College is hard for everyone, but for students with disabilities, higher education can present a wide variety of added barriers and challenges, particularly if your school is not accommodating of your needs. If you're a student or the parent of a student with a disability in Indiana who is struggling to achieve success in school, you are not alone. With accommodations, disability should not have a negative impact on anyone's ability to learn and stay on pace academically with their peers. According to national data, disability is quite common – in fact, one in five students at colleges and universities is disabled, meaning many individuals encounter the same challenges as you each day.
If your Indiana school is failing to recognize and meet your reasonable needs for your disability, there is good news – state and federal laws, rules, and regulations are on your side. You also have another partner in your corner – national education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and his Student Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm are ready and willing to help you or your student in your fight with an Indiana school – and that includes any level of education or any type of program. If you need additional guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced team, contact the Lento Law Firm right away, and read on for essential information.
Disability Accommodations in Indiana
At the Lento Law Firm, we know that students with disabilities are just as talented and capable as their able-bodied peers – and the truth of this statement is backed up by federal law. At all levels – including primary, secondary, and higher education – schools in Indiana must adhere to the tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which legally requires primary and secondary schools in Indiana and other states to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. IDEA also requires Indiana schools to develop and carry out individualized education plans for students who meet certain qualifications.
There is a federal law that applies to colleges and universities as well. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires institutions of higher education in Indiana – including graduate and professional schools – to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled students. These accommodations may include services, equipment, modifications of the facility or the student's schedule, and other resources that can be enormously beneficial to allowing disabled students to reach their full potential.
ADA Issues and Lawsuits in Indiana
Another federal law offering protections to disabled students that many people have heard of is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title II of this landmark legislation prohibits discrimination based on disability and therefore requires colleges and universities in Indiana to provide reasonable accommodations and equal opportunities for disabled students. Disabilities may include those of a physical nature as well as mental, such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and other psychiatric conditions.
A case involving the ADA in Indiana investigated a complaint that students with emotional and behavioral disabilities within the North Gibson School Corporation in Princeton were inappropriately isolated and restrained in classrooms, subjecting them to unnecessary trauma and causing them to miss out on days and sometimes weeks of vital education and instruction. The United States Department of Justice recently reached a settlement with the school district to prevent these harmful practices, stating that students with disabilities are guaranteed the right to an equal education under the ADA.
Indiana State Disability Laws
In Indiana, all institutions serving the public – including schools of all levels – are expected to abide by the tenets of the ADA, as well as other federal legislation offering protections for individuals with disabilities. To help ensure disabled individuals in Indiana receive equitable treatment at school and work, the Indiana state government operates the department of Indiana Disability Rights, which provides resources, education, and advocacy for disabled individuals in Indiana. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are also here to help you advocate for yourself or your student in disputes with Indiana schools over disability accommodations.
Disability as a Mitigating Factor in Indiana
Disabilities Affecting Academic Progression Issues in Indiana
For students with disabilities who are denied reasonable accommodations at school to facilitate learning, the effects can be far-reaching and long-lasting. This includes academic standing, as students in Indiana may be required to meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards. These guidelines might include achieving a minimum grade point average, completing a certain portion of credits, or finishing your degree within a specified timeframe – and they could affect your eligibility for financial aid or even your ability to advance in your program or remain at your school.
To meet SAP requirements, students with disabilities might require accommodations – but schools in Indiana, just like those in other states, might fail to give disabled students the modifications they need. If you or your student has been suspended, placed on probation, or expelled after failing to meet satisfactory academic progress standards, it's time to take a closer look at whether your school provided the necessary adjustments for you to succeed. National education attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help you understand your rights and decide what steps to take next.
Disabilities Affecting Misconduct Discipline in Indiana
In Indiana schools, students accused of misconduct are supposed to be given a fair chance to represent themselves in hearings and share their side of the story – but students with disabilities may have a harder time being treated fairly in misconduct proceedings. Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities could all play a significant role in a student's ability to argue effectively in their own defense, meaning these students may be more likely to face disciplinary action such as remediation or expulsion.
Federal law requires Indiana school officials to provide accommodations for disabled students in these types of high-stakes hearings – but conditions such as autism, Asperger's syndrome, and other emotional and social impairments can easily be misunderstood. Not only can these types of disabilities make misconduct defense more difficult, but they can also be at the root of certain behaviors that may have led to the misconduct charges in the first place. It is entirely possible that, with appropriate considerations, the misconduct never would have occurred. If you have experienced discrimination and are now facing misconduct charges, the Lento Law Firm can help you prepare a defense and fight for your rights.
School Disability Attorney Advisor Available in Indiana
Indiana, like other states, is obligated to follow federal disability laws, which giv