Q. Do schools use a standard form for 504 plans like they do for IEPs? Does a 504 plan even have to be written?
A. The short answer to these questions is no. There are many differences between 504 plans and IEPs.
IEP forms are based on a federal model. States usually use that exact form or adapt it to create one of their own. Federal law says there are certain elements that all IEPs need to address.
With 504 plans, however, each school district develops its own plans. There is no standard form. There isn’t even a requirement that the plan be written.
Parents’ rights under Section 504
Unlike with IEPs, schools aren’t required to involve parents when developing a 504 plan. But under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, parents do have specific rights in all public schools and some private schools. You have the right to:
- Get a notice about the identifying, evaluating, and/or placing of your child
- Examine your child’s records
If you don’t agree with the district’s decisions regarding Section 504, you have the right to:
- Request and take part in an impartial hearing
- File a complaint with your school district’s Section 504 coordinator
- File a complaint with the regional Office for Civil Rights
Written 504 plans
While it’s not required, most schools do use a written form for a 504 plan. Most also include parents in the 504 process. And plans usually include a list of your child’s .
If your child has a written 504 plan, make sure to ask the school’s 504 coordinator to show it to you. (You should always be able to speak with the coordinator about your child. Don’t know who the coordinator is? You can start by reaching out to the principal or assistant principal.)
If you’re going to your child’s 504 plan meeting, make sure you’re prepared and ready to participate. It can help to create your own unofficial written 504 plan to take with you. That way you can make sure all the right elements go into the official plan from the school.