Student Disability Advisor – Ohio

Students with disabilities should not be segregated or have their education limited because of their school's inability to accommodate their unique needs. Especially not when nearly one out of every five higher education students is disabled. As such, legislation, both state and federal, seek to provide disabled students with reasonable accommodations so that they have the same opportunities as other students – both in their academic achievements and in their career.

Despite this, though, many schools fail to provide even basic accommodations to their disabled students, which creates a tremendous amount of irritation and resentment for students and their families. If your school has failed to recognize your disability or refuses to provide you with reasonable accommodations, Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. Call today.

Disabled Student Rights in Ohio

All disabled students have specific state and federal rights that must be afforded to them when requested. If they are not, the student has every right to pursue legal recourse.

Disability Accommodations in Ohio

Ohio schools must observe state and federal disability laws, which declare which disabilities qualify for accommodations and which accommodations schools must make available for their qualifying students.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal regulation, Ohio elementary and secondary schools must construct and implement individualized education plans (IEPs) for students with qualifying disabilities. The IEP is a guide for schools to follow so that they understand what types of special education instruction, support, and services the student needs to succeed in school.

Moreover, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, colleges and universities are required to offer disabled students reasonable accommodations. Accommodations at the college level can include anything from adapting classroom layouts to be more accessible for wheelchairs, making sure deaf and hearing-impaired students have access to interpreters for their lectures, and offering dyslexic students the opportunity to have someone else in class take notes for them.

All accommodations, no matter the age, have a great and positive effect on the student's future and should always be pursued.

ADA Issues and Lawsuits in Ohio

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is broken up into five Titles. Title II is made up of Subtitle A, and Subtitle B. Subtitle A outlines the services, programs, and activities the government expects state and local governments to provide to their residents. Additionally, Subtitle B covers all the requirements public transportation must follow. Under Subtitle A, schools in Ohio are supposed to offer their disabled students reasonable accommodations.

The Department of Education (DOE) oversees enforcing the ADA and thus has been tasked with interpreting and expanding the rights of disabled students outlined within. As such, the DOE has stated that the ADA does include not only physical and visible disabilities but also neurological and mental disabilities and psychiatric conditions that require medication.

Moreover, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division (DOJ) is tasked with enforcing ADA disability rights in Ohio civil lawsuits. For instance, in May 2022, the DOJ pursued a lawsuit against the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Columbus, Ohio, to require them to make modifications that would make the premises more accessible for disabled customers.

Ohio State Disability Laws

Disability laws in Ohio are based on the specifics laid out in the ADA and include compliance responsibilities for the state to abide by. The compliance responsibilities are a set of self-evaluations for the state to take in order to ensure its policies, procedures, practices, and facilities are accessible for students with disabilities.

Disability as a Mitigating Factor in Ohio

For disabled students, there are many scenarios that can infringe on their ability to pursue their education, including their ability to progress through their academic programs and defend themselves during disciplinary proceedings. Simply put, when a school is not accessible to their disabled students, their disabled students have a much more difficult time passing their classes. These frustrations can compound and be displayed in ways they normally wouldn't.

Disability Affecting Academic Progression Issues in Ohio

Every day, disabled students are faced with obstacles they must overcome – many before they even eat breakfast. If a student arrives at a classroom without reasonable accommodations, it will make it extremely difficult to focus on the material they are learning. Additionally, if they are not provided with ways to make the lecture, exam, or assignment more accessible, they will not be able to complete it to the best of their ability. Assignments become worthless because they do not accurately test the student's true knowledge of the subject.

Students are expected to progress through their programs at a particular pace and with a certain GPA. If a student falls below this GPA or their progression pace slows down too much, they will be referred for a disciplinary hearing. Disabled students who do not receive reasonable accommodations will not be able to progress through the program appropriately, and their grades may suffer. Because of this, they may find themselves in front of a disciplinary committee.

All students should be focused on studying and making friends, not worrying if plowed snow on the sidewalk will stop them from attending classes and ruin their chances for a bright future.

Disability Affecting Misconduct Discipline in Ohio

Alternatively, instructors may misinterpret behavioral differences in disabled students as misconduct and choose to refer them for punishment. If this happens, disabled students can be unnecessarily punished, which is why IEPs are so important for teachers to review and understand, as they will outline exactly what behaviors to expect from the student and tools to use to counter them.

Whatever encourages the school to pursue disciplinary actions, they are supposed to make sure the hearings are accessible. If they do not, students will not be able to defend themselves properly.

School Disability Attorney Advisors Available in Ohio

There are many issues that could result in your child's disability requirements being neglected. Many schools believe they can handle the accommodations but then fail to do so. At the same time, other schools may choose to unnecessarily segregate students in direct violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If your school has failed to provide you with reasonable and appropriate accommodations, Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help.

Attorney Lento is an experienced attorney advisor who has s