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What You Should Know About 504 But Still Don’t Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000

khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase


504 Overview


Similarities  School districts must evaluate and determine eligibility  Both require • • • •

transportation, accommodation/modification related services manifestation determination

 LRE requirement


Primary Differences  Definition of disability is unique to each statute  No funding under 504  504 encompasses • Students • Employees • Patrons


Episodic Impairments  Asthma  Chron’s Disease  IBS  Any other disease that can “come and go” or has good and bad days


No “Mitigating Measures”  A student may be eligible under Section 504 even if the student’s disability or condition is controlled or mitigated, whether by medication, technology, etc.  This means you may be evaluating a hypothetical student


Mitigating Measures


Health Plan ≠504 Plan


504/Health Plans  Tyler (Tx) Indep. Sch. Dist., (OCR 2010) • health care plan for diabetic students • Required to evaluate under 504  Dracut (Ma) Pub. Sch., (OCR 2010) • health care plan for peanut allergy • Required to evaluate under 504


504/Health Plans  Opelika city (AL) Sch. Dist., (OCR 2010) • health care plan for diabetic students • Required to evaluate under 504  Jan. 19 Guidance Document


Health Plan Action Steps  List of all kids with health plan  List of all kids on medication and what meds are  List of all kids identified by parent as having health condition  Train school nurse!


Can We Just Provide Help without creating a plan?  No!!  Remember: disability education law is about PROCESS not RESULTS  Temple (TX) ISD, (OCR 1996)


Extracurricular and Noncurricular Activities


Section 504 • Students with disabilities shall receive “equal opportunity” to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities • May include: counseling, athletics, transportation, health services, clubs, and employment services


Raytown (MO) C-2 Sch Dist, 53 IDELR 239 (OCR 2009)

 6 year old with autism  Parent wanted him to stay in aftercare program  Program excluded students who required toileting assistance, a separate location due to behavioral issues, and one-to-one assistance


Raytown (MO) C-2 Sch Dist, 53 IDELR 239 (OCR 2009)

 District: having additional assistance available for BD students fundamentally altered the program  OCR district's rationale a pretext for discrimination


Raytown (MO) C-2 Sch Dist, 53 IDELR 239 (OCR 2009)

 Adding “supervision and services does not fundamentally alter the nature of a program designed to provide supervision for children,"  Children with disabilities cannot be categorically excluded from voluntary day care programs run by public school districts


504 & Student Discipline


504 & Student Discipline  Good News: drugs and alcohol are simple • No special 504 procedures for using or possessing drugs or alcohol at school • Student Discipline Act procedures still apply  All other offenses: Must follow “IDEA Light” process


504 and Private Schools


504 and Private Schools  Public schools aren’t obligated to provide 504 services at private schools

• Letter to Vier, 20 IDELR 864 (OCR 1993)

 504 applies to private schools independently

• Bristol (CT) Pub. Schs., 55 IDELR 207 (OCR 2010)

504 admin days 2013  
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