Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division issued guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities.
"Students with disabilities, like all students, must be provided the opportunity to fully participate in our public schools. A critical aspect of participation is communication with others," begins the guidance letter to educators.
Three federal laws address the obligations of public schools in meeting the communication needs of students with disabilities: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These three laws approach meeting the needs of students with disabilities in different ways. These federal offices offer this new guidance to clarify how schools and educators should approach their work to meet the needs of their students with disabilties and comply with these three laws.