Office for Civil Rights Closes Complaint Against School District

The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued its determination closing a complaint filed against a school district involving allegations related to student discipline. The complainant alleged that the District inappropriately issued a five-day out-of-school suspension and referred the student for a superintendent’s hearing because of the student’s race. The complainant claimed that the student’s suspension was “excessive” when compared to discipline given to white students who engaged in more serious misconduct. Marnie Smith represented the school district, presenting evidence of the school district’s legitimate and non-discriminatory reason for issuing the suspension, as well as evidence to demonstrate that the proffered reason was not a pretext for discrimination. OCR determined that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation that the District discriminated against the student on the basis of his race.