Supreme Court Rules Deaf Student Can Sue School District Over Alleged Failures

Miguel Luna Perez, who is deaf, attended schools in Michigan's Sturgis Public School District from ages 9 through 20.
Photo courtesy of Luna Perez family

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously that a deaf student may pursue his lawsuit for money damages against a Michigan school district that allegedly failed for years to provide him with adequate sign language assistance.

The court held in Luna Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools that a procedural requirement under the main federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, does not bar the student’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The decision will allow the now-27-year-old student, Miguel Luna Perez, to pursue damages under the ADA. And it will make it easier for other students with disabilities and their families to bypass often slow-moving administrative proceedings under the IDEA when their chief claim is for damages under other federal laws such as the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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