What Do Schools Owe Students With Disabilities? Feds Plan to Update Regulations

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The U.S. Department of Education plans to update regulations on schools’ obligations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a major federal law that prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities.

The announcement comes as schools’ ability to meet the needs of students with disabilities during remote learning—and to make up for any progress lost due to lapses in services—have been a major focus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Education Department announced its intent Friday to update the regulations, outlining the process for public comment 45 years after the regulations were first published.

“While the world has undergone enormous changes since 1977, the Department’s Section 504 regulations have remained, with few exceptions, unaltered,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement.

The agency did not specify what changes it would consider, but said in an announcement that it wanted to “strengthen and protect the rights” of students, incorporating the voices of people with disabilities in the process.

What this civil [...]

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