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504 Archives

Part 2: Handling Disagreements on Placements of Kids with 504s

Options for resolving disputes regarding a kid on a 504 plan are different than they are for students on an IEP.  They're not as efficient and speedy as options for resolving disputes concerning students on an IEP.  If there is a dispute involving a student on a 504 plan, school districts must conduct an impartial hearing when parents disagree with their child's identification, evaluation or placement.  The details are left up to the discretion of the school district and hearing officer.  Parents often are unhappy with this option, so they may choose to file a complaint with OCR. This complaint may or may not be accepted by OCR, it will take several months for OCR to deal with it and OCR has limited enforcement mechanisms.  OCR will threaten to pull funding from a school district for violations, but this is extraordinarily unlikely.  
Still, OCR can help parents and districts mediate disputes.  Plus, the possibility of OCR consequences normally is enough to get districts to remedy their behavior in case OCR has determined that a district has engaged in a discriminatory fashion. What's particularly frightening for districts is if a parent files suit in federal court under 42 USC 1983 (simply known as "1983") and can prove discrimination against their 504-protected child.  If a parent wins such a suit, the damages could be substantial, and the district would have to pay the parents' attorney fees, which easily could get in the tens or even hundreds of thousands in a federal case.  

My Child is on an IEP and has been Suspended. What do I do?

First off, don't think that you're powerless.  Regardless of what the school may tell you, if your son or daughter has an IEP and has been suspended or is facing expulsion, you have a great deal of control over what happens next.  

Special Education Students Must Receive Services During Disciplinary Removal

Under th Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students on an IEP must continue to receive education services when they are removed from their regulation education setting.  Normally the removal is through suspension or expulsion.  While the student is in removal, he or she may be placed into an interim alternative education setting (IAES).  But wherever that student is, the IEP still must be followed.  This means that, even during removal, a student must continue to receive services while they're out of school.

Difficult Situation for School and Child Re: 504/IEP

This article raises questions about 504 plans and/or IEPs: Parent Sues School District Over Service Dog For Son With Cerebral Palsy.  In this case, a parent of a child with a disability is suing the school district because the district isn't allowing his child to bring in his service dog.  I have yet to see anything like this in the Denver area, but it wouldn't necessarily surprise me.  Many people may look at a story like this and think it's ridiculous, but it actually raises some important questions.

Kishinevsky & Raykin, Attorneys at Law
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Aurora, CO 80014-2722

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