SECTION 504 3200
1. It is the policy of the Board of Education of Sevier School District to provide a free appropriate public education to each handicapped student within its jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the handicap.
1.1 It is the intent of the district to ensure that students who are handicapped within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are identified, evaluated and provided with necessary accommodations for appropriate educational services. Students may be handicapped under this policy even though they do not require services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) .
1.2 Due process rights of handicapped students and their parents under Section 504 are guaranteed in Sevier School District.
1.3 The Assistant Superintendent is the Compliance Officer of Section 504 in Sevier School District.
2 DEFINITIONS UNDER SECTION 504
2.1 ACCOMMODATION: any action or service provided for a handicapped student in an effort to meet the educational needs of such a student as adequately as the educational needs of a non-handicapped student are met. The term may include specialized education, related services and aids or be limited to a physical compensation.
2.2 ACCOMMODATION, PHYSICAL: any action, assistive device, equipment or other consideration to equalize opportunity. It does not include change(s) in instructional programs. The term is exemplified when accommodation is limited to providing special equipment, administering medication, preferential seating and other considerations.
2.3 ACCOMMODATION PLAN: written document developed by a team (similar to the IEP) that outlines accommodations necessary for a student who has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities.
2.4 BARRIER-FREE ENVIRONMENT: a school environment that contains no obstacles to accessibility and usability by students with handicaps. Barrier means physical and non-physical.
2.5 COMPARABILITY TEST: a method to attempt to determine what accommodations are needed to meet the educational needs of handicapped students as adequately as the needs of non-handicapped students.
2.6 COMPLIANCE OFFICER: the person specifically named by the recipient to coordinate the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
2.7 HANDICAPPED PERSON: any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. The term is not necessarily synonymous with disabled children as set forth in IDEA-B.
2.8 IDEA-B - Part "B" of the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Public Law 101-76.
2.9 MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITY: functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
2.10 MEDIATION: a process specific to reconciliation of differences. Mediation efforts never supplant either party's right to the procedures of Due Process.
2.11 MEDIATOR: a person, usually a third party, who attempts to resolve differences between or among conflicting parties.
2.12 MULTI-DISCIPLINARY TEAM: two or more persons representing different, but relevant, fields of expertise.
2.13 OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS (OCR): has three primary responsibilities: investigating complaints, conducting compliance reviews, and providing technical assistance. There are ten regional offices located throughout the United States. The regional office for Utah is in Denver, Colorado. Region Vlll (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, UTAH and Wyoming), Office of Civil Rights, 1244 Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204-3582,(303) 844-5695, and (303) 844-3417 (TDD).
2.14 REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: school districts are required to make adjustments to allow for a student with handicaps or known physical or mental limitations.
2.15 RECIPIENT: any agency receiving federal financial assistance.
2.16 SPECIAL EDUCATION, SPECIALIZED EDUCATION: the terms are presented here as a frame of reference rather than procedurally limiting. Special Education usually means IDEA-B whereas "specialized" usually implies adaptations in the context of regular education such as note takers, verbal cues, modified books, etc. The terms are not mutually exclusive!
This manual provides a system for the implementation of the procedural provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, Subpart D. Section 504 contains other requirements including accessibility and employment practices concerning persons with handicaps. This system limits itself to Subpart D. All individuals who are disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are also considered to be handicapped and, therefore, protected under Section 504. However, all individuals who have been determined to be handicapped under 504 may not necessarily be disabled under IDEA. These children require a response from the regular education staff and curriculum. For the purpose of this manual, the term "handicapped" refers to students who are protected under the regulations of Section 504; the term "disabled" is reserved for students who are eligible for services under IDEA. The IDEA defines as eligible only students, who have certain specified types of disabilities and who, because of one of those conditions, need special education (specially designed instruction). Section 504 protects all handicapped students defined as those having any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (including learning). Section 504 covers all students who meet this definition, even if they do not fall within the IDEA enumerated categories and even if they do not need to be in a special education program. The following figure illustrates the difference between regular, 504 and 504/lDEA students.
4. Examples of 504 Students:
Students who are protected by Section 504, but who may not be covered by the IDEA include students with such health impairments as juvenile arthritis, AIDS or ADD. Such students may not meet the criteria for IDEA categories. However, if their disorders or conditions substantially limit their ability to function at school, they are handicapped within the meaning of Section 504 and must be provided with needed accommodations so that the students can benefit from their education. If a school has reason to believe that, because of a handicap as defined under Section 504, a student needs either special accommodations or related services in the regular setting in order to participate in the school programs, the student must be evaluated and, if found to be eligible, the school must develop and implement an accommodation plan for the delivery of needed services. Appendix 11.2 compares the procedures and substantial differences between IDEA and 504. Appendix 11.3 clarifies the 504-accommodation procedure.
