Departments of Justice and Education Publish Resources on Students at Risk of Self-Harm
This week, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights released a joint fact sheet titled “Supporting and Protecting the Rights of Students at Risk of Self-Harm in the Era of COVID-19.”
The fact sheet outlines how mental health disorders qualify students for protections under federal disability rights statutes including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provides guidance to schools on how to provide adequate resources to these students. The fact sheet also describes when the Departments are authorized to investigate non-compliance and enforce federal laws in schools.
The Department of Education issued an accompanying letter to educators emphasizing the roles and responsibilities of schools and school districts in protecting the rights of students who are at risk of self-harm or suicide. The letter reiterates the recommendations in the fact sheet for schools looking to create an environment supportive of struggling students.