Disparate Treatment & Lost Opportunity: Courts' Approach to Students with Mental Health Disabilities Under the IDEA
Temple Law Review, Vol. 88, No. 473, 2016
34 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2015 Last revised: 5 Jun 2017
Date Written: Spring 2016
The United States is experiencing a mental health epidemic. Millions of Americans suffer from untreated mental health disabilities. Consequently, prisons and homeless shelters are packed with individuals struggling with those disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the flagship civil rights legislation for students with disabilities, presents a significant opportunity to address this crisis. However, this opportunity has not been realized because a large number of courts have adopted a narrow approach to the Act that denies students with mental health disabilities equal access to special education supports and services. This Article examines this narrow approach and argues that it is both legally flawed and problematic from a policy perspective.
Keywords: mental health, civil rights, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, education law, discrimination
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