5. Grievance Procedure:
Sevier School District considers "OCR Complaints" to be written statements alleging facts which, if true, would constitute a violation of 504. Such complaints must be dated, signed and submitted to Sevier School District's Compliance Officer for Section 504. Within 60 calendar days of receipt of the complaint, the District will, if necessary, carry out an on-site investigation and resolve the complaint. This procedure does not limit the right of an individual to file an OCR complaint with the Office of Civil Rights directly (see Appendix 11.4).
6. Child Find:
6.1 Child find procedures utilized for compliance with the IDEA will be utilized for the identification of students with handicaps that may qualify under Section 504 of the Civil Rights act.
6.2 Child Identification
6.2.1 Consistent with federal law (34 CFR 300.220) and Utah State Board of Education Special Education Rules (SBE, SER) III.A., the Sevier School District assures that all children, birth through twenty-one, including children in all public and private agencies and institutions within the legal boundaries of the District who are handicapped, regardless of the severity of their handicap, and who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, evaluated and receive a free appropriate public education.
6.3 This policy is carried out through the implementation of the following procedures:
6.3.1 Local School Referral Process. Referrals for evaluation of school age children suspected of needing special education may be initiated at the local school level by any person with a legitimate interest in the child. Pre-referral procedures and referral procedures must be followed when making referrals.
6.3.2 Referrals from community agencies. Referrals may be made directly to Sevier School District from community agencies. Representatives from community agencies shall contact the principal of the student's neighborhood school to make referrals for evaluation. Community agencies that have formal interagency agreements with Sevier School District include:
126.96.36.199 Central Utah Mental Health
188.8.131.52 Division of Family Services
184.108.40.206 Youth Corrections
220.127.116.11 Division of Rehabilitation Services
18.104.22.168 Utah Schools for Deaf and Blind
22.214.171.124 Other school districts within Utah
126.96.36.199 Children's Special Health Services
6.4 Vision/Hearing Screening. Vision screening is completed annually for students in grades K-7 and any referred students. Hearing screening is completed annually for students in grades K-3. Re-checks are performed annually. The results of these screenings are maintained in the student's cumulative folder. Special Education students are screened at time of referral and at all three-year re-evaluations. These records are maintained in the student's special education folder.
6.5 Media. Notices detailing child find and referral procedures and the continuum of services for handicapped students in the District have been developed for distribution. Notices are published in District publications, local newspapers, and regional newspapers annually.
6.6 Achievement Testing. The District utilizes State approved test for annual evaluation of academic progress (grades 3,5,8,11).
6.7 Early childhood screening assessment. A criterion-referenced assessment is given to all children entering kindergarten. Each child's auditory perception, visual perception, verbal development, and motor coordination are screened.
7. Referral for 504 Assistance:
A student need has been identified by a teacher, parent, administrator, or other person with a legitimate interest. A REFERRAL FOR 504 ASSISTANCE (Appendix 11.5) must be completed and submitted to the local school principal. The local school multi-disciplinary team will then review the referral and determine the appropriate action
8.1 The local school principal must notify (Prior Notice Form, Copy of Rights) parents, in writing, that the district is conducting a review of existing records and must obtain parental permission for any additional evaluation (Appendix 11.6).
8.2 Following notification and/or receipt of parental consent, the principal or designee reviews all student records and evaluations and initiates any additional required evaluations. The evaluation is then reviewed by the multi-disciplinary team and the 504 compliance officer is informed.
9. Eligibility / Accommodation Plan:
9.1 Within 30 days of the completion of the evaluation, the principal or designee will convene a multi-disciplinary team, (with the inclusion of the parents who have received Prior Notice and their Rights), to consider:
9.1.1 Student's unmet needs.
9.1.2 Section 504 eligibility.
9.1.3 Accommodations based on eligibility (Accommodation Plan). See below for examples of reasonable accommodation. The multi-disciplinary team will document the eligibility on the 504 ELIGIBILITY / ACCOMMODATION FORM (Appendix 11.7). If the student is found eligible, the team then completes the accommodation plan. This specifies the action(s) to be taken with each accommodation, and the persons involved in developing the accommodation plan. The accommodation plan must be reviewed annually.
9.1.4 The plan may include medical documentation (Appendix 11.8) and/or statement of health professional (Appendix 11.9).
