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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 35372
Experience:  I am an attorney with more than 3 decades of experience in a wide variety of legal areas, including Educational Law.
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My 13year old niece has a medical disability called

Customer Question

My 13year old niece has a medical disability called Myastenia Gravis. Because of her condition she is often tired and is limited to the amount of physical activity she can do. She is forced to take medication daily in order for her to function normally.
A few scenarios happening to her at her school are questionable and I am looking to get some advise on next steps.
1) Some members of the school staff are not recognizing her condition as a disability and often make her climb stairs instead of having option to take elevator (elevators need a pass to be used). On one occasion she came home crying because the teacher forced her to constantly use the stairs and she had become weak.
2) On another occasion she needed to go to the medical office and the teacher did not allow her to. What are the implications to the school if they refuse to attend a child with a medical condition properly?
3) Her attendance at school is affected as she needs time to get herself adjusted and ready for travel. Which means she is often late. A school attendance officer appeared at my sister's home stating she will be contact ACS and report my sister if my niece continues to be late. Quite agressive stance when there is a child with disabilities. What are her legal rights here?
My sister has had conversations with the school principal but these issues are still happening.
What legal steps can my sister take to move forward with making sure my niece has a solid experience at school without harassment.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 9 months ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Under the ADA guidelines, your niece clearly appears to be disabled, and as such the school district has the legal obligation to grant her reasonable accommodations which she or a parent might request.

A refusal to make a reasonable accommodation for your niece, presuming that her physical and medical condition qualifies as a disability under the ADA guidelines, would be a violation of law, and give her parent or guardian, through her, a cause of action for discrimination.

Under the ADA guidelines, a person is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. Recently, some new sections were added to the ADA regulations which provide even greater protections for the employee. One such section, 1630.2(j)(1)(iii) holds that the issue of “substantially limited” in a major life activity “should not demand extensive analysis,” and goes on to hold that comparing an individual’s performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population “usually will not require scientific, medical or statistical analysis.”

As a result, proving a disability is a bit easier, and the remedies for a violation of your rights are several.

Someone needs to speak with her doctor about what accommodations they believe might be in her best interests (such as limiting physical activity, having use of the elevator, etc.) and then present several possibilities to the school district, in writing and along with a report from your niece's physician, for their consideration.

You or a parent may begin by filing a formal complaint of discrimination against the school district with the Department of Justice at:
U.S. Department of Justice

***** NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights - NYAVE
Washington, D.C. 20530

Her parent or legal guardian may also file a lawsuit in Federal Court against the school district if they do not provide reasonable accommodations for your niece.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2016,

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 9 months ago.

Good afternoon,

Do you have any additional questions that you would like me to address for you? In case you would like a phone call to further discuss these issues you have raised, I will make that offer to you. You are certainly not obligated to accept a call offer, but many people do find it helpful for clarification purposes, as well as to allow them to ask additional questions.

If I have provided you with the information you were seeking, would you please now rate my service to you?

Thanks in advance,

Doug

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