School Discrimination

We represent, students, teachers, administrators, and other school employees involved in discrimination suits in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

Over the last fifty years, many laws have been put in place to eliminate discrimination and ensure that marginalized groups of students and teachers are treated equally at school. Under federal law, any public school institution receiving federal aid, loans, grants, or property are subjected to a federal agreement, barring them from discriminating against a person based on sex, race, color, national origin, or disability. These laws include:

  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1871
  • Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

How might a public institution receiving federal aid violate these laws in real life? See the follow examples below:

  • A teacher fails to accommodate a student who has a urinary problem by refusing to provide the student extra bathroom breaks.
  • A student from Haiti migrates to America and is enrolled in a public school in New York. During his first semester, the student is called several names that are offensive and derogatory and is told to go back to his home town, yet the teacher does nothing about it. The mistreatment persists and the school board is notified but the school board doesn’t take any corrective measures or offer any assistance to the student.
  • A very qualified black, female school administrator applies for the vice principal position at her school several times but the position keeps getting offered to white, male employees who are less qualified.

In recent years, school discrimination laws have expanded to protect students and teachers from bullying and harassment. Two types of bullying and harassment that are widely recognized and protected under the law are:

  1. Peer-on-peer harassment
  2. Teacher-on-peer harassment

Public officials who know about harassment or bullying in the classroom and are indifferent towards it, or who fail to take corrective measures to prevent future misconduct, may be liable for subjecting their students or their teachers to discrimination.

Public Schools or Institutions may also be liable for failing to provide special education services to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), for example, offers states federal funds to assist in educating students with disabilities. Public schools who receive these funds pledge to comply with a number of statutory conditions, including offering an individual education plan that is reasonably calculated to helping the individual child progress through school in light of his or her disability.

One characteristic that is noticeably not mentioned in any of the federal laws listed above is age-based discrimination. Under New York Education § 3027, however, age discrimination is illegal and a school board may be liable if they discharge an employee, disqualify a candidate, or fail to promote an employee because it considers the person to be “too old.”

  • Have you been a victim of age discrimination?
  • Do you think you or your child has been a victim of discrimination at school?
  • Has your school official participated in, or failed to take measures to stop, discrimination at school?

The lawyers at The Harman Firm, LLP have extensive experience representing teachers and marginalized groups of students with a variety of discrimination claims. Contact the hard-working team of legal professionals for supportive counseling and aggressive representation in school discrimination claims. We represent students, teachers, administrators, and other school employees in discrimination suits in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

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