Civil-rights reviews focus on several school districts, state

Along with investigating Seattle Public Schools’ record on student discipline, the U.S. Department of Education has four other civil-rights reviews under way in Washington schools.

Seattle is the focus of two of the probes — the investigation into whether black students are disciplined more frequently and more harshly than white students, which came to light two weeks ago, plus a second review that focuses on students learning English.

Federal officials also say they are looking at programs for English-language learners in the Lake Washington School District and at anti-harassment policies and practices in the Yakima School District, plus what appears to be a statewide review related to gender issues in athletics.

All five reviews were initiated by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, as part of a four-year-old push by the Obama administration to more aggressively enforce civil-rights laws covering public schools.


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