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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois


EFE’s Recent Work

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Higher Education Cases

Illinois school district invests millions to accommodate a dad with a disability

When Michael Lyons discovered his wheelchair couldn’t reach many parts of the school his daughter attended, Equip for Equality was there with help. We filed a civil rights complaint against Illinois School District 211. Under an agreement, the district was required to make the following changes:

  • Move a special education department to an accessible location.
  • Make classrooms, restrooms, entrances, parking and a gym accessible.
  • Install elevators and add more classrooms to the ground floor.
  • Install tactile signs and visual alarms.
  • Improve accessibility of a football stadium.
  • Implement policies and procedures for accommodating people with disabilities.
  • Provide auxiliary aids and services, and communicate with people with disabilities in accessible formats and manners.
  • Ensure the district’s website is accessible.
  • Develop a plan for emergency evacuation of people with disabilities.

Air Jenny: Girl can now play basketball with oxygen tank

All Jenny Youngwith wanted to do was play basketball with her high school friends.  For years her service dog, Simba, had carried the oxygen tanks she needed during games. But the Special Olympics of Illinois decided it would not allow her companion on the court. Equip for Equality filed a federal lawsuit against the Special Olympics of Illinois and the teen’s school district. Under a settlement, Jenny now plays on the team with a backpack holding her oxygen tank.

To learn more, check out these items:

High school swimmer gets to compete

Mary Kate Callahan was an accomplished swimmer who competed nationally and internationally, but because she uses a wheelchair, she was barred from meets sponsored by the Illinois High School Association. Equip for Equality and the Illinois attorney general filed a joint federal lawsuit on behalf Mary Kate and other student athletes with disabilities.  We negotiated a settlement that allowed Mary Kate to participate in the 2012-2013 swimming and track and field seasons.  The attorney general continues to represent other Illinois student athletes with disabilities who want to play high school sports.

To learn more about the case, check out these items:


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  • Read the U.S. Department of Education’s website ( for more information about the rights of people with disabilities and the responsibilities of schools under the ADA
  • View our Higher Education Resources page
  • Visit our Higher Education Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
  • Get legal help

  • Last updated: September 10, 2021

    This website is made possible by funding support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, both the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of Equip for Equality and do not necessarily represent the official view of any of these agencies.

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