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RESOLVED - 504 denied-please review my letter

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by L101418, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. L101418

    L101418 Approved members

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    Gotta rush out the door but wanted to get your feedback on what I have so far for a letter to the coord and principle of the high school. I had the 504 meeting today and they indicated they were going to deny it because R is not "substantially impaired" in learning (she is a good student). I wanted to send this email before they send out the denial in hopes to sway them (highly unlikely).
    Thanks!

    What I have to far:
    Thank you for meeting with me to discuss my request for a 504 Plan for R. I understand you are leaning toward denying Rhea a 504 Plan. Please review the information below before sending me your formal denial and I hope you will approve the 504.

    Rhea is entitled to a 504 Plan because she has a physical impairment that substantially limts a major life activity, that of a major bodily function of her endocrine system.

    1. Type 1 Diabetes, as diagnosed by a physician, is a physiological disorder that affects the endocrine system.

    2. Quoting from the OCR's "Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities" page. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html

    STUDENTS PROTECTED UNDER SECTION 504
    Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

    FAQ #12
    Congress also provided a non-exhaustive list of examples of ?major bodily functions? that are major life activities, such as the functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

    3. Here are the sections of the The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 that apply to Rhea:
    Sec.3 Definition of Disability
    (2) Major Life Activities -
    (A) In General - "...major life activities include, but are not limited to, ...learning, reading, concentration, thinking."
    (B) Major Bodily Functions. - "...a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the....endocrine,...functions."
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3406enr.txt.pdf


    Other resources:
    http://www2.ed.gov/policy/rights/guid/ocr/disability.html
    http://www.diabetes.org/living-with...-at-school/legal-protections/section-504.html
    http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/schools/504-adanasndredf-2007.pdf
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  2. selketine

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    Your letter is fine. I would also take a look at these ADA documents: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with...ool/legal-protections/ada-amendments-act.html

    Go to the bottom of the page - there are 4 of them.

    I would PRINT those out and include with the letter -and not just include the link. I think they are more persuasive than the links you've included. I think if you just include links they may never look at them unfortunately.

    They specifically address learning - your school sounds like it has the 504 confused with the IEP and with an IEP learning MUST be impacted - but not so with a 504 (as you know).

    If they don't agree to reverse their decision, I suggest sending a copy of everything to your school district 504 coordinator (the one for the whole district). Sometimes that gets the school back in line without going to OCR.
     
  3. Flutterby

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    Looks good, I would also point out that a 504 does not require learning to be affected to qualify, a major life function is what needs to be affected.
     
  4. L101418

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    Awesome - thanks!
    Do you think I should copy the superintendent at this point. I don't think there is a district coord. This a small school district and when inquiring who the 504 coord was I was told it was the counselor at each school (elementary, middle and high school).
     
  5. Flutterby

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    who was at the meeting? I'd send copies to the ones in 'charge', I wouldn't copy the teachers, but the nurse and whomever else was there.. In our school I wouldn't bother with the superintendent, just yet.. but I don't know how your school is run.
     
  6. PatriciaMidwest

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    We went through this same thing with our school -- keep at it and you will prevail.

    Your letter is good, but I might consider changing the order just a tad. After the "thank you for meeting with me" paragraph I would state that Section 504 does NOT require academic issues for eligibility. Then I would list the 504 eligibility criteria and last I would state how your daughter meets that criteria.

    Good luck! If you aren't successful the ADA and the OCR may be able to help you. In our case, getting someone involved at the district level was helpful.
     
  7. selketine

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    I believe each school district is required to have a district wide 504 coordinator. Indeed the school is required to have one as well so perhaps they misunderstood the question or they didn't want to tell you. You should have been given information on who the district coordinator is - or a contact number for their office.

    I would go to your school district's website and try to find it that way - on ours there is a search function that just searches their website and typing in 504 brings it up.

    Usually the chain of "appeals" is the 504 district coordinator, then there is usually a state office and then OCR. You are always allowed to go directly to any one of those - including right to OCR. Filing a complaint with OCR could take months to resolve however. Your best chance for immediate resolution would be through the district coordinator - who should know enough to know that learning does not have to be affected.

    You always want to try to "educate" before filing too many complaints if possible. In theory your district coordinator should call your school coordinator and say "no no no" and the school would hold another meeting and grant the 504 not looking at learning as the only criterion.

    The ADA can help too - 1-800-DIABETES and ask for the free school discrimination packet - there is a form in there to return to ADA and get free legal advice from their staff discrimination lawyers.

    I think you will get a 504 eventually.

    On an unrelated note - you have two kids dx'd the same day! Maybe I misread the signature but that I what I remember - wow! Are you getting a 504 for both?
     
  8. momandwifeoftype1s

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    I think you're received excellent advice from previous posters. I just wanted to give you my support because this is exactly what happened when Connor was in kindergarten and I was requesting a 504 Plan (he's now in 4th). The school team, including our 504 Coordinator said "No", so we escalated to the district level. They also said "No" because learning was not affected. We did not sign anything of their eligibility forms that said "No", but asked them to reconsider their position using a letter similar to the one you have drafted. It worked for us to educate the district, but it did involved help from the ADA (1-800-DIABETES). We did not want to have to file an OCR complaint if the district could change their mind - and they did...eventually. I know you can do this! If you'd like a copy of the letter I sent, send me a PM with your e-mail address. The law is on your side.
     
