Discrimination: MAGNET SCHOOL APPLICATION ASKS IF CHILD HAS IEP OR 504

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Marianne:  Are magnet programs (public school) application allowed to ask if a child has an IEP or 504? I am concerned that they will use this information as a way to discriminate. When I contacted the school about accommodations on the entrance exam, they told me that it is not allowed because of “the rigorous curriculum, the kids need to be able to keep up.” I contacted the school district compliance officer and this situation has been corrected but when I picked up the application and saw the question pertaining to IEP/504 it makes me worry. I don’t see why the need this information to determine eligibility for the program.

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3 Comments on "Discrimination: MAGNET SCHOOL APPLICATION ASKS IF CHILD HAS IEP OR 504"

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I found the same thing on the application my daughter just filled out. (It’s actually asked of the counselor on a recommendation form.) I’m not actually concerned about whether it is a good fit for my daughter, because she’s not disabled. It’s my two sons that are, and I’d like to advocate for anyone else who might be affected by this, if it’s illegal.

I want to add also that the “school culture” was revealed in their initial comments to you. If your child attends this school, know that you may be be educating teachers on accommodations and such. Teach your child now to be a strong self advocate and learn to partner with the case manager. If this is a high school, know now that some staff are not aware and may be unwilling to accommodate as they only want a certain type of “student profile” at their school. Some teachers don’t want LD kids in the classroom. Magnet schools offer wonderful opportunities for kids with IEPs/etc. As parents, we have to educate staff members at such schools that our kids have a “right” to be at such schools and to be properly accommodated.

The district compliance officer can also easily address the application question. You have a right to be concerned. The comments that were made concerning the “need to keep up” are code words to keep out LD students. If your child gains entry into the school, does the school culture support kids with IEP and at a level to gain access to the “rigorous curriculum.” Depending on your child’s needs, I am mainly focusing on assistive technology and AT “support” which are key (with accommodations) as this sounds like a college prep environment and the child will need to keep pace to keep up with course content. I bought AT for my child and did not depend on the school staff who did not know best practices with AT for my child’s LD. My child was able to keep up with rigor because of AT.

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