Sending your child to school should be an exciting development and milestone in their life. Physical obstacles that hinder your child’s access to their school can make that excitement fizzle quickly – yet, reports indicate that physical obstacles to education are all too common across the nation.
A look at the problem
According to an ABC News report from 2020, two-thirds of American public schools had some level of inaccessibility to students with physical disabilities. These could be, but are not limited to:
- Ramps that are too steep
- A lack of elevators
- A lack of automatic doors
- Narrow doorways and passageways
As a parent or guardian of a child with disabilities, you may wonder what the rules are in these situations.
A look at the law
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students with physical disabilities generally qualify for an independent education program (IEP) that will provide them with:
- Accommodations and modifications
- Supplementary aids and services
- Related services
The accommodations and modifications included in the IEP are generally related to the student’s education. However, an IEP can also include accommodations to students’ physical space to ensure ease and access to learning, such as desks that can accommodate wheelchairs.
On top of that, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination – and that includes rules about physical barriers. It is clear that the existence of these barriers is against the law and a violation of your child’s rights. In these cases, it might be beneficial to seek legal guidance on how to handle these situations.