HomeSpecial EducationDyslexiaUnanimous Supreme Court Decision for Students with Disabilities

Unanimous Supreme Court Decision for Students with Disabilities


In a unanimous Supreme Court decision in the case of Miguel Perez vs. Sturgis Public Schools, the courts ruled that students aren’t required to exhaust the IDEA procedures before seeking relief (for instance money damages) under the ADA.

The case involved a deaf student who for 12 years was denied reasonable accommodations (a sign language interpreter) so that he could adequately learn and comprehend others around him.

Apparently, there was even another deaf student at the school, but they could not communicate with each other.

From Wrightslaw:
For twelve years, the school district passed Miguel Luna from grade to grade. The district inflated his grades to As and Bs so he made the honor roll. Miguel Luna did not learn how to read or write. He couldn’t hear his teachers so he didn’t learn subjects like science, history, literature, and geography. A few weeks before graduation, school officials told his family he would receive a certificate of completion, not a high school diploma.

The practical significance of the decision is that students and their families will be able to sue districts for lack of reasonable accommodations. It is mind-boggling that the school in this case would assume that their education was appropriate.

They were not preparing him for life beyond school whether that was to be employment or higher education.

For dyslexic students and their parents, there are important conclusions:
– Do not assume your students are receiving an appropriate education and reasonable accommodations that will prepare them for their future.
– Be aware that students can be given passing grades due to adjusted lower expectations rather than appropriately high goals and expectations.
– Realize that there are laws in place to make sure your student is learning and being adequately prepared for the future.

The two laws supporting students with disabilities in schools are the IDEA and the ADA. The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) states that students should have free and appropriate public education (FAPE), but it does not provide for monetary damages if FAPE is not provided. The ADA or American with Disabilities Act, on the other hand, does say that students can sue their schools if they are not being provided with an appropriate education.

So this is a powerful decision for students and their families.

What this hopefully means is that schools will need to be much more attentive to students and their families when they are saying that their educational needs are not being met.

Is your student making progress in reading and writing? What about other subjects like math or science?

We also favor having assistive technology plans in IEPs or 504s. If the goals is to prepare students for higher education and employment, then technology may be crucial for that.

Suing under the ADA is not a light decision. Be aware that overwhelming numbers of families won’t have to do this. The positive of this decision is that it places the pressure on the schools to meet the needs of their students.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.
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