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Information Regarding Students with Disabilities in Extracurricular Athletics

The Office for Civil Rights with the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance detailing school districts’ legal obligations to provide students with disabilities equal access to athletics activities. The guidance letter clarifies existing law and encourages school districts to improve and expand upon athletic opportunities for students with disabilities. The guidance provides examples of the types of reasonable modifications that schools may be required to make to existing policies, practices, or procedures. The guidance also notes that the law does not require that a student with a disability be allowed to participate in any selective or competitive program offered by a school district, so long as the selection or competition criteria are not discriminatory. The analysis is based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The Department has prepared a frequently asked questions document to address common questions related to school districts which are or may become unaccredited.