Law Office of Michelle Ball Disabilities,discrimination/bullying/harassment Appealing A Bad OCR Decision On Alleged School Discrimination

Appealing A Bad OCR Decision On Alleged School Discrimination


Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995

Have you filed a complaint alleging student discrimination or improper retaliation with the United States Department of Education (USDOE) and their Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and received a negative ruling?  Did OCR say the clear wrongful acts (to you) were not really bad or not really discriminatory to the student?  If so, the student may have an appeal right if fast actions are taken. 

OCR decision student
Students may be discriminated against by schools and complaints can be appealed if the outcome is unfavorable.

Quick OCR Appeal Timeline

Per the USDOE website, within 60 days of the date of the letter issued by OCR, an appeal must be filed with the “Director of the Enforcement Office (Office Director).”  

OCR Appeal Bases

The bases for an OCR discrimination appeal are: 


1)  Factual information was incomplete, and/or

2)  Factual analysis was not correct, and/or

3)  Wrong legal standard was applied  


a)  The outcome would be changed due to #1-3 above. 

OCR won’t take a student appeal of alleged school or college discrimination, unless it fits within these parameters.

OCR paperwork
Filing proper paperwork for an OCR appeal is important.

Does Student Have Good Cause for Late Filing?

The student’s appeal must be filed timely, and if it isn’t, the student must show a good reason the appeal was filed late, which is defined as:

1.  The complainant was unable to submit the appeal within the 60-day timeframe because of illness or other incapacitating circumstances and the appeal was filed within 30 days after the period of illness or incapacitation ended; or

2  Unique circumstances generated by agency action have adversely affected the complainant. (per USDOE/OCR)

The decision will be forwarded to the parent/student/claimant in writing after review.

So, if you are piping mad about an OCR ruling against a student and for a school or college, appeal of the discrimination decision may be an option, but must be pursued timely and with adequate proof it qualifies.

Student lawyer Michelle Ball helps students file OCR complaints and OCR appeals, as well as other student or school complaints.  As an education attorney for students in Sacramento, California, she can assist throughout the state, including in Clearlake, Paradise, Monterey, Daly City, Santa Rosa, Roseville, Elk Grove, Natomas, and many other areas.