Deaf Students in Michigan Take Front and Center of Important Supreme Court Cases on Disability Rights

The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a case that makes it harder for students with disabilities to get their problems resolved quickly if they can’t get the support they need in public schools.

Questions for law enforcement concern federal laws that ensure that students with disabilities receive an education that meets their needs.

Lawyers for Miguel Luna Pérez, a deaf student who attended public schools in Sturgis, Michigan, say the school system hasn’t provided him with a qualified sign language interpreter for more than a decade and his parents He said he misled him into believing he was on the right track. to earn money after high school. However, just before graduation, his family was told that he only qualified for a “Certificate of Completion” rather than a diploma.

High Court Strengthens Rights for Students with Learning Disabilities

His family responded by filing complaints under two of his statutes, the broader Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, and the Individual Education Act with Disabilities. IDEA ensures children with disabilities a free public education tailored to their specific needs.

Ultimately, the Perez family and the school district settled her IDEA claim. The school district agreed to pay for Perez and his family’s additional tuition and sign language classes, among other things. The family then went to federal court to seek damages under his ADA, which is not available under IDEA.

The Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit regarding the law guaranteeing educational opportunities for disabled students in public schools. The Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit regarding the law guaranteeing educational opportunities for disabled students in public schools. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Centeta, files)

However, the lower court said Perez should not have consented to his ADA suit.

Former federal education officials were among those who told the court that these lower court decisions were wrong. or delay broader relief, hurting children with disabilities.

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While IDEA encourages settlements, upholding lower court rulings means students and their families “waive immediate assistance and waste time, money, and administrative resources to defend other rights.” “I am forced to do this. The Biden administration is also asking the court to side with Perez.

But the Federal Association of School Boards and the Association of School Supervisors are among those who believe the lower courts were right. , they say, will lead to time-consuming and costly litigation.

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