The next attempt at advocating for my son was to look at basic civil rights law. I read about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and how it was an equal access law (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/faqs.html). It was a comparison between children with disabilities and children without disabilities. Section 504 included a provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education FAPE (which IDEA also has). I had already filed a State Complaint, using IDEA, and they ruling was that FAPE was being provided to my son. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html#interrelationship)
Section 504 also had provision for least restrictive environment but again I had already addressed that in my State Complaint and it was remedied by increasing my son’s time in the regular education classroom and providing an aid while he was in there, which was something never offered in his neighborhood school.. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html#placement)
So what was different between the two laws? The most glaring difference was the reference to non-discrimination on the basis of disability (www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/disability.html) with the mention of “as adequately as a non-disabled peer”.
If your child without a disability could access a service or program then my child with a disability could access the same services and programs, with supports.
Consequently if your child without a disability did not have to do something then my child with a disability didn’t have to do it. I applied that to the length of time the children were spending riding a bus to and from school each day.
I filed my first Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaint (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintprocess.html). I did include the things I had already filed in my State Complaint but added that my son and other children with disabilities were being forced to ride buses to school longer than required by their non-disabled peers which resulted in them being discriminated against on the basis of disability. The complaint was written and mailed.
Now you can file a complaint online, but back then the only option was snail mail. (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html)