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Question: Teacher doesn't follow Section 504 Plan. What are the parent's rights in this situation?
I guess this is a plea for answers for our 11 year old daughter. She is currently in the 5th grade in a public school and is in the 504 program. Her teacher does not follow the guidelines that was set for our daughter. We have asked questions to understand better and given a cold shoulder and pretty much told our daughter was spoiled and a brat because, she would come home crying after being called a retard in class.(by the way we asked the teacher who's reply was the kids are only playing with her and joking) She has said all year that when she has asked questions when she did not understand something she was told to sit down. Her grades have dropped even further and now says she cant do anything. She is on responsible for 80% of the work the other children are but her questions count more. The teachers advice is let her try taking the longer test at least if she guesses she has a better chance of passing. The most aggrivating thing is she's a bright beautiful child. We have been to the local school board who always says we will talk to her and that is all. Is there not a group, agency that helps protect these children from being ignored? We would appreciate any response to help our daughter. Thank You for your time.
Sandy: your e-mail to the ADDHelpline was forwarded to me for review and comment. You have a very tough, but common problem. The school district is obligated to follow the 504 plan. If the plan is being followed and not working, they must hold a meeting to consider revisions. Or, they could consider eligibility for special ed. under IDEA. Here are a few suggestions;
1. Check with your State Board of Education. Every state must have a compliance monitoring division. Every state must also have a dispute resolution system. In Illinois where I practice, that is a due process system. You can always file a complaint with the compliance division or file for a due process hearing.
2. Go to the U.S. Justice Department, Office of Civil Rights or Department of Education in your area. File a complaint. They will investigate and if the school district is out of compliance, Justice will do something.
3. Ask for a meeting to consider revisions or re-evaluation. Some common 504 accommodations are untimed tests, assignment books, extended time to complete homework, preferential seating, oral books, etc. It all depends on your daughter's needs.
4. The school district is obligated to provide you with a list of people or places where you can get low cost legal assistance. Get that list from them. If they refuse or do not have one, that's a violation.
I hope this helps, feel free to e-mail me again or call me (847/480-7749) if I can be of further assistance. Steven Glink.