1 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 1 of 9 REVISED POLICY - VOL. 8, NO. 1 SECTION 504/ADA PROHIBITION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION BASED ON DISABILITY Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ( Section 504 ), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended ( ADA ), and the implementing regulations (collectively "Section 504/ADA"), no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Board of Education does not discriminate in admission or access to, or participation or treatment in its programs or activities. As such, the Board's policies and practices will not discriminate against students with disabilities and will make accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities its facilities, programs, and activities. No discrimination will be knowingly permitted against any individual with a disability on the sole basis of that disability in any of the programs, activities, policies, and/or practices in the County. "An individual with a disability" means a person who has, had a record of, or is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities are functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Major life activities also include the operation of a major bodily function, including, but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. An impairment that is episodic in nature or in remission is considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity must be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication, medical supplies, equipment or appliances, low-vision devices (not including ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics (including limbs and devices), hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, oxygen therapy equipment or supplies, assistive technology, reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services, or learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
2 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 2 of 9 With respect to public preschool, elementary and secondary educational services, a qualified person with a disability means a disabled person: A. who is of an age during which nondisabled persons are provided educational services; B. who is of any age during which it is mandatory under West Virginia law to provide educational services to disabled persons; or C. to whom the State is required to provide a free appropriate public education pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA). With respect to vocational education services, a qualified person with a disability means a disabled person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the vocational program or activity. Compliance Officer(s) The Board designates the following individual(s) to serve as the County's 504 Compliance Officer(s)/ADA Coordinator(s) (hereinafter referred to as the "County CO(s)".
3 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 3 of 9 [NOTE: School Countys Counties may want to consider appointing both a male and a female County Compliance Officer in order to provide complainants with the option to report their concerns to an individual of the gender with which they feel most comfortable. Additionally, by appointing two (2) County COs, there should always be CO available to investigate a claim that pertains to the other CO.] (Name) (County Title) (Telephone Number) (Office Address) ( Address) (Name) (County Title) (Telephone Number) (Office Address) ( Address) The name(s), title(s), and contact information of this/these individual(s) will be published annually: [NOTE: Please select more than one (1) option.] ( ) in the parent/student and staff handbooks. ( ) in the County s Annual Report to the public. ( ) on the County s web site. ( ) on each individual school's web site. ( ) in the County s calendar. ( ). Building principals shall serve as Building Section 504/ADA Compliance Officer(s) ("Building Compliance Officers").
4 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 4 of 9 The CO(s) [is] [are] responsible for coordinating the County s efforts to comply with and fulfill its responsibilities under Section 504 and Title II of the ADA. A copy of Section 504 and the ADA, including copies of their implementing regulations, may be obtained from the CO. The CO(s) will oversee the investigation of any complaints of discrimination based on disability, which may be filed pursuant to the Board's adopted internal complaint procedure, and will attempt to resolve such complaints. The Board will provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging violations of Section 504/ADA. (See complaint procedure below.) The Board will further establish and implement a system of procedural safeguards in accordance with Section 504, including the right to an impartial due process hearing. (See AG B.) Finally, students and parents will be advised of their right to request a due process hearing before an Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons with disabilities, including the right to participation by the student s parents or guardian and representation of counsel, and their right to examine relevant education records. Training The CO(s) will also oversee the training of employees in the County so that all employees understand their rights and responsibilities under Section 504 and the ADA, and are informed of the Board's policies, administrative guidelines and practices with respect to fully implementing and complying with the requirements of Section 504/ADA. The Board will provide in-service training and consultation to staff responsible for the education of persons with disabilities, as necessary and appropriate.
5 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 5 of 9 Facilities No qualified person with a disability will, because the County's facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by persons with disabilities, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity to which Section 504/ADA applies. For facilities constructed or altered after June 3, 1977, the County will comply with applicable accessibility standards. For those existing facilities constructed prior to June 3, 1977, the County is committed to operating its programs and activities so that they are readily accessible to persons with disabilities. This includes, but is not limited to, providing accommodations to parents with disabilities who desire access to their child's educational program or meetings pertinent thereto. Programs and activities will be designed and scheduled so that the location and nature of the facility or area will not deny a student with a disability the opportunity to participate on the same basis as students without disabilities. Education The Board is committed to identifying, evaluating, and providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students within its jurisdiction who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, regardless of the nature or severity of their disabilities. An appropriate education may include regular or special education and related aids and services to accommodate the unique needs of students with disabilities. For disabled students who are not eligible for specially designed instruction under the IDEIA, the special education and related aids and services (including accommodations/modifications/interventions) they need in order to have their needs met as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met, shall be delineated, along with their placement, in a Section 504 Plan (Form A F13). Parents/guardians/custodians ( parents ) are invited and encouraged to participate fully in the evaluation process and development of a Section 504 Plan. The Board is committed to educating (or providing for the education of) each qualified person with a disability who resides within the County with persons who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate. Generally, the County will place a person with a disability in the regular educational environment unless it is demonstrated that the education of the person in the regular environment even with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. If the County places a person in a setting other than the regular educational environment, it shall take into account the proximity of the alternate setting to the person's home.
