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Education Discrimination

Schools cannot discriminate against you because of your race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, status with regard to public assistance, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 
An academy, college, elementary or secondary school, extension courses, kindergarten, nursery school, business school, or professional school cannot refuse to select for admission or provide education to certain individuals, deny the person the full utilization and benefit of an educational institution, refuse to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability, or exclude, discipline or expel certain individuals. 


  • A college will not accept applications from people who are over 50 years old
  • A teacher treats students for whom English is not their primary language unfairly because the teacher thinks the students cannot learn. 
  • A student who identifies as Asian American is bullied at school because of their race. The student tells their teachers and the school principal what is happening. The school does nothing about the bullying.
  • A college takes fewer applications for enrollment from people of color than it does for white people. The college does this because it wants most of its students to be white.

Frequently Asked Questions

If my child requires an accommodation for a disability, does the school have to provide it?

The Minnesota Human Rights Act, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Another federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, requires schools to provide an individualized learning plan for each child with a disability. While an accommodation has to be reasonable, it does not necessarily have to be the one the child or parent prefers, as long as it is effective.

If I attempt to enroll in an educational program, but a college, vocational school or job counselor says I'm "too old" to begin a new career that will take so much additional training, is this discrimination?

In most cases, yes. There are a few professions for which legislation mandates a retirement age, and it may be appropriate for an educational institution to advise potential students of the requirements of those professions. But the Human Rights Act prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against a person seeking admission as a student because of age (for individuals above age 25).

If my child is being bullied by another student, is the school required to put a stop to this behavior?

If your child is being bullied because of his or her race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, a disability, or another characteristic protected under the Human Rights Act, such behavior may violate the Human Rights Act and the school is required under the Act to take appropriate action to end this discriminatory activity. In addition, a separate Minnesota anti-bullying law prohibits harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence based on a student's protected class status.
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