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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Policy on Youth & Education: Overview

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

NCIL believes that IDEA as a civil rights law is a good and necessary law that must be fully implemented and aggressively enforced. Amendments to IDEA must ensure that students with disabilities are afforded the following:

  • An educational program that includes the development of self-advocacy skills, information about their rights, and opportunities to connect with adult role models with disabilities;
  • Full access and benefit of education, including academics, extracurricular activities, physical education and social opportunities;
  • Appropriate assessments and necessary technology and supports in order to participate in the learning process actively with peers;
  • An equal opportunity to be appropriately challenged in their educational endeavors;
  • Schools that are accountable for the success of all students; and
  • Due process rights when their civil rights are being denied, regardless of financial resources.

College Accessibility for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities are enrolling in college in record numbers. Students often find it difficult to locate information about college requirements for accommodations and specific disability programs at colleges. Colleges are not prepared to adequately accommodate students. Federal legislation is needed to:

  • Require colleges to accept an IEP or 504 plan as evidence of disability when a student is seeking accommodations in college;
  • Establish information on disability services to be provided in one place and make that place publically known; and
  • Establish a technical assistance center for college staff to learn about the needs of students and the responsibilities of faculty.

Restraint and Seclusion of Students Must End

Restraining and secluding students causes harm and is proven to be ineffective. Yet restraint and seclusion remains a practice in many schools. The Government Accountability Office reported widespread misuse of restraint and seclusion. Federal legislation is needed to:

  • Ban restraint / seclusion except in emergencies where someone is in danger of physical harm;
  • Require parent notification if a student is restrained / secluded on the same day that the event occurred;
  • Ban restraints that impede breathing, mechanical restraints, and chemical restraints; and
  • Prevent restraint / seclusion from being used when less restrictive alternative would eliminate any danger.

Updated: March 5, 2018.