Student Disability Advisor — North Dakota

Students with disabilities pursuing education will face trials along the way to graduation. Such adversities may manifest as pressures in the social environment, academic rigors, and even applying for legally-required disability accommodations. The obstacles met by students with disabilities aren't uncommon, however. One study assessing the prevalence of students with disabilities in colleges and universities shows that nearly one in five students enrolled in higher education programs across the country have an emotional, mental, or physical disability. Regardless of the type of disability, state and federal laws require schools to provide reasonable accommodations for qualifying impairments. Now and then, though, North Dakota schools occasionally fail in their legal obligations, putting students at risk of falling behind. If your primary or secondary school, college or university, or other educational program declines to recognize your disability or provide you reasonable accommodations, contact national education lawyer Joseph D. Lento. He and the Lento Law Firm's Student Defense Team stand prepared to defend your disability rights or special education support that ensures your access to education.

Disabled Student Rights in North Dakota

Disability Accommodations in North Dakota

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights asserts that all students attending K-12 programs are guaranteed a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE). In some states, early special education support services may be available for children with qualifying disabilities as young as three and will continue until they graduate. Moreover, students with disabilities in primary and secondary schools must be instructed in the "least restrictive environment." Therefore, disabled students may not be excluded from majority in-school populations unless under emergency circumstances. The main federal law providing and protecting access to disability accommodations is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The act requires K-12 schools to play a part in identifying a student with disabilities and addressing their conditions with educational alterations through an individualized education plan (IEP) or a functional behavioral assessment (FBA). Plans may be reexamined or adjusted once a year or upon approval from the student's parent or guardian. Similarly, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act directs North Dakota's institutions of higher education to produce academic, environmental, and scheduling accommodations for students with qualifying disabilities. Such accommodations may include but are not limited to, enhancive equipment, services, or software to enhance a student's senses or mobility, facility conversions, schedule alterations, substitute testing methods, and others that guarantee FAPE for students.

ADA Issues and Lawsuits in North Dakota

An additional federal law directing North Dakota's institutions of higher education to accommodate qualifying disabilities is Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA will help students with physical disabilities relating to the cardiovascular, digestive, musculoskeletal, and neurological systems gain accommodations. Yet, intellectual and emotional disabilities are also included, like anxiety disorders, learning incapacities, and psychiatric conditions requiring medication or therapy. The U.S. government's ADA guidelines and disability rights will be enforced through formal lawsuits or civil actions. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice settled with North Dakota State University (NDSU) over allegations that NDSU sports facilities were inaccessible to a majority of students with disabilities.

North Dakota State Disability Laws

North Dakota's state disability laws generally track with federal laws. While the federal government guarantees FAPE for students until they reach age 21, North Dakota extends the age limit to 22, per the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI). North Dakota Century Code §25-01.2-09 provides that no individual receiving special education or disability services may be subjected to corporal punishment, be isolated or secluded except in emergencies, or be physically restrained in any manner, except in emergencies. The NDDPI will also oversee a comprehensive, multi-year focus on improving results for students with disabilities, including increasing the six-year extended graduation rate of emotionally disabled students and providing professional development assistance.

Disability as a Mitigating Factor in North Dakota

Disabilities Affecting Academic Progression Issues in North Dakota

While students with disabilities have the legal capacity to access any academic program available to other students, they must abide by an institution's academic progression policies. Typically, these are referred to as satisfactory academic progress (SAP) policies. SAP guidelines are generally comprised of specific goals each student must achieve every semester and throughout their term of enrollment. Some standard SAP requirements are minimum semester and cumulative grade point averages, the number of course credits attempted, the percentage of course credits passed, and a maximum time period for graduation. However, North Dakota's schools may deny altering their academic standards for students with disabilities. If that occurs, a student's disability rights will be a defense against unjust treatment and academic discipline that could lead to dismissal. National education lawyer Joseph D. Lento can fight for your right to graduate with a degree or diploma of your choice.

Disabilities Affecting Misconduct Discipline in North Dakota

If a student with disabilities is alleged to have committed misconduct, their condition will also affect how they handle disciplinary procedures. Any emotional, mental, or physical disability can greatly impact a student's capacity to defend themselves. The investigative, hearing, and sanctioning phases are stringent procedures. They will req