Supreme Court Case Stands For Civil Rights Among Students With Disabilities


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On January 25, 2023, The Supreme Court will hear a case on accommodations for students with disabilities in schools. The student Miguel Luna Perez, was a deaf student at Sturgis Public Schools, a public high school in Michigan.

Sturgis Public High School had never provided Perez, who had been deaf since birth, a qualified American Sign Language interpreter for Perez and his parents had been told he was on track to earn a high school diploma. His parents had been told that Perez was only eligible for a “certificate of completion”. This is in direct violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that all students with disabilities are provided an education that is tailored specific to their individual needs, in order to ensure equal opportunities for all students. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits any sort of discrimination based on disability. 

Perez’ family originally agreed on a settlement with the public school, but later decided to pursue actions with the federal court. The lower courts said that his family could not sue under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act because the family had agreed to a settlement earlier, but former federal education officials told Perez and his family that the lower courts were wrong.

As of right now, Supreme Court Justices are leaning towards Perez in this case. 

Making sure deaf students or any other students with disabilities are provided with adequate accommodations is very important to CFHS. 

Chagrin Falls High School Director of Pupil services, Mrs. Jennifer Bencko, believes that CFHS does an excellent job of assisting and accommodating students with disabilities. 

“The most important thing is understanding each student’s needs and making sure we are customizing any accommodations to meet their needs,” said Mrs. Bencko. 

“It’s really messed up that Perez’ parents were misled into believing that he would receive a diploma,” said CFHS junior, Charlie Busby.

The outcome of Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools will stand for civil rights among students with disabilities. 

Disability rights advocate Laura Gold believes that it is a shame that Perez, the plaintiff, in Perez v. Sturgis received such an inadequate education and was denied a qualified sign language interpreter for more than a decade. 

She is hopeful for a positive outcome in the case that stands up for civil rights of all students who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

The Sturgis v. Perez case’s outcome could have significant implications for the education of students with disabilities across the United States. 

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act makes sure that it is the responsibility of a public school district to make sure that any student who is deaf or hard of hearing or any other disability is adequately assisted and accommodated with their education.

Perez v. Sturgis should serve as a reminder to families of students with disabilities to be informed of their individual rights and to fight for their rights if they feel they are not being properly understood by their school districts.