Give Disabled Access to Teams, Schools Told

Give Disabled Access to Teams, Schools Told

The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the USA that they must give disabled students equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making.

In a letter to schools due out Friday, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow disabled students to participate – for instance, providing a deaf track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear.

He said schools don't have to radically alter games or stop choosing the most qualified athletes for competitive teams. They can look to "allied" or "unified" sports teams, in which students with disabilities participate with students without them.

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