The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights published a list of new resources to help districts and schools support students with disabilities and avoid discriminatory use of discipline.
In the school setting, manifesting disabilities are often overlooked as an underlying cause for behavior problems, leading to discrimination in the absence of student advocacy. Students with disabilities have specific legal rights as outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which states that every child deserves equal access to a quality education provided in a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination. An environment that promotes social, emotional, and academic growth.
The Department has identified discriminatory discipline as a concern and provides these resources in an effort to aid schools in their legal obligations to students with disabilities, support an equitable academic recovery, and ensure that students with disabilities are provided with necessary behavioral support and special education services. U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona said,
“All students deserve to have their rights protected, and schools deserve greater clarity on how they can avoid the discriminatory use of discipline. Too often, students with disabilities face harsh and exclusionary disciplinary action at school. The guidance we’re releasing today will help ensure that students with disabilities are treated fairly and have access to supports and services to meet their needs – including their disability-based behavior.”
The new resources are designed to not only protect the rights of students with disabilities but also casts attention to the growing mental health needs of student populations post-pandemic. The new resources include:
- Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and an accompanying Fact Sheet
- Questions and Answers Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act’s (IDEA’s) Discipline Provisions
- Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting the Needs of Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders
- A letter from Secretary Cardona to our nation’s educators, school leaders, parents, and students about the importance of supporting the needs of students with disabilities.
Review the complete resources here.
How We Can Help
Facing discrimination in a school setting is challenging and frustrating for both students and parents, especially if the school has not provided your child with the appropriate academic or behavioral support for success.
Education rights attorney, Jennifer Chang can help you navigate and protect your family’s rights surrounding unjust discipline in school, and help your child receive the services and resources that are required by law. To schedule an appointment with Jennifer, contact her office today.