504 BUZZ

December issue

Thoughts and Reminders

STUDENTS PROTECTED UNDER SECTION 504

Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.


Must a recipient school district obtain parental consent prior to conducting an initial evaluation?

Yes. OCR has interpreted Section 504 to require districts to obtain parental permission for initial evaluations. If a district suspects a student needs or is believed to need special instruction or related services and parental consent is withheld, the IDEA and Section 504 provide that districts may use due process hearing procedures to seek to override the parents' denial of consent for an initial evaluation.


TERMINOLOGY

The following terms may be confusing and/or are frequently used incorrectly in the elementary and secondary school context.


Equal access: equal opportunity of a qualified person with a disability to participate in or benefit from educational aid, benefits, or services


Free appropriate public education (FAPE): a term used in the elementary and secondary school context; for purposes of Section 504, refers to the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met and is based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the Section 504 requirements pertaining to educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards


Placement: a term used in the elementary and secondary school context; refers to regular and/or special educational program in which a student receives educational and/or related services


Reasonable accommodation: a term used in the employment context to refer to modifications or adjustments employers make to a job application process, the work environment, the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, or that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment; this term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to related aids and services in the elementary and secondary school context or to refer to academic adjustments, reasonable modifications, and auxiliary aids and services in the postsecondary school context


Reasonable modifications: under a regulatory provision implementing Title II of the ADA, public entities are required to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity


Related services: a term used in the elementary and secondary school context to refer to developmental, corrective, and other supportive services, including psychological, counseling and medical diagnostic services and transportation

DAEP and 504

On the portal, you will find the MD 504 checklist - if a student is going to DAEP, a MD 504 must take place prior to sending the student to DAEP

Upcoming trainings and meeting

  • January 5th, the professional development day, if you do not have somewhere else you need to be, we will be providing training, if you miss the January 5th training, it will be offered again in January. Please sign up on Eduphoria.
  • 504 coordinator meeting will be on January 13, 2015 from 2-4 at Greer, please sign up on Eduphoria

504 dismissal, withdraw, or move out procedure

This procedure is also on the portal under Folder Procedures


When a student is dismissed from 504, DNQ, or is withdrawn please follow the following procedures:

1. In eSped:

a. Screen 1– Change the 504 status to whatever is appropriate (e.g. Dismissed 504, Parent refusal, Moved from District, Private School, etc.)

b. Screen 1- Fill in the date for 504 Withdrawal (e.g. 8/26/2013 – the student did not return this school year)

c. Screen 3- Toward the bottom half of the screen, you will again put the withdrawal date and reason for withdrawal or dismissal from 504.

2. Return 504 folder with original documents to Greer:

a. Must be in a manila folder (if currently in Red Binder, transfer contents to a manila folder and keep binder on campus for another student)

b. Print or use a label maker – Last name, First name and Date of Birth on tab

i. Do not use nicknames

ii. Must be the students legal name, same as in PEIMS on all documents

3. Contents of the 504 folder:

a. Only original eSped documents such as 504 plans, IHP, evaluations, outside evaluations, parent/teacher information, and notices should be in the 504 folder.

b. Verification forms that accommodations were distributed

c. Include only relevant RTI data

d. Do not include emails

e. Do not include work samples

4. Verify that documents are archived in eSped Archive Manager prior to sending folder to Shannon Evans.

5. Notify Registrar if the student is being dismissed from 504. They will need to update this on eSchool.

6. Note the date of the withdrawal, dismissal etc. on the cumulative folder 504 sticker.

Just in from the 504 conference in Austin

Part of the school's response to bullying on any basis, the school should convene a 504 meeting to determine whether, as a result of the effects of bullying, the student's needs have changed such that the student is no longer receiving FAPE.


Another topic they spoke about was that schools are overemphasizing the life activity of "learning" in determining 504 eligibility. Several court cases were discussed. The most recent was Tustin (CA) Unified Sch. Dist. , 114 LRP 23543 (OCR 2014). The campus in this case only looked at passing grades and test scores when determining eligibility for a student with an autoimmune disorder. OCR found that their eligibility requirements were unduly restrictive. Take away: 504 does not have an "educational need" component like Special Education does when determining eligibility.


Another issue is looking at students with IHPs, Diabetes Management Plans, and Asthma Plans. IHPs etc. are considered to be a mitigating measure. The question to ask the committee when determining whether these students qualify for 504 accommodations would be: Without those beneficial measures would the student be impacted by the condition?

Homebound Procedures

  • These have been updated to include pregnancy

eSped reminders

  • Please make sure you are using the checklists in estar docs to guide you through paperwork and 504 meetings
  • Esped is updating the 504 paperwork so trainings will be offered
  • Make sure you are gaining Notice and Consent for all initial evaluations. This is a federal requirement.

Teacher Information for 504

We are adding a teacher input form for the teacher to fill out prior to the 504 meeting. This is to make sure that the teachers that are not attending the meeting have input to the 504 plan. Please look for the form on the portal!

Q and A

Q: What is the trigger that would prompt schools to refer a student for a 504 plan that has an IHP?


A: The schools 504 obligation is to evaluate a student who has a suspected disability that is in need of services.


Best practice - review files with the school nurse for all students that have an IHP or other such plans. Look at the following when making a determination for which to proceed with a 504 evaluation for.

  • Degree of severity of health condition
  • Degree of complexity of health plan
  • Risk of a medical emergency at school
  • Severity of potential consequences of a medical event at school
  • Frequency of implementation of the health plan
  • Need for accommodations because of the health condition
  • Need for IHP in order to function in and attend school
  • Student's classroom performance, including Physical Education

If you are still not sure after reviewing the above items, you should proceed with an evaluation. IHPs may not meet all the needs for the student.