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Within the U.S. Department of Education is the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), one of several federal agencies charged with enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws and regulations. Many school districts have experienced the anxiety of being the subject of an OCR investigation, and all must heed OCR’s regulatory authority or risk the consequences, which includes the possibility of losing federal funding.

OCR was highly active during the Obama administration, both in responding to citizens’ complaints about school districts and issuing guidance documents that affected school policies. But the Trump administration has sent signals that it intends to be less aggressive in investigating complaints and more conservative when interpreting what behaviors and policies are required by federal laws.

This article will discuss the agency’s purpose, its recent history and the outlook for schools during the remainder of the Trump administration.

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