While schools are no longer continuing in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, learning is still encouraged through virtual resources. During these unprecedented times, it is important that schools are doing everything they can to support students. In addition to following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and public health authorities, they must also uphold the civil rights that students have. This includes making sure that discrimination of any kind is not taking place. Continue reading below to learn more about what actions can be taken to protect the health, safety, and welfare of students. Contact an experienced Pennsylvania students rights attorney if you believe your child’s rights are being violated.
Bullying or Harassment
Section 504 and Title VI of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that every school that receives federal funds take appropriate action to investigate reports of bullying or harassment based on disability, race, color, or national origin. This includes postsecondary, secondary, or elementary schools. If the school’s investigation finds that this took place and it limited or denied a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s services, it must take the necessary steps to end the bullying or harassment to restore the educational program. Failure to do so could be a violation of Section 504 or Title VI.
Denial of Access Based on Race, Color, or National Origin
Schools must avoid discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin while working with public health authorities to ensure students are treated appropriately based on their actual risk status when it comes to dealing with the outbreak of the Coronavirus in school districts. Schools cannot lean on any related assumptions or stereotypes when identifying students who may have been at risk for the infection. For example, inquiring only about students who have family members of a certain race or national origin.
Students with Disabilities
Schools must abide by Title II and Section 504 to provide students with disabilities the access they need to school’s education programs. If a student has an individualized education program (IEP) through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or is receiving services under Section 504 and is at home due to stay-at-home laws, provisions should be made to maintain these services. If the school is serving other students, they must ensure that the child receives a free appropriate public education. If a school district closes and does not provide any educational services to the general student population, the school is not required to provide services to students with disabilities during the same time.
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Anderson, Converse & Fennick is an experienced law firm in York County, Pennsylvania focusing on Education Law, Family Law, Estate Planning, and Civil Litigation matters. If you need a knowledgeable attorney that will effectively represent your interests, contact Anderson, Converse & Fennick today.