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Title IX redux? Education Dept. says school sports can't shut out disabled.

The Education Department issued a letter Friday advising public schools how to offer equal opportunities for disabled students in sports. Some say it is a landmark moment.

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Coming soon to a school sporting event near you: more participation of students with disabilities.

The US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued guidance to schools Friday to clarify their obligation to provide equal opportunities in athletics as part of the broader effort to avoid discriminating against disabled students.

“It’s really a landmark moment for students with disabilities: This will do for them what Title IX has done for women,” says Terri Lakowski, CEO of Active Policy Solutions, an organization in Washington that helps the Inclusive Fitness Coalition lobby for policy changes.

 

Advocates for disabled students say that too often they are shut out of school sports because of stereotypes or a lack of understanding of how to accommodate their disabilities. When they are encouraged to participate in sports, the advocates say, it often gives a life-changing boost to their confidence, independence, health, and motivation to stay in school.

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