Law Office of Michelle Ball 504,disabilities,discrimination,Office for Civil Rights Does The School HAVE To Follow My Child’s 504 Plan?

Does The School HAVE To Follow My Child’s 504 Plan?


Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

I get frequent calls from parents with children on 504 Plans (disability accommodations plans) which seem symbolic due to lack of implementation at school.  Failing to follow the 504 Plan is completely and totally improper and schools can get in big trouble for ignoring 504s.

Some issues I see with 504 Plans are:

1)  Poorly written (e.g. not adequate number or specific enough accommodations), or
2)  Lack of enforcement, or
3)  No 504 Plan.

Presuming there IS a 504 in place with some form of accommodations included, parents should not be faced with the issue of compliance with the 504 by school personnel.  It should be written and done, right?  Unfortunately, 504 implementation issues are common.  For example, the 504 states that the student is to be seated in the front of the classroom, and the teacher refuses.  Or, the student is to be given classroom notes, but these never arrive.  Maybe the teachers treat the student like they are not disabled and refuse to do anything written in the 504.

A 504 is a legally binding document which sets forth items the school or district must provide and implement, period.  If they do not, their conduct could be found to be discriminatory.

If 504 issues exist, parents can bring in an attorney to straighten things out.  If attorney communication with the school district does not work, the parent and/or attorney can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  Implementation of a well written 504 Plan can change a student’s life at school, and can mean the difference between graduating and failing, good grades and bad.

It is very important that parents understand the importance of a 504 and know that they have the right to have the items in the 504 actually DONE at school regardless of balking teachers.  Don’t let your school fail your child by ignoring this important document.