Are Private Schools Subject to the ADA?

Are private schools subject to the ADA?
by Bronwynne Evans
Yes, Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination in public accommodations. Private schools must eliminate unnecessary eligibility standards that deny access to individuals with disabilities, and make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny access unless a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program would result. They also must furnish auxiliary aids such as interpreters, notetakers, or readers when necessary to ensure effective communication, unless an undue burden or fundamental alteration would result.

Be aware that Title III does not cover religious institutions; thus, private schools which are directly operated by religious institutions are not covered by the ADA. Minnesota’s Human Rights Act, however as an example, closely follows the provisions of the ADA and does not exempt religious institutions from coverage. For more information on the ADA and schools visit the ADA Q & A Back to School. (

If the private school is receiving Federal funding and/or Federal Grants the private school must follow the ADA and, discrimination cases associated with Section 504 may be reviewed if complaints are filed potentially by either Department of Justice or the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights.

For details about what constitutes a public accommodation, go to
ADA Questions and Answers. For answers to additional questions, call the ADA Information Line: 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY)

Disclaimer: The National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND) does not offer legal advice but NOND does offer resources to help you understand your rights, protections, and responsibilities within various Disability Rights Laws.

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