Education discrimination

Civil Rights

Fighting discrimination in education

Every New Yorker has the right to learn without discrimination.  

The Office of the New York State Attorney General promotes equal justice under the law and enforces all New Yorkers’ civil rights, including the right to go to school without experiencing discrimination.  

We investigate claims of education-related discrimination under state, federal, and local laws where there is a “pattern or practice” (including an official or unofficial policy) of discrimination against students.

We define discrimination as being treated differently because of:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • disability
  • national origin
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity or expression
  • military status
  • sex
  • age
  • marital status
  • status as a victim of domestic violence

We combat systemic discrimination, which is discrimination that has become part of our educational system and affects a significant number of students. We have recently investigated and resolved claims of school districts’  practice of disciplining students differently because of their race, as well as districts’ failures to fully address  bullying and harassment based on sex and race.  

Here are some examples of our recent actions: 

Attorney General James Reaches Agreement to Address Discrimination, Bullying, and Harassment in Mamaroneck Schools (2023)

Attorney General James Fights to Protect Transgender Students’ Rights (2022)

Attorney General James Fights to Protect Transgender Students’ Rights (2021)

Attorney General James Fights Discrimination Against Transgender Students in Schools

Attorney General James Launches Investigation into Babylon School District Over Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Misconduct

Attorney General James Sues Niagara Wheatfield Central School District for Failing to Protect Students from Sexual Assault

We have also issued joint guidance with the New York State Education Department:

Guidance to school resource officers regarding U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 

To report repeated, illegal education discrimination, you can: 

File a complaint about illegal education discrimination

Call: 212-416-8250 to have a form mailed to you. Then mail us the completed form or fax it to 212-416-6030


Visit: New York State’s Division of Human Rights website

Visit: New York City’s Human Rights website