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Expert Q&A

My child has difficulty focusing, and administrators at his private school do not want him to return to the program. Is this legal?

My child’s private Pre-K Catholic school has told me that he has problems focusing. I have been working with them on this. I consulted my pediatrician, and I have finally gotten our Board of Education to have him evaluated. They first told me of the issue at the end of September, and we have just been able to get the evaluation scheduled for February.

The school has asked me to remove my child from the Pre-K class. Is this legal?

Dear Michelle:

Your question is somewhat confusing. If I understand it correctly, there may be two separate legal issues. First, it appears there was a long delay between when you requested an evaluation from the public school and when they provided it. Generally, public school evaluations should be completed within sixty school days of the date that you signed a formal consent for evaluation.

Unfortunately, with respect to the Catholic school deciding to remove your child, the federal disability laws exempt organizations that are religiously controlled, unless they receive federal financial assistance. You may need to consult a disability lawyer in your area to investigate the situation further. In some states or cities, the local disability rights laws do apply to religious schools, even though they are often not covered by the federal disability laws. However, this varies from place to place.

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