Overview of Disability Law

In the United States, three pieces of legislation protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)

As amended by the United States Congress in 2004

IDEA is a federally-funded statute that requires a free and appropriate public education for students who meet eligibility in one or more of the 13 federal disability definitions. The act has provisions for evaluation, placement, and an individualized education plan (IEP) for eligible students who require specially designed instruction provided by special education certified personnel. Procedural safeguards for parents and the school district are a component of this act. The IDEA is enforced by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and monitored locally by the Kansas Department of Education.

For more information, contact the district's Special Services Department, (913) 780-7006.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

As amended by the United States Congress

Section 504 is a civil right law (not a special education law) that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. This law requires that the district provide written assurances of non-discrimination, designate a district-level 504 coordinator (the executive director of Special Services), provide non-discrimination notice to students and parents, identify and locate qualified children with disabilities, and provide parents or guardians with procedural safeguards and grievance procedures.

The definition of a disability under Section 504 is broadly expressed as a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity. Eligible students will require a Section 504 Accommodation Plan for access in general education, not special education.

For more information:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990

As amended by the United States Congress

ADA is a civil right statute, which provides a comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government and telecommunications. ADA (Title II) is enforced by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

For more information, visit www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

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