Discrimination: EXCLUSION FROM FIELD TRIPS

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Jennifer:  Can a school/teacher exclude a child from a field trip because they are worried about a behavior issue? Although behaviorally my child has had very few issues throughout the year they seem to want to exclude her because they are worried about the “what ifs”?

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Denise L
03/07/2020 3:05 pm

Our high school has excluded our daughter from the senior class trip because she can not physically participate in the class activities to earn money for the trip. She is an award winning A student with MD. She is in a power wheel chair and has limited stamina. She has contributed cash towards the trip. She attends school 1/2 day and does Primavera in the afternoon. In the past I have gone on field trips as a chaperone and paid my own way. I then am able to take care on any of her special needs. Her exclusion was announced at a class meeting with the class president stating that he didn’t care if she has problem. He said she did not co-operate so she could not go. The Superintendent admitted that calling her “unco-operative” was rediculous. She is a very sweet, shy young lady.

Admin
03/08/2020 7:15 pm
Reply to  Denise L

Denise, I’m sorry to hear about these problems. I’m not an atty so can’t give legal advice. I have a couple of questions.
Does your daughter attend public school or private school? Religious school? Where will the trip go? For how long?

Are *all* students required to earn *all* funds for the trip? Assume a star athlete was seriously injured in a basketball game, compound fracture, infection set in, not mobile, needs a wheelchair. The athlete can’t earn enough $$ to pay for the trip. Is the athlete barred?
Assume a non-disabled student’s parent dies and the family is dire straits financially. Is that student barred from the trip?
Is this a school policy? If yes, it should be written.
Does the school provide *any* financial aid to help students whose circumstances don’t allow them to “earn money for the trip”? Are students allowed to accept $$ from family or friends? Go-fund me?
What do you think is driving the decision to bar her from the trip? You’ve gone on trips in the past, paid your way. Is this trip too expensive for two people?
WHO – what adult – allowed one of her classmates to announce this decision in a public meeting?

Chuck
03/09/2020 2:11 pm
Reply to  Wrightslaw

Denise, Wrightslaw is on target. Look at whether exceptions have been made this year & in the past. This appears to be a school activity, so it seems like discrimination to me in violation of Section 504. And the decision was made by the class president? That makes this seem like a personal decision. As Wrightslaw says, an attorney familiar with discrimination should be of help. Surely there have been cases where this has been ruled on. States also have a legal agency (Disability Rights?) that can also be found on the website listed below.

Admin
03/08/2020 9:05 pm
Reply to  Denise L

Denise: I encourage you to contact an attorney who *can* give you legal advice. We have another website called the “Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities” (YPKD). https://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/
The YPKD site is includes state directories of individuals and organizations that provide help to children with disabilities and their families – therapists, attorneys, advocates, schools, etc. Click your state on the map. When you get to your state’s page, see if you can find an attorney who has experience in disability law. Each state has a federally funded organization that protects the legal rights of people with disabilities. Organization’s name may be “Disability Rights of STATE” or “Protection and Advocacy for STATE.” Link to National site: https://www.ndrn.org/
Other groups help – ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center. The US Justice Department is actively investigating discrimination cases. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the US Dept of Ed was actively investigating discrimination cases but seems to be less active in recent years.
Time to do your homework! Please keep us posted.

Each state also has Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) whose mission is to provide advice and counsel to parents on many issues. Big states like CA have several PTIs. Small states may have one. If you click the link below, you can get contact info for your state PTI:
https://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/ptis.htm

MARIA
01/29/2020 5:42 pm

My child is in a special needs class and school. His class has not gone on ONE field trip in the three years he has been there. I keep asking why and the AP gives me random answers from ” i will follow up”, “I didn’t know” to ” theres a child in the class the teacher is concerned about”. Have not heard back since I brought this up AGAIN this past October. thoughts please 🙂

Chuck
01/30/2020 2:46 pm
Reply to  MARIA

I suggest asking this question in writing to the principal, & special ed director. If that does not achieve results, you could take this to their supervisor with documentation of their response or lack of response.