Student Disability Advisor — Hawaii

Students with disabilities will face challenges like all other pupils with academic rigors, social pressures, and working through obstacles that may lie between them and graduation. Yet, students with disabilities aren't alone in their pursuits. In fact, one in five students nationwide in post-secondary programs lives with an emotional, mental, or physical disability, according to one study. For decades, state and federal laws have afforded reasonable accommodations for diploma and degree-seeking students with qualifying disabilities. However, schools in Hawaii sometimes fail to oblige to their commitments. If your K-12 school, college or university, or other educational program neglects your disability or fails to provide you with reasonable accommodations, contact national education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento. He and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team are prepared to defend your disability rights, ensuring equal education access.

Disabled Student Rights in Hawaii

Disability Accommodations in Hawaii

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights contends that primary and secondary schools throughout the country must provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) for every student. For students with qualifying disabilities, schools must also apportion reasonable accommodations to fulfill FAPE requirements. Additionally, schools and other educational institutions must educate students in the "least restrictive environment," meaning students with disabilities cannot be isolated from the majority of in-school populations unless proper reasoning exists. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the primary federal law overseeing access to accommodations for students in K-12 schools. As listed in the act, primary and secondary schools must identify student disabilities and manage educational requirements through an individualized education plan (I.E.P.). Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act correspondingly directs Hawaii's institutions of higher education to provide reasonable accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities. Such accommodations that will help students may include augmentative devices to improve a disabled student's hearing, mobility, or sight, classroom conversions, schedule alterations, substitute testing methods, and others.

A.D.A. Issues and Lawsuits in Hawaii

Per Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.), colleges and universities must accommodate qualifying disabilities under federal law. The A.D.A. covers a multitude of cardiovascular, hormone, musculoskeletal, neural-based, and respiratory disabilities and disorders, as well as other limiting physical impairments. Nevertheless, intellectual and emotional disabilities are also covered, like conditions surrounding anxiety, learning incapacities, and psychiatric disorders requiring medication or therapy. The federal government will enforce A.D.A. disability rights through formal lawsuits or civil actions. For example, a federal judge ruled that a Hawaii law passed to ban children over the age of 20 from enrolling in public school violated IDEA.

Hawaii State Disability Laws

Hawaii's state disability laws generally track with federal laws. Like many other states, Hawaii Administrative Rules (H.A.R) §8-60-52 provides an outlet for parents that seek to challenge a school I.E.P. determination through a due process complaint procedure. H.A.R. §8-60-8 goes further to offer special education support services in non-academic areas. Such services include counseling, athletics, transportation, healthcare, recreational activities, special interest groups, and employment assistance. If you or your student has a dispute with a Hawaii school over admission, reasonable accommodations, or access to programs, retain national education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team.

Disability as a Mitigating Factor in Hawaii

Disabilities Affecting Academic Progression Issues in Hawaii

While students are guaranteed FAPE through reasonable accommodations, they must also maintain a school's academic standard through their progression policy. Hawaii's schools—primary through post-secondary—will have a satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policy. SAP standards generally include minimum thresholds of grade point averages, course credits attempted, percentage of course credits passed, and a maximum time period for graduation. However, Hawaii institutions may fail to modify SAP requirements for disabled students, putting them at risk of running afoul of a school's academic standards. If that occurs, a student's disability rights can be a defense against unfair academic discipline. National education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento can fight for you to keep your place at the school and defend your graduation plans.

Disabilities Affecting Misconduct Discipline in Hawaii

Academic progression aside, disabilities may affect how a student handles disciplinary procedures. An emotional, mental, or physical disability could hinder a student's ability to represent themselves effectively in the investigative, hearing, and sanctioning stages. State and federal disability will compel schools to provide accommodations during the grievance process as recognized disorders like ADHD, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others influence a student's mindset and behavior. If not, school disciplinary officials may misjudge a student's actions and hand down penalties unfairly. Whenever a primary or secondary school student undergoes the disciplinary process, IDEA and Section 504 laws require a school to conduct a