New guidance on the rights of students with disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) released three new sets of guidance recently to assist the public in understanding how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities. These guidance documents clarify the rights of students with disabilities and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn.

The new releases include a parent and educator resource guide; a Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and question and answer document on the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools; and a DCL and question and answer documents on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools.

The resource guide describes school districts’ nondiscrimination responsibilities, including obligations to provide educational services to students with disabilities, and outlines the steps parents can take to ensure that their children secure all of the services they are entitled to receive.

The guidance on restraint and seclusion addresses the circumstances under which use of restraint or seclusion can result in discrimination against students with disabilities, in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information and links, read the DOE press release.

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