Posted on 03/13/2014 at 01:52 PM by Global Reach

Once a 504 team has developed the 504 plan for a student determined eligible for Section 504, the teachers must follow the plan and provide the accommodations identified within the plan for the district to fulfill its obligation under FAPE.  Teachers should never take it upon themselves to alter or refuse to provide any of the accommodations.  The case of Morgan County (WV) Schs., 54 IDELR 104 (OCR 2009) specifically addressed the violation when a third-grader with ADHD did not receive all of the accommodations provided by his Section 504 plan.

“The plan required his teachers to reduce seatwork and break down his assignments into smaller units, use a behavior chart with rewards and consequences, and use small groups and provide additional time for testing.  OCR’s investigation determined that the district did not comply with Section 504 with respect to use of the plan’s behavioral chart.  The district’s card intervention, which used rewards and consequences, satisfied the requirements of the provision.  But the math teacher discontinued the program at the parent’s request.  And the language arts teacher failed to implement the program, saying the student’s behavior was rarely an issue and that the student told her he did not want to be singled out from other students.  Neither teachers’ rationale for not using the program excused the district from its obligation to implement the 504 plan’s provision.” (The Answer Book, 4th Ed, LRP Publications, 2011) 

The lesson to be learned here is that once a Section 504 plan is written and accommodations are specifically identified on the plan, teachers are obligated under law to implement the accommodations.  If there are accommodations provided for in the plan that the student no longer needs, then the plan needs to be reviewed and revised by the 504 team and the plan must identify those accommodations the student currently needs.  As long as a Section 504 plan is in place, the plan must be followed.  If the team feels a student no longer needs a 504 plan, then they should officially be exited from the plan, with documentation and signatures.  A student may always be re-evaluated to determine eligibility at a later date if the need arises.

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