ADA & Private Schools

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires entities to make reasonable accommodation to aid people with physical or mental disabilities. This lesson answers questions about how the law applies to private schools.

Public School vs. Private School

Imagine that you've just begun working at a private school. As you get more acquainted with your job, you realize that there are many differences between public and private school. For example, you learn that certain public funds are only available to public school districts, and that private schools have more freedom in developing their curricula.

You also learn that some laws that apply to public school do not apply to private school. Very often, the reason for this is that the government provides public schools with funding for certain programs. So, to receive that financial support, public schools must meet government expectations set forth by laws. Private schools generally do not need to meet these expectations.

However, things work a bit differently for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This Act requires entities to provide reasonable accommodation to people with physical or mental disabilities, and private schools are generally required to comply with the ADA.

Entities Covered by the ADA

Title III of the ADA gives a very clear list of entities that must adhere to the reasonable accommodation rule. This list outlines private entities that are considered ''a place of public accommodation,'' including the following private education spaces:

  • Nurseries
  • Elementary schools
  • Secondary schools
  • Undergraduate schools
  • Postgraduate schools
  • Other places of education

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