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IDEA & Section 504:

IDEA & Section 504:

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IDEA & Section 504:

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  1. IDEA & Section 504: Guidelines for Studentsat the Borders *Our newest location: Sacramento Office 520 Capitol Mall Suite 400 Sacramento California 95814 Tel: 916.443.0000 Fax: 916.443.0030

  2. Overview • IDEA and Section 504 compared • Moving between Section 504 and the IDEA • Students at the Borders: SLD, ADD, Physical Disabilities ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  3. IDEA vs. Section 504 • Eligibility • FAPE • Process & Documents ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  4. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under IDEA Two questions: • Does the student have a disability in an IDEA eligibility category? • Does the student require special education and related services? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  5. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Two questions: • Does the student have a physical or mental impairment? • Does the impairment substantially limit a major life activity? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  6. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Physical or Mental Impairment: “Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; specific sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.” 34 C.F.R. § 104.3(i). ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  7. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 • If complete medical evaluation is necessary to determine eligibility,parent may be asked to obtain and fund evaluation • If parent refuses, district must fund evaluation Compton (CA) Unified School District (OCR 2008) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  8. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Substantially Limits: New definition • Rejection of court’s “severely restricts” • “Substantially limits” to be construed broadly Pub.L. No. 110-325 (September 25, 2008) 122 Stat. 3553; 29 U.S.C. § 705; 42 U.S.C. § 1210 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  9. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Episodic Disabilities and Remission: Ask: Would impairment substantially limit a life activity when active? Pub.L. No. 110-325 (September 25, 2008) 122 Stat. 3553; 42 U.S.C. § 1210 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  10. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Mitigating Measures: • Cannot consider ameliorative effects of mitigating measures (i.e. medication, hearing aids, learned behaviors, modifications) • EXCEPT eye glasses and contact lenses Pub.L. No. 110-325 (September 25, 2008)122 Stat. 3553; 42 U.S.C. § 1210 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  11. Practice Pointer Until districts receive further guidance: • If student would be eligible when impairment is active, make the student eligible • Create a plan to address student’s needs when the impairment is active ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  12. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Eligibility Under Section 504 Major Life Activities: • Under the new law, major life activities include (but are not limited to) • Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, speaking, reading, learning, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working • Under the regulations previously developed major life activities included “learning” ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  13. Practice Pointer • When determining eligibility under Section 504, determine whether any major life activity is substantially limited • Do not limit consideration to “learning” ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  14. Practice Pointer The following behaviors are notthemselves aphysical or mental impairment: • Lack of motivation • Excessive absences • Early dismissal • Inadequate classroom attendance • Difficulties at home • Incomplete work ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  15. Practice Pointer Be methodical and document your method! Always ask two questions when determining Section 504 eligibility: • Does the student have a physical or mental impairment? • Does that impairment substantially limit a major life activity? Don’t forget to properly document the responses! ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  16. IDEA vs. Section 504FAPE IDEA: • Specially-designed instruction • No cost to parent • Meet unique needs of student • Educated in least restrictive environment 20 U.S.C. §§ 1402(29), 1412(a)(5);Board of Educ. of the Hendrick Hudson Central School Dist. v.Rowley(1982) 458 U.S. 176, 200 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  17. IDEA vs. Section 504FAPE Section 504: • Regular or special education and related aids and services designed to “meet individual educational needs of handicapped persons as adequately as the needs of non-handicapped persons.” • Educated in the least restrictive environment 34 C.F.R. §§ 104.33, 104.34; J.D. v. Pawlet School Dist. (2nd Cir. 2000)224 F.3d 60; 34 C.F.R. Part 104, Appendix A. (Emphasis added) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  18. IDEA vs. Section 504FAPE • FAPE requirements in IDEA and Section 504 regulations are different • Section 504 requires comparison between meeting needs of disabled and nondisabled students • IDEA has an absolute standard – providing some educational benefit Mark H. v. Lemahieu (9th Cir. 2008) 513 F.3d 922 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  19. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents IDEA: Notice of Procedural Rights District must provide notice of rights: • Upon initial referral or evaluation • When a complaint is filed • When disciplinary action taken • At parent request 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.500 et seq. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  20. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents IDEA: Evaluation • Evaluate in all areas of suspected disability • Adhere to strict timelines • Use a variety of assessment tools • Evaluations by trained and knowledgeable persons 20 U.S.C. § 1414(b); 34 C.F.R. § 300.304 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  21. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents IDEA: IEP Team • Team makes eligibility, placement, and service determinations • Required members: • Parent • General education teacher • Special education teacher • Administrator • Individuals who can interpret assessment results • Other individuals with knowledge or special expertise regarding child • When appropriate, the student 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(B) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  22. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents IDEA: Appropriate Document – IEP • Every eligible student must have an IEP • Contents of the IEP: • Eligibility • Educational needs • Present levels of performance • Goals/objectives • District’s offer of FAPE 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  23. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents Section 504 Required Procedures: • Notice • Opportunity to examine records • Impartial hearing with opportunity for parent to be represented by counsel • Review procedure 34 C.F.R. §§ 104.33, 104.34, 104.35, 104.36 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  24. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents Note: • Typically, OCR does not investigate substance of educational decisions • Focus is on whether district followed proper procedures ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  25. