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Boston public schools agree to recognize sickle cell disease as disability

The Boston school system has agreed to recognize sickle cell disease — which affects millions of Americans and is more common among blacks and Latinos — as a disability that interferes with a student’s education, the Globe has learned.

Students with the disease, a painful disorder that causes red blood cells to deform into a sickle shape and stick to vessel walls, often miss numerous days of school and fall behind on their class work due to hospitalization or side effects from their medication.

In the voluntary deal that Superintendent Tommy Chang signed with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights last month, the district said it will provide supplemental instruction to students with the disease, offer special accommodations, and work to ensure students’ educations do not suffer.