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Civil Rights

Civil Rights

The tabs on the left side of this page will take you to the various programs and laws that are intended to assure parents, students, school personnel, and others that education programs in schools receiving federal funding meet the expectations set forth in legislation. These laws and regulations protect the rights of everyone involved in education without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, religion, marital status or disability. Click on the tab to obtain further information about each program.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal law that requires recipients of federal funding for education, with a few specific exceptions, to be in compliance with the minimum requirements of the title IX regulations. This webpage is designed to assist parents, students, school personnel and others with many resources that offer guidance and technical assistance regarding title IX. If you are unable to find the resource you are looking for, or need assistance, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Montana Office of Public Instruction at 406.444.3161 or

Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Links to Documents and Resources

Below are links to the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) resources that should provide guidance for the most common Title IX inquiries. These links will lead to the OCR "reading room" which has additional resources as well.

  • April 24, 2015: Dear Colleague Letter PDF (351K) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon to school districts, colleges, and universities reminding them of their obligation to designate a Title IX coordinator. The Dear Colleague Letter is accompanied by a letter to Title IX coordinators that provides them with more information about their role and a Title IX resource guide that includes an overview of Title IX’s requirements with respect to several key issues. The Dear Colleague Letter PDF (351K), the letter to Title IX coordinators PDF (298K) and the Title IX Resource Guide PDF (501K) are available at
  • Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extracurricular Activities PDF (544K) (December 1, 2014). These questions and answers clarify the legal requirements under the Department’s Title IX regulations governing single-sex elementary and secondary classes and extracurricular activities.
  • May 8, 2014: (Press Release) "Dear Colleague" letter PDF (172K) (May 8, 2014) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon, Deputy General Counsel Philip H. Rosenfelt, U.S. Department of Education, and Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice, regarding schools' enrollment procedures and the obligation to enroll all residents of school age regardless of their race, color, national origin, immigration, or citizenship status.
  • "Dear Colleague" letter PDF (172K)
  • April 29, 2014: (Press Release) Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence PDF (867K). These questions and answers further clarify the legal requirements under Title IX articulated in the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague letter on Sexual Violence and the January 19, 2001 Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance PDF (181K) and provide recommendations for addressing allegations of sexual violence.
  • Questions and Answers PDF (867K)
  • Know Your Rights about Title IX and Sexual Violence PDF (551K)
  • January 8, 2014: (Press Release) “Dear Colleague” letter PDF (587K) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon, U.S. Department of Education, and Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels, U.S. Department of Justice, concerning the nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline. The letter provides information describing how schools can meet their obligations under federal law to administer student discipline without discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin. The letter is part of the Departments’ school discipline guidance package that will assist states, districts and schools in developing practices and strategies to enhance school climate, and ensure those policies and practices comply with federal law. For more information on the Departments’ school discipline guidance package please use link at
  • “Dear Colleague” letter and Pamphlet: Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (June 25, 2013) from Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter. This pamphlet clarifies the specific requirements of Title IX applicable to pregnant and parenting students. The pamphlet contains a FAQ section that explains the Title IX requirements and provides examples to ensure that schools understand their obligations and pregnant and parenting students understand their rights under Title IX. T he pamphlet also provides information on strategies that educators may use and programs schools can develop to address the educational needs of students who become pregnant or have children. It also provides examples of promising practices designed to support pregnant and parenting students that schools may choose to implement.
    “Dear Colleague” letter PDF (297K)
    Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 PDF (251K)
    Know Your Rights PDF (412K)
  • Non-Discrimination in Employment Practices in Education. (Code No. 12) This pamphlet summarizes the employment requirements under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Notice of Non-Discrimination. (2010). This pamphlet describes the requirements for education agencies to issue notice of their commitment to operate programs in a manner free from discrimination, clarifies the information that recipients should include in non-discrimination notices, and provides a sample notice statement.
  • “Dear Colleague” letter (October 26, 2010) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russlynn Ali, concerning recipients’ obligations to protect students from student-on-student harassment on the basis of sex; race, color and national origin; and disability. The letter clarifies the relationship between bullying and discriminatory harassment, provides examples of harassment, and illustrates how a school should respond in each case.
  • Title IX Responsibilities: "Dear Colleague" letter (April 26, 2004) reminding chief state school officers and state and local education agencies that the Title IX regulations require recipients to designate a Title IX coordinator, adopt and disseminate a nondiscrimination policy, and put grievance procedures in place to address complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities.
  • Sexual Harassment: It's Not Academic. (Code No. 16). (Revised 2008). This pamphlet addresses issues of sexual harassment of students by school employees, other students, and non-employee third parties. It is intended for use by school administrators and other employees in understanding a school's obligations under Title IX, and by students and their parents in understanding student rights in this area. The pamphlet answers questions about sexual harassment, including how to recognize, respond to, and prevent sexual harassment. It also provides information about how to file a complaint with OCR.
  • Title IX and Sex Discrimination (Code No. 6). This pamphlet summarizes the requirements pertaining to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.
  • “Dear colleague” letter (April 4, 2011) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Russlynn Ali. The letter provides guidance and examples about Title IX requirements and how they relate to sexual harassment and sexual violence, discusses proactive efforts schools can take to prevent sexual violence and educate employees and students, and provides examples of the types of remedies schools and OCR may use to respond to sexual violence.
  • "Dear Colleague" letter (September 17, 2008) from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Stephanie Monroe providing recipients with information about how OCR determines which athletic activities can be counted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.
  • Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties (January, 2001).
  • Regulations for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. These regulations concern non-discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities receiving or benefiting from Federal financial assistance. These regulations were published by the Department of Education and codified at 34 CFR Part 106, as amended, 65 Fed. Reg. 68050 (Nov. 13, 2000).
  • How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. (Rev. March 2007). This brochure outlines the process for submitting complaints to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.
    Introduction Investigation Procedures Manual 6 I. INTRODUCTION ...
    - Text Version

Title VI

Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Links to Documents and Resources related to serving English Language Learners

Montana’s English Language Learners: Guidance for School Districts:
This manual is designed to provide guidance to school districts, teachers, and families of English Language Learning (ELL) students and to provide suggestions for serving these students in Montana schools.

Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Natalee Rowe, Bilingual Specialist, 406-444-3482
Yvonne Field, Assessment Specialist, 406-444-0748

504 Plan

The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act which specifies the no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling.

Carl Perkins/On-Site Reviews

The Authorized Representative of a Montana school district that receives any funds from the U.S. Dept. of Education signs a Common Assurances contract with the Office of Public Instruction. With the signing of this contract, the district agrees to protect the civil rights of all persons who use the school facilities.

Civil rights compliance is the responsibility of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (U.S. Dept. of Education) and the state career and technical education agencies. The OPI’s Division of Career, Technical and Adult Education (CTAE), as the agent for Montana secondary career and technical education, is responsible for conducting the reviews of Montana public schools. There are four on-site reviews of school districts conducted per year.

CTAE has created a target plan for completing civil rights compliance reviews. All Montana school districts that receive money from any U.S. Dept. of Education program and offer secondary career and technical education courses are included in the target plan. The target plan incorporates several factors including, but not limited to, career and technical student enrollment (grades 9-12), number of career and technical education programs offered, date of last civil rights review, and issues and/or complaints that have been brought to the attention of the office.

Questions? Contact TJ Eyer 406.444.7915