There are federal and state laws that ensure a free, appropriate public education and that protect the civil rights of all individuals with disabilities. The laws also provide a system whereby complaints about a student’s identification, program, placement or civil rights may be resolved.

Federal Laws


  • The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act guarantees a free appropriate public education from birth to 21. IDEA legislates financial assistance to provide special education services to students with disabilities. More information can be found here.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)

  • Section 504 prohibits discrimination against any person with a disability in federal agencies and other federally-subsidized entities. This law extends protection to people working for any group receiving federal funding, including public schools, colleges, and in some cases even private schools.

The Rehabilitation Act-Section 511-Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

  • ADA expands the rights from the Rehabilitation Act to private entities by requiring employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment opportunities that are available to others. It requires employers to make reasonable accommodations and/or provide supports or services to the known limitations of the person with disabilities so that the person may fully participate in the work environment unless the accommodations would result in an undue hardship for the employer.
    Dept. of Labor: Search – ADA, Search – Section 511

Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District

  • Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District was a case decided in March 2017 by the Supreme Court of the United States, stating that individualized education programs (IEPs) must keep standards high and help students with disabilities make real progress. To help parents and schools ensure that each child’s educational program is “appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances,” as the Court requires, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) and developed an Endrew F. Advocacy Toolkit so parents can learn practical tips to develop an IEP that leads to success for students with learning and attention issues. This free toolkit contains talking points and a worksheet to help apply the Endrew F. standard to a child’s IEP.
  • Download the Toolkit here: 

State Laws

SEPAG (Special Education Parent Advisory Group) Guide

  • All school districts in New Jersey are required to “ensure that a special education parent advisory group is in place in the district to provide input to the district on issues concerning students with disabilities” (N.J.A.C. 6A:14).

Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE)

Dyslexia Laws

Additional useful documents (i.e., Dear Colleague Letters, etc.) from the federal government:

Together we can make a difference!