Special Accommodations and Services for Students with Special Needs Section 504

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1 Policy 607 Education Programs Special Accommodations and Services for Students with Special Needs Section 504 I. Purpose The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the school district provides a full range of special accommodations and services necessary for students with special needs to learn in public education programs and activities, in accordance with Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. II. Statement of Policy No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits from federal financial assistance. The school district has the responsibility to identify and evaluate students who, within the intent of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, need special services, accommodations or programs in order that such students may receive required free, appropriate, public education. III. General Assurance and Definition A. For this policy, a student who is protected under Section 504 is one who: 1. Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning; or 2. Has a record of such impairment; or 3. Is regarded as having such impairment. B. A physical or mental impairment is: 1. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the flowing body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or 607-1

2 2. Any mental or psychological disorder, such as cognitive delay, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. C. Students may be protected from disability discrimination and be eligible for services under the provisions of Section 504 even though they do not require IEP (individual education plan) services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IV. Section 504 Procedure A. Service Coordinator The district administration shall develop processes and procedures for implementing the educational programming accommodations covered by the provisions of Section 504. The director of special services is the coordinator for Section 504 activities. B. Identification and Referral The district will annually take appropriate steps to identify and locate every qualified individual who has a disability. Referrals will be received from parents, staff, learners and/or community agencies. Legal References: Federal [34 CFR 104] Americans with Disabilities Act Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Minnesota Rule Policy INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT 273 adopted: 7/20/09 Edina, Minnesota 607-2

3 Appendix I SECTION 504 PLANNING AND PLACEMENT PROCEDURES 1. The student s skills and special needs will be evaluated, according to federal standards, before educational program decisions will occur. 2. A 504 eligibility decision shall be made by a placement team that includes staff with knowledge of the student and the evaluation information. When making an eligibility decision, the team must consider a variety of data and information, including the results of aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, reports on the student s physical condition, social or cultural background, and adaptive behavior. 3. A student with a disability shall be assigned to regular courses or classes if the needs of the student can be met. This decision will be made on a caseby-case basis. 4. A student with a disability shall be reevaluated periodically to monitor the students performance and skill levels. 5. Parents/guardians shall be notified when an eligibility decision is made regarding their child. 6. Parent/guardians shall be given written notification prior to the school district proposal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of their child. 7. Parent/guardians shall be given the opportunity to participate meaningfully in decisions regarding the evaluation and placement of their children. 8. If the parents/guardians feel their child is being discriminated against based on a disability, the parents/guardians should contact the school district s director of special services to request a meeting to discuss the matter or complaint. 9. If the parents/guardians complaint cannot be resolved satisfactorily, the parents/guardians shall have the right to an impartial hearing and an opportunity to participate in the hearing. Parents/guardians have the right to be represented by counsel at the hearing

4 Appendix II SECTION 504 COMPLAINT PROCEDURE Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires school systems to adopt a grievance procedure and designate a compliance coordinator. Prior to filing a written complaint, a student s parent or guardian is encouraged, but not required, to review concerns with the building administrator and to make efforts to resolve the concerns. Parents or guardians may also contact the Section 504 coordinator directly. Complaints and concerns may be raised without fear of reprisal. The director of special services is the district s Section 504 coordinator. Filing and Processing of Complaints: 1. Initial Written Complaint to Section 504 Coordinator: The complainant submits a written complaint to the director of special services. The complainant may use the district s reporting form, available online and at all building locations. The complaint must include the complainant s name; nature and date of alleged violation; names of persons responsible; and suggested resolution. The complaint must be submitted within 30 days of the alleged violation. The complaint should be signed by the complainant or designee. Alternative methods for filing the complaint for persons with disabilities or nonenglish speakers will be made available, upon request. a. Director Inquiry: The director of special services ( director ) will contact the person(s) named in the complaint for fact-finding, reflection on the complainant s suggested resolution, and alternative resolutions. This contact will occur within 10 days of the director s receipt of a written complaint. b. Response: The person(s) named in the complaint will have 5 days, if needed, to respond to the director s inquiry. c. Meeting Arranged: Within 10 days of the director s receipt of the response, the director will schedule a meeting with the complainant, building administrator and, as appropriate, pertinent persons named in the complaint. The director will refer the written complaint and received response to the building administrator prior to beginning of this meeting. The director will facilitate this meeting. d. Written Response: Within 10 days after the meeting, the building administrator will issue a written response to the complainant and the director. 2. Appeal to Superintendent: If the complainant is unsatisfied with the written response from the building administrator, he or she must notify the director in writing within 10 days from the date of the building administrator s written response

5 a. Meeting Arranged: Within 10 days of the receipt of the appeal, the director will facilitate a meeting with the complainant and the superintendent or designee. b. Written Response: Within 10 days after the meeting, the superintendent, or designee, will issue a written response to the complainant 3. Impartial Hearing: If the complainant is unsatisfied with the written response from the superintendent, or designee, he or she must make an impartial hearing request to the director in writing within 10 days from the date of the superintendent s written response. a. Within 10 days of receipt of the appeal, the director will request the appointment of an impartial hearing officer from the state education department and schedule the impartial hearing in a timely manner. b. The complainant has an opportunity to examine all relevant records as permitted by state and federal laws governing data privacy. c. The complainant may be represented by legal counsel. d. The impartial hearing officer will comply with state and federal laws for conducting special education due process hearings. e. The burden of proof is on the complainant. The complainant will present to the impartial hearing officer first. f. The impartial hearing officer will submit his or her written decision to the complainant, the school board, and the director. 4. School Board Response: The school board will issue a final written decision within 10 days after receiving the independent hearing officer s written decision. The final written decision will include discussion of the validity of the grievance and any action to be taken. 5. Complaints may also be filed directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. The address and phone number for the Office for Civil Rights is: Chicago Office Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education Citigroup Center 500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475 Chicago, IL Telephone: Fax: TDD:

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