• New Guidance Documents Regarding Children With Disabilities Have Been Released
  • January 13, 2017 | Author: Shelby M. Lile
  • Law Firm: Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C. - Phoenix Office
  • While schools were closed for winter break, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights ("OCR") released several new guidance documents regarding children with disabilities. These resources summarize and update previous guidance in three main categories:
    1. In a Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, OCR provides many examples to illustrate how Section 504 can be applied. Remember that a student may be protected by Section 504 whether the student has a disability that substantially limits any major life activity, not just whether the student has a disability that limits the student's ability to learn. A student may also be protected by this law even if she has above average grades.
    2. New guidance on restraint and seclusion reminds schools that the use of these techniques can signal the need for an evaluation of a student. Restraint and seclusion can also impair a student's receipt of FAPE by having "a traumatic impact on that student," which "could manifest itself in new behaviors," or by taking the student away from instructional time.
    3. Charter schools have two new resources to help navigate Section 504 and the IDEA. A "Frequently Asked Questions" document clarifies that current and prospective charter school students have the same rights under Section 504 as students in public school districts. A second "Frequently Asked Questions" document focuses on the IDEA and emphasizes that charter school students retain the same rights under this law as students in a traditional school district.