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A Promise Unfulfilled? How Modern Federal Civil Rights Enforcement is Used to Address Racial Discrimination in School Discipline

Using newly available data on all civil rights complaints submitted to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights related to racial discrimination in discipline between 1999 and 2018, I provide the first systematic evidence on how modern federal civil rights enforcement is used to address racial discrimination in discipline. I find that less than 50 percent of complaints received each year result in a federal investigation. I also find that 70 to 80 percent of investigations are closed due to insufficient evidence of a civil rights violation. Results also suggest that districts with higher shares of minoritized students, higher levels of segregation, and districts with larger racial educational gaps are more likely to receive a civil rights complaint after controlling for other district factors.

Keywords
racial disparities; school discipline; civil rights; law/legal; policy analysis
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/d5hr-vx63

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Perera, Rachel M.. (). A Promise Unfulfilled? How Modern Federal Civil Rights Enforcement is Used to Address Racial Discrimination in School Discipline. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-413). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/d5hr-vx63

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