6 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 6 of 9 The Board will provide non-academic extracurricular services and activities in such a manner as is necessary to afford qualified persons with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in such services and activities. Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities may include counseling services, physical recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interests groups or clubs sponsored by the County, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to persons with disabilities, and employment of students. In providing or arranging for the provision of meals and recess periods, and nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, including those listed above, the County will verify that persons with disabilities participate with persons without disabilities in such services and activities to the maximum extent appropriate. Notice Notice of the Board's policy on nondiscrimination in education practices and the identity of the County's Compliance Officer(s) will be posted throughout the County, and published in the County's recruitment statements or general information publications. Complaint Procedures If a person believes that s/he has been discriminated against on the basis of his/her disability, the person may utilize the following complaint procedures as a means of reaching, at the lowest possible administrative level, a prompt and equitable resolution of the matter. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations ( Section 504 ), parents and students will be notified of their right to file an internal complaint regarding an alleged violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of Section 504. In addition, students and their parents will be notified of their right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Finally, students and parents will be advised of their right to request a due process hearing before an Impartial Hearing Officer (IHO) regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons with disabilities, and their right to examine relevant education records. Internal complaints and requests for due process hearings must be put in writing and must identify the specific circumstances or areas of dispute that have given rise to the complaint or the request for a hearing, and offer possible solutions to the dispute. The complaint or request for due process hearing must be filed with a CO within specified time limits. The CO is available to assist individuals in filing a complaint or request.
7 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 7 of 9 Internal Complaint Procedures An internal complaint may be filed by a student and/or parent. A student and/or parent may initiate the internal complaint procedure when s/he/they believe that a violation, misapplication, or misinterpretation of Section 504 has occurred. Additionally, the following procedure may be used for any disagreement with respect to actions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational program or placement of students who are identified as disabled or believed to be disabled pursuant to Section 504, and are not eligible under the IDEIA, except in the case of disciplinary actions where the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct apply. Use of the internal complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies, including the filing of a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights or requesting a due process hearing. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Investigation by the Building CO: A student or parent may initiate an investigation by filing a written internal complaint with the Building CO. The complaint should fully describe the circumstances giving rise to the dispute and how the child is adversely affected. The complaint must be filed as soon as possible, but not longer than thirty (30) calendar days after disclosure of the facts giving rise to the complaint. The Building CO shall conduct an impartial investigation of the complaint. As part of the investigation, the Building CO shall permit the complainant to present witnesses and other evidence in support of the complaint. The investigation shall be completed within fifteen (15) school days of the written complaint being filed. The Building CO will notify the complainant in writing of his/her decision. Appeal to the CO: If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily at Step 1, the student or parent may appeal the Building CO's decision in writing to the CO. The appeal must be made within five (5) school days following receipt of the Building CO's decision. The CO will review the case, may conduct an informal hearing, and will notify all parties in writing of his/her decision within ten (10) school days of receiving the appeal. If the complaint is not resolved satisfactorily at Step 2, the student or parent may request a due process hearing, provided the complaint involves an issue related to the identification, evaluation, or placement of the student.
8 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 8 of 9 If it is determined that the Complainant was subjected to unlawful discrimination, the Building COs and County COs must identify what corrective action will be taken to stop, remedy, and prevent the recurrence of the discrimination/retaliation. The corrective action should be reasonable, timely, age-appropriate and effective, and tailored to the specific situation. OCR Complaint At any time, if a student or parent believes that s/he has been subjected to discrimination based upon his/her disability in violation of Section 504 or the ADA, the individual may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR"). The OCR can be reached at: U.S. Department Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights Philadelphia 150 S. Independence Mall West, Suite 372, Public Ledge Building Philadelphia, PA Main Line: (800) FAX: (215) TDD: (800) Except in extraordinary circumstances, the OCR does not review the result of individual placement and other educational decisions, so long as the County complies with the "process" requirements of Subpart D of Section 504.
9 COUNTY SCHOOLS /page 9 of 9 Retaliation Retaliation against a person who makes a report or files a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination, or participates as a witness in an investigation, is prohibited. Specifically, the Board will not retaliate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any individual because the person opposed any act or practice made unlawful by Section 504 or the ADA, or because that individual made a charge, testified, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under those laws, or because that individual exercised, enjoyed, aided, or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by those laws. 34 C.F.R. Part U.S.C. 794, Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 42 U.S.C et seq., Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended 20 U.S.C. 1405, Employment of Individuals with Disabilities NEOLA 2015
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