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504 plan and denied honors class accommodations

DD has social anxiety disorder/depression and has a 504 plan that states no speeches as an accommodation(she is in therapy and we are hoping it will only be an accommodation this year). Her English honors teacher is stating that public speaking is a component of class and she will not be in compliance of district standards so will give zeros if DD does not participate. She recommends DD takes regular English because they will have to accommodate and honors does not. True or not true? If not true, where to find info to get compliance of 504 plan.
p.s. DD is in all honors classes and English is the only class balking at accommodations.
p.s.s. DD chose the honors classes not me and she is qualified to take them.

Any help is appreciated, as I am brand new to 504 plans.

Replies to: 504 plan and denied honors class accommodations

  • rockhoundmomrockhoundmom Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    aunt bea,

    Thanks so much for you time. She is using this phrase

    ".. A public entity also may not impose or apply eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any service, program, or activity, unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the service, program, or activity being offered."

    from Dear Colleague Letter: Access by Students with Disabilities to Accelerated Programs

    saying that giving a speech is a criteria that is necessary for the provision of the service.

    any ideas? thanks.
  • aunt beaaunt bea Registered User Posts: 8,380 Senior Member
    Very nice quote!
    Get the VP on staff involved. The on-site psych should also help. I wouldn't, however, want the teacher to penalize your child; also, make sure you keep copies of everything.

    If the teacher does give your daughter a hard time, you would have a legitimate complaint to the school district.
  • rockhoundmomrockhoundmom Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    aunt bea,

    Staff is mulling situation. In the meantime, does 'very nice quote' mean nice try or they have a valid reason to keep her out of honors?

    From initial response, they are going to side with teacher. This would be devastating to DD because all her friends are in this class. Friends are very important to someone with SAD and not easy to make. It is a disaster either way to her.

    Thanks again.
  • mom2twogirlsmom2twogirls Registered User Posts: 1,109 Senior Member
    I have no advice but I do have lots of sympathy for you and for your daughter. It's probably mean of me to say, but I hope karma comes around and takes a big bite out of that teacher.
    I could see her point if this was a public speaking class. An honors English teacher should be able to come up with a reasonable compromise that accommodates your daughter while still challenging her at the level the other kids are being challenged. Fair doesn't have to be the same.
  • rockhoundmomrockhoundmom Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Thank you mom2twogirls! I appreciate your response, I needed a little sympathy today. Here's to karma.
  • chemmchimneychemmchimney Registered User Posts: 497 Member
    The teacher's interpretation of that clause strikes me as not true to the spirit of the law at all and in any case, it is not the teacher's job to decide which accommodations are reasonable - once they are in your IEP by law they have to be adhered to. She can't pick and choose and she can't get in trouble for not being compliant if there is a written legal accommodation. That's BS.

    I agree fair does not have to be equal/same. My daughter had to leave school due to anxiety and depression for a semester and she was allowed to do her presentation via video, and if your daughter can manage that, it does seem fair. She could maybe even tolerate being in the room when the video is played and be available for questions? But she should not be penalized for a disability. If your daughter has an assigned counselor - someone on the child study team for example - this is the person who can best mediate for you - teachers listen to their fellow teachers more readily than parents sometimes. If that person is not available, go to the head of special education at your school, next is principal and finally if all that fails, you can contact the child study team in your county. If you still don't have a resolution, you can hire a special ed lawyer to write the school - this can get quick results! But it's expensive and it's always better to work within the school system until you have exhausted all options I think especially if this is a single issue and other teachers are on board and reasonable.

    Anxiety is hard for "outsiders" to understand and it sounds as if this teacher has not been trained (or she's just a jerk). When you are anxious, your ability to process and therefore to learn shuts down completely in these moments and your"fight or flight" reflex takes over. It's like a deer in the headlights - and it is deeply frightening to some and it takes time to overcome and this is why the accommodation exists.
  • Michael RobisonMichael Robison Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    :bz Have you ever heard of the American Disabilities Act that requires schools to offer whatever a student with LD needs. Colleges are required to get note takers, readers etc, so you are saying HS are not. Read more about the act, you might be suprised as to what schools are required to offer students with different needs and have been identified with a test like the one for an IEP or 504.
  • techmom99techmom99 Registered User Posts: 1,875 Senior Member
    @Michael Robison -

    The schools aren't required to offer whatever a student needs. They are required to offer reasonable accommodations for identified conditions. All 4 of my sons are/were classified and my only D became a special ed teacher. I have spent 22 years in the system trying to get the services and accommodations my kids need(ed) and not always succeeding.

