Education Rights

DRNC enforces the education rights of students with disabilities ages 3 through 22 who attend public schools in our state. The law requires schools to teach students with disabilities in the school building except in very rare cases. Additionally, schools must use effective instruction that meets the student’s individual needs. Schools must teach them even if they have severe disabilities or challenging behaviors.

The Work of DRNC's Education Team

How DRNC advocates for the education rights of students with disabilities

A number of students with disabilities in NC miss significant amounts of school due to:

  • suspensions
  • modified day schedules
  • homebound placements
  • alternative school placements
  • court involvement

Our main goal is to get these students back in school so they can make progress in school. We also work to keep them out of juvenile courts and detention centers. And we advocate to improve the quality of special education instruction. We want your student to have the services and supports they need to succeed in school.

How we work to return students to school and improve their chances of success

  • Educating students, parents, and advocates about special education rights.
  • Helping parents and advocates file formal and informal appeals to enforce those rights.
  • Representing individual students on systemic legal issues.*
  • Securing changes to laws and procedures that are harmful to students with disabilities.
  • Enforcing laws and procedures to protect students with disabilities.

* These are issues that we believe we can resolve both for that student and other students in the same school district or state-wide.


We protect the educational rights of students with disabilities. And we make sure they are able to attend school each day. We also make sure they have what they need to learn and succeed in school.

View our library of education resources

Your child’s education rights at a glance

Your child has the right to:

  • Stay in school on a full day schedule.
  • Receive individualized instruction to meet his or her unique needs. Your child’s unique needs can include challenging behaviors.
  • Receive the supports and services he or she needs to succeed.

Resources (Spanish)