Disability Discrimination in School
School districts are not allowed to discriminate against students with disabilities. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law that protects students with disabilities by requiring public schools to meet their educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. Section 504 also says that students with disabilities have the right to be with non-disabled students to the maximum extent possible, including field trips, recess, lunch, school events and all other extracurriculars.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
Your child has the right to be included in extracurricular activities and events.
Your child has the right to have equal access to programs and services in public school.
Your child has the right to be free from exclusion from the education system.
Your child has the right to be free from disability harassment.
You have the right to be free from retaliation for your advocacy. This means that the teachers or school administration cannot take revenge-style action against you or your child when you are working with them to gain educational rights for your child.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?
Disagreements with a school can often be worked out easily, but sometimes you will need an experienced advocate to work with you. CLSMF advises parents and children about their legal rights concerning education. We will assist you in obtaining needed educational services and testing. We will mediate disagreements, and, if necessary, we will litigate the issues in court on your behalf. If you believe your child has been subjected to disability discrimination, reach out to a qualified attorney who is familiar with education law.
Make sure all communication with the school district is in writing, preferably by email.
If you have a meeting with your child’s teacher or school administrators about your child’s specific needs, do your best to document that meeting in writing after it is over so that your requests are documented and cannot later be denied as having happened.
Save any letters or emails that you receive from the school district.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING ACTION?
Have you checked to see if your child is being treated differently than their non-disabled peers?
Have you alerted someone at the school that this is taking place?
Have you put your concerns in writing and shared them with the school administrators?
Some private schools may not be required to abide by the same laws as public schools do when it comes to discrimination actions.
If you have questions concerning disability discrimination in the school, contact us at 386-361-5254.