10.1 Students receiving accommodations under Section 504 must be re-evaluated every three years.
10.2 Examples of Reasonable Accommodation under 504
10.2.1 Providing a structured learning environment
10.2.2 Repeating and simplifying instructions about in-class and homework assignments
10.2.3 Supplementing verbal instructions with visual instructions
10.2.4 Using behavioral management techniques
10.2.5 Adjusting class schedules
10.2.6 Modifying test delivery
10.2.7 Using tape recorders, computer-aided instruction, and other audiovisual equipment
10.2.8 Selecting modified textbooks or workbooks
10.2.9 Tailoring homework assignments
10.2.10 Reducing class size
10.2.11 Use of one-to-one tutorials
10.2.12 Classroom aides and note takers
10.2.13 Involvement of a "services coordinator"
10.2.14 Possible modification of nonacademic times such as lunchroom, recess, and physical education
10.2.15 Change student seating
10.2.16 Change instructional pace
10.2.17 Change instructional methods
10.2.18 Change instructional materials
10.2.19 Provide peer tutoring
10.2.20 Implement behavioral/academic contracts
10.2.21 Utilize positive reinforcements (rewards)
10.2.22 Utilize negative consequences (punishments)
10.2.23 Utilize supplementary materials
11. 504 DUE PROCESS HEARING PROCEDURE
11.1 Consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR 300.506-513, and the Utah State Plan for the Individuals with Disabilities Act, the procedures noted below shall be utilized for conducting due process hearings in the Sevier School District for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
11.2 REQUEST FOR HEARING
11.2.1 If the parent(s)/guardian(s) of a child with handicaps are aggrieved by a decision or a school/program proposal to initiate or change, or refusal to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free appropriate education, they are guaranteed an impartial due process hearing of their complaint which is to be made in writing to the Sevier School District Superintendent. The Sevier School District may also initiate a hearing, as may also a student who has handicaps or is suspected of having handicaps who is the age of majority, and has not been declared incompetent by a Utah Court.
11.2.2 Upon receipt of a written request for a hearing, the Sevier School District Superintendent shall:
188.8.131.52 Inform the parent/guardian in writing of any free or low-cost legal services as well as other services relevant to mediation or a due process hearing and the right to waive the mediation conference;
184.108.40.206 Notify the State Superintendent of Public Instruction of the request for the hearing. The parent shall also be informed of free or low-cost legal services at any other time he/she asks.
11.2.3 The Sevier School District shall be responsible for conducting an impartial due process hearing.
11.2.4 The Sevier School District Superintendent shall ensure that within forty-five (45) calendar days after receipt of the written hearing request the hearing is immediately commenced and completed, including any mediation conducted pursuant to these Policies and Procedures, and a final decision is rendered, unless a continuance has been granted. Immediately upon receipt of a complaint the Superintendent or designee will contact the appropriate parties and attempt to convene a mediation conference to resolve the conflict in an informal, non-adversarial atmosphere.
11.3.1 Within five (5) working days upon receipt from the Sevier School District Superintendent of a written request for a hearing pursuant to these regulations, the state Educational Equity Administrator shall initiate steps to conduct a mediation conference, unless either party waives the mediation conference. The purpose of the mediation conference is to attempt to resolve the differences and, if possible, avoid a hearing:
220.127.116.11 The State Educational Equity Administrator shall appoint a trained mediator to carry out all mediation activities;
18.104.22.168 The State Educational Equity Administrator shall ensure that mediation is viewed as voluntary and freely agreed to by both parties and is in no way used to deny or delay an aggrieved party's right to a hearing;
22.214.171.124 The mediation conference shall be an intervening, informal process conducted in a non-adversarial atmosphere;
126.96.36.199 The mediation shall be completed within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt by the State Educational Equity Administrator of the request for the hearing.
11.3.2 Either party to the mediation conference may request the hearing officer to grant a specific extension of time. Such an extension shall be granted upon a showing of good cause. Any extension shall not extend the forty-five (45) calendar-day maximum for completion of the due process hearing and rendering of the final administrative decision, unless the hearing officer is agreeable to such an extension.
11.3.3 The mediation resolution shall not conflict with State or Federal law and shall be to the satisfaction of both parties. Satisfaction shall be indicated by the signatures of both parties on the written resolution.
11.3.4 A copy of the written resolution shall be mailed by the mediator to each party within five (5) calendar days following the mediation conference. A copy shall also be filed by the mediator with the State Education Equity Administrator.
