Sweetwater County School District #2

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Special Services » 504 Parent Guide

504 Parent Guide

 A Guide for Parents of Students with Disabilities

 

We hope this information will answer some of the questions you may have about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its impact on students with disabilities.

 

Table of Contents: 

 

What is Section 504?

How can this help my child with his/her education?

How is a child identified and evaluated?

Eligibility Criteria

What is a Section 504 Plan?

Accommodations/Services available under a Section 504 Plan

How does a Section 504 Plan affect disciplinary measures?

I think my child meets the criteria for a Section 504 Plan. What should I do?

Section 504 and Non-Academic & Extracurricular Activities

What if I have questions or concerns regarding my child’s Section 504 Plan?
 
What do I do if I think my child is being harassed or discriminated against?
 
Region VIII Office for Civil Rights
What is Section 504?

 

Section 504 is an element of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 states,

 

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)]

 

How can this help my child with his/her education?

 

Any student who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record or history of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment is eligible for Section 504 services. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: self-care, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, speaking, hearing, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, sitting, thinking, learning, reading, communicating, breathing, concentrating, interacting with others, working, or operation of a bodily function. This may include, but is not limited to, individuals with ADHD, dyslexia, cancer, diabetes, severe allergies, chronic asthma, Tourette’s syndrome, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, HIV/AIDS, behavior disorders and temporary disabilities (e.g., broken writing arm, broken leg, etc.). Conditions that are episodic or in remission are also now covered if they create a substantial limitation in one or more major life activity while they are active.

 

I think my child meets the criteria for a Section 504 Plan. What should I do?

 

A parent/guardian, staff member, or anyone else can refer a student for evaluation under Section 504 Although a parent/guardian does not have an absolute right to a Section 504 evaluation upon request, the district will evaluate a student if the district has reason to believe the student is in need of special education or related services because of a disability (Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary Schools, December 2016).

 

The referral is initially reviewed by the school’s Building Intervention Team (BIT), which is comprised of general education teachers, special education staff, administration, and other necessary professionals, including counselors.  If the BIT has reason to believe that the student is suffering from a medical, mental and/or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and is in need of either regular education with supplementary aids and services or special education and related services, it will refer the student to the school’s 504 team to determine eligibility under Section 504.

 

The Section 504 team is comprised of the student’s parent/guardian, general education teachers, special education staff, administration, and any other necessary professional or individual knowledgeable of the student, the meaning of evaluation data, and placement options.

 

No formalized assessments are required; yet, the Section 504 team will consider any medical information provided by parents/ guardians, grades, teacher’s reports, additional information from parents, state assessment scores and other district assessments, observations, attendance records, discipline reports, health records and adaptive behavior information.

 

A meeting will take place within a reasonable period of time after the parent/guardian or staff member has made the request to the school. The Section 504 team will provide written notification of the meeting to the parents/guardians.

 

The parents will always be given notice before their child is evaluated and/or determined to be eligible under Section 504; along with, a copy of their parental rights. Parents will also be provided with a copy of their child’s Section 504 Plan if the Section 504 team determined that the child is eligible and could benefit from accommodations. 

 

Eligibility Criteria

 

The student must meet any one of the following criteria:

               

Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (including, but not limited to, activities such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, helping, eating, bending, or operation of a bodily function);

 

Has a record or history of such impairment; or

 

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

 

What is a Section 504 Plan?

 

The Section 504 plan is an individual student plan developed by the student’s Section 504 team.

 

The Section 504 team will determine reasonable accommodations, modifications, adaptations, interventions, aids, and services that are necessary to meet the student’s individual needs.

 

Periodically, and at least annually, the Section 504 team will review the student’s response to the effectiveness of the plan.  A parent/guardian may request at any time that the plan is reviewed and revised if needed.

 

If, at any time, the Section 504 team suspects that the student is in need of specialized instruction and/or related services, the team will schedule an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting with the parents to determine if eligibility for special education under IDEA should be pursued.

 

Accommodations/Services available under a Section 504 Plan

 

Every student’s needs are determined individually.  The Section 504 team will consider the student’s impairment and what the student needs to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), including but not limited to providing an equal opportunity to participate in and to benefit from the aids, services, and programs available when compared to students who do not have an impairment. The Section 504 team may consider any reasonable accommodation/services.

 

Examples of reasonable accommodations/services are:

 
Extended time on tests and homework
Use of computer or calculator
Special seating
Counseling
Occupational Therapy
Speech/Language Therapy
Behavioral intervention plan
Visual aids
Any number of reasonable accommodations/services that the team believes are necessary
 
How does a Section 504 Plan affect disciplinary measures?
 
 
 
Discipline for student with a Section 504 plan will be carried out in a non-discriminatory manner.
 
A student with a disability has certain protections when he or she is found in violation of District policy.
 
