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Ask The Advocate
by Steve Glink
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Can a Section 504 be transferred to a new school district?
I have a son in
the 8th grade who started to receive help under the 504 program while in the 6th
grade. By the time the school year came around again we had purchased a
home in a different district. During his 7th grade year we had numerous
complaints from his teacher about his grades. Every time I went to the
school I would ask about his rights under the 504 program, at first the school
said they had never heard of such program. Once in the counselors office I
called his prevous school and had the counselor speak with the original
Coordinator who placed my son under the program. To make a long story
short my son is now in the 8th grade with the same problems concerning his
school work. What options do I have to ensure that he is being provided
with the appropriate education and rights he deserves. PLEASE HELP
From the Advocate:
Dear Parent: Your situation is a common and unfortunate situation. Under the law, the school district has a duty to identify and evaluate any student who may have a disability. If your son has a disability (your e-mail does not say what his disability is) that has a negative impact on his educational performance, he is eligible for special ed. under a federal law known as IDEA. If there is no negative impact, he would be eligible "reasonable accommodations" under section 504. The first thing that you should do is to make a written request that the school perform a CASE STUDY EVALUATION. Under Illinois law (where I practice), the school has 60 school days to complete the CSE. If they refuse to do it, they must send you a written letter explaining the basis for their decision. Your son may be entitled to much more educational & legal protection than you realize.
What you have described here is a refusal to implement a 504 plan.If that is how you want to proceed, you should file a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department (either the Office of Civil Rights or the Department of education) in your area. You should also file a complaint with your State Board of Education.They should investigate this and if they determine that you are right, they will order the school to comply. You may also ask your school district for a due process hearing. That is the dispute resolution process. By law, upon receipt of your request for a due process hearing, they must advise you of your right to mediation ( a less formal way to resolve these issues.If you request it, the school district must provide you with a list of places where you can obtain low cost legal assistance.
You must understand that many school districts use refusal and stalling as a tactic to wear parents (and their lawyers) down. You must not be deterred from your mission by their tactics. Please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if I can be of further assistance.
Steven E. Glink
Attorney At Law
3338 Commercial Avenue
Northbrook, Illinois 60062