The U.S. Department of Education is making it easier to find out when a school is under investigation for violating the civil rights of students with disabilities.
For the first time, the federal agency is posting information on its website about all pending claims against schools and colleges being investigated by its Office for Civil Rights.
The searchable listing includes cases alleging discrimination based on disability in addition to race and national origin, sex, age and equal access.
Previously, the Department of Education only posted a list of cases related to sexual harassment and sexual violence, according to Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the agency. The only way to find out about an open disability discrimination investigation was to inquire.
“We’ve expanded the list to include all OCR open investigations in an effort to increase transparency and access to information,” Hill said.
Currently, the Education Department reports that it’s investigating or working to resolve 4,709 cases of alleged disability discrimination related to everything from accessibility and discipline to service animals, restraint and seclusion and accessing a free appropriate public education.
Each case is listed with the name of the academic institution, location, type of alleged discrimination and the date an investigation was opened.
Federal officials emphasize that a pending case does not indicate that a school is at fault, but merely that the Office for Civil Rights determined the complaint had sufficient merit to investigate further.
The listing of pending cases, which first became available in late January, is updated on the first Wednesday of each month.