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Education Department cuts policy documents for disabled students

The Education Department announced that it has scrapped 72 documents that provide policy guidelines for working with special needs students and students with disabilities. The documents included guidelines for the rights of special-needs students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

The documents were apparently cut as part of the Trump administration's efforts to curb what it deems superfluous regulations. The Education Department states that the rescinded documents were unnecessary and did not reflect current regulations.

Although a representative for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos claims that the rollbacks will not affect students with disabilities, many people aren't so sure. Parents, lawmakers, and advocates have expressed concern that rescinding the documents will negatively impact the services to students who have special needs. The revocations may also signal a precedent to remove future guidelines protecting disabled students from being laid forth.

Most special-needs advocacy groups did not receive any warning that the cuts were being made. The Education Department did seek input from disability advocacy groups when making the changes, but did not notify the organizations until two weeks after the cuts had been made. When it did, the only explanation offered was that the documents were "outdated, unnecessary or ineffective."

In addition, several law makers have spoken against the cuts, saying that the documents are still necessary to protect the wellbeing of students with disabilities.

It has yet to be seen whether the excised documents will impact special-needs students and their parents. One thing is certain, though: In an ever-changing landscape over rules and regulations, it's more important than ever for parents fighting for the best interests of their children to have an experienced advocate at their side who is ready to fight for them.

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