Thomas: Getting His Degree

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Tags: Client Stories

Thomas has a learning disability that makes it difficult for him to process written language. In high school, his learning disability prevented him from succeeding in a foreign language class, so his IEP team substituted other classes.

Thomas enrolled in the University of North Carolina–Wilmington. As he was finishing up his film degree, he asked the disability services office to waive his foreign language requirement. He was told a student generally had to fail a language class four or five times to be excused from the requirement. The school asked for a recent evaluation and proof of disability. But after reviewing the documentation, a UNC-W disability services staff member denied his request for a waiver without explanation or avenue for appeal.

Thomas called Disability Rights NC for help. One of our attorneys gave Thomas recommendations on how to navigate the process and continue to pursue his request for a waiver. Thanks to his persistence, another administrator told Thomas that replacing the foreign language courses with alternative courses might be possible.

After jumping through a couple more hoops, Thomas finally got the course substitution approved. It turned out that two of the classes he had already taken would give him the required credits. He had already earned his degree!