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Ricardo: What are the legal requirements for private schools that do not receive federal funding and are having issues with newly registered students with disabilities that were receiving accommodations and modifications in the public school system?

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Hi! I have a daughter that tested ADD as well as generalized anxiety. She was in 10th grade when tested. She attends a private school who honored all accommodations recommended from the testing. The school also submitted for accommodations for the ACT which she was granted and she took the ACT this summer. My question is concerning college. Since she is in a private school we have no formal 504 Plan we merely have the testing. How will I submit these accommodations to a college so that she will have them (quiet test environment, extended time) while in college.?


We had a presentation from a local university’s “Office of Accessibility” recently – she told us that none of the IEP or 504 plan accommodations transfer, or are recognized by her college. Each student is responsible to discuss accommodations needed with specific class teacher/profs and at their discretion they could allow certain accommodations for that student in that class. She also noted that having a specific accommodation on an IEP in school sometimes helps a student’s case in college, but was no guarantee. (This was a NE Ohio college.)


I have two children in private school with a dyslexia diagnosis. The school does a great job accommodating the children. My concern is that we don’t have a 504 in place for later when they are not at this school and will need more time for testing such as the ACT etc… How to I make sure there is something in place to protect them for these type of test and college.


Your state parent training and information center should be able to give you some help.


Is there some law or know your rights for students who attend a private school and will remain in private school in order for them to receive a 504 plan from a zoned public school? I was recently turned away and something about that doesn’t seem right to me for a child who is diagnosed with ADHD and needs a 504 plan/evaluation.


If a child is tested by the public school, & is determined to have a disability under IDEA, that school could offer services, depending on your state rules. Your state parent training & information center can assist you.


My daughter goes to private religious school, but i believe they do get some federal funds,such as busing. Last year she was taken off the IEP and was suppose to be on a 504. By November, we had nothing in writing. The principal then asked what i wanted and said she would put it writing, which she did not. My daughter was then diagnosed with Autism. Denied IEP and OT, because she is not failing. A month prior to IEP meeting, i met with principal to discuss accommodations until the IEP Meeting. These have never been implemented by teachers and I am getting the run around by the principal. CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING ON HOMEWORK assignment is my main concern. Principal agreed, but a month later, not getting done and no written 504. Principal not doing anything. HELP


So, my child’s private school is refusing reasonable accommodations such as the ability to read AND annotate electronically vs using the paper book and use those annotations for an exam (students are allowed their paper books/annotations for the exam). The are also refusing to make a format change to multiple choice or matching for a weekly vocabulary test instead of a blank fill in format. The vocab test has previously (in different grades) been administered in the requested format. The child’s grades are suffering. They claim these are modifications and not accommodations and against school policy (no written policy provided). They admitted the child with full knowledge of the learning disability, including her not finishing reading section of entrance exam.??


One of my kids went the private school route. I used full disclosure with also telling them the child’s AT needs. At one of the schools my child interviwed at, the learning specialist looked like a deer in head lights when I explained my child’s needs. That was a warning sign and indicative of the culture at the school. We withdrew the application for admission at that particular private school. My child is currently at a private school where the school “culture” understands and supports kids with LD as well as fullly prepare them for college. I also asked “targeted” questions at the interviews to get to the heart of the school culture. Go with school that is the best “fit” for your child and actually “wants” your child at the school and for your child to make progress.

Jill G

Ricardo –

That depends. Is the school run by a religious organization? If NOT, then the school must abide by Title III of the ADA.That means they must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that allow an individual with a disability to access the program.

If the school IS run by a religious organization, does it really not receive any funding? No money from the USDA for school lunches, busing help from the local public district, or voucher to help offset tuition? If it does receive funding, it is covered by Section 504 which, when it comes to private schools, essentially functions the same as the ADA.

If the school is run by a religious institution and really receives no federal monies, then you’re out of luck at the federal level but state law may offer some protection.


Are religious private schools able to reject admission to a student that is in possession of a 504 plan based solely on that point?

Jill G

Rachel –

Rejecting a student based solely on the fact that they had a 504 plan is disability discrimination.

If the religious school is subject to Section 504, then they are prohibited from such discrimination. They may be subject to Section 504 if they receive, directly or indirectly, any federal funding. Common ways that private schools may receive funding is through tuition vouchers, busing help from the local public school district, or through participating in the USDA school meal program.

If they don’t receive any federal funding, they’re likely free to enact such discrimination under federal law. Some states do have more stringent anti-discrimination laws which may provide a student with protection.


My child attends a private school that is NOT run by a religious organization, but it also does NOT receive any federal funding whatsoever (I checked). Are they still subject to Section 504?