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Federal Laws and Regulations

Individuals withDisabilities Education Act (IDEA)

IDEA is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities. It governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth - 2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3 - 21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

U.S. Department of Education resources on NCLB


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

This is an antidiscrimination, civil rights law that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the nondisabled are met. Schools are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" for students identified as having a disability.

A Parent's Guide to Section 504 in Public Schools

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Fact Sheet


Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAA)

The ADAA, signed in September of 2008, broadens the definition of disability. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA. The Office for Civil Rights, out of the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to school entities providing guidance on implementing this act.

U.S. Department of Justice, A Guide to Disability Rights Laws

U.S. Department of Justice, Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act


No Child Left Behind (NCLB) or Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Signed into law by President Bush in Jan. 2002, NCLB was a reauthorization of the ESEA. NCLB contains measures designed to drive broad gains in student achievement and hold states and schools more accountable for student progress.

U.S. Department of Education resources on NCLB


Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Signed by President Obama in 2010, this law authorizes funding for federal school meal and child nutrition programs and increases access to healthy food for low-income children. The USDA is given the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods regularly sold during the school day and to improve the nutritional quality of commodity foods used in school breakfast and lunch programs.

Fact sheet from Let's Move on the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

USDA Resources on Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act


School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act

On Nov. 13, 2013, President Obama signed the "School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act." The purpose of this act is "to provide states with incentives to require elementary schools and secondary schools to maintain, and permit school personnel to administer, epinephrine at schools." This law allows the Federal government, when making the determination of awarding grants, to give preferences to states who have in place certain provisions in law regarding the administration of epinephrine auto-injectors.

Pennsylvania currently has some, but not all, of these provisions in place. Therefore, there is no change in requirements to schools. Currently in Pennsylvania non-licensed school personnel may be trained by the certified school nurse to administer epinephrine via an auto-injector to students who have a health care provider's diagnosis of a life-threatening allergy.

Updated: January 2018