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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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DeVos Rescinds Numerous Documents Relating to the Rights of Disabled Students

On October 2nd, the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos made yet another announcement that raised concerns among many disability advocacy groups across the United States. The Department stated it was rescinding 72 different guidance documents relating to the rights of disabled students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act. The rescission comes as part of the Trump administration’s widespread effort to reduce the number of regulations and guidance documents on the books at the federal level.

What Does This Mean for Students With Disabilities?

IDEA and similar laws are crucial for students with disabilities, as these laws set out the right of students to certain special services and accommodations in order to provide them with a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. While rescinding the guidance documents does not change the fundamentals of the law or students’ rights, many of those documents were important for parents and schools to understand how to apply the law and protect the rights of children under the law.

The Department of Education held a hearing prior to rescinding the documents at which many education and disability advocates spoke in favor of leaving the documents in place. The law has complex language that many parents or even school officials may not fully understand. The purpose of many guidance documents was to break down the legal jargon into layman’s terms that parents, administrators, and teachers can plainly understand. This level of understanding can increase adherence to the law for schools, as well as awareness for parents of whether their children are receiving the services and accommodations they deserve.

Rights Under IDEA

With these documents now rescinded, parents should not hesitate to discuss the rights and needs of their children with an attorney who advocates for students’ rights. The following are only some rights of students with disabilities under IDEA:

  • Right to a free appropriate public education
  • Right to an appropriate evaluation if schools suspect a student has disabilities
  • Right to have an individualized education plan (IEP) that outlines services and accommodations based on a student’s needs
  • Right to placement in the least restrictive environment, with a preference for a general education setting whenever possible
  • Right of parents to participate in any placement decisions
  • Right to procedural safeguards that protect a parent’s access to information about their child’s education, as well as aim to resolve disagreements between parents, teachers, or other school officials

It can be difficult to know when a school violates IDEA or similar laws and harms your child, so you should never hesitate to ask for clarification or consult with an attorney who represents students and their parents.

Discuss Your Concerns with Our Students’ Rights Attorneys

At Duffy Law, we passionately believe in upholding the rights of students at every level of education, including K-12 and colleges and universities. We thoroughly understand the rights of students under federal laws, and we work to protect those rights. If you believe any educational institution has violated the law or your child’s rights, please consult with our firm so we can evaluate your options. Call us at 203-946-2000 or contact us online to schedule your case evaluation today.

Felice Duffy

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.