Everything You Need to Know About 504 Plans for 2017
Guidelines from US Department of Education
Melissa Corto, CEO Education Modified
At the beginning of the year, the US Department of Education released three documents to clarify the rights of students with disabilities on 504 Plans and the responsibilities of educational institutions in ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn. Outlining and clarifying both federal special education law, IDEA and federal civil rights law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, these are guidelines for education leaders to communicate to your staff.
For your convenience, here are some quick resources and our takeaways from these guidance materials.
The Difference Between 504 and IEP from our friends at Understood:
Video: What’s the Difference Between an IEP and a 504 Plan?
5 Key Take-Aways for district and school leaders to communicate to their staff:
- Academic Progress ≠ Discharge: Students with disabilities on a 504 Plan can, and should, do well academically. Progressing and/or getting good grades does NOT negate the need for / is NOT a disqualifying factor for modifications or accommodations. The 504 Plan is hopefully part of the reason they are doing well.
- IEP’s Must Outline Services: School districts MUST develop an individualized education program for each student with a disability that clearly outlines details for special education and related services.
- FAPE: Free and Appropriate Education means that schools must provide related aids and services a student needs AND the appropriate setting in which to receive those services. The setting must also be the least restrictive setting a child can succeed in.
- Timely Evaluation: A district MUST evaluate a student, in a timely manner, if it has reason to believe that student has a disability and the student needs. Section 504 does not have a time frame for evaluation, but under IDEA, an evaluation must be done within 60-days of parental consent.
- Restraint and Seclusion includes Suspensions: School and district leaders must think carefully about restraining students for obvious reasons (the guidelines specifically cite trauma). But, they also must think twice about secluding students, which also means suspending them- any instance in which a child is taken out of the class and is NOT receiving educational instruction or services, is seclusion. If a child is constantly being removed from class for disciplinary action, or suspended, the school MUST: (1) Consider additional or different interventions or supports and services, including positive behavioral interventions and supports and other behavioral strategies, may be needed; (2) Determine if current interventions and supports are being properly implemented; (3) Ensure that any needed changes are made promptly; and (4) Remedy any denial of FAPE that resulted from the school’s prior use of restraint or seclusion.
Learn more about Education Modified and our commitment to helping all schools support ALL students. We ensure districts and schools are doing everything they can to follow federal and state guidelines.
And as always, reach out to us anytime with questions Learn@educationmodified.com
While they are very long, we have included the original documents here.