11.4 ASSIGNMENT OF HEARING OFFICER
11.4.1 If either party refuses to participate in a mediation conference or other proposed mediation steps, or if mediation efforts fail to settle the differences between the parties, the Sevier School District Superintendent jointly with the parents, shall select an independent hearing officer. The Sevier School District shall maintain a list of persons who may serve as hearing officers, including their qualifications that have been approved by the State Office of Education. The independent hearing officer shall carry out all appropriate activities in conformance with the State Office of Education procedures.
11.4.2 If an agreement cannot be reached by both parties on the selection of the independent hearing officer, the matter shall be submitted to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction who shall appoint the hearing officer.
11.4.3 An independent hearing officer shall not be assigned from the register to a particular hearing who, with respect to that hearing, has any personal or professional bias or interest which might conflict with his/her objectivity towards either of the parties to the hearing or any of the issues to be decided in the hearing. An employee of the Sevier School District involved in the education or care of the student shall also be excluded from serving as a hearing officer.
11.4.4 An individual who otherwise qualifies to conduct a hearing is not an employee of the agency solely because he/she is paid by the agency to serve as a hearing officer.
11.4.5 A hearing officer may at any point withdraw from consideration or from service in any hearing in which he/she believes a personal or professional bias or interest on any of the issues to be decided in the hearing exists which might conflict with his/her objectivity.
11.5 PRE-HEARING PROCEDURES
11.5.1 Within a reasonable time the hearing officer shall provide the parent/guardian and the school district written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
11.5.2 The hearing officer shall ensure that the hearing is conducted at a time and place reasonably convenient to the parents and student involved.
11.5.3 At the discretion of the hearing officer, a pre-hearing conference shall be held in order to:
188.8.131.52 Clarify the issue(s) of the hearing;
184.108.40.206 Review the hearing rights of both parties;
220.127.116.11 Review the procedures for conducting the hearing;
18.104.22.168 Afford both parties the opportunity for disclosure.
22.214.171.124 In no event will such a pre-hearing conference be held later than five (5) days prior to the hearing.
11.5.4 Each party shall disclose to the other the full name, title, occupation and place of employment of each witness, a capsule summary of the witnesses' testimony and any other evidence to be presented. These disclosures must be made at least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing.
11.5.5 During a pre-hearing conference conducted pursuant to this section, or in the alternative through the delivery of a written notice, the hearing officer shall ensure that the parents are provided a full explanation of their hearing rights.
11.6 HEARING RIGHTS
11.6.1 Any party to a hearing has the right to:
126.96.36.199 Be accompanied and advised by counsel and by others with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of students with handicaps;
188.8.131.52 Present evidence and confront, cross-examine and compel the attendance of witnesses;
184.108.40.206 Prohibit the introduction of any evidence at the hearing, which has not been disclosed to that party at least five (5) days prior to the hearing;
220.127.116.11 Obtain a written or electronic verbatim record of the hearing;
18.104.22.168 Obtain written findings of fact and decisions.
11.7 PARENT RIGHTS IN HEARING
In addition to the rights noted above, parents are assured of their right to have the child who is the subject of the hearing present, and to determine whether the hearing shall be open or closed to the public.
11.8 DECISION OF HEARING OFFICER
11.8.1 The hearing officer's decision shall be issued in accordance with the following requirements:
22.214.171.124 Such decision will be in writing and shall be sent by certified mail or hand-delivered within forty five (45) calendar days after the request for the hearing to the parents, to the Sevier School District, to their respective representatives, and to the USOE Educational Equity Administrator.
126.96.36.199 The decision of the hearing officer will include findings of fact, conclusions, and reasons for these findings and conclusions. If the decision is to disapprove a proposed educational program, it will include a statement as to what is an adequate and appropriate educational program for the student. If the decision is to approve a proposed educational program, it should include a finding that a less (or more) restrictive program could not adequately and appropriately serve the student's educational needs;
188.8.131.52 The decision of the hearing officer shall be based solely on evidence and testimony presented at the hearing;
184.108.40.206 A verbatim record of the proceedings at the hearing will be made, which shall include any materials or statements specifically requested by any of the parties to appear in the record and shall be made available to the parties at the hearing;
220.127.116.11 The decision of the hearing officer is binding upon the parents and upon the Sevier School District, its officers, employees and agents, unless a party to the hearing appeals the decision to the Utah State Office of Education.
18.104.22.168 Following rendering of the decisions, the Utah State Office of Education will ascertain that the decision has been fully implemented by the responsible public agency. Should it be determined that the responsible public agency has not implemented these orders; the USOE will implement enforcement procedures.
11.9 ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL
11.9.1 When a hearing is conducted by a public agency other than the State Education Agency, any parties aggrieved by the findings and decision of the hearing officer may appeal to the Utah State Office of Education. The appeal and request for an impartial review must be made in writing, within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the hearing officer's decision, to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction by the party appealing the decision.