    As for the OP -

    I completely understand the frustration of not being able to take an honors level class because of LD issues. My 2 youngest sons both had to drop AP Euro and APUSH because their dyslexia made it too difficult to read and write that amount of material on a daily basis. Here, however, it seems that the teacher is being unreasonable. Permitting the girl to pre record her presentations and then show them to the class seems reasonable. Perhaps the teacher is afraid that other kids will want the same treatment, which is not an unreasonable concern.
  • WISdad23WISdad23 Registered User Posts: 816 Member
    edited September 2016
    If she is taking a class in English, and in an honors program at that, I suspect that speaking is considered an integral part of the task (as would be writing). Therefore, a reasonable accommodation at the college level would not include not speaking.
  • twicearoundtwicearound Registered User Posts: 207 Junior Member
    If that is an accommodation in the 504 plan then it should be followed. If the teacher thinks an accommodation isn't lawful, reasonable, etc., she needs to go through the proper process vs simply declaring she disagrees/won't do it. 504 has legal protections and a process. I would start with your 504 coordinator at the school or district level.

    If necessary, you can also seek an advocate. In my community, you can hire a private advocate or contact an area non-profit for volunteer advocates who are well versed on 504.

    My child has a 504 plan and takes some honors classes.
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 980 Member
    @rockhoundmom I am sorry that it happened to your DD. I agreed with @techmom99 that ADA may not help you. However, if you want to pursuit, I suggest you look into 504, I think the school is supposed to provide reasonable accommodation so that your DD can access the curriculum as adequately as her non-disabled peers.

    IMO, just because the teacher decided the criterion it does not mean that it is not discriminatory... I assumed, once upon a time, someone decided that the criteria that one had to be white in order to sit in the front of a bus.(please excuse my recollection of the history)

    Do you have the teacher's recommendation that regular class has to accommodate and honor does not? If not, ask for a copy of the policy in writing... if you were to look into the USOSEP letter they referred to, you will see that Honor and AP classes are regular classes, hence they cannot say they only accommodate in regular classes but not Honor....

    If it were me, I would ask for the curriculum for both classes, call for a meeting and ask for what a typical day in the honor class look like and the type of homework so as to identify what accommodations are needed.
    If I were to file a complaint, I would ask for a copy of their policy and criteria for attending the class in writing...I will look into how they can exclude a group of students solely because of their disabilities.
  • GABaseballMomGABaseballMom Registered User Posts: 52 Junior Member
    If the school backs the teacher up, I would file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, appeal the decision to the school district, and perhaps get a lawyer. Kids with a disability should not be denied access to honors level classes if they can do the academic work. I find her position that public speaking is "an eligibility criteria" that is necessary to the provision of Honors English to be ridiculous. Your child is not trying to take a public speaking, drama, or debate class. This teacher may like having a performance component to her class to help kids learn to give a presentation (i.e., a good job skill), but it is not necessary to teaching English, much less honors English. This is exactly the kind of "access" issue that the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act are meant to address. What if your child was a physical mute? Would this teacher take the same position and bar your child from the class? Just because your child's disability is a "mental" one, suddenly no accommodation is reasonable.
  • APChemteachAPChemteach Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    @GABaseballMom That would depend if the AP course syllabus, approved by college board, requires public speaking. If it does not, then the teacher cannot force the student to give a presentation. If, however, the AP course description(found online) does include public speaking, then, Yes, the teacher is in the right.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,575 Senior Member
    @APChemteach That does not sound right to me. How can the college board override federal disability law? The exam itself allows accommodations, so I'd like to see where in the college board website it says the AP classroom is prohibited from offering 504 accommodations.
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