Military and Veteran Family Resource Guide

Military/Veteran Children Special Needs Laws And Rights

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Helps children with disabilities to access school services by providing accommodations and modifications. This does not provide for the individualized education program.

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)
Civil rights protections are provided to individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, a person who has a history or record of such impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Students (2009)
Created to provide a smooth transition for military children as their families relocate from one installation to another. The Compact was created with the hope that students will not lose academic time in transition, obtain an appropriate placement, and be able to graduate on time. Currently all 50 states and District of Columbia participate in the Compact.

Under the compact as taken from Branchta website:

  • If a child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and receives special education services, or a 504 Plan that lists accommodations, the new school must place the child in a comparable program. It does not require the same services, but one that can meet the child’s needs. The new school must address all the current needs of the child until, and unless, the school determines through assessments, that the student no longer needs the services or the current level of services.
  • While IEP’s are transferable under the Compact, the compact is silent regarding the ability to transfer Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) from state to state. Therefore, the infant or toddler will need to meet the criteria established by that state to determine if the child is eligible to receive services. If eligible, there are no assurances that the child will receive the same services.
  • Schools are required to accept hand carried, photo copied or unofficial school records. Waiting for the original official transcripts can be time consuming and not beneficial to the student since receiving official documentation from another state or overseas can take weeks.
  • Schools should allow dependents to be absent without penalties to participate in activities related to the parent’s deployment.
  • Students should be allowed to continue in the same grade they were in prior to the relocation; even if the new school system has different entrance time lines for class enrollment, (this is especially important for kindergarteners).
  • Although the Compact has been around since 2006, there may be school staff who has not heard about the Compact – especially in areas where there are not many active duty families.
  • Students receive accreditation for each class they complete. The accreditation relates to the amount of credits a student has received per class. These credits may not transfer (credit for credit) when relocating from one school to another. Per the Compact, schools should be working to allow students to transfer to the same grade without an issue. Schools/districts should have a comparison chart that will show them how the incoming student’s credits compare to the same or similar classes the new school offers.

If the student is in his or her senior year when the move occurs, he or she should be granted credit, if at all possible, so that the student can graduate with his or her current class. High school class credits within US public schools should transfer per the Interstate Compact to the new school. College courses are not covered under the Compact so they may not transfer credit for credit.

Anti-bullying laws (2012)
Bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involved a real or perceived power imbalance,” as stated in the federal government’s anti-bullying website. There are 11 key components of the law including specification of prohibited conduct, development and implementation of local policies and training and prevention education.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004)
Children with qualifying disabilities have the right for access to a free and appropriate public education. Military parents changing public schools should receive comparable services at the child’s new school.

Social Security Income (SSI)
Military families can apply for SSI while serving overseas and can receive SSI overseas.

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