WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the face of increasing threats to student civil rights throughout the nation, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has joined with more than two dozen leading education and civil rights groups to launch the Education Civil Rights Alliance (ECR Alliance). The ECR Alliance will ensure the civil rights of marginalized students remain protected by providing resources to help parents, educators, school districts, and advocates protect students’ civil rights, supporting enforcement actions at the state and local level when schools districts and states fail to do so, working to raise public awareness of these challenges facing students, and serving as a deterrent to discriminatory and illegal behavior.
Schools should serve, educate, empower and be safe for all students, yet all across America today, far too many students face bullying and other barriers to education based on their race, religion, national origin, gender identity, disability, first language, or sexual orientation. Immigrant children continue to be illegally denied the right to enroll in school. Increasingly divisive and hateful rhetoric and growing anti-Muslim and White nationalist sentiment only serve to exacerbate the threats to already marginalized vulnerable students.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that all children have a right to a public education in our country, regardless of sexual orientation, religious affiliation, national origin, disability, or immigration status,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The ECR Alliance seeks to ensure that schoolhouse doors across our nation remain open to all students. Too often, school districts erect unlawful policies and restrictions that lockout students from communities. We are honored to join leading education and civil rights groups in helping those who want to follow the law and to hold accountable those officials at all levels of government who fail to uphold the law.”
“The undeniable increase in civil rights violations across the country, while disturbing, is not new and requires collective action,” said Brenda Shum, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The ECR Alliance is well-positioned to respond to the grievances of all students, especially those within marginalized communities. We urge school officials at the local, state and federal levels that they have a shared responsibility to ensure that their schools are welcoming and safe learning environments for all children.”
This alliance includes powerful community groups, experienced educators, the nation’s largest teachers unions, accomplished legal organizations, influential national associations, civil rights organizations, and government agencies committed to ensuring that schools serve, educate, empower and are safe for all students. Members of the ECR Alliance have extensive experience in, and a deep commitment to, protecting students’ civil rights.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 54th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.