Parents: Please Read
Due Process Hearing Procedures for Section 504
Section 504 (34 CFR § 104.36) requires that school systems maintain a procedure for conducting impartial hearings with opportunity for participation by the student’s parents or guardian and representation by counsel. Since compliance with the due process requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is one means of meeting the Section 504 provision, the following outline of IDEA due process is provided.
A DUE PROCESS HEARING IS A LEGAL PROCEDURE WHICH IS CONDUCTED BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE. EITHER THE PARENT OR THE PUBLIC EDUCATION AGENCY MAY REQUEST A HEARING. THIS METHOD OF RESOLVING DISAGREEMENT IS USUALLY SOUGHT FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESSES AND MEDIATIONS HAVE FAILED TO RESOLVE DISPUTES. A LIST OF TRAINED HEARING OFFICERS IS AVAILABLE FROM THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DIVISION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION, BY CONTACTING THE OFFICE OF LEGAL SERVICES. PARENTS REQUESTING A HEARING SHOULD SUBMIT A WRITTEN REQUEST TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE LOCAL SCHOOL SYSTEM AND INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
v The reason for the request
v A suitable time for the hearing: morning, afternoon, evening
v Two possible dates for the hearing
v Whether the hearing will be closed or open to the public
The hearing must be held no less than fifteen (15) days and no more than thirty (30) days from the time you asked for the hearing, unless you agree otherwise, or the administrative law judge grants a continuance at the request of one of the parties.
REASONS FOR THE REQUEST:
1. Denied identification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons who, because of disability need or are believed to need special instruction or related services
2. Placed in a setting which is not the least restrictive environment
3. Denied appropriate services due to inaccessibility of programs
4. Denied accommodations and/or modification to regular education program because of identified disability
5. Denied participation in extracurricular and nonacademic activities because of a disability
SCHOOL SYSTEMS RESPONSIBILITIES:
v The school system will provide a location for the hearing.
v The cost of the Administrative Law Judge and Court Reporter will be paid by the school system. The school system will provide the parents with a copy of the hearing transcript at no cost to the parent.
v The school system must allow the child to remain in his/her present placement until after the hearing, unless the parents agree that a change in the placement would be best for the child.
v The school system must inform the parents of any free or low-cost legal services or other relevant services available in the area.
BEFORE THE HEARING…
v All exhibits to be presented at the hearing shall be exchanged between the school system and the parents at least five days prior to the hearing.
v The school system must allow the parents to examine the child’s records and make copies if requested.
DURING THE HEARING…
v Parents and the school system may be represented by legal counsel or some other professional who may be knowledgeable about the child, or an advocate.
v You may present and cross-examine witnesses who know about the child’s disability.
v The child may be present at the hearing.
v After the Administrative Law Judge has heard the case, he/she will give a written decision.
v The Administrative Law Judge is impartial, and is not an employee of any school system, but he/she will be well-trained and understand what the law requires for children with special needs.
AFTER THE HEARING…
v The parents will receive a written record or tape recording of all that was said at the hearing.
v A copy of the Administrative Law Judge’s decision will be given to both the school system and the parents. The Judge must render a decision within 45 days after the school superintendent’s receipt of the request for a hearing, unless the parents agree otherwise or the Judge has granted a continuance at the request of one of the parties.
v The decision made by the Administrative Law Judge is final unless the parents or the school system appeals the decision to appropriate state or federal court.