The Right to an Accessible Education
In 1973, Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 93-112). This act guarantees civil rights for Americans with disabilities. The law is grounded in the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Section 504 is that section of the law that specifically refers to post secondary and vocational education services.
Public Law 93-112 provides that "...no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United states shall, solely by reason of handicap, be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits, of, or be subjected to, discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." With respect to post secondary and vocational education services "otherwise qualified" means a person with disabilities who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the program or activity. Essentially, 504 requires that TVCC make those reasonable adjustments necessary to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 primarily reinforces 504. The ADA requires TVCC to assess for barriers to program accessibility for all disability categories and to identify steps to be taken as well as time lines for bringing the college into compliance. TVCC has developed the required "Transition Plan" and has a copy on file for review by any interested party.
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