Student Disability Advisor – Alabama

It's not uncommon for students to struggle with their education. Part of the learning process is understanding what you are capable of and where your limits are. Students living with disabilities should only have to worry about the same types of struggles as their other peers—not face unnecessary roadblocks put up by schools that refuse to accommodate a student's disability.

If you are a student with special needs or the parent of a student with disabilities, you should know that federal and state laws protect your right to an education. Schools at all levels must make accommodations for qualified students that allow them to reach their educational goals and milestones.

National educational attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the experienced legal professionals at the Lento Law Firm work with students with disabilities every day in Alabama and throughout the Deep South. If you are struggling with issues or concerns regarding your school administration and your disability, the Lento Law Firm can help. Retain attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento today and protect your educational future.

Disabled Student Rights in Alabama

Disability Accommodations in Alabama

Students in Alabama that attend an educational institution that receives funding from the federal government are protected by federal disability laws. The most important of these laws is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA.

In order to qualify under IDEA, a student must have a qualified disability, and that disability must require the student to have special needs. The requisite disability can fall under many categories, from physical disabilities like deafness or blindness to learning disabilities like ADHD or dyslexia. If a student qualifies under IDEA, their school must provide an individualized education plan, or IEP, that is specifically tailored to the student and their special needs.

In addition to IDEA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act also requires schools receiving federal funding to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. For example, this could mean providing extra time during tests, modifying equipment or teaching methods, or providing different resources to accomplish the same goals. Both of these acts ensure that students from kindergarten through graduate schools have fair access to education regardless of their disability.

ADA Issues and Lawsuits in Alabama

Another federal law that applies to schools that receive government funding is the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act, known as the ADA, replaced much of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires that all schools that receive federal funding provide reasonable accommodations to allow every student with disabilities equal access to education. For example, if a school district provides buses to take students back and forth to school, those buses must also be equipped to deal with wheelchairs if a student requires one.

In addition, the ADA applies to both public schools and colleges and private schools and universities. Title II of the ADA requires all programs and services provided by state and local governments to be accessible to people with disabilities, while Title III of the Act applies that requirement to private entities that offer courses for education. In short, almost all places of education are required to make accommodations for the people with disabilities that use them, and if they do not, they may be subject to fines and civil lawsuits.

Alabama State Disability Laws

Students in Alabama are protected by the three main federal laws regarding disabilities in education, namely IDEA, the ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. All states, including Alabama, have adopted their own state-specific version of the IDEA. Unfortunately, Alabama's state legislature has not enacted laws that have gone beyond the requirements of the federal IDEA system at a state level.

In Alabama, schools are required to provide an IEP for each student with a qualifying disability. The IEP must address each student's strengths, needs, and the way their disability affects their performance in the general education curriculum. If your child is not being given an IEP for their disability, or if your school is refusing to make accommodations for your disability, national educational attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm can help you address the situation with your school and negotiate a resolution.

Disability as a Mitigating Factor in Alabama

Disabilities Affecting Academic Progression Issues in Alabama

Students in Alabama who have disabilities are assessed frequently as part of the IEP. The members of the IEP, including the student's parents, a regular education teacher, a special education teacher, and a case manager, will all evaluate a student's weaknesses, strengths, and mastery of the material.

When a student is falling behind their grade level, the IEP members may choose to evaluate the student based on the grade standards used for students a year or two behind them. The IEP team should also evaluate how a student's lack of mastery in an area would affect the student's ability to progress through the rest of their general education. In many cases, with focused practice, targeted education, and the help of education law attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento, students with disabilities can make enough progress to move forward in their educational careers.

Disabilities Affecting Misconduct Discipline in Alabama

Students with disabilities have special rules when it comes to school discipline. Like all students, they can be suspended or expelled for bad behavior, but the school must meet certain criteria and follow certain procedures before doing so.

A student who has an IEP may be suspended for up to 10 days in a row at once so long as the number of suspensions in a year does not equal a substantive change in their placement. If the student is going to be suspended for more than ten days, the IEP team must meet to discuss a change in the student's educational plan in order to address the behavior.

In some instances, like when misconduct involves weapons or illegal drugs, suspensions can last much longer without running afoul of state or federal law. School discipline infractions that coincide with a student's disability can be extraordinarily complicated and aren't something you should handle on your own. If you or your student is facing misconduct charges, contact the experienced education law team at the Lento Law Firm today.

School Disability Attorney Advisor Available in Alabama

Schools in Alabama have a legal responsibility to ensure that students with special needs and disabilities are receiving the accommodations they deserve. However, if you're struggling to get a fair and equitable educational experience, it can be challenging to know where to turn for help. That's why national education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and his experienced student defense team at the Lento Law Firm exist – to offer extensive knowledge on disability accommodation negotiation, academic progression issues, and behavioral misconduct accusations throughout schools of all levels in Alabama. Contact our office today by calling 888.535.3686.