We Listen.

Office for Civil Rights Guidance on Student Enrollment

By: Amanda Sundquist

The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) updated its previous “Dear Colleague” letter issued in 2011 regarding public schools’ obligations for student enrollment. Public schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status of a student (or his/her parent or guardian) in regard to a right to enroll in an elementary or secondary public school.

OCR offers guidance on what documents may be utilized by a school district to demonstrate residence by the student within the district, as well as, documents that may be used to show minimum and maximum age. OCR also reminds schools that while they may have obligations under federal or state law to report certain data such as race or social security numbers, a parent or guardian’s refusal to provide the information is not a reason to deny enrollment. OCR has also provided a Fact Sheet and Question and Answer sheet with additional information on this topic.

For assistance with reviewing your school’s policies on student enrollment or for help developing appropriate forms and procedures, please contact me in our West Chester office.

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