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Civil rights investigation resolved

DALLAS -- A U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation into the Dallas School District regarding discrimination of a disabled student has been resolved.

December 05, 2012

DALLAS -- A U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation into the Dallas School District regarding discrimination of a disabled student has been resolved.

The district and OCR signed a resolution agreement dated Nov. 23that ends the investigation as long as the district offers training to its staff regarding consideration of student disabilities as it relates to extracurricular activities.

The agreement also requires the district to review and, if necessary, update how the district notifies parents of the district's responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Dallas Superintendent Christy Perry said she will meet with a representative from the Department of Education this week to outline training specifics.

The complaint was originally filed in July by the parents of a student who tried out for the cheerleading squad in May. It claimed the district didn't give proper consideration to the student's disability during tryouts by failing to apply the standards of Section 504.

The agreement requires the district to complete training and issue a report regarding the training by Sept. 30, 2013. It also requires a report by April 30, 2013, about parental notification of district responsibilities under Section 504 and how the information is delivered.

Perry said even though the district believes it was in compliance, agreeing to training will assure all coaches and after-school activities leaders understand what is required.

"Doing additional training is never a bad thing," Perry said. "It's a good chance to look at our procedures."

It also avoids a lengthy OCR investigation, Perry added.

Since OCR didn't complete its investigation, there was no determination made regarding whether the district had violated statutes, nor does the agreement require the district admit to being out of compliance.

"The district has agreed to take the actions set forth in the enclosed resolution agreement, which the OCR has determined will resolve the issue raised by the complaint when fully implemented," read a letter from Gary Jackson, the OCR's Seattle office director. "OCR will monitor the district's implementation of the agreement and will close the complaint when OCR determines the terms of the agreement have been satisfied."

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