Federal laws protect students and faculty with disabilities. It is illegal for a school to discriminate against students, staff, or faculty on the basis of disability. And disabilities include not only physical disability but also psychiatric conditions that may have no external manifestations. It is also an unknown fact by the public at large that students with psychiatric conditions are disproportionately accused of other student misconduct, including sexual misconduct.
Many students coming from high school had been protected by IEP’s and the IDEA, a federal law that guarantees every student public school a free, appropriate public education.
That being said, the legal terrain quickly changes in college and in the work world. On campus, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, but you’re not guaranteed an education.
If you believe that you have been denied reasonable accommodations or if you believe you are being discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may have a valid case. Our disability rights lawyer is here to help. Please contact Allen Harris to learn more about how we can assist you.
Disability Rights Lawyer | Protecting Students and Faculty With Disabilities
Unfortunately, students are not guaranteed a “free appropriate public education” when it comes to higher education, and the support that many receive in K-12 education is no longer available. In addition, college and university students cannot necessarily be shielded from discipline simply because an unfortunate incident of behavior manifests a disability or psychiatric condition. That being said, students with disabilities have important legal protections that they must understand. This includes demanding disability accommodations in disciplinary procedures themselves, which are high-pressure and extremely unfavorable to the disabled. When your rights are violated, the law of disability rights can be used on your side.
Rights Afforded in Section 504 and the Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are virtually identical for the purposes of higher education. Colleges and universities must grant reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities so long as they are “otherwise capable” of meeting the requirements of their job or of the curriculum.
The good news is that the coverage of these laws is broad. For example, the number of disabilities covered is far broader than those under the IDEA. Furthermore, you do not have to have a “learning disability” to qualify for protections. You do not have to have a permanent impairment. There are no specific categories of disability that you must fit into in order to qualify for legal protection.
That being said, you may need help navigating the school’s administration. It is not uncommon for one administrative office to refuse to listen to another, especially the disability services office, which every campus must have. You can and should secure your rights through the university’s disability services office. But these offices go by many names: Office of Student Accessibility, Office of Accommodations, Student Services Office, and other names. Be aware, however, that what the disability service office grants and what a school may or may not do are often separate things.
Our firm is here to help you navigate this complex system and preserve your rights through every step of the process.
Contact Our Disability Rights Lawyers
Anyone who believes they are a victim of a violation of Section 504 or the Americans With Disabilities Act should strongly consider retaining the services of a knowledgeable disability rights lawyer. Contact Allen Harris today to learn more about what we can do for you.