Section 504: DOES A 504 PLAN EXPIRE?

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Gina:  My son was attending a charter school that dealt with many ADHD children. The school told us and they thought he should have a 504 plan to protect him against discrimination to help him excel in school. I asked them If it was like a IEP.  They told me it is, but it isn’t. They both help the children in areas of need with extra help, but one is for a medical disability that causes a learning complication and one is for a learning disability.

I asked does it have to be re-evaluated every year like a IEP and they told me “No”. They said most re-evaluate it every year to add or subtract things that could benefit, but there is no specific time frame, that we should re-evaluate a 504 at least every three years. Well my son has gone to two different schools since then and none of them have said anything about the 504 plan being expired. When we moved and I put him in our district school, they refused to except his 504 plan, said it was expired.  Now my son is struggling in school because all the accommodations that he had they refuse to accommodate. He’s being teased by the students, and they are giving him detentions, and suspension because of his behavior due to his ADHD. This was all listed previously on his 504. Does a 504 plan expire?? If they just recommend re-evaluating it every 3 years, how can it be expired now when it’s not 3 years since it went into effect?

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8 Comments on "Section 504: DOES A 504 PLAN EXPIRE?"

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My son has a 504 plan for Dysgraphia that was put in place in 2014 through the city public school system. He attended an out of state private school where it was contiued and kept up to date. Upon returning to city public school this year they are stating that his plan is out of compliance. He is scheduled for a reevaluation of his Dysgraphia in 3 days by the physician who dxd and treated him. I don’t know what more we can do to put the plan in place. The school is refusing to continue his plan or meet with me.

Contact your state parent training & information center for advice & assistance. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

My daughter went to college with a 504 plan on place. Her plan was accepted by the school in NC. It involves a therapy pet. It’s the beginning of her sophomore year and her therapy pet died. The school says she cannot bring another pet on campus without new documentation of the need. Doesn’t this violate her civil rights?

My understanding is that as long as the student qualifies for a 504 plan, then one should be in place. They do not expire, but are modified as needs change. However, schools are not required to make parents part of developing the plan, and I am not even sure that they do have to tell parents that a plan is in place. There is supposed to be a process in place – similar to due process – that allows parents to file a complaint if the 504 plan is inadequate. My understanding is that most schools do not know this, and will be confused when you ask about it.
Given that the original poster has said that she brought up the 504 plan with the school and they have refused to do anything, it would seem like the only alternative is to ask the school about the process for filing a complaint. Also the OP could check with the Office of Civil Rights about complaint processes. It is my understanding that 504 is a civil right law, not an educational one, and some folks believe that this gives parents better leverage. So maybe the OCR can do something.

You’re right, there are several options for someone who has a dispute regarding Section 504 or a 504 plan.

The Office of Civil Rights has a complaint process. This process is primarily for procedural issues, rather that “quality of the 504 plan” type issues – except in extreme circumstances.

Parents who disagree with the content of the plan can request a due process hearing, similar to as with an IEP (in some states, it’s even the same system).

The school should notify the parents of these options, plus any alternative complaint system they may have. If they are not forthcoming, OCR is still a great resource for info and assistance.

Technically it does not expire. Districts are supposed to have clearly defined 504 procedures and policies (although many do not). You can ask for a copy of the district policy or Board of Education approved procedures that back them up. (Chances are, they don’t exist!)

When a student arrives with a 504 plan, the student’s new district should promptly convene a 504 committee meeting to see if the existing plan needs revising.

You can request a 504 meeting to review his plan. You can also meet with the principal to express your concerns about academics, functioning, peer interactions and discipline. Make an agenda for yourself ahead of time, and bring someone along who will take good notes.

I am currently looking for an answer on this as well. I hope you find an answer for both of our sakes.

I am a school principal in Texas and although this may not answer the question definitively, hopefully it will help. ADHD can be handled through either a 504 or SPED depending on the circumstances and physicians documentation. For instance, if a child with ADHD is having problems focusing in class, or sitting still, a 504 may be established to provide certain seating, stretch breaks, or access to a cool off area when needed. However if a student with ADHD exhibits behavior that is directly caused by the disorder, such as uncontrollable fits, or severe outbursts, the Special Education department can evaluate the student (usually done by an LSSP), and if the student qualifies (typically under OHI- Other Health Impairment) an IEP and/or BIP can be established to provide services.

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