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How You Can Help the Office for Civil Rights Strengthen and
Protect the Rights of Children with Disabilities

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The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is planning to review and revise the Section 504 regulations. Read News Release

As OCR begins the process of amending the Section 504 regulations, they are asking the public - YOU - for your experiences and suggestions to help them answer this question:

"How can OCR strengthen and protect the rights of children with disabilities?"

group of five middle school age children

The Section 504 regulations have not been revised since they were issued in 1977 - before many of you were born. The current regulations do not directly address many of the disability discrimination issues we face today.

How You Can Help the Office for Civil Rights Strengthen and Protect the Rights of Children with Disabilities describes . . .

  • OCR's areas of interest;

  • Why YOU are the perfect person to contribute experiences and suggestions;

  • How to submit your comments to OCR; and

  • Wrightslaw Tips for writing great comments.

OCR is interested in your comments in several areas, including (but not limited to) . . .

  • Bullying and harassment;

  • Restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities;

  • Suspensions and expulsions that exclude children from their educational programs;

  • Disability documentation and accommodations in higher education;

  • Participation in physical education, interscholastic and intramural athletics, Postsecondary education aids, benefits, or services; and

  • Independent living services.

Why should you help?

You are qualified to share your experience and provide comments because you may . . .

  • Be the parent of a child with special needs who has a Section 504 Plan or an IEP;

  • Teach children with Section 504 Plans and IEPs;

  • Advocate for children with special needs who are struggling and need more help from their school;

  • Be a school administrator;

  • Be a student with a disability;

  • Have a special needs child who was denied a Section 504 Plan or an IEP because your child was receiving "passing grades";

  • Have a child with ADD/ADHD who doesn't have an IEP or Section 504 Plan;

  • Have a child with health or medical problems that cause the child to miss school (i.e., tree nut allergy, diabetes, anxiety disorder, etc.) but does not have a Section 504 Plan;

  • Have a child with behavioral or emotional problems who is being suspended from school but does not have an IEP or Section 504 Plan.

    You may have experience with disability discrimination if . . .

  • Your child's school does not encourage children with special needs to participate in extracurricular athletics and special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the district;

  • Your child's school requires you to accompany your child on field trips and/or other school-sponsored events;

  • Your child's school is not accessible for all students (the term "school" includes academic buildings, walkways, restrooms, athletic facilities, and parking)

Do you see why OCR needs to hear from YOU?

How to Submit Comments

Please read the information about Rulemaking and Regulations by the Office for Civil Rights.

The Comments will be publicly available. Don t send personally identifiable information that you will regret sending later.

Wrightslaw Tips for Great Comments

Sign up for a free version of an editing program like Grammarly or ProWritingAid.

After you write your first draft, set it aside for a few days before re-reading it.

Ask a trusted friend to read your draft.

Use your editing program to test your drafts. Correct your errors. These editing programs make life easier for anyone who reads, writes, or edits.

If you plan to submit your comment(s) as an attachment to an email, save your comment as a Microsoft Word document or another frequently used searchable text format. Avoid sending PDFs.

When you are satisfied with the last draft, send your comments to Section 504.

If you want to file a disability discrimination complaint, please follow the Complaint-filing Instructions at

If you have a question, please send it to Question for OCR.

Inside every Wrightslaw book, you will find answers to questions, increase your knowledge, and sharpen your skills.

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The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 - 5 Stars from Wrightslaw!

Do yourself a favor. Download The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (PDF) from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schoolsshould be required reading for parents, teachers, administrators, lay advocates, and attorneys. Take your marked-up copy to Sectio 504 and IEP Meetings.

Available from Wrightslaw: The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools is also available at Wrightslaw.

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