Mike Town, one of Tesla STEM High School’s founding teachers, is a recipient of the Patsy Collins Award for Excellence in Education, Environment, and Community.
Conflicting Obligations to Disabled Persons
District policy to address conflicting obligations to disabled persons under Section 504/Title II and III of the ADA
In the event that the disability-related needs of, and the district’s obligations toward, two or more disabled persons conflict, the district will take prompt steps to ensure that no qualified individual with a disability is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any district program or activity. While prompt steps are being taken to resolve the conflict, the district must ensure that qualified disabled persons are not, on the basis of disability, denied access to programs, services, and activities of the district.
Because the conflict may come up in a variety of situations and to ensure that the resolution of the conflict does not result in unlawful discrimination, this procedure should be read in conjunction with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and their implementing regulations, and other policies and procedures of the district that apply to disabled persons. The other policies or procedures may include, but are not limited to, the district’s policies and procedures relating to:
- Prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of disability;
- Providing accommodations to disabled employees:
- Provision of a free appropriate public education for disabled students;
- Access or modification requests by parents and members of the public; and
- Service animals
In order to provide services or accommodations to two or more disabled persons whose disability-related needs conflict, the district may assign disabled persons to different locations, facilities or classes so long as such assignments do not result in unlawful discrimination. For example, a disabled employee should not be demoted in order to resolve a conflict, and disabled students should not be inappropriately placed.
In more complex situations where locations, facilities or classes are limited or when assignments raise concerns of potential discrimination, the district may need to make additional individual inquiries into the disability-related needs of the disabled persons. In such situations, the district will apply reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to assess the conflict to determine: (1) the nature, duration, and severity of the risk(s); (2) the probability that potential injury will actually occur; and (3) what reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.
The district’s inquiry should be conducted in accordance with the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other applicable laws. If the disabled persons are students and/or employees, such inquiries will be conducted in accordance with the district’s evaluation and placement procedures for disabled students and accommodation procedures for employees, respectively. With respect to service animals, if the disabled person is a parent or member of the public, the district may not inquire about the nature or extent of the person's disability, and may only ask: (1) whether the animal is required because of a disability and (2) what task or work the service animal has been trained to do.
In extremely rare circumstances, after an individualized assessment of the needs of the disabled persons, the district may determine that the conflict presents a “direct threat” to the health or safety of one or more parties that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. In such cases, district staff will consult with appropriate administrators to confirm that a “direct threat” exists and determine the best course of action.