What is Free & Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?
FAPE is anti-discrimination that allows students with disabilities to be provided equal access to an education. Public schools must evaluate students who, because of a disability, may need special education or related services; determine what those services should be; and provide those services along with procedural safeguards.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- Mandates school districts provide access to general education and specialized educational services at public expense to students who have a disability.
- Provides special education and related services so that student can receive FAPE
Section 504 – FAPE
- Under Section 504, an “appropriate education” is regular or special education and related aids and services that meet the educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students and that satisfy certain procedural requirements.
- The word “Appropriate” is used throughout IDEA and Section 504, and generally refers to the supports and services depending on student’s specific needs, specific strengths and specific goals. For example, for a student with symptoms which interfere with writing, “appropriate” accommodations could include: access to a scribe; notes provided; or access to computer. For a student with superior abilities who is overwhelmed in large classroom, an “appropriate” accommodation” would be a smaller setting. By contrast, settings for children with low abilities or for students with behavior challenges would NOT be “appropriate.”