Our goal is to advocate for students with diverse learning needs to ensure that if they are interested in attending charter schools, they are able to access and thrive in schools designed to enable all students to succeed.
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The Department of Education (the Department) recently released three sets of guidance related to educating students with disabilities, including one set explicitly pertaining to charter schools. These documents explain how the Department interprets and enforces federal civil rights laws protecting the rights of students with disabilities, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The guidance offers explanations and examples of how the Department reviews and responds to situations involving key aspects of these laws, such as Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), and discipline procedures. The thorough discussions and use of hypotheticals provide critical insight into how the Department addresses issues related to students with disabilities in public education, including within the charter sector.