Bullying is characterized by aggression used within a relationship where the aggressor has more real or perceived power than the target and the aggression is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time.
Disability harassment under Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") is intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying the student's participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution's program.
When a student with a disability is being bullied at school, the bullying can result in a denial of a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") under Section 504 and the IDEA.
School districts may be liable under state and/or federal law if they fail to address bullying. This is especially true if the school district was aware of the student's disability-related vulnerabilities and failed to take steps to protect them.