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents Section 504: Evaluation • School district must develop standards and procedures to ensure that assessment materials are: • Validated • Administered by trained personnel • to reflect student’s ability – not impaired skill • Designed to assess specific areas of educational need ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  26. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents • When conducting evaluation, school district must: • Draw upon variety of sources • Create procedures to ensure information is documented and considered • Ensure each placement decision is made by the appropriate team 34 C.F.R. § 104.35; Gloucester County (VA) Public Schools (OCR 2007) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  27. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents Section 504: Decision Team • Eligibility and placement decisions made by “a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about the child.” ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  28. cont. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents • District must designate a“Section 504 Coordinator” Colorado Springs (CO) School Dist. #11 (OCR 2008) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  29. IDEA vs. Section 504Process & Documents Section 504: Appropriate Document • Districts most commonly develop a Section 504 plan • May develop an IEP to comply with Section 504’s FAPE requirement ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  30. Practice Pointer • A Section 504 plan is not a “consolation prize” • Emphasize appropriateness and benefits of Section 504 plan • IDEA services may not be appropriate • IDEA compliance is one way of meeting section 504 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  31. Moving Between Section 504 and the IDEA ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  32. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA What should a district do when a student’s Section 504 plan is no longer appropriate? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  33. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Consider: • Re-evaluating student • Modifying the Section 504 placement and/or services, or • Convening IEP team meeting to determine IDEA eligibility ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  34. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA CAUTION Under Section 504, districts must evaluate prior to initial placement or significant change in placement • Error on side of evaluation if moving student into a more or less restrictive setting 20 U.S.C. § 1414; 34 C.F.R. § 104.35 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  35. cont. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Parent Rejects Section 504 Plan Scenario: • District offers Section 504 plan • Parent rejects • Parent requests IEP What should you do? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  36. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA • Implement Section 504 plan without parent consent, if district’s policy allows, and • Conduct IDEA evaluation, if this is what parent wants ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  37. Practice Pointer Determine parent’s underlying concern • Is parent requesting IEP or a special education assessment? • Discussion with parent may resolve concerns and avoid assessment process 20 U.S.C. § 1414 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  38. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA From IDEA to 504 scenarios: • Student no longer eligible under IDEA • Student found ineligible under IDEA • Parent revokes consent for IDEA services *Be prepared for parent request for Section 504 services ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  39. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA If an IEP team finds a student ineligible under the IDEA, can the same team immediately thereafter find the student eligible for Section 504 services? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  40. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA YES - • So long as student has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity • Conducting consecutive IEP and Section 504 meetings is okay HOWEVER . . . ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  41. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA CAUTION: • It’s better to adjourn IEP meeting and convene Section 504 meeting at later date • This will avoid: • Perception of “consolation prize” • Potential for excluding necessary persons • Risk of undertaking wrong analysis to determine eligibility • Failure to properly notice Section 504 meeting Letter to Anonymous (OCR 1991) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  42. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Rejection of IDEA: • Parent not required to accept initial IDEA services • Parent may revoke prior consent • If parent revokes, district may not continue to provide special education and related services 34 C.F.R. § 300.300(b)(4). ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  43. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA If the district offers a FAPE through the IDEA and the student’s parent refuses to consent to the initial provision of IDEA services or revoke consent to IDEA services, is the district required to create a Section 504 plan? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  44. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Satisfy the IDEA • Districts are responsible for: • Creation of appropriate IEP • Districts are not responsible for: • Obtaining parent consent to the IEP MAKE THE OFFER ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  45. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Section 504 Plan? • Probably not required, if parent has rejected IEP • But certainly permissible ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  46. Moving BetweenSection 504 and the IDEA Child Find District must: • Actively seek out students eligible for Section 504 services, including those attending private schools • Conduct Section 504 evaluation, if appropriate 34 C.F.R. §§ 104.31; 104.35(a) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  47. Students at the Borders SLD, ADD/ADHD, Physical Disabilities IDEA? Section 504? Or General Ed? ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  48. Students at the BorderSLD: IDEA Eligibility Student has: • A “disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in the understanding or in using language, spoken or written.” • Manifests in an “imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations.” Student requires special education and related services 20 U.S.C. § 1401(30) ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  49. Practice Pointer Reading Fluency • The 2006 federal regulations added reading fluency skills to list of qualifying areas for eligibility determinations • If district uses either RTI or discrepancy model, district must determine whether student is performing adequately for age/grade level in all qualifying areas, including reading fluency skills 34 C.F.R. § 300.309 ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP

  50. Students at the BorderSLD: Section 504 Eligibility Two Part Analysis: • Physical or mental impairment • Comments to Section 504 Regulations state that SLD constitutes a physical or mental impairment • Must substantially limit a major life activity 20 U.S.C. § 1401(30); 34 C.F.R. Part 104, Appendix A ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP