.