Skip to main content

Expert Q&A

What are the educational rights of overseas students in private schools accredited in the United States?

I’m a United States citizen living in Managua, Nicaragua. My six-year-old son has been diagnosed with Dyslexia. He is in first grade at the American Nicaraguan School — a private bilingual school acredited by the U.S Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Against the doctors and parental advice, the school has “retained” my son in the fisrt grade. What rights do I have in this case? Can this type of decision be taken unilaterally by a U.S. private school operating in internationally territory? Please give me your advice.


Dear Francisco,

Unfortunately, although the school your child attends is accredited by the SACS, this is a private accreditation program and has no legal force in its own right, other than to remove the school’s accreditation. U.S. special education and disability law generally does not apply to an organization in a foreign country, unless it is operating under the direct auspices of the government, e.g., an school for armed forces dependents operated on the base by the military or receives federal financing from the US government.

You may have rights under Nicaraguan law or under the contract you signed with the school, but you would need to consult a lawyer knowledgeable about Nicaragua’s laws for an answer to that. You may also be able to file some kind of complaint with SACS.

Back to Top