Rights of Students with Disabilities in Central New York: A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive guide provides information on current federal and state laws related to special education programs and services for students with disabilities.

Rights of Students with Disabilities in Central New York: A Comprehensive Guide

The web page on laws and regulations related to special education and students with disabilities provides information on current federal and state laws. Part 200 of the Education Commissioner's Regulations relates to special education programs and services for students with disabilities, while Part 201 relates to procedural safeguards for students with disabilities subject to disciplinary measures. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for eliminating disability discrimination against students with disabilities on the basis of disability. OCR receives numerous complaints and inquiries in the field of primary and secondary education in connection with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.

S. C. Most of them relate to the identification of students who are protected by Section 504 and to the means to obtain an adequate education for those students. Section 504 regulations require the school district to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to every qualified student with a disability within the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

FAPE consists of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the individual educational needs of students as adequately as those without disabilities. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS), which is part of the U. Department of Education, administers the Education for Persons with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Each state education agency is responsible for managing IDEA within the state and for distributing funding for special education programs.

The IDEA is a grant law that establishes many specific conditions for receiving federal funds from IDEA. Section 504 and the ADA are anti-discrimination laws and do not provide any type of funding. The OCR does not review the outcome of individual placement decisions or other educational decisions, as long as the school district complies with the procedural requirements of Section 504 related to identification and location of students with disabilities, evaluation, and due process. Consequently, OCR generally will not evaluate the content of a Section 504 plan or an individualized education program (IEP); rather, any disagreement can be resolved through a due process hearing.

At the post-secondary educational level, a qualified student with a disability is a student who meets academic and technical standards required to enter or participate in an institution's educational program or activity. Public elementary and secondary school beneficiaries are required to provide free and appropriate public education to qualified students with disabilities. Such education consists of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet individual educational needs in the same way those without disabilities are met. At post-secondary level, beneficiaries must provide students with appropriate academic settings and auxiliary aids and services necessary to provide a person with a disability with same opportunities to participate in school program.

Beneficiaries are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that result in fundamental alteration of beneficiary's program or impose excessive burden. Section 504 excludes from definition of student with disability any student currently using drugs illegally when covered entity acts on basis of such use; there are exceptions for people who participate in rehabilitation programs (who are no longer engaged in illegal drug use). The definition does not exclude alcohol users; however, Section 504 allows schools to take disciplinary action against students with disabilities who use drugs or alcohol same extent as those without disabilities. At elementary and middle school levels, determining if child is disabled student qualified under Section 504 begins with evaluation process.

Section 504 requires use of evaluation procedures that ensure children are not misclassified, unnecessarily labeled as people with disability, or incorrectly placed due to inadequate selection, administration, or interpretation of evaluation materials. Congress created exception to analysis of mitigating measures; ameliorating effects of attenuating measures of common eyeglasses or contact lenses will be taken into account when determining if disability substantially limits important vital activity. Determination of substantial limitation must be made on case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student; regulatory provision at 34 C. F.

R. A doctor's medical diagnosis may be considered when evaluating student with disability or believed to have disability that substantially limits major life activity; other sources include aptitude/performance tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social/cultural background, adaptive behavior.

Adam Tonkin
Adam Tonkin

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