Section 504 Coordinators Institute 2022 (virtual)

If you are a school district Section 504 coordinator or otherwise have an interest in Section 504 and the ADA, consider this two-day option that is available at a reduced price (June 23-24, 2022). The topics and presenters include:

Thursday AM

Systematically Comparing Section 504 and the ADA with the IDEA: What Are the Significant and Also Subtle Differences? NEW

In the context of K–12 students, this session will provide a systematic, comprehensive, and up-to-date comparison among Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA in terms of the respectively applicable legislation, regulations, and case law. The comparison addresses successive student-specific issues, such as eligibility, services, procedural safeguards, discipline, enforcement, and litigation. Section 504 questions that are often the subject of confusion and that will be addressed directly in the context of this comparison include, for example, the following: (1) Does Section 504 and/or the ADA require school districts to provide evaluation or other services for students enrolled in private, including parochial, schools? (2) Does child find apply to 504-only students? (3) Does the ADA provide more stringent district requirements than does the IDEA for (a) hearing impaired students and/or (b) service animals? 4) Does Section 504/ADA provide more stringent plaintiff-parent requirements for FAPE cases? (5) Which requirements for expulsion of 504-only students differ from the IDEA requirements for expelling students on IEPs? (6) What are the differences between Section 504/ADA and the IDEA with regard to (a) liability for money damages, (b) statute of limitations, (c) expert witness fees, and right to a jury trial?

Thursday AM

Section 504: Understanding the Fundamentals

José Martin (Texas school attorney), presenter

As an alternative for registrants new to Section 504, this session will offer the fundamentals: the basic scope and requirements for K-12 public schools with respect to (a) students, and (b) school districts. The student component will address in significant detail the primary issues of identification (i.e., child find and eligibility), FAPE (i.e., the standard for the content of the 504 plan), and required notices and procedural safeguards. The session will frame these fundamentals through a point-by-point comparison of Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The presenter will use real-life conditions (e.g., ADHD) to explore the complexities of this increasingly important anti-discrimination statute.

Thursday PM

Recent Intersections of 504/ADA with the IDEA in Court and at OCR: The Legal Dance Waltzes On NEW

Section 504 and the ADA apply in tandem with IDEA in various ways in federal courts, as well as in Office for Civil Rights (OCR) complaints. This session will explore some recent applications of Section 504/ADA at these intersections, including claims concerning non-integration, retaliation, physical abuse, disability-based peer harassment, COVID-19, behavior management, and extracurricular athletic activities. The specific legal questions in these contexts include the following examples: What are the answers in recent years from the courts and from OCR, including differences between them, as to (a) whether Section 504 and ADA effectively add rights to students already eligible under IDEA? (b) what legal analysis is appropriate for disability discrimination claims? and (c) To what degree is the analysis dependent on the type of claim?  Finally, what should school districts do to effectively minimize adverse answers for these 504/ADA questions?

Friday AM and PM

Section 504: Practical Solutions to Key Questions

Building upon the legal analyses and updates of the previous day’s Section 504 Institute sessions, participants will delve into practical applications of the requirements for 504-only students, including identification of eligible students, development of appropriate plans, recognition of disciplinary protections, and protocols for effective implementation. Via a series of hypotheticals, an experienced 504 coordinator and an attorney will lead discussion and debate of student-focused decision-making in relation to the applicable requirements. How do outside diagnoses properly play into defensible determinations? What degree of agency can older students have for their 504 plans? ​​How can leaders assure that teachers and other staff members understand and document their implementation of 504 plans? What lessons have been learned about complying with Section 504 during and after the pandemic? Participants will receive sample policies, procedures and forms and an opportunity to openly critique so as to leave the session with a body of work reflecting the participants’ collective genius.


Next step: If you are interested in registering for the Section 504 Coordinators Institute component (Thursday/Friday) or for the entire week, including the Section 504 Coordinators Institute, please Register. This “Special Education Symposium” registration page provides an option for the two-day Section 504 Coordinators Institute, as well as week-long, or daily symposium attendance. If you wish to attend the Section 504 Coordinators Institute for one day only, choose the daily symposium option for either Thursday or Friday. Registrants experiencing difficulty in registering for multiple days, please email or call 610-758-5557 for assistance.