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New Coronavirus Package Could Unravel Protections for Students With Disabilities

Advocates of children with special needs are sounding the alarm on Senate Republicans’ proposed “Phase 3” coronavirus stimulus package, saying that it may eventually give the government power to absolve schools of at least some of their legal obligation to educate students with disabilities. 

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal education law that governs special education, schools are required to provide an equal education for students with disabilities. Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federally funded programs are prohibited from discriminating based on disability. 

However, the new Senate package, which still has to be passed by Congress, says Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos can soon tell Congress whether or not she thinks schools should be temporarily exempt from some of these requirements. 

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