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FAQs | Rights of Students with Disabilities in Public Charter Schools under IDEA

Source:  US Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) | December 2016

This IDEA Charter guidance

  • Emphasizes that children with disabilities who attend charter schools and their parents retain all rights and protections under Part B of IDEA (such as FAPE) just as they would at other public schools.
  • Provides that under IDEA a charter school may not unilaterally limit the services that must be provided a particular student with a disability.
  • Reminds schools that the least restrictive environment provisions require that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities attending public schools, including public charter schools, be educated with students who are nondisabled.
  • Clarifies that students with disabilities attending charter schools retain all IDEA rights and protections included in the IDEA discipline procedures.

This guidance was released jointly with guidance from the United States Department of Education’s (ED’s or Department’s) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) addressing the rights of students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) available at:   In addition to these documents, the Department also released a Know Your Rights document designed for parents to provide a brief overview of the rights of public charter school students with disabilities and the legal obligations of charter schools under Section 504 and the IDEA. 


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