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At the outset of 2014, the United States Departments of Education and Justice released guidance that could dramatically affect civil rights enforcement in school discipline cases. In a "Dear Colleague" letter dated January 8, 2014, the Departments clarified that, when investigating racial discrimination in school discipline under Titles IV and VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. they will analyze discrimination in terms of both different treatment and disparate impact. In other words, the Departments will not only investigate whether schools disciplined students differently on the basis of race, but will also investigate whether a facially neutral disciplinary policy has "a disproportionate and unjustified effect" on different racial groups, regardless of the policy's intent.



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