Thursday, May 15, 2014

Breaking Feds Issue New Guidance on Charter School Compliance With Civil Rights Laws

Charter School of Wilmington flagpole
Charter School of Wilmington flagpole (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, the Office for Civil Rights of the U. S. Department of Education issued policy guidance on the requirement that charter schools comply with civil rights laws.

You can read the press release here and the actual guidance document here.

Although the specific policy guidance does not pertain to IDEA, it does include a discussion of charter schools compliance with §504.  Please note also that future guidance is planned with OSERS and OCR specific to children with disabilities attending charter schools. A portion of the report states as follows:

"Free appropriate public education for students with disabilities.

Under Section 504, every student with a disability enrolled in a public school, including a public charter school, must be provided a free appropriate public education–that is, regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet his or her individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met. Evaluation and placement procedures are among the 
requirements that must be followed if a student needs, or is believed to need, special education or 
related services due to a disability. 

Charter schools may not ask or require students or parents to waive their right to a free 
appropriate public education in order to attend the charter school. Additionally, charter schools 
must provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in such a manner that 
students with disabilities are given an equal opportunity to participate in these services and 
activities.  More information will be provided in joint guidance that OCR and OSERS plan to issue 
on the rights of students with disabilities who attend charter schools. "

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