Section 504 Procedural Safeguards
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 Section504 Coordinator. The school system’s
Section 504 Coordinator will assist the grievant in completing the
written Request for Hearing.
- 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.
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.
- 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
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 official.
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
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.
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
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.
Notice of Rights of Students and Parents Under Section 504