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School Says, “No Advanced Classes for Kids with IEPs”

by Pat Howey

My child has a learning disability. Her teachers want her to enroll in advanced classes. She is eligible based on her test scores and school performance.

The School will not let her enroll her because she has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). What are her legal rights?

Your child has an IEP because she is a child with a disability that adversely affects her education.

Because of her disability, she needs special education and related services.” 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (3). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., p. 49.

Children with IEPs receive protection from discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504).

You say your child qualifies for advanced classes and the school will not enroll her because she has an IEP. That sounds like discrimination.

Under Section 504, a person with a disability is someone who has, or whom others regard as having:

  • A physical or mental impairment;
  • That substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Major life activities include:

  • Caring for one’s self;
  • Walking;
  • Seeing;
  • Hearing;
  • Speaking;
  • Breathing;
  • Working;
  • Performing manual tasks; and,
  • Learning.

Public agencies that receive federal funds have to follow Section 504. Almost all public schools receive federal funds.

A school cannot exclude a qualified student with a disability from participating in any school program solely because of a disability.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Schools, parents, and students can ask for technical assistance from the OCR.

You may want to contact the OCR and ask them for help and information.

OCR enforces Section 504 by looking at how schools identify and evaluate students with disabilities. It also makes sure that schools tell students about their rights under Section 504.

When someone files a discrimination complaint under Section 504, the OCR investigates.

You can file a complaint with the OCR and claim that the school is banning your child from advanced classes based on her disability.

The OCR will look at whether the school treats your child differently than it treats nondisabled students who are in a similar situation.

If the OCR agrees with you, it can order the school to stop the discrimination.

If you want to read more about the Section 504 complaint process, click this link:

Read more about Section 504 by clicking this link:

Information about Section 504 regulations is available on OCR’s website, at

Read the full text of the Regulations for Section 504 by clicking this link:

More information and resources about Twice-exceptional students:

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11 Comments on "School Says, “No Advanced Classes for Kids with IEPs”"


My daughter has a TBI and has an IEP. She was told she can not take AP classes and receive accomodations from her IEP in and AP Class. Is this true


Tara: Read the information on the Twice-Exceptional 2-e page at Pay attention to the three OCR letters under “Prohibition Against Disability-Based Discrimination” near the top of the page. This information may help answer some of the questions related to your daughter.


My daughter has been in accelerated classes in Texas since the 2nd grade. She has had 504 accommodations for the 6 years because of her dysgraphia. She is now a freshman in high school and the school says she can’t take the advanced placement courses and get any 504 accommodations. The accommodations we are wanting are extended time and notes being provided. We are not wanting to modify the curriculum. We have been denied these accommodations and my child is failing a couple of classes because of this. We are in the process of filing all the grievances but if nothing happens with these grievances, what is my next step? I’d love to hire an attorney and hold this district accountable for my daughter and all the other students from here on out but not sure of the correct procedure. Thank you.


My daughter has a learning disability she is in IEP. My question is will she still be able to graduate with her regular class even thro she had special classes