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Laws and Resources

State Laws and Related Resources

Indiana Code

General information about special education laws may be found at IC 20-35. More detailed information can be found in Article 7 of title 511 of the Indiana Administrative Code (see information below).

Article 7

511 IAC 7-32 through 50, commonly referred to "Article 7," contains Indiana's special education rules. Article 7 includes the most recent updates as of May 2024. The 2024 Spanish version of Reglamento de Educación Especial Título 511 Artículo 7 is also available.

Navigating the Course

Navigating the Course: Finding Your Way through Indiana's Special Education Rules was written to provide an overview and a practical resource to help parents, advocates, school personnel, and students understand the requirements of Indiana’s special education rules, found in Article 7. The 2019 Spanish version of Orientación para el curso: Domine las normas sobre educación especial de Indiana is also available. This document is intended to serve as a companion guide to Article 7 and is not a substitute for Article 7. Please refer to Article 7 for the specific language of the special education rules.

Notice of Procedural Safeguards

The sample Indiana Department of Education Notice of Procedural Safeguards and Departamento de Educación de Indiana Aviso de Salvanguardias Procesales outlines the rights a parent of a child who has or may have a disability has under federal and state laws governing special education. A copy of these rights, also known as Procedural Safeguards, must be given to parents once each year and upon initial referral or request for evaluation, the filing of the first complaint or due process hearing during the school year, on the date of any disciplinary action constituting a change of placement, and at a parent’s request.

Federal Laws and Related Resources

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. The IDEA 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.

Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly referred to as Section 504, is a federal civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability. Section 504 requires public schools provide parents and students with disabilities procedural safeguards that are very similar to the protections afforded to parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has the responsibility and authority to enforce Section 504, as well as other laws prohibiting discrimination.

To file a complaint with the OCR, click here. Contact information for the OCR regional office covering Indiana is available here.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the federal education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when they reach the age of 18 or attend a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) are offices within the USDOE that provide guidance and resources related to the delivery of special education services.

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Office for Civil Rights (OCR), USDOE, enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the USDOE. A complaint may be filed by anyone who believes that an educational institution that receives federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.

Chicago Office

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
John C. Kluczynski Federal Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 312-730-1560
FAX: 312-730-1576; TDD: 800-877-8339