Section 504: 504 PLANS and PRIVATE SCHOOLS

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Stan: Are private schools that accept federal Title I monies required to write 504 Plans for children with disabilities? My school is willing to write an equivalent Alternate Learning Plan. Would such be acceptable?

  1. I have a student at a private school who is in a dual enrollment (DE) program this year. She started a DE class in August without any support and without any accommodations because no one ever told us that the current 504 plan on file with the high school would not apply to the college class. We were under the impression that the high school would use the 504 Plan currently on file with the high school to define accommodations for the DE course, the reason being, is because the DE class was taught on the high school campus, by a high school teacher (employed by the high school), on the high school schedule. And because the DE program is a high school program; college students are not eligible.

    The DE Coordinator (DEC) at the high school keeps telling us that it is the student’s responsibility to apply for college accommodations and that the high school is under no obligation to help. The DEC has repeatedly failed to communicate relevant information to the Support Services Dept (SSD) at their own high school. The DEC has repeatedly stated that the SSD does not need to be involved in the DE program. The DEC has repeatedly stated that they are under no obligation to communicate with SSD at all. Meanwhile, the DEC is providing assistance and advice for the DE program to typical students. However, the DEC herself is not qualified to provide assistance and advice to students with disabilities. So students with disabilities do not have the opportunity to be advised nor assisted properly because they would need someone familiar with their disability to do that – someone from the Support Services Dept. If the DEC is resisting communicating with the SSD, then there is no way for my child to get the assistance they need.

    I was under the impression that even private schools are required to provide assistance in order for students with disabilities to have the opportunity to participate in the same programs as typical students. Is this true?

    Also, DE programs are part of “transition services”. Wouldn’t the private school be required to provide transition services to all students? Wouldn’t transition services for students with disabilities necessitate the SSD be involved intimately with the DE program?

    Can the school legally cut out the SSD and leave my child with no support for a program? Especially for a transitional services program?

  2. I wrote a written statement to my child private school asking for a 504. I was told that it was being forwarded to the public school in the same district. And they public school denied without any discussion from me. they did have a letter from her doctor stating she has ADHD listing issues. wondering what to do now

    • Angi, the district where a child lives has a child find obligation even for a child in a private school. It probably would be better to ask them for a special ed evaluation. If a child has a disability the public school should offer services, if the child enrolls in that school. They may but do have to offer services if the child remains at the private school. 504 plans typically provide accommodations to a student. So the private school could provide appropriate accommodations, if they choose to. Your state parent training & information project can help you understand how all of this works in your state.

  3. If parents place a child at a private parochial school out of district, and that child is eligible for a 504 plan, which district is responsible for writing the 504-plan/evaluating the kiddo? The district the child lives in or the district the parochial school is in?

  4. Can a private school that is NOT recieving Title 1 funds write our own 504 plan for a student to recieve Empowerment scholarship funds from the state of arizona?

    • 504 is a civil rights statute. A child who attends a private school is entitled to protection from discrimination under Section 504 /ADA.

      IDEA is the federal special education law. A child with a disability who is found eligible under IDEA is entitled to an IEP that meets the child’s needs and generally includes special education, related services, supplementary aids and services, and PE/adaptive PE.

  5. Section 504 DOES apply to any private school that receives federal funding, including direct Title I funds. But private schools are not required to meet the same standards as public schools.

    Section 504 requires public schools to provide eligible students with disabilities with a free appropriate public education. Private schools, on the other hand, are required to provide students with access and “reasonable” accommodations – similar to what the ADA requires.

    IDEA requires public schools to develop IEPs for eligible students, but Section 504 does has no similar requirement regarding 504 plans (for public or private schools). Most schools chose to write a 504 plan as it is an effective way to document their compliance with the law.

    If the plan that your child’s school writes includes the accommodations the school will provide to allow your child with a disability access to the program – then OCR (the agency that enforces Section 504 in education) will likely consider it the equivalent of a 504 plan.

    • My grandson was sent home for kicking the teacher today. The Principal said the school was academic and to send him some place that has special needs.

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