Disability Discrimination in Schools
A disabled child can have a tough time completing the same tasks as other children their age. For instance, he may require regular adult help or access to medication or a service animal. Thankfully, the federal government has passed laws prohibiting discrimination against students with disabilities. As a result, schools have a responsibility to provide the proper accommodations for these students. School administrators are also not allowed to make assumptions about a child’s abilities based on their disability.
Under the Equality Act 2010, a school must make every reasonable adjustment to ensure that disabled pupils can participate in education in the same way as other pupils. The school has a duty to ensure that all disabled children have equal access to educational opportunities and a positive learning environment. However, ensuring that schools follow these regulations can be challenging. It may feel like a daunting task, but the Equality Act is there to help.
When parents submit their application for accommodation, they should explain their child’s disability and why they need special accommodations. In some cases, the school will be understanding of a child’s need for alternate activities or rest breaks. If a child’s medical condition cannot be adequately explained in a letter, a doctor can write a letter to support the request. If a parent cannot explain the disability discrimination in words, it may be difficult to convince the school that such accommodation is necessary.
If parents find a school to be a good fit, they should discuss the complaint procedure with the school and try to resolve the problem without recourse to a formal complaint. It may also help to resolve the problem proactively with the school, which could change the policy in your child’s favour. In addition, parents can seek legal action if discrimination is a pattern. It may be helpful to contact the First-tier Tribunal.
How to Prevent Disability Discrimination in Schools
Parents can file complaints with the OCR in case they suspect a school has discriminated against a child with a disability. These complaints must be filed within 180 days of the occurrence of the discrimination. However, the timeframe can be extended in some circumstances. Parents can also consult an attorney or visit the Office of Civil Rights. The Office can provide assistance to parents for filing a complaint with the school. If the complaints are denied, parents can also file a lawsuit in state or federal court.
While the ADA does not require specific plans for disabled children, it does require that schools make reasonable modifications to their policies and practices for the student’s benefit. Exceptions may include modifying school rules and policies, counseling the harasser, and implementing a monitoring program. In addition to the ADA, the U.S. Department of Education requires schools to investigate complaints of disability-based harassment and to establish grievance procedures.
While the DRC recommends that schools include more disability-friendly teaching practices, the reality is that it’s not enough to simply implement policies that provide accessible learning opportunities. Many schools are advising disabled students to drop out of school because they don’t feel adequately supported to complete their course. This is the reason why six out of ten disabled students do not feel they can complete their course, says Neil Crowther, head of education policy at the Disability Rights Commission. The results of the DRC’s research will be debated in London tonight.