Amid Rising anti-Semitism, USDE DCL Reminds Schools of Obligations Under Title VI (May 30, 2023)

In the wake of rising antisemitism in schools, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) reminded districts in a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) issued May 25, 2023 that they must address harassment and discrimination based on race, color or national origin. The USDE’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may investigate complaints of anti-Semitic harassment or discrimination under Title VI if districts fail to do so, according to the letter. 

“Schools must take immediate and appropriate action to respond to harassment that creates a hostile environment,” said Catherine Lhamon, assistant secretary at the Office for Civil Rights, in the letter. “Title VI protects all students, including students who are or are perceived to be Jewish, from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.”

Lhamon defined a hostile environment in the letter as “harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.”

Click here to access the DCL.