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Notice of Rights of Students and Parents Under Section 504

 

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This is also included in the WCS Student Handbook on pages 24-25
(26-28 en español)

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly referred to as “Section 504,” is a nondiscrimination statute enacted by the United States Congress. The purpose of Section 504 is to prohibit discrimination and to assure that disabled students have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students. For more information regarding Section 504, or if you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact your local system’s Section 504 Coordinator at the following address:

Wanda Phillips
201 East Tyler Street
Dalton, GA 30721
jgilreath@whitfield.k12.ga.us

The implementing regulations for Section 504 as set out in 34 CFR Part 104 provide parents and/ or students with the following rights:

  1. Your child has the right to an appropriate education designed to meet his or her individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. 34 CFR 104.33.
  2. Your child has the right to free educational services except for those fees that are imposed on non-disabled students or their parents. Insurers and similar third parties who provide services not operated by or provided by the recipient arc not relieved from an otherwise valid obligation to provide or pay for services provided to a disabled student. 34 CFR 104.33.
  3. Your child has a right to participate in an educational setting (academic and nonacademic) with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate to his or her needs. 34 CFR 104.34.
  4. Your child has a right to facilities, services, and activities that are comparable to those provided for non-disabled students. 34 CFR 104.34.
  5. Your child has a right to an evaluation prior to a Section 504 determination of eligibility. 34 CFR 104.35.
  6. You have the right to not consent to the school system’s request to evaluate your child. 34 CFR 104.35.
  7. You have the right to ensure that evaluation procedures, which may include testing, conform to the requirements of 34 CFR 104.35.
  8. You have the right to ensure that the school system will consider information from a variety of sources as appropriate, which may include aptitude and achievement tests, grades, teacher recommendations and observations, physical conditions, social or cultural background, medical records, and parental recommendations. 34 CFR 104.35.
  9. You have the right to ensure that placement decisions are made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about your child, the meaning of the evaluation data, the placement options, and the legal requirements for least restrictive environment and comparable facilities. 34 CFR 104.35.
  10. If your child is eligible under Section 504, your child has a right to periodic réévaluations, including prior to any subsequent significant change of placement. 34 CFR 104.35.
  11. You have the right to notice prior to any actions by the school system regarding the identification, evaluation, or placement of your child. 34 CFR 104.36.
  12. You have the right to examine your child’s educational records. 34 CFR 104.36.
  13. You have the right to an impartial hearing with respect to the school system’s actions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, or educational placement, with opportunity for parental participation in the hearing and representation by an attorney. 34 CFR 104.36.
  14. You have the right to receive a copy of this notice and a copy of the school system’s impartial hearing procedure upon request. 34 CFR 104.36.
  15. If you disagree with the decision of the impartial hearing officer (school board members and other district employees are not considered impartial hearing officers), you have a right to a review ofthat decision according to the school system’s impartial hearing procedure. 34 CFR 104.36.
  16. You have the right to, at any time, file a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Section 504 Procedural Safeguards

Overview
Any student or parent or guardian (“grievant”) may request an impartial hearing due to the school system’s actions or inactions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, or educational placement under Section 504. Requests for an impartial hearing must be in writing to the school system’s Section 504 Coordinator; however, a grievant’s failure to request a hearing in writing does not alleviate the school system’s obligation to provide an impartial hearing if the grievant orally requests an impartial hearing through the school system’s Section 504 Coordinator. The school system’s Section 504 Coordinator will assist the grievant in completing the written Request for Hearing.

Hearing Request
The Request for the Hearing must include the following:

  1. The name of the student.
  2. The address of the residence of the student.
  3. The name of the school the student is attending.
  4. The decision that is the subject of the hearing.
  5. The requested reasons for review.
  6. The proposed remedy sought by the grievant.
  7. The name and contact information of the grievant.

Within 10 business days from receiving the grievant’s Request for Hearing, the Section 504 Coordinator will acknowledge the Request for Hearing in writing and schedule a time and place for a hearing. If the written Request for Hearing does not contain the necessary information noted above, the Section 504 Coordinator will inform the grievant of the specific information needed to complete the request. All timelines and processes will be stayed until the Request for Hearing contains the necessary information noted above.

Mediation
The school system may offer mediation to resolve the issues detailed by the grievant in his or her Request for Hearing. Mediation is voluntary and both the grievant and school system must agree to participate. The grievant may terminate the mediation at any time. If the mediation is terminated without an agreement, the school system will follow the procedures for conducting an impartial hearing without an additional Request for Hearing.

Hearing Procedures

  • Unless otherwise required by law, the impartial review official shall uphold the action of school system unless the grievant can prove that a preponderance of the evidence supports his or her claim.
  • Failure of the grievant to appear at a scheduled hearing unless prior notification of absence was provided and approved by the impartial review official or just cause is shown shall constitute a waiver of the right to a personal appearance before the impartial review official.
  • The Section 504 Coordinator will obtain an impartial review official.  This official will not be an employee of the District and will have knowledge of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Decision
The impartial review official shall issue a written determination within 20 calendar days of the date the hearing concluded. The determination of the impartial review official shall not include any monetary damages or the award of any attorney’s fees.

Review
If not satisfied with the decision of the impartial review official, any party may pursue any right of review, appeal, cause of action or claim available to them under the law or existing state or federal rules or regulations.