Civil Rights of Teachers

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Due process for teachers means respect for your position.


Connecticut’s Schools Don't Always Cherish Great Teachers.

Sometimes administrators pursue their interests at their staff’s expense. And sometimes bargaining units fail to put the staff first. When those things happen, instructors of all kinds need a lawyer to protect their civil rights. Gregory Smith protects public and private school teachers throughout Connecticut.

Discrimination on the Basis of Disability

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit schools from denying the disabled the reasonable accommodations they need to perform their jobs. These federal statutes are mirrored by Connecticut's own laws. To prove discrimination a teacher must show that with "reasonable" accommodations he or she could have performed all the "essential functions" of the job.

School districts and colleges in Connecticut hesitate to admit that these laws grant disabled teachers their own civil rights. They don't like to adjust established schedules and routines.

People no longer hesitate to admit they have a medical disability. Besides, society now accepts ADHD, anxiety and other commonplace psychological conditions as "disabilities". 

For example, one client taught successfully for six years in a middle school. The district moved him to an elementary school. He struggled to manage the younger students. His superintendent placed him on an intensive assistance plan and, when that did not help, moved to terminate him. The teacher had never revealed that licensed clinicians had identified Attention Deficit Disorder and signs of Asperger’s syndrome in him. Together these conditions constituted a mental impairment that substantially limited the major life activity of teaching. In spite of this handicap the teacher was otherwise qualified for his position. Once the district gave him reasonable accommodations he was able to perform all the essential functions of his new job, with no undue financial or administrative burdens to the Board of Education and with no fundamental alterations in the nature of its educational program.

If you believe your employer has refused to accommodate your disability, contact a Connecticut lawyer for teachers. With proof from a doctor establishing a medical condition, your school district may have to change your schedule, duties or workplace.