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The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that is primarily focused on protecting civil rights in Federally assisted education programs and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, age, or membership in patriotic youth organizations.


OCR is one of the largest federal civil rights agencies in the United States, with a staff of approximately 650 attorneys, investigators, and staff. The agency is located in twelve regional offices and in Washington, D.C., headquarters. The Office for Civil Rights is responsible for ensuring compliance by recipients of federal education funds with several federal civil rights laws, including:


The United States Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights is the head of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the United States Department of Education. The Assistant Secretary is also the primary civil rights advisor to the United States Secretary of Education.

Currently, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights is Russlynn Ali. Recent former Assistant Secretaries have included Gerald A. Reynolds, Norma V. Cantu, Michael L. Williams and Clarence Thomas.

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