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Can a public school system exclude a child from field trips and class parties, b/c of issues related to a documented disability?

Boston, MA |

My son is 6 years old and in first grade in the Boston Public Schools. At the beginning of the school year, he was diagnosed with ADHD for which he takes medication (that has helped a lot. There is a 504 plan on file with the school. In addition, he was tested academically and found to be in line with his peers and remained in his classroom. We have had an IEP meeting. However, it has come to my attention that my son has been excluded from every class party, field trip, and social event that has occurred all year. The school has not informed me of these events (no permission slips were ever sent home) and I was never given any explanation as to why he could not attend. I called the school and was told that he is a "safety concern" and is excluded for his own well-being.

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Attorney answers 4


It certainly isn't unless there is something else going on behaviorally. I would speak with an attorney immediately.

Please note: any comments made on this website relate to general trends in law and are not to be understood as legal advice establishing a lawyer-client relationship. Please consult an attorney admitted in your jurisdiction before making any legal decisions. I am a licensed attorney only in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in United States District Court for the District of Vermont. For more information about the New England Law Group, P.C. Please contact 401-316-0007 or


No. The behavior you describe is probably illegal. That said it would be difficult to guarantee the illegality without knowing more about what the IEP says.

Do you want accurate, personalized, legal advice that you can rely on? You will have to hire an attorney, not ask on Avvo. I am not your attorney and am not creating an attorney-client relationship by this post. I am therefore giving only general advice. This advice may not apply to you or your situation; may not take account of all possibilities, and may not match the advice I would give to a client. DO NOT rely on this advice or any other advice on Avvo to make your legal decisions. If you want an answer to a legal question you should retain an attorney who is licensed in your state.


The short answer is that the school district has to make accommodations for his disability so that he can participate in daily life at school. The district would have to show that the accommodation is unduly burdensome and/or dangerous to your child or others. I suspect their actions are for their convenience and not due to a well thought out plan. You should consider contacting the Office of Civil Rights in the US Dep't. of Education. They have an office in Boston.


The actions the school are taken seem highly questionable. You should contact a special education attorney. Often, schools take short cuts when dealing with kids with special needs, ones made for their own convenience and not in the best interest of the child or in line with the law. Find someone with experience who will be in your son's corner. Having an advocate can make an extreme difference in how well schools comply with their responsibilities under the law.

You can search for an education attorney on Avvo.

Good luck.

This answer is provided for guidance only. DO NOT rely on it as legal advice. We DO NOT have an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney in your area for a one-on-one consultation before pursuing any action or making any decisions.

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