The U.S. Department of Education announced the release of new guidance from its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). This guidance is intended to help public elementary and secondary schools fulfill their responsibilities to meet the needs of students with disabilities and avoid the discriminatory use of student discipline.
These newly released resources are the most comprehensive guidance on the civil rights of students with disabilities concerning student discipline and build on the Department’s continued efforts to support students and schools through pandemic recovery.
The new resources include:
- 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.
- Questions and Answers Addressing the Needs of Children with Disabilities and IDEA’s Discipline Provisions.
- Positive, Proactive Approaches to Supporting the Needs of Children with Disabilities: A Guide for Stakeholders.
- Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
- Accompanying Fact Sheet.
The guidance makes clear that schools do not need to choose between complying with Section 504 and IDEA and keeping their school community—including students and staff—safe.
All these documents can be found on the Department’s School Climate and Student Discipline Resources website.