Accommodations not made for injured student's classes?

by Johnetta
(Richmond, CA)

My son was injured and tore his meniscus while playing in a football game. After surgery, he had to take a week off before returning back to school. Upon returning, the school was advised by the orthopedic surgeon and parents that he is restricted from using stairs for 4-5 weeks. The school has no elevator.

The school administration and counselor assured us that he will get the much needed accommodations for his classes. Instead, he stayed in the counselor's office for two weeks before he was reassigned to a substitute English class on the first floor.

He was promised to get assignments via iPad and teachers would come down to him weekly. Although a couple of teachers came down one or two times, he didn't see his original English teacher until two days before quarterly grades were to be posted.

My son completed all assignments of the substitute English class, and to his knowledge completed assignments of his original English teacher. On his own, he did communicate with his teacher to check in. There was no (or not enough) communication between the teachers and my son. He basically waited to hear from teachers in order to receive assignments.

I met with the vice principal and counselor. I tried to explain, how is a 9th grader supposed to know what to do and navigate his learning without any direct instruction? This should have been the responsibility of the counselor, especially since he was located in his office daily, with no absences.

The final outcome of his English class, he received an F. They said that he was missing an assignment. How can a student be failed if he didn't receive proper instruction because he could not walk upstairs to class?

Isn't the school responsible for allowing an injured/disabled student to attend classes? Mind you, this school does NOT have an elevator. Is it legal for a high school to not have elevator access for students with limited mobility or for disabled students? What can we do about this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Accommodations not made for injured student's classes?":

Johnetta (Richmond, CA):

The first person who may be liable for your son's failing grade(s) is you. You are the parent. If you knew your son was having communication problems with his teacher(s), you should have intervened to help. Apparently you did not, and instead waited for your son to receive an F, while now blaming it on everyone except your son and you.

In this day and age, many teachers post homework assignments online. Grades are also posted, as well as notices of failed or missed assignments. Your son’s teachers were likely only an email away. One or two clicks and at the speed of light the teachers would have been notified of your concerns and those of your son.

You might have availed yourself of these modern day techniques for assisting your son with his educational needs.

The school would only be required to have installed an elevator if doing so was part of the building code requirements at the time the school was built. Unless the school has a continuing and substantial number of disabled students who need to be accommodated, the school may not be required to have installed an elevator.

To install an elevator for one student would be an entirely unreasonable cost for the school, and/or the school district.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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