Guidance on Bullying of Students with Disabilities

National News
Winter 2014

U.S. Department of Education

If a student with a disability is being bullied, federal law requires schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue and, as necessary, take steps to stop the bullying and prevent it from recurring.  The latest letter from the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) makes clear that the protections for students with disabilities who are bullied on any basis extend to the roughly three quarters of a million students who are not eligible for IDEA services but are entitled to services under the broader Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. That law bars discrimination on the basis of disability in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Help is available for those who are either targets of disability bullying or know of someone who might.Department of Education Logo
• A fact sheet for parents on schools’ obligations under federal law to address bullying.
• Visiting the federal Web site which provides useful information on bullying prevention and remedies.
• Asking to meet with the student’s team that designs his or her individualized education program – the IEP or Section 504 teams.
• Asking to meet with the principal or school district’s special education coordinators to have the school address bullying concerns.
• Seeking help form OCR.  The office investigates complaints of disability discrimination at schools.

Letter from the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)  to public school educators

Parent Fact Sheet

Federal Web Site

Office for Civil Rights