I’m another California Lawyer, who happens to be friends with the lawyer who runs this site (props to the first wave reference). I run a boutique law office in Orange County, where we primarily focus on Special Education Law. As such, from time to time I’ll be adding information related to Special Education Law, and answering any questions that may arise.
Disciplinary Issues, Disruptive Behavior Signal Need for Evaluation:
(Posted on July 12, 2010 by kamorofflaw)
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for the State of Washington found that a school district failed to properly evaluate a second-grader with ADD and failed to develop a plan to provide services necessary to meet his disability-related needs. Seattle (WA) Sch. Dist. No. 1, 54 IDELR 34 (OCRX, Seattle (WA) 2009). The Section 504 plan was insufficient to address behavioral issues that were interfering with the educational process, as it was developed without review of medical documentation.
When a student’s disruptive behavior continues to interfere with his education, even after the implementation of a 504 plan, school officials must act. If the district suspects that the student’s behavior is connected to a disability, it must evaluate him so it can select a more suitable placement. In some instances, the evaluation will necessarily include medical records. Here, the district developed and implemented a 504 plan without considering any medical diagnostic or other information necessary to guide their efforts to place the student. The student’s ongoing disciplinary problems indicated that the plan was inappropriate and further evaluation was necessary.
In this case, the school district was to provide a letter to the parent offering to conduct an appropriate evaluation consistent with Section 504 and its implementing regulations. The parent informed a student intervention team that her son had ADD and a seizure disorder that affected his impulse control, but did not provide medical documentation. The team found that the student’s behavior interfered with his learning and devloped a Section 504 plan, but the student continued to exhibit disruptive classroom behavior after the plan was implemented. OCR investigated whether the district failed to properly evaluate the student and his disability-related needs and develop a plan to provide necessary services as requirecd by Section 504. While district staff met several times and attempted numerous interventions and accommodations, the district did not satisfy its obligations under Section 504, which included conducting an evaluation that included materials tailored to assess the student’s unique needs. A medical professional’s input regarding the nature, extent, and severity of the student’s disability should have been included. Because the district developed and implemented a 504 plan without incorporating the type of medical information it needed to determine an appropriate placement for the student, OCR concluded that it did not comply with Section 504.