I was recently listening to the story of the roadblocks my hearing impaired sister has faced when asking for closed captioning for the video lectures she is assigned in the college courses she is taking.
Since she knows the law regarding accommodating the needs of her handicap, she was able to contact a deaf advocacy group and go about the steps to stand up for her rights.
This reminded me of all the times I have answered emails or phone calls from frustrated homeschoolers who are asked by school districts to go beyond what the law requires in their homeschools. I always encourage the mother to know her rights and then stand up for those rights.
Here are some steps you can take to stand up for your rights.
- Know your rights. If you are part of a special group, like hearing impaired or homeschoolers, make sure to research the law regarding your special group.
- Join an advocacy group. The HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) is an excellent organization for homeschoolers. You will find support groups and laws for each state in the U.S, and an attorney will be assigned to your case if you find yourself in a position of being unfairly treated as a homeschooler.
- Make the other party aware of the laws in your case. It might be that the university has never admitted a deaf student, so they truly don't know what is required of them. Perhaps the school district really doesn't understand that homeschooling is protected by law. Kindly inform them what the law allows and requires.
- Keep documentation. If you are not being given the accommodations the law requires, keep any paperwork showing this. When a friend who was withdrawing her son from public school was asked to sign a form stating that she was aware that by withdrawing her son she was putting him at risk of being a homeless, jobless, and a criminal, she asked for a copy of that paper. The homeschool advocacy group was highly interested in that documentation and contacted the school immediately.
- Contact your advocacy group. If you cannot resolve the issue on your own, don't hesitate to contact your advocacy group by phone or email. They will be glad to help you stand up for your rights. You would be surprised how quickly a school district falls in line when contacted by an attorney specializing in homeschool law!
Although, it didn't involve legal requirements, here is a time I made an appeal to a governing board to be treated equally.