The Rehabilitation Act & Section 504 Hearings

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A Section 504 Hearing is a hearing that parents can request under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is a civil rights law, to have a hearing officer determine whether their child is receiving the necessary accommodations for their disabilities in their education. This is different than an Educational Due Process Hearing and involves varying rights and requirements. The main thrust of Section 504 is whether the child’s disabilities are being appropriately accommodated for in school.

Keep in mind, educational laws are different in each state and many disciplinary procedures will vary by district in Indiana. While the information Hollingsworth & Zivitz provides may be helpful, it should not be seen as official legal advice or a substitute for hiring an attorney. At our firm, we are prepared to assist you with Section 504 hearings. Our Carmel education law attorneys know how to handle tough cases- call on our firm today for trusted support and guidance.

What is Section 504?

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, parents of children with special needs have legal means to call into question the adequacy of the educational support their child is receiving at school. From ADHD to paralysis, students with varying disabilities can qualify for protection under this act. If a parent has not been able to work with or get the school to cooperate on providing the appropriate care and educational adjustments for their child’s needs, they may be able to take legal action. A parent can request a hearing to resolve the issue with the school.

The following issues regarding the child’s disability may be called into question during the hearing:

  • Type of disability
  • Extent and severity of the disability
  • Eligibly for educational accommodations
  • Current and previous placement
  • Reimbursement of services

When you pursue a hearing, the main goal is to get your child the educational support they need. To request a Section 504 Hearing, you must submit a formal letter stating what statues were violated and the issues that the hearing officer needs to review. From there, the school will be contacted and a pre-hearing conference will be set up to see if mediation can resolve the case beforehand.

If mediation is not successful, both sides will begin preparing for the hearing. You should work with your attorney to compile documents, retain witnesses or experts that can support your child’s disabilities and needs, and other evidence. Section 504 has no statute of limitations on how long you can bring up the school’s failure to provide care, but the state does enforce a 10 year limit. If you believe the case was not resolved in your child’s favor, you may be able to appeal it if there is valid reason.

Need to prepare for a Section 504 Hearing? Hollingsworth & Zivitz is ready to provide the assistance you need during this time. Set up your initial consultation with our Indianapolis firm today.

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