An agreement was reached between the Rhode Island Attorney’s Office and Brown University last week to ensure that students with mental disabilities have equal access to educational programs.
The students were refused to go back to school on sick leave. Although the students provided reasonable conditions for return to Brown, all of the students’ doctors reported to Brown that the students were ready to resume their studies and participate in campus life.
According to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this is a clear violation of the rights of people with mental disabilities. The department’s investigation found that between the fall of 2012 and spring of 2017, dozens of students were denied readmission to Brown after taking psychiatric hiatus.
The August 10th Settlement Agreement protects the right of students with mental disabilities to equal access to Brown’s educational programs. The agreement also ensures that Brown will make appropriate changes to its policy for students with mental disabilities who wish to return from a medical vacation. As a further result of this agreement, the students received $ 64,000. Student leave policies and practices are being revised to align with Title III of the ADA.
“The guidelines that Brown has agreed to implement should serve as a timely reminder to other colleges and universities to ensure that their sick leave guidelines do not discriminate against students with mental disabilities,” said District of Rhode Island Attorney Richard Myrus.
This new policy will inform staff and faculty of the reasons why students are invited to take medical leave. The university will train all lecturers and staff who are responsible for assessing or deciding on applications for use or return from a leave of absence in Title III of the ADA.
According to Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, all students should have access to equal education. “Students with disabilities deserve access to equal opportunities to ensure they can achieve their educational goals.”
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