Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ed Week on OCR Dear Colleague Letter on the ADA Amendments Act

See this blog post, which begins:
A new letter from the Office for Civil Rights at the federal education department details how school districts should act on some changes to federal law regarding people with disabilities. The way I'm reading it, the letter expands the range of students to whom school districts' may have to provide special education services and accommodations, including some who in the past may have been found not to need those services. 
The letter is intended to clarify school districts' obligations following amendments made to the Americans with Disabilities Act that took effect in 2009. Those amendments say school districts should define disability very broadly, writes Russlynn Ali, the assistant secretary for civil rights, in aset of questions and answers that accompany the letter. 
"Students who, in the past, may not have been determined to have a disability under Section 504 [of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973] and Title II [of the Americans with Disabilities Act] may now in fact be found to have a disability under those laws," the guidance says. "A student whom a school district did not believe had a disability, and therefore did not receive...special education or related services before passage of the Amendments Act, must now be considered under these new legal standards. The school district would have to evaluate the student, as described in the Section 504 regulation, to determine if he or she has a disability and, if so, the district would have to determine whether, because of the disability, the student needs special education or related services."

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