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There are some laws that are particularly important to student with disabilities.   For further information  or clarification of any of these laws, please contact one of the resources listed on the Rhode Island Resources' or on the United States Resources' pages.

Federal Laws

     The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Public Law 101-336
prohibits discrimination against a otherwise-qualified individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substanically limits one or more of the person's major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment from participating in or denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the public entity, or subjected to discrimination by such an entity. For further information. contact the Rhode Island Governor's Commission on Disabilities.

     The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 34 Code of Federal Regulations 34 C.F.R.Part 99 protects all individuals in the public schools concerning the confidentiality of personal information.  This has particular impact on individuals with disabilities because of the potential release of information about the individual's disability  to inappropriate sources which could result in discrimination and violations of privacy. For further information, contact the Family Educational Rights and Policy Office, Washington, D.C. For a full copy of this law, please see

     The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA) is the law that governs the "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE) of children in the elementary or secondary public schools. This law was recently amended to the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997.     Rhode Island is currently working on revising the state regulations of the IDEA. For further information contact the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at  Tel. 401- 222-4600 ext. 3505. For full he full text of the law see

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504)  is the anti-discrimination act for public schools that protects otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States from being excluded from participation  or denied benefits from   any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. This act was recently amended and is now known as The Rehabilitation Act as Amended of 1998 Public Law 93-112. For futher explanations of the Rehabilitation Act contact the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Boston, MA  Tel. 617-223-9692 For full text of this law see

What are the differences between the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and   Section  504 of the Rehabilitation Act?

What Web site has more information about the laws concerning disabilities?

Where can I find out more on line about special education law?

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page, the RI Resources and the US Resources   pages for more information about the laws.

Rhode Island State Laws, Rules and Regulations, and Policies

Rhode Island State Laws passed by the Rhode Island Legislature include laws that further protect the rights of individuals beyond what is noted in federal law.    They can be found in Rhode Island Law libraries, school administration offices, and some college libraries.

Rhode Island Regulations for Special  Education are regulations that are promulgated by the Rhode Island Board of Regents, which is the school board of the state of Rhode Island.   The  members of the Board of Regents are appointed by the Governor of Rhode Island.

Policies and rules approved by the Rhode Island Board of Governors, the governing body of the Rhode Island Public higher education institutions.   These policies are found in the student handbooks,    Additional college regulations are available in the college administration offices The members of the Board of Governors are appointed by the Governor.



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flag.gif (2238 bytes) This Web site was created by Karen Shabshelowitz as partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at the University of Rhode Island.


         Disclaimer:   The author of this Web page is not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of the material on this Web page. It is meant to provide general information but this information may not be true or accurate in all cases.  This information is provided as a public service.   If you have questions or doubts about the information, please consult the school administrators, some of the resources listed, and /or legal counsel. Thank you.