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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

Education discrimination: protection for all students

Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in education based on a person’s race, color, sex, religion or national origin. It prohibits this discrimination not only in public elementary schools, secondary schools, public institutions of higher learning, but also in trade schools, technical schools or business schools. This law and state laws in Pennsylvania afford an individual the right to an education free from illegal discrimination.  Lets take a look at how these laws operate and how they help to guarantee protection from education discrimination.

The actors in education discrimination

The individual actions of a teacher, administrator or any other school employee may be discriminatory. Also, a school’s policies or the way that it applies its policies may also be discriminatory in nature. The victim could be an individual or it could be a whole group that is affected by the school’s policies and conduct. The law protects against all of these and in order to bring suit for education discrimination you must be the victim of discriminatory acts.

Who does the law protect?

The law protects people from discrimination based on their race, sex, color, religious creed, national origin, handicap, or disability. The law also provides recourse for those who have reported an instance of discrimination and have been retaliated against by the school.

Here are some examples of what discrimination in education can look like:

  1. If a teacher grades or disciplines a student differently because of their sex, religion, ancestry, national origin or a disability

  2. Students are denied opportunities for scholarships or extracurricular activities on a discriminatory basis

  3. A student cannot access a facility because of barriers or lack of ramps or elevators

  4. A school refuses to make reasonable accommodations for disabled students, for example a sign interpreter or an extended testing period

  5. A school denies the use of a guide or a support animal

  6. Classmates harass or bully a peer based on his or her race, national origin or disability

  7. A teacher requests sexual favors in return for grades or makes sexual comments to a student

  8. Qualified students are denied admission for discriminatory reasons


There are federal and state laws in Pennsylvania that prohibit discrimination in education. These laws apply to the conduct of teachers, school administrators or the policies of the school themselves. Discrimination from these actors is prohibited if it is based on a student’s race, sex, color, religious creed, national origin, handicap, or disability. If you are the victim of this type of discrimination the law provides recourse for you. In order to determine if you have recourse or to learn more about discrimination in education contact Kraemer, Manes and Associates for a full evaluation.[1]


[1] Education Discrimination, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (2014)

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