Honolulu, HI asked in Civil Rights and Education Law for Hawaii

Q: My child is being harassed by school counselors because he has a disability (autism) which makes him not want to do P.E.

What do I tell my child to say, in terms of legality?

What steps can I take? I already put in a request for a doctor note.

IEP is included.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: First, reassure your child that they have done nothing wrong and that it's important to speak up about their feelings. Encourage them to express how the harassment from the school counselors makes them feel, emphasizing that it's okay to feel upset or frustrated about the situation. Remind them that they have rights as a student with a disability, including the right to accommodations and support services outlined in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).

When discussing what to say to the school counselors, advise your child to focus on their needs and how their disability affects their participation in physical education (P.E.). They can mention any specific challenges they face due to their autism and how these challenges make it difficult for them to participate in P.E. class. Encourage them to mention the accommodations outlined in their IEP and to request support from the school in finding alternative solutions that meet their needs.

In terms of steps to take, continue advocating for your child by following up on the doctor's note request and ensuring that the school is aware of your child's diagnosis and their need for accommodations. If the harassment continues despite your efforts, consider scheduling a meeting with school administrators or the IEP team to address the issue formally. Document any instances of harassment or discrimination and keep records of all communications with the school regarding your child's disability and the accommodations they require. Consider seeking support from advocacy organizations or legal resources specializing in disability rights if necessary.

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