TOP TEN ISSUES RE: SECTION 504 Jim Walsh

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TOP TEN ISSUES
RE: SECTION 504
Jim Walsh
1. DISCIPLINE
• Students identified under 504 are
entitled to a manifestation
determination prior to a
disciplinary change of placement.
• Easiest way to get in trouble:
identify the student under 504;
send to the DAEP without MDR.
2. BROAD COVERAGE
• Drop the term “educational need”
when discussing 504.
• The focus is on ANY “major life
activity.” This could be breathing,
walking, eating, sleeping.
• Many 504 students will do very
well academically but have health
issues—allergies, asthma,
diabetes are common.
3. CHILD FIND
• As with IDEA, there is a duty to
refer kids when we see
indications of possible disability.
• Your policy of non-discrimination
must be widely disseminated in
ways likely to reach parents,
providers and students.
4. IMPLEMENTATION
• Make sure teachers take 504
plans as seriously as IEPs.
• Get the plan initialed to prove
that teacher knows about it.
• Monitor for compliance. Take
corrective action when teachers
fail to provide required
accommodations.
5. A STRONG COORDINATOR
• 504 Coordinator should have
authority, not just responsibility.
• A random selection of teachers
should be able to tell you who the
504 Coordinator is. If they
cannot do so, OCR would infer
that you have not publicized your
policies very well.
6. 504 CONTINUES AFTER
SCHOOL
• Duty to accommodate applies to
ALL school activities, including
extracurriculars.
• See recent OCR “Dear Colleague”
letter about athletics.
• Train coaches, sponsors on the
duty to provide equal opportunity
and accommodations.
7. YOU NEED DATA
• Child should not be identified under
504 on parent request alone. You
need some data from a qualified
person to verify the existence of a
physical or mental impairment.
• You would not identify a student
for special ed without data—same
holds true here.
• Refer to the guidance in The Blue
Book for dyslexia evaluations.
8. EVALUATION
• 504 requires you to “evaluate”
the student to determine if
he/she qualifies.
• This does not necessarily mean
formal testing by school staff—
parents already have information
from doctors and other qualified
professionals that can be relied
upon.
9. HEARINGS
• Some one soon is going to
request a “504 Hearing” in your
district.
• Look to your policy to respond—
FB Local.
• District provides the hearing,
appoints a hearing officer.
10. 504 CLAIMS
ON THE
RISE
• The law has changed, giving
broader coverage.
• Lawyers, advocates and parents
are more aware of 504 than they
were five years ago.
• Many lawsuits cite 504 in an effort
to impose liability on districts—
bullying, discrimination, etc.
• 504 a more attractive tool for
plaintiffs than IDEA.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
• The best way to avoid legal
problems with 504 is to comply
with 504.
• This requires strong leadership
and good training.
JIM WALSH
Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos,
Green & Treviño, P.C.
P.O. Box 2156
Austin, Texas 78768
Phone: 512-454-6864
Fax: 512-467-9318
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.WalshAnderson.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JWalshtxlawdawg
The information in this handout was created by
Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green and Treviño, P.C.
It is intended to be used for general information only
and is not to be considered specific legal advice. If
specific legal advice is sought, consult an attorney.

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