11.9.2 If there is an appeal, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction shall appoint a tribunal of qualified hearing officers to provide for an impartial review of the hearing which must be completed not later than thirty (30) calendar days after the receipt of the request unless the tribunal of hearing officers grants a specific extension of time, upon request of either party. The tribunal conducting the review shall:
22.214.171.124 Examine the entire hearing record;
126.96.36.199 Ensure the procedures at the hearing were consistent with the requirements of due process;
188.8.131.52 Seek additional evidence if necessary. If a hearing is held to receive additional
184.108.40.206 evidence, the rights in Sections E and F above apply;
220.127.116.11 Afford the parties an opportunity for oral or written argument, or both, at the discretion of the reviewing officials; if oral arguments are involved, they shall be conducted at a time and place reasonably convenient to the parents and student;
18.104.22.168 Make an independent decision on completion of the review;
22.214.171.124 Provide a copy of written findings and the decision to the parties within thirty (30) calendar days of the request for the review;
126.96.36.199 The decision made by the reviewing officials is final unless a party brings a civil action.
188.8.131.52 Following rendering of the decision, the Utah State Office of Education will ascertain that the decision has been fully implemented by the responsible public agency. Should it be determined that the responsible public agency has not implemented these orders; the USOE will implement enforcement procedures.
11.10 CIVIL ACTION
Any party aggrieved by the decision of the reviewing officials on appeal has the right to bring a civil action.
11.11 STUDENT'S STATUS DURING PROCEEDINGS
11.11.1 During the pendency of any administrative hearing or judicial proceeding pursuant to the Rules and these Policies and Procedures, the student involved must remain in the present educational placement, unless the district/school/program and the parents agree otherwise.
11.11.2 If the hearing involves an application for initial admission to public school, the student, with the consent of the parents, must be placed in the public school program of the Sevier School District until the completion of all the proceedings.
11.11.3 While the placement may not be changed during an administrative or judicial proceeding, unless the district/school/program and parents agree otherwise, this does not preclude the school/program from using its normal procedures for dealing with students who are endangering themselves or others.
11.12 EXPENDITURES ASSOCIATED WITH HEARING
The Sevier School District shall be responsible for paying administrative costs related to the hearing, including necessary expenses incurred by the hearing officer and any stenographic services in accordance with department policies and procedures. The parties involved shall each be responsible for any legal or other fees that they incur.
11.13 REASONABLE ATTORNEYS' FEES
Pursuant to Section 11.12 above concerning the responsibility for legal costs associated with hearings, the Sevier School District may be responsible for the reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by a parent under the provisions of The Handicapped Children's Protection Act of 1986 if the parent is the prevailing party in an administrative or judicial proceeding.
12. Student and Parent Rights in Identification, Evaluation, and Placement
12.1 The following is a description of student and parent rights granted by federal law. The intent of the law is to keep you fully informed concerning decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions.
12.2 YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO:
12.2.1 Have your child take part in, and receive benefits from public education programs without discrimination based on a disability.
12.2.2 Have the school district advise you as to your rights under federal law.
12.2.3 Receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation, or placement of your child.
12.2.4 Have your child receive a free appropriate public education. This includes the right to be educated with other students to the maximum extent appropriate. It also includes the right to have the school district make reasonable accommodations to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school related activities.
12.2.5 Have your child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those provided students without disabilities.
12.2.6 Have your child receive special education and related services if he/she is found to be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) (PL 101-476), or to receive reasonable accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
12.2.7 Have evaluation, educational and placement decisions made based upon a variety of information sources, and by individuals who know the student, the evaluation data, and placement options.
12.2.8 Have transportation provided to a school placement setting at no greater cost to you than would be incurred if the student were placed in a program operated by the school district.
12.2.9 Give your child an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities offered by the school district.
12.2.10 Examine all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, educational program, and placement.
12.2.11 Obtain copies of educational records at a reasonable cost if the fee would effectively deny you access to the records.
12.2.12 Receive a response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child's records.
12.2.13 Request amendments of your child's educational records if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of your child. If the school district refuses this request, it shall notify you within a reasonable time, and advise you of the right to a hearing.
12.2.14 Request mediation or an impartial due process hearing related to decisions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, educational program, or placement. You and your child may take part in the hearing and have an attorney represent you.
12.2.15 Ask for payment of reasonable attorney fees if you are successful on your claim.
12.2.16 File a local grievance.
Sevier School District 504 Coordinator: