The Department of Education has laid out plans to loosen requirements on investigations into civil rights complaints, according to an internal memo sent to staff on June 8 and obtained by ProPublica.
Under the Obama administration, the department’s office for civil rights applied an expansive approach to investigations. Individual complaints related to complex issues such as school discipline, sexual violence and harassment, equal access to educational resources, or racism at a single school might have prompted broader probes to determine whether the allegations were part of a pattern of discrimination or harassment.
The new memo, sent by Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights, to regional directors at the department’s civil rights office, trims this approach. Jackson was appointed deputy assistant secretary for the office in April and will remain as the acting head of the office until the Senate confirms a full-time assistant secretary. Trump has not publicly nominated anyone for the role yet.
The office will apply the broader approach “only” if the original allegations raise systemic concerns or the investigative team argues for it, Jackson wrote in the memo.