  9. Becky Stevens mom

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    What a silly little school you have there:rolleyes: And obviously, the 504 coordinator is a bit ignorant about accommodations under section 504. Your childs academic performance doesnt have to be affected by their disability to qualify for a 504. All that has to be proven is that it CAN be affected by her disability and that has been proven with type 1 diabetes. High and low blood sugars can and do affect academic performance, thus the accommodations for doing make up tests should your CWD's blood sugar be out of range at the time of the testing
     
  10. VinceysMom

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    I think what they don't realize is, right, fine she is an excellent student, but... what if she has a low...her learning is impaired... what if she is high... her learning is impaired... my opinion, they are not "getting it" that these high's and low's can occur at any time and may impair learning... ugh... some people will never get it... So, what Becky said.

    I wish you the best, sorry they are giving you a difficult time with this... maybe you should ask them if they would like to come live at your house for a week and figure out "d"... :rolleyes:

    Good luck,
    Kathy
     
  11. L101418

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    Yeah! They can have the night shift. Or better yet if I could give them a pill that makes them feel like crap every time my daughter is even lowish, has a fast drop, gets nervous and BG does unpredictable things, above mid200s or is stuck up high. (my poor babies)

    They are just doing what they think is right, how they've always done it. They just don't understand yet that they are wrong. It might be big pill to get down. I didn't expect one meeting to change it.

    I sent them my email quoting the law and received a very nice reply that said, among other things, "R's disability does not "substantially limit one or more of her major life activities." In fact, the highest we came on the scale was "mild". Because of that, and her current and history of grades (all A's), and feedback from her current teachers, we determined that R does not qualify for a 504 Plan."

    I just smiled at that. They even provided me with contact names at the Iowa Dept of Education and OCR and copied them on the email:D. (Cool. Let's go with your listed contacts first.) I called the Dept of Ed and spoke to their legal advisor and he basically quoted the law and validated everything I (we) already knew. He is going to send a "neutral" email in reply and a conference call between all parties if that is needed. And we'll go from there.

    I'm pretty patient and stubborn. We'll get there.
    Thanks to everyone on this site!! I'll let you know how it goes.

    I must say that I did have a moment after talking to the Dept of Ed where I wanted to shout "Power to the people...with Type 1!" (I'm a dork.)
     
  12. tiger7lady

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    Mild?! Are they doctors? Oh this would have me in a tizzy. I'm glad you have the patience. I on the other hand would not. Because of some my son's other issues we have an IEP so I've never had to do the "normal" kid fighting for a 504. How I would love to be a fly on the wall when they realize they are wrong.
     
  13. Flutterby

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    Sorry they are not getting it but I'm glad to see that others are and totally understand the law. With their contacts, the Dept of Ed, they'll get it straighten out, I'm sure by next week you'll be hearing something about her qualifying for a 504.
     
  14. PatriciaMidwest

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    The good thing is they were silly enough to put all of this in writing :) You gotta love that! Stay on them...you will win.

     
  15. selketine

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    This is a good combination.;)

    I think if they get a phone call (hopefully not TOO neutral of a call) they should be willing to meet with you again.

    It really surprises me that your school district doesn't have a district wide 504 coordinator. Probably would have made it easier for you but it is great that the state person will help out.

    I hope you thanked them for sending it to OCR....that is just too funny. I don't think OCR would actually go in and correct them on it unless you filed a complaint but it still is funny.

    It also makes me think that they think they are right and are cc'ing people as a little bit of intimidation towards you. I would still give the Dept. of Ed guy a chance but could be that they want to go down with their ship because they are used to intimidating parents - hopefully not. I'm just saying that is unusual IMHO - raises my eyebrows.
     
  16. L101418

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    They do. It turned out to be the superintentant. He's been copied on all of the emails but no word from him.

    They actually only copied a rep from the Dept of Ed but I thought it was funny too.

    I thought this too. I was trying to think of ANY reason they would not grant 504 other than they just think they are right. I couldn't think of any benefit to them. The meeting was definately the mood that they were trying to "educate" me and I was trying to educate them. Calm but heals dug in on both sides. They even made a comment about they've run into this before but I was being nice about it. I laughed. I just said "There's no point in screaming...yet." I probably could have done a better job but in the first 2 min I knew nothing I would say would change the outcome of that paticular meeting - KWIM.
     
  17. hawkeyegirl

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    The recent amendments to the ADA make it clear that the determination of whether a condition substantially impacts a major life activity is made BEFORE treatment of that condition. So yeah. I'd say that untreated diabetes substantially impacts a major life activity. Like living. :rolleyes:

    Here is the text of ADA. Have them look at Section 4 (a)(3)(E)(i).

    It does sound like they are fairly well-intentioned, but wrong. Hopefully you'll get them straightened out soon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2011
  18. jules12

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  19. L101418

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    Just got off a conference call with the school and Dept of Ed and the school will now be implementing the 504 plan for daughterR. Yes!

    Poor guys though. It's never fun to find out you were doing it wrong all this time. I'm just thankful that they LISTENED. They were pretty worked up towards the Dept of Ed that it has not been made clear in their training or other means how to do this correctly. AND it prompted the Dept of Ed legal rep on the call to promise an update/refresher correspondence to all the districts.
     
  20. hawkeyegirl

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    Hey, I was wondering what happened with this. I'm glad you got it all straightened out! Good for you for seeing it through!

    My son was denied accommodations by a summer camp that is run by a local (public) community college. They were also well-intentioned, but genuinely believed that they did not have to accommodate him. The Department of Education helped me out too, and I'm so thankful that we have those resources available to us as parents. :)
     

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