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Civil Rights

Overview

All School Food Authorities (SFAs) participating in the USDA Child Nutrition Programs must comply with Federal civil rights requirements and regulations. These regulations are intended to ensure that the benefits of the Child Nutrition Programs are made available to all eligible people in a nondiscriminatory manner.
 
Please reference the civil rights topics below:
 

Civil Rights Training

USDA requires civil rights training on an annual basis for all who interact with the Child Nutrition Programs participants. The training outlines specific civil rights regulations that govern these programs. The training informs administrators of these programs receiving Federal financial assistance of their rights and responsibilities.

Each SFA must maintain documentation of the training and an attendance record of participants that attended. 

Civil Rights Self-Monitoring

To assist in ensuring compliance with civil rights requirements, the Civil Rights Compliance Self-Evaluation Form is required to be completed by SFAs annually by October 31.

And Justice For All Poster

Child Nutrition Program participants must be advised at the point of service of their right to file a complaint and the complaint procedures. To meet this requirement, the USDA And Justice for All poster must be placed in a prominent, visible location wherever meals or snacks are served. This location may include a cafeteria, food service area, or classroom.

To order posters, contact the School Nutrition Team at dpifns@dpi.wi.gov or call 608-267-9228. Posters are also available in Braille.

Non-discrimination Statement

All materials and resources, including websites, that are used to inform the public about the USDA Child Nutrition Programs must contain the current USDA non-discrimination statement. There are two non-discrimination statements: the full, official statement and the shortened statement.
 

The full statement:

 

The full version of the USDA Non-discrimination Statement (Español) must be included on USDA Child Nutrition Program materials including: parent handbooks, program websites, employee handbooks, free and reduced price meal applications, and letters to households.

The shortened statement:

 
The full version of the non-discrimination statement should always be used, unless the material is too small to permit the full statement. In this case, the shortened nondiscrimination statement of This institution is an equal opportunity provider may be used. This could include menus, flyers, brochures, buttons, etc.

Public Release

SFAs participating the USDA Child Nutrition Programs are required to annually provide the Public Release to a variety of community organizations at the beginning of the school year to inform potentially eligible persons that your school or agency participates in the Child Nutrition Programs and includes information pertaining to eligibility, benefits and services and the steps needed to participate. Maintain documentation of where the public release was sent.

Racial and Ethnic Data Collection

SFAs participating in the USDA Child Nutrition Programs are required to have a system for collecting racial and ethnic data for eligible populations, applicants, and participants in their program service area. This data is used to determine how effectively your program is reaching potentially eligible children and if outreach may be needed. Data must be recorded on an annual basis.
 
Household income applications that are completed each year and submitted to the school have a section for the household to identify their race and ethnic data, however, this is not required. If the race and ethnic data is not completed, visual identification by a school official, personal knowledge, records/registration database, or other documentation your SFA possesses that identifies household racial/ethnic data may be used.

Complaints of Discrimination

Any person or representative alleging discrimination based on a protected class has the right to file a complaint within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory action. Complaints may be written, verbal, or anonymous.
 
All SFAs must have procedures for receiving and processing complaints alleging civil rights discrimination within the USDA Child Nutrition Programs.
 
 
If a complaint of discrimination is received at your district, the following procedures should be followed:
 
1. Document the complaint.
 
 
2. Submit complaints within five days of receiving the complaint to:
 
Wisconsin Department of Public Instructions (DPI)
Mail: Director, School Nutrition Team
125 S. Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707-7841
Fax: (608) 267-0363
 
3. Maintain a separate Civil Rights complaint log at the SFA to record any discrimination complaints received. This log should be maintained in a confidential manner and only available to SFA staff members who have a legitimate need to know.
 

Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

Organizations participating in the USDA Child Nutrition Programs have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by those with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).
 
Persons with LEP are individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English.