The Section 504 team or Individualized Education Program (IEP) team shall conduct a manifestation determination meeting when:
 
The removal or expulsion will be for a period which exceeds ten (10) consecutive school days; or
 
The student has been subjected to a series of removals which exceeds ten (10) school days in a school year.
 
If either of the above situations apply, the District shall conduct a manifestation determination meeting with the student’s Section 504 team or IEP team before any significant change in the student’s placement may occur. In this meeting, the team will determine whether the conduct in question was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the student’s disability or whether the conduct in question was the direct result of the District’s failure to implement the student’s IEP or Section 504 plan.
 
If the Section 504 or IEP team concludes that the student’s conduct is a manifestation of the student’s disability, the student must remain (or be returned to) his or her current educational placement, unless the parent and the District agree to change the student’s placement. If the student’s conduct is determined to be a manifestation of his/her disability, the Section 504 or IEP team must conduct a functional behavioral assessment, and develop, implement or revise a behavioral intervention plan.
 
If the Section 504 team concludes that the student’s conduct is not a manifestation of the student’s disability, the District may apply the relevant disciplinary procedures applicable to all students. The District is not required to provide a student on a Section 504 Plan whose conduct was not a manifestation of the student’s disability with educational services during a disciplinary change in placement unless services are provided to similarly situated non-disabled students.
 
Section 504 and Non-Academic & Extracurricular Activities
 
In providing or arranging for the provision of non-academic and extracurricular services and activities, students with disabilities shall participate with students without disabilities in such activities and services to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of students with disabilities. The District shall provide non-academic and extracurricular activities in such a manner as is necessary to afford students with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in such services and activities. The District will ensure that no students are subjected to categorical exclusion or different selection criteria. Non-academic and extracurricular services and activities include, but are not limited to, meals, recess periods, counseling services, physical recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the District, and referrals to agencies which provide assistance to students with disabilities. Accommodations may also be designed in an effort to address access to extracurricular activities
 
Students with disabilities placed on homebound/hospital instruction in accordance with District Policy IGBG, are eligible to participate in extracurricular and non-academic programs. Participation in extracurricular and non-academic programs is a placement decision that will be made by the student’s Section 504 Team.  
 
What if I have questions or concerns regarding my child’s Section 504 Plan? 
 
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the identification, evaluation, educational placement, and/or provision of services to your child with a disability under Section 504, you should first contact the building principal at your child’s school.  The building principal may ask that a meeting be arranged or he/she may refer you to the district's special services director if you have specific questions that the principal is are unable to answer.  In the event that you do not feel that the matter has been resolved at the building level, or if your concern is regarding the building principal, we encourage parents to contact the district’s special services director directly, who will work with you towards resolution or clarification.
 
Nevertheless, if you do not feel that your questions or concerns have been appropriately addressed, you may contact the district's superintendent. 
 
Director of Special Service
(Special Education, Section 504, Homeless Liaison)
Sweetwater County School District #2
Green River, WY 82935
307-872-550
 
Superintendent of School
Sweetwater County School District #2
Green River, WY 8293
307-872-5501
 
What do I do if I think my child is being harassed or discriminated against?
 
District Policy JFCK outlines the specific procedure if you feel your child is being harassed or discriminated against. To summarize, first, you should contact the building principal at your child’s school. You may also contact the Special Services Director or the Title IX coordinator.
 

Director of Special Services

(Special Education, Section 504, Homeless Liaison) 

Sweetwater County School District #2

351 Monroe Avenue

Green River, WY 82935

307-872-5505

 

Title IX Coordinator – Jason Fuss

Sweetwater County School District #2

351 Monroe Avenue

Green River, WY 82935

307-872-8813

 
The Administrator (building principal or Special Services Director) will respond in a manner that is sufficient by taking steps to determine what occurred and, if necessary, to stop the harassment, eliminate a hostile environment if one has been created, address the problems experienced by the student who was harassed, prevent the harassment from recurring and appropriately address the behavior of the harasser. 
 
Region VIII Office for Civil Rights
 
Lastly, any person who has a complaint that discrimination on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or age in any educational, school-sponsored, or school-related program funded with federal funds may notify the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In Wyoming, a written complaint can be filed with:
 
Region VIII Office for Civil Rights
US Department of Education
1244 Speer Blvd., Suite 300
Denver, CO 80204-3582
(303) 844-5695
(303) 844-3417 TDD
(303) 844-4303 (fax)
 
Letters of complaints may be filed OCR online at https://orccas.ed.gov/ or may be mailed to the above address.  Such letters should explain:
 
Who was discriminated against;
In what way;
By whom or what institution;
When the discrimination took place;
Who else, if anyone, was harmed and how;
Who can be contacted for further information;
The name, address and telephone number of the complainant; and/or
Any relevant background information you think OCR should have as it evaluates your complaint.
 
Alternatively, an OCR complaint form may be obtained online from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintform.pdf or by calling the Office for Civil Rights to request that a form be mailed to you.
 
The Office for Civil Rights will generally only review those actions which occurred within 180 days of the date a complaint is filed.