Miguel Luna Perez: Supreme Court takes up deaf student's case after school fails to 'meet his needs'

Miguel Luna Perez: Supreme Court takes up deaf student's case after school fails to 'meet his needs'
Miguel Luna Perez, a deaf student from Michigan is suing his school under ADA law (representative picture/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a deaf student’s plea on the school’s failure to ‘meet his needs.’ Miguel Luna Perez argues his school undermined a federal law that assures disabled students an education specific to their requirements. He attended public school in Sturgis, Michigan, and alleges that the institution failed to provide him with a qualified sign language interpreter for over a decade, and misled his parents by falsely assuring them that he will earn a high school diploma as he pursued the course. However, the family later learned that he is only qualified for a ‘certificate of completion’ instead.

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Perez’s family then decided to take the legal course, invoking two laws, the broad Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against disabled people, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The latter guarantees children with disabilities a free public education, which is customized to their specific needs. Perez’s family and the school district later settled the IDEA claims as the school district agreed to bear the cost of extra schooling, including sign language instruction for Perez and his family, and others.

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But, since Perez’s family couldn’t be monetarily compensated for the damages under IDEA, they decided to go to federal court under the ADA. This move was questioned by Lower courts who said that they shouldn’t have gone for a settlement before. Many experts are questioning the judgment of Lower courts, which comprises former federal education officials, according to NBC News. They argued that the lower court decision if upheld will severely impact students with disabilities. This, in other words, means that the students will be forced to choose between immediate settlement, forfeiting other claims, and delaying the process while trying to get complete relief. “[The decision will] forgo speedy relief and waste time, money, and administrative resources” to preserve their other claims, they said.

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In an unrelated case, a deaf woman, Kaylah Vogt, sued North Memorial Health for being denied a job due to her disability. She was awarded $180,000 as a payout in the federal lawsuit. "Unfortunately, some employers continue to discriminate against deaf applicants based on myths, fears, and stereotypes about their ability to do the job because of their disability," said Vogt's attorney Gregory Gochanour. She wrote a piece in her college article sharing her horrible experience, "After I self-identified as an individual with deafness and requested a reasonable accommodation, I was fired instantly without their further attempt to work with me. Ultimately, it affected my career choices and how I navigate the world," reported DailyMail.

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