Admin

Procedural

PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS

Parents and guardians have certain due process rights under Section 504. Parents and guardians shall be provided with their procedural safeguards with the notice of any 504 meeting. The parents or guardian shall be notified that they may examine relevant educational records concerning their child. In addition, parents or guardians will be provided with opportunity for participation in the 504 meeting and have the right to bring with them any representatives of their choice, to the Section 504meeting.

GRIEVANCE AND HEARING PROCEDURES

Parents and guardians are always encouraged to seek out and contact the Building Level Section 504 Coordinators in the event of any questions, concerns, disputes or complaints regarding any aspect of Section 504 in an attempt to resolve those questions, concerns, disputes or complaints. This also allows the district an opportunity to address any of these concerns and avoid unnecessary misunderstanding and conflict.

Nonetheless, parents and guardians have the procedural rights under this section, including the right to file a complaint with the District 504 Coordinator or with the Office of Civil Rights, as set forth below.

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A. Grievance Procedure:

(1) Complaints about discrimination based on disability, including facilities or services offered by the Norwalk Board of Education may be filed with the District 504 Coordinator. A form is provided for this purpose; however nothing requires the completion of the form in order to make a complaint.

The following information is required when completing a complaint.

▪ Name(s) of person(s) or group making the complaint.

▪ Whether the person(s) represents an individual group.

▪ A concise statement of the facts constituting the alleged discrimination, including the dates of the discrimination.

▪ Whether the person(s) making the complaint has discussed the problem with the site administrator.

▪ A summary of the complaint and suggested solution(s).

(2) The complaint shall be presented in writing, with a suggested solution, to the District 504 Coordinator. If assistance is needed in writing the complaint, the complainant may seek assistance from the District 504 Coordinator.

The District 504 Coordinator will have thirty (30) school days, unless further time is required, to mail a response to the complainant. The District 504 Coordinator should interview the complainant, any other pertinent individuals he/she deems necessary, and consider all documents offered before rendering a response.

If the issues in the complaint relate to provision of a free and appropriate public education for an individual student, the student may be referred to a Section 504 team or Planning and Placement Team at any point during the processing of the complaint.

B. Impartial Due Process Proceeding:

Parents/Guardian/Student (a complainant) shall have the right to an impartial hearing (Section 504 due-process hearing). There is no requirement that the above grievance procedure is pursued prior to commencing a due process hearing, although the District 504 Coordinator may suggest that the grievance procedure be attempted prior to a Section 504 due process hearing being held. Parents or guardians have the right to participation in such a hearing and to be represented by a person of their choice, including an attorney.

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A request for a Section 504 due-process hearing shall be made in writing by the parent or guardian within thirty (30) school days of the complainants receipt of notice of the Section 504 team’s decision and their right to file for an impartial hearing.

Upon receipt of a complainants request for Section 504 due-process hearing, the Board of Education shall appoint an impartial hearing officer, at Board expense, and schedule a Section 504 due process hearing within thirty (30) school days from receipt of the complainants request. The date of the hearing may be extended on mutual agreement by the parties, or on order of the hearing officer.

The request shall be made in writing to:

Ralph Valenzisi District 504 Coordinator Norwalk Public Schools 125 East Avenue Norwalk, CT 06852

Hearing and Appeals Process

(1) The complainants may file a request for review of the decisions of the Section 504 team by an impartial hearing officer. An impartial hearing officer appointed by the Board of Education will meet with the complainant and the Board as appropriate to hear evidence/facts regarding Section 504 decisions rendered.

(2) The complaint must be filed in writing within thirty (30) school days from the decision being challenged with the District 504 Coordinator. The complaint must fully set out the circumstances, specifically the complaint and how the student is adversely affected by the decision.

(3) A hearing will be conducted by an impartial hearing officer. The hearing officer must be an individual who does not have direct interest in the outcome of the hearing and who is knowledgeable about Section 504.

(4) The hearing officer will be appointed and a hearing will commence within thirty (30) school days of the Board’s receipt of the written complaint, unless mutually agreed otherwise by the parties, or if extended by the hearing officer .

(5) The hearing officer will give parties reasonable advance notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. (6) The hearing officer will give the complainant and the District a full and fair

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opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issue raised. The complainant may, at his/her own expense, be assisted or represented by an attorney.

(7) The hearing officer will make a decision in writing and present it to the District and the complainant within fifteen days after the close of the hearing. Such decision shall include findings of fact and order, which will be binding on all parties. The dated decision shall be sent by mail to the complainant and the District. (8) The decision of the hearing officer shall be based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing and the applicable law and shall include a summary of the evidence and the reason for the decision. The decision shall be implemented no later than thirty (30) school days following the date that the decision was made.

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The complainant at any time may also file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights:

Office 5 Post of Civil Office Rights Square US Department 8

th

floor, Suite of Education

900 Boston, MA 02109-3921 (617) 289-0111– telephone (617) 289-0150 – fax (877) 521-2172 – TDD

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html

Public Notice

The Norwalk Board of Education shall provide continuing notice to the public, and the staff and students that it does not discriminate on the basis of disability with regard to admission or access to, or treatment or employment in programs and activities of the Norwalk Board of Education. Continuing notification may include the posting of notices, publication in local newspapers, placement of notices in school district publications and student/parent handbooks and distribution of memoranda or other written communication.

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NOTICE OF NON DISCRIMINATION

Applicants for admission and employment, students, parents, employees, sources of referral of applicants for admission and employment, and all unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the Norwalk Board of Education are hereby notified that this District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs and activities. Any person having inquiries concerning the Norwalk Board of Education compliance with the regulations implementing Section 504 is directed to contact:

Ralph Valenzisi District 504 Coordinator Norwalk Public Schools 125 East Avenue Norwalk, CT 06852 (203) 854-4149 valenzisir@norwalkps.org

who has been designed to coordinate the District’s efforts to comply with the regulations implementing Section 504.

Or

Office of Civil Rights US Department of Education 5 Post Office Square 8th floor, Suite 900 Boston, MA 02109-3921 (617) 289-0111– telephone (617) 289-0150 – fax (877) 521-2172 – TDD

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html

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