USA, July 25, 2016 (Ed.gov Press Release): As part of ongoing efforts to encourage respect for students of all faiths and beliefs, the U.S. Department of Education today shared a series of actions that confront discrimination and promote inclusive school environments. The steps include a new website on religious discrimination, an updated civil rights complaint form, an expanded survey of America's public schools on religious-based bullying, technical assistance for schools, and recent outreach on confronting religious harassment in education. "Students of all religions should feel safe, welcome and valued in our nation's schools," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon. "We will continue to work with schools and communities to stop discrimination and harassment so that all students have an equal opportunity to participate in school no matter who they are, where they come from or which faith, if any, they subscribe to."
"Today's announcement underscores that we are concerned about the well being of students. On the prevention side, President Obama's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, started in 2011, is another important resource," said the Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, director of the Department's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. "Our agency has had the privilege of coordinating the Challenge which provides college students from many religious traditions as well as nonbelievers to work together to tackle community problems. This higher education civic engagement allows students from religiously diverse backgrounds to build bridges of understanding across cultural and religious lines and helps prevent intolerance."
The Department's Office for Civil Rights launched a new page, Religious Discrimination, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/religion.html, on its website with information about federal laws that protect students from discrimination involving their religion. The page links to OCR policy guidance, notable case resolutions, and resources in multiple languages and from other federal agencies.
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