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Posts Tagged ‘504’

After Parent withdrew consent to provide special education and related services under IDEA, the District satisfied its 504 FAPE obligations by convening a meeting to develop a 504 plan

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Kimble ex rel. B.K. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. RE-1, 60 IDELR 221 (D. Colo. 2013)—in this case, the student had been receiving special education and related services pursuant to an IEP. In response to receiving the proposed IEP for the next school year, the parents formally revoked their consent to the District providing special education and related services to their child. The Director of Special Education informed the parents (erroneously) that by withdrawing consent for services under IDEA, the parents effectively withdrew consent for those services under a 504 plan. Nevertheless, the District convened a 504 meeting at the parents’ request and offered a 504 plan “to implement the services as identified” in the previously rejected IEP. The parent who rejected the Section 504 plan but continued to seek accommodations under Section 504 filed a due process complaint, alleging discrimination under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. The court held that revocation of parental consent to provide IDEA services does not eliminate the District’s obligations under Section 504 and the ADA. However, here the District convened a 504 meeting and proposed a 504 plan. Thus, the parents cannot hold the District liable for discrimination by not providing accommodations that they rejected under the 504 plan.

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School district must ensure that measures to address harassment based on a student’s disability are actually implemented in order to comply with Section 504.

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Santa Monica-Malibu (CA) Unified School District, 55 IDELR 208 (OCR 2010):  A school district needs to take steps to ensure that any measures it takes in response to harassment of a student, based on his disability, are actually implemented.  Failing to implement to do so could result in a finding of a failure to comply with Section 504.

A school district is not responsible for the actions of a harassing student, per se, but may be responsible for failing to respond adequately. In this case, the student had a disability that resulted in lack of traditional social skills.  The student preferred to be alone, and was uncomfortable being touched and having anyone expressing statements of affection.

The student’s parent alerted the school district to various and ongoing incidents of harassment, which resulted in the student missing school.  Although, the school district drafted an IEP with specific harassment related measures, it violated Section 504 when it delayed until after it received additional reports of harassment and failed to ensure that those measures were implemented.  As result, the school district did not comply with Section 504.

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School districts may violate civil rights statutes if they do not adequately respond to bullying incidents that relate to a student’s disability.

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Dear Colleague Letter, 55 IDELR 174 (OCR 2010):  The Office of Civil Rights reminded various agencies that bullying incidents within schools may amount to harassment that violates several anti-discrimination statues (including Section 504).  Specifically, peer harassment may violate Section 504 if such harassment is based on the victim’s disability, or perceived disability, and “is sufficiently serious that it creates a hostile environment and such harassment is encouraged, tolerated, not adequately addressed, or ignored by school employees.”

To avoid liability, schools should have well-publicized policies against harassment, and also have procedures for reporting complaints and resolving them in such a way that the school will be aware of the situation so the school can take steps to ensure that harassment does not recur.

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Student’s parents not entitled to reimbursement for private placement where private placement was designed to address student’s drug abuse and behavior issues rather than his educational disabilities.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Forest Grove School District v. T.A., 53 IDELR 213 (D. Or. 2009):  A federal district court determined, after balancing the equities, that parents were not entitled to reimbursement for their son’s unilateral private placement.

The student, diagnosed with ADHD and depression, was placed in a private school due to his difficulties in public school.  The parents thereafter requested a hearing seeking reimbursement.  The hearing officer determined that the student was sent to the private placement “for reasons unrelated to his disabilities (i.e., substance abuse and behavioral problems)” as well his educational difficulties.  The parents placed the student in his private school on March 24, 2003, but the court determined that the parents could not have disagreed with the school district’s decision until a final decision was made (in this case, not until August 26, 2003, when the school district ultimately determined that the student was not eligible for services under IDEA or Section 504).

The court weighed several factors, but ultimately decided that, in large part because of the fact that the parents placed the student because of his drug abuse and behavioral problems (and “not because of any disability recognized by the IDEA”), reimbursement should be denied.  The court noted that “the [school district’s] responsibility under IDEA is to remedy the learning related symptoms of a disability, not to treat the underlying disability, or to treat other, non-learning related symptoms.”

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School district agrees to review a student’s diabetic health care plan, convene a proper Section 504 meeting, and provide staff retraining.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Wake County (NC) Public School System, 53 IDELR 129 (OCR 2009): The U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) investigated several allegations raised by the parent of a student with diabetes.  The parent alleged that the personnel responsible for implementing her daughter’s diabetic health care plan (DHCP) were not adequately trained, and that the school district was not responsive to her requests for consideration under Section 504.  OCR uncovered problems with the implementation of the student’s DHCP, as well as problems with the school district’s Section 504 procedures.

OCR said that, while the school district is not required to have a full-time nurse on-site to assist with blood sugar monitoring and insulin injections, the staff immediately responsible for this student’s monitoring and injection (in this case, the student’s classroom teacher and teacher’s aide) should receive additional training beyond the few hours they had previously received.  The school district agreed to provide retraining in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the American Diabetes Association.

The student’s DHCP was a result of multiple meetings between August 2008 and October 2008.  The parent requested a 504 Plan in July 2008, and a meeting (which would have satisfied the requirements for a 504 Team meeting) was held on August 20, 2008.  The school district provided no explanation as to why that meeting was not a 504 Team meeting when all the staff necessary for such a meeting was present.  No subsequent meeting was convened that could satisfy the requirements under Section 504.  As a result, OCR ordered the school district to convene a meeting in accordance with the requirements of Section 504 to review the student’s DHCP, and consider development of a 504 Plan.

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