Do you have a child with a disability in school? Is your child being treated differently because of their disability? Do you feel like they are not getting the support they need to succeed academically, or that their needs are being ignored? They may be the victim of disability discrimination.
Disability discrimination is when someone discriminates against an individual who has a disability by either refusing to provide them with reasonable accommodations for their disability or denying them access to programs and activities because of their disabilities. Many different types of disabilities can be discriminated against, including:
- Physical disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders
- Substance abuse disorders such as alcoholism or drug addiction
- Speech impediments such as stuttering or lisping
In some situations, you may be able to sue a school for disability discrimination. While the settlement amount will vary depending on the facts of the case, disability discrimination laws were designed to compensate victims of discrimination for the harm they suffered and force schools to make changes to avoid future discrimination.
How Do You Prove Disability Discrimination?
How you prove disability discrimination depends on the law you use to sue the school. The three laws that protect students with disabilities from discrimination are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. These laws require schools to meet the child’s health-related needs and prohibit them from discriminatorily restricting the opportunities available to students with disabilities.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that requires states to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all eligible children, including those with disabilities. It also requires states to identify, locate and evaluate children who may need special education service and develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to address the unique needs of each student with a disability.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (often just referred to as Section 504) states that people with disabilities cannot be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance because of their disability. This law is meant to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in federally funded programs and activities, including public schools and private schools that receive federal funding. Section 504 prohibits schools from discriminating against students based on their disabilities and requires them to develop an Individual Health Plan (IHP) to provide for any health-related needs each student with a disability has.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Since its passage in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has been instrumental in leveling the playing field for people with disabilities. The ADA is designed to prevent discrimination against those who are disabled by providing them equal opportunities and access to programs that would otherwise be unavailable to them. As part of its protection for people with disabilities, the ADA requires public schools to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, such as offering them special education services. It also prohibits schools from discriminating against students with disabilities in their programs or activities.
What Are the Chances of Winning a Discrimination Case?
School disability discrimination cases can be tough to win. However, the odds of winning a school discrimination case can vary depending on what state you live in, the type of disability your child has, and the merits of your case. Whether or not you have a successful case depends on whether you can prove that the school discriminated against your child based on their disability. You should consult with an accomplished education lawyer to learn more about the strength of your case under the specific facts and circumstances of the situation.
When Should I Contact an Education Attorney?
If you believe your child’s school has discriminated against them based on their disability, you should contact an education attorney as soon as possible. Whether the school is refusing to provide necessary accommodations for your child’s disability-related needs or is prohibiting them from participating in certain activities because of their disability, an education attorney can help you fight for your child’s rights. A skilled lawyer can review your child’s situation and help advise on the best available course of action to protect your child against discrimination.
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