Section 504 Procedural Safeguards
Section 504 Procedural Safeguards
1. Overview: Any student or parent or guardian (“grievant”) may request an impartial hearing due to the school system’s actions or inactions regarding your child's identification, evaluation,or educational placement under Section 504. Requests for an impartial hearing must be in writing to the school system’s Section 504 Coordinator; however, a grievant’s failure to request a hearing in writing does not alleviate the school system’s obligation to provide an impartial hearing if the grievant orally requests an impartial hearing through the school system’s Section 504 Coordinator. The school system’s Section 504 Coordinator will assist the grievant in completing the written
Request for Hearing.
2. Hearing Request: The Request for the Hearing must include the following:
a. The name of the student.
b. The address of the residence of the student.
c. The name of the school the student is attending.
d. The decision that is the subject of the hearing.
e. The requested reasons for review.
f. The proposed remedy sought by the grievant.
g. The name and contact information of the grievant.
Within 10 business days from receiving the grievant’s Request for Hearing, the Section 504 Coordinator will acknowledge the Request for Hearing in writing and schedule a time and place for a hearing. If the written Request for Hearing does not contain the necessary information noted above, the Section 504 Coordinator will inform the grievant of the specific information needed to complete the request. All timelines and processes will be stayed until the Request for Hearing contains the necessary information noted above.
3. Mediation: The school system may offer mediation to resolve the issues detailed by the
grievant in his or her Request for Hearing. Mediation is voluntary and both the grievant and school system must agree to participate. The grievant may terminate the mediation at any time. If the mediation is terminated without an agreement, the school system will follow the procedures for conducting an impartial hearing without an additional Request for Hearing.
4. Hearing Procedures:
a. The Section 504 Coordinator will obtain an impartial review official who will conduct
a hearing within 45 calendar days from the receipt of the grievant’s Request for
Hearing unless agreed to otherwise by the grievant or a continuance is granted by the
impartial review official.
b. Upon a showing of good cause by the grievant or school system, the impartial review
official, at his or her discretion, may grant a continuance and set a new hearing date.
The request for a continuance must be in writing and copied to the other party.
c. The grievant will have an opportunity to examine the child’s educational records prior
to the hearing.
d. The grievant will have the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel at his or her
own expense at the hearing and participate, speak, examine witnesses, and present
information at the hearing. If the grievant is to be represented by legal counsel at the
hearing, he or she must inform the Section 504 Coordinator of that fact in writing at
least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing. Failure to notify the Section 504
Coordinator in writing of representation by legal counsel shall constitute good cause
for continuance of the hearing.
e. The grievant will have the burden of proving any claims he or she may assert. When
warranted by circumstances or law, the impartial hearing officer may require the
recipient to defend its position/decision regarding the claims (i.e. A recipient shall
place a disabled student in the regular educational environment operated by the
recipient unless it is demonstrated by the recipient that the education of the person in
the regular environment with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be
achieved satisfactorily. 34 C.F.R.§104.34). One or more representatives of the school
system, who may be an attorney, will attend the hearing to present the evidence and
witnesses, respond to the grievant testimony and answer questions posed by the review
f. The impartial review official shall not have the power to subpoena witnesses, and the
strict rules of evidence shall not apply to hearings. The impartial review official shall
have the authority to issue pre-hearing instructions, which may include requiring the
parties to exchange documents and names of witnesses to be present.
g. The impartial review official shall determine the weight to be given any evidence based
on its reliability and probative value.
h. The hearing shall be closed to the public.
i. The issues of the hearing will be limited to those raised in the written or oral request
for the hearing.
j. Witnesses will be questioned directly by the party who calls them. Cross-examination
of witnesses will be allowed. The impartial review official, at his or her discretion,
may allow further examination of witnesses or ask questions of the witnesses.
k. Testimony shall be recorded by court reporting or audio recording at the expense of the
recipient. All documentation related to the hearing shall be retained by the recipient.
l. Unless otherwise required by law, the impartial review official shall uphold the action
of school system unless the grievant can prove that a preponderance of the evidence
supports his or her claim.
m. Failure of the grievant to appear at a scheduled hearing unless prior notification of
absence was provided and approved by the impartial review official or just cause is
shown shall constitute a waiver of the right to a personal appearance before the
impartial review official.
5. Decision: The impartial review official shall issue a written determination within 20 calendar days of the date the hearing concluded. The determination of the impartial review official shall not include any monetary damages or the award of any attorney’s fees.
6. Review: If not satisfied with the decision of the impartial review official, any party may
pursue any right of review, appeal, cause of action or claim available to them under the law or existing state or federal rules or regulations.