The pupil nondiscrimination program provides technical assistance to local school districts, parents and school district residents on matters relating to nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity under state law and related federal laws, and the pupil discrimination complaint and appeal process under state law and rules. (Section 118.13, Wis. Stats. and PI 9, Wis. Admin. Code). The pupil nondiscrimination program also assists the State Superintendent resolve appeals of local school district decisions on pupil discrimination complaints.
Wisconsin's Pupil Nondiscrimination Laws
Under s. 118.13, except as provided in s. 120.13 (37m), no pupil may be excluded from a public school, or from any school activities or programs, or be denied any benefits or treated in a different manner because of:
- national origin (including a student whose primary language is not English)
- parental status
- marital status
- sexual orientation
- physical disability
- mental disability
- emotional disability
- learning disability
Each school district is required to designate an employee of the school district to receive complaints regarding discrimination under Wisconsin's pupil nondiscrimination law.
The law requires each school district to submit an annual compliance report to the Department of Public Instruction and periodically conduct a self-evaluation of the status of pupil nondiscrimination and equality of educational opportunity.
Wisconsin pupil nondiscrimination law requires additional district action.
- Pupil Nondiscrimination brochure [Ley de No-Discriminación del Alumnado - Xeev Wisconsin Txoj Cai Tsis Pub Muaj Kev Sib Cais Menyuam Kawm Ntawv] (March 2020)
- A Guide to Filing Complaints Under the Wisconsin Pupil Nondiscrimination Law
- Section 118.13, Wis. Stats.
- Chapter PI 1, Wis. Admin. Code
- Chapter PI 9, Wis. Admin. Code
- History of Wisconsin's Pupil Nondiscrimination Law
- Changes in State Law to Allow Single-Sex Schools and Courses
- Questions and Answers About District Responsibilities under s. 118.13, Wis. Stats.
Race-Based Nicknames, Logos, Mascots, and Team Names
2013 Wisconsin Act 115 made significant changes to the process for filing and resolving complaints regarding race-based, nicknames, team names, mascots, and logos. Questions about these changes may be directed to the department’s Pupil Nondiscrimination Program at 608-267-9157.
Related Federal Laws
- Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000(d); CFR Title 34, Part 100 - (prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance)
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Section 1681, et seq.; CFR Title 34, Part 106 - (prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance)
- Final Regulatory Amendments to the Title IX regulations (permitting single-sex schools, classes, and extracurricular activities)
- Title IX: Sex Discrimination: Overview of the Law
- Questions and Answers on Title IX and Single-Sex Elementary and Secondary Classes and Extra Curricular Activities
- Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Section 794; CFR Title 34, Part 104 & 105 - (prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance)
- Section 504: Disability Discrimination Overview of the Law
- Protecting Students With Disabilities (504 FAQs)
- U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter 1/25/2013, regarding the provision of extracurricular and athletic activities for students with disabilities
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. Section 12131 - (prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities)
- Filing a Complaint with Office for Civil Rights
- Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, Section 9525 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by Section 901 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; CFR Title 34, Part 108 (prohibits a public school from denying equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to the Boy Scouts or other identified patriotic groups if the public school provides an opportunity for one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on school premises or in school facilities before or after school hours):
Research and Reports
- Office for Civil Rights Annual Reports to Congress
- The 2015 National School Climate Survey: the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation's schools (2015)
- Madison Metropolitan School District 118.13 Video
Music by: Miles Walser; Images by: Hannah Johnson; Spokespeople: Ellen Ferencek and Keith Black
- The ABCs of LGBTQ
- Teaching Tolerance
- Pupil Nondiscrimination Guidelines for Athletics (9/12/13)
- Office for Civil Rights Sexual Harrassment Guidance
- Office for Civil Rights Racial Incident and Harassment Against Students at Educational Institutions; Investigative Guidance
- Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes, A Guide for Schools
- Office for Civil Rights Publications
- Religion in Public Schools
- National Women's Law Center
The National Women's Law Center has published two guides on sexual harassment. Do the Right Thing: Understanding, Addressing and Preventing Sexual Harassment in Schools, is a practical guide for teachers, parents and pupils. Righting the Wrongs: A Legal Guide to Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing Sexual Harassment in Schools is legal guide for school administrators and attorneys.
- Benchmarks for an Equitable School
- District Contacts for Pupil Nondiscrimination Complaints