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July 14

Biden pick: She’ll rebuild the Office for Civil Rights

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Early Promise to Rebuild the Office for Civil Rights

Summary: The Office for Civil Rights will be rebuilt in the coming years to ensure that every student has access to an education and civil rights. The new head of OCR, Catherine Lhamon promises to reinstate Obama-era guidance about discipline rates among students as well as protect transgender kids from discrimination. She is a fierce advocate for civil rights. Lhamon also said they need guardrails in place for those online learners with special needs so the education system can better accommodate them while giving these individuals access to all educational opportunities available under law due rights violations by schools or public agencies across the country.

Catherine Lhamon, who was nominated to head the federal education department’s Office for Civil Rights, outlined her plans Tuesday before lawmakers that she would work to protect transgender students and reinstate Obama-era guidance about student discipline. She also promised to monitor the recovery of students with disabilities as well as those from minority groups after following the wake of the pandemic.

Here are some examples of major civil rights issues that senators raised and how Lhamon stated she would address them.

Transgender students have the right to rights

Lhamon is a fierce advocate for the rights of all students. She has been on board with protecting transgender girls from discrimination and making sure they are able to compete in sports as their identified gender since she was Obama’s assistant secretary for civil rights during his administration.

When addressing questions about whether or not these girls should be allowed to play competitively, Lhamon quickly pointed out that one such case had already been resolved when she served her position under the former president but also added there were many other instances where it would be appropriate.

Students with disabilities.

Lhamon told reporters that she has received a large number of complaints from students, who have been discriminated against based on their disabilities.

In addition to this, Lhamon stated “I intend to pursue unlawful seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities” as it is an issue she wants the office’s Civil Rights Division will be tackling head-first. 

Lamron also said they need civil right guardrails in place for those online learners with special needs so the education system can better accommodate them while giving these individuals access to all educational opportunities available under law due rights violations by schools or public agencies across the country.

Discipline for students.

A key piece of Lhamon’s legacy from her time leading the office under Obama is to reduce suspensions and expulsions for students of color. She made clear on Tuesday that she wants that guidance back in place, addressing any future changes or expansions by drafting a new set if needed.

Integration of schools

The Biden administration has shown their willingness to make school desegregation a part of the federal education agenda. This is most evident through a $100 million proposal that would fund work in districts who want to make their schools more economically or racially diverse and new guidelines for preventing district actions which have made segregation worse not better.

Lhamon answered questions about what role the Federal Government should play in integrating public schools, stating it was necessary “to address systemic inequities.” She stressed an important point: there are many ways other than court-ordered integration measures that effectively put students together based on economic status or race.


Tags

catherine lhamon, civil rights issues in educaiton, ocr, office for civil rights, office of civil rights, rebuild office civil rights


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