EQUAL OPPORTUNITY - Section 504 Compliance & Grievance Processes


  • WHAT IS SECTION 504?

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the subsequent American with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, is intended to prevent intentional or unintentional discrimination against persons with disabilities. In essence, Section 504 was enacted to “level the playing field.” This legislation protects the civil rights of people with disabilities, i.e., physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities. It prohibits organizations that receive federal funds from discriminating against otherwise qualified individuals on the sole basis of a disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is enforced under guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR).


    WHAT IS THE INFORMAL GRIEVANCE LADDER?
    printable version

    504 STUDENT/PARENT/GUARDIAN INFORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

    The purpose of this procedure is to secure, at the most immediate level possible, an equitable solution to a grievance under Section 504. Grievances filed and all communications, both oral and written, shall be confidential unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

    A grievance under this Section shall be limited to issues involving a qualifying disability under Section 504, including but not limited to, the identification/misidentification of a qualifying disability under Section 504, placement decisions related to a qualifying disability, intervention decisions related to a qualifying disability, accommodations related to a qualifying disability, or related services decisions regarding a qualifying disability.

    LEVEL ONE
    A student/parent/guardian must first contact the teacher or school personnel with whom the problem arises. It is recommended, but not required at Level One, that the grievance be communicated in written form with a request for a conference with the teacher or school personnel. The conference shall be held within five school (5) days of receipt of the grievance.

    LEVEL TWO
    If the matter is not resolved at Level One, the grieving party shall have a right to appeal and request a conference with the designated Section 504 Chairperson at the school site. The request shall be in writing or via e-mail. The request should state the nature of the problem giving rise to the grievance. When possible, the School Principal or his/her designee will attend the Level Two conference. The parties will endeavor to resolve the issues when possible. Any resolution shall be reduced to writing and signed by all parties. In the event that a resolution is not reached at Level Two, the 504 Chairperson shall state the reason(s) for denial of the grievance in writing to the grieving party. This written statement of denial shall be mailed to the grieving party within five (5) school days of the Level Two conference.

    LEVEL THREE
    If the matter is not resolved at Level Two or school personnel fails to timely meet with the grieving party, the grieving party shall have a right to appeal and request a conference with the Tangipahoa Parish School Board Section 504 Coordinator. Any resolution shall be reduced to writing and signed by all parties. In the event that resolution is not reached at Level Three, the Tangipahoa Parish School System Section 504 Coordinator shall state the reason(s) for denial of the grievance in writing to the grieving party.

    Contact Info:

         Deondra Warner, Section 504 Coordinator
         Tangipahoa Parish School System
         59656 Puleston Road, Amite, Louisiana 70422
         Office: (985) 748-2477
         Fax: (985) 748-2455
         E-mail: Deondra.Warner@tangischools.org


    HOW DO I FILE A FORMAL GRIEVANCE UNDER SECTION 504 AND TITLE II RELATED TO ACCESSIBLITY?
    printable version

    SECTION 504 GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

    The Tangipahoa Parish School Board has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by the Office of Civil Rights regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 USC 794.)  Section 504 states, in part, that "no otherwise qualified disabled individual ... shall, solely by reason of his disability, be excluded from the participation, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance..."

    Complaints shall be addressed to:

         Section 504 Coordinator
         Tangipahoa Parish School System
         59656 Puleston Road
         Amite, LA  70422
         1-985-748-2477

    The Section 504 Coordinator has been designated to coordinate Section 504 compliance efforts.

    1. A complaint shall be filed in writing, containing the name, address and telephone number of the person filing it as well as that person's relationship with the  School Board (i.e., employer, parent, student, etc.), and briefly describing the alleged violation of the regulations.  If the person filing is different from the complainant, the name of the individual who is the subject of the alleged Section 504 violation shall be given, the person's address and telephone number, and the identification of the school the individual is associated with shall be part of the descriptive narrative.

    2. A complaint must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after the complainant, or the individual formally filing said complaint, becomes aware of the alleged violation, otherwise the complainant waives his/her right of action.  The only exception would be if mitigating circumstances exist such as, lack of knowledge, fraud, or duress, in which case an equitable amount of time shall be allowed on a case by case basis.

    3. An investigation, as may be appropriate, shall follow a filing of complaint.  The investigation shall be conducted by the Section 504 Coordinator.  These rules contemplate informal but thorough investigations, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit written evidence relevant to complaint.  All written evidence, whenever received, shall be stamped as of the date received and shall be made available to all parties to the complaint.

    Under the Office of Civil Rights regulations, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board need not process complaints from applicants for employment or from applicants for admission to post-secondary educational institutions.

    4. A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the Section 504 Coordinator and a copy forwarded to the complainant no later than fifteen (15) working days after its filing.

    5. The Section 504 Coordinator shall maintain the files and records of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board relating to the complaints filed.

    6. The complainant can request a reconsideration of the case in instances where he or she is dissatisfied with the resolution.  The request for reconsideration shall be made within fifteen (15) working days to:

         Assistant Superintendent
         Tangipahoa Parish School System
         59656 Puleston Road
         Amite, LA  70422
         1-985-748-2502

    The Assistant Superintendent shall render a written decision within fifteen (15) working days of the receipt of the complete file.  The STANDARD OF REVIEW for the appeal shall be that of arbitrary and capricious, that is, the review officer shall not take new evidence, but shall judge the initial hearing officer's decision only as to whether or not he/she had a valid objective reason for his/her decision and that his/her decision was fairly arrived at considering all equal protection ramifications.

    7. The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder shall not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a Section 504 complaint with the responsible federal department or agency.  Using this grievance procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.

    8. These rules shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons, meet appropriate due process standards and assure that the Tangipahoa Parish School Board complies with Section 504 and its implementing regulations.


    Ref:    29 USC 794 (Nondiscrimination under Federal Grants and Programs)

    La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§17:1941, 17:1942, 17:1943, 17:1944, 17:1945, 17:1946, 17:1947

    Board minutes, 11-17-92

    Tangipahoa Parish School Board

Section 504/ADA Guidelines for Parents

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.
  • This website is maintained by the Tangipahoa Parish School Board. Some files and links on this site require Adobe Reader or Adobe Flash Player to open, view or print. If anyone is unable to access information on this site, please complete our online Website Request/Complaint Form, or contact our web services directly at webservices@tangischools.org or (985) 748-2477.  You may also file a formal grievance in accordance with district policies.

    Trouble filling out the Website Request/Complaint Form online? Print it and mail it to us.
    59656 Puleston Rd, Amite, LA  70422
    ATTN: 504 Coordinator