USDOE releases guidance on civil rights of students with ADHD

The U.S. Department of Education has issued guidance clarifying the obligation of State and local educational agencies, including charter schools, to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Federal civil rights laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and implementing regulations that it enforces (29 U.S.C. § 794; 34 C.F.R. Part 104). Read the letter here.

Major points in the guidance are as follows:

  • Schools must evaluate a student when a student needs or is believed to need special education or related services.
  • Services must be based on students’ specific needs and not based on generalizations about disabilities, or ADHD, in particular.
  • Students who experience behavioral challenges, or present as unfocused or distracted, could have ADHD and may need an evaluation to determine their educational needs.
  • Schools must provide parents and guardians with due process and allow them to appeal decisions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of students with disabilities, including students with ADHD.

The USDOE also released a Know Your Rights document that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD.

For more information contact Maine DOE’s Director of Special Services Jan Breton at