Keeping Students with Disabilities Safe from Bullying

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According to the U.S. Department of Education severe bullying of a student with disabilities could deny that student’s right to a free, appropriate public education and would need to be addressed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  Bullying not only threatens a student’s physical and emotional safety at school, but fosters a climate of fear and disrespect, creating conditions that negatively impact learning— undermining students’ ability to achieve to their full potential. Unfortunately, children with disabilities are disproportionately affected by bullying.

On August 20th, the U.S. Department of Education sent a guidance letter to educators, districts, states, building administrators and other stakeholders on the matter of bullying of students with disabilities. This guidance provided an overview of school districts’ responsibilities to ensure that students with disabilities who are subject to bullying continue to receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and offered information on effective evidence-based practices for preventing and addressing bullying.



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