13:27, April 24 96 0 abajournal.com

2018-04-24 13:27:09
Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights begins dismissing hundreds of complaints

Citing a new protocol, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has begun dismissing hundreds of complaints.

The protocol, aimed at clearing up a jammed pipeline, allows dismissal of serial filings or complaints considered too burdensome because of multiple targets, the New York Times reports. The changes also drop an appeals process for the office’s decisions and bars complaints based on media reports.

The department cites statistics to illustrate the problem. In fiscal year 2016, three people filed 41 percent of 16,720 complaints. In fiscal 2017, 23 percent of the cases came from three people.

Critics of the new policy say the protocol gives too much discretion to the office. If there is evidence of a legal violation, the Education Department is required to open a case, they say.

One of the serial filers is Marcie Lipsitt, a disability advocate who has filed more than 2,400 complaints over websites that are inaccessible to people who are deaf or blind or whose motor skills are impaired. More than 500 cases stemming from her complaints have been dismissed.