“Civil rights groups sued the Education Department (DOE) on Thursday over a new manual allowing officials to start dismissing hundreds of civil rights complaints.
The National Federation of the Blind, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and the NAACP filed the lawsuit against the department, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson.
They argue in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Maryland, that DeVos violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act and Jackson acting unlawfully by carrying out the new provisions.
The groups requested that a judge block the Education Department from enforcing the provisions.
The manual’s new provisions allow the department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to toss out complaints that show ‘a pattern of complaints previously filed with O.C.R. by an individual or a group against multiple recipients,’ or place ‘an unreasonable burden on O.C.R.’s resources.’
The groups allege in the lawsuit that the policy change was ‘arbitrary and capricious’ after the public was not given a chance to weigh in on the modification.
The manual also does not include a definition of a “pattern” of complaints, and no longer allows complainants to file appeals.”
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