WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- School districts across the United States are required to provide opportunities for disabled students to take part in sports, federal officials said.
The Department of Education issued a directive Friday stating schools are bound by federal law to include disabled kids in their athletic programs.
"It's a landmark moment for students with disabilities," said Terri Lakowski, policy chair of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition. "This is a game changer. I firmly believe this will do for students with disabilities what Title IX has done for women and girls."
The Washington Post said Saturday the directive from the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights provides guidelines for "reasonable modifications" at schools that will allow disabled students to join mainstream varsity, club and intramural teams when practical, or to offer other opportunities such as wheelchair basketball squads.
The National Federation of State High School Associations said in a written statement it supported the inclusion directive and would work with member schools to accommodate more disabled athletes.