Does an IEP affect a student’s right to participate in after school activities? Students and parents often run into road blocks when it comes to a student’s physical education in high school. Many students with IEP’s are not allowed to participate in team sports, physical education classes, dance or swim teams. An advocate for students' rights should find the following four rulings helpful in appropriating proper services and access to team sports.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects the rights of disabled students to participate in after school activities including sports. The court will sometimes side against student involvement in contact sports such as football, if the student has a debil 240b itating physical impairment which proves to be a safety risk for the student. The court will rule to protect the child from danger.
- Idea 2004 of Wright's Law: Students with disabilities must be provided with appropriate physical education. The adapted PE class must make an effort to develop physical and motor skills along with fundamental motor skills and patterns. Dance, aquatics, group games and intramural sports should be a part of the physical education for students with IEP’s. The physical education services may be specifically designed for the student and may be provided through other private or public programs.
- Adapted Physical Education: Physical education needs of students with some disabilities may be better met with an adapted physical education program. Well-trained quality educators can lead the way to positive education outcomes. Many states require teachers to obtain a certificate or endorsement in adaptive physical education.
- Maryland Passes Athletic Equity Law: A female high school freshman wished to participate on the track team at school. The courts decided in her favor and passed the Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Act of 2008. The act mandates that students with disabilities be allowed to participate in mainstream school sports teams.
*Photo courtesy of Playtime by Daniel Wetzel at Flickr’s Creative Commons.