We frequently write about the various protections that the law affords students with learning disabilities. The law also affords students with physical disabilities a host of education-related protections as well. While some physically disabled students require special education services, others do not. Regardless of whether or not physically disabled students require special education services specifically, they are entitled to certain protections which enable them to learn in the least restrictive environment possible and to obtain a proper education.
For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act helps to ensure that physically disabled students who use wheelchairs or other assistive technology can safely navigate their schools' grounds. This law also helps to ensure that students who require service animals can have access to these animals as needed during the school day. However, simply because a policy is law does not mean that this policy is always followed to the letter.
One family was recently compelled to file a complaint against their local school for denying a disabled boy access to his service animal during both the school day and school-related activities. The ADA specifically requires public schools to implement reasonable service animal policies so that this kind of situation does not occur.
In response to the complaint, the school has agreed to pay the boy’s family $10,000. The school is also now committed to properly implementing a service animal policy in compliance with ADA provisions.
Sometimes families of disabled children must fight to ensure that schools comply with federal and state disability and special education laws. Thankfully, attorneys experienced in this area of law can help families navigate these frustrating situations.
Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “School to Pay $10K for Denying Disabled Student's Service Dog,” Daniel Taylor, June 29, 2014