If you disagree with the school's decision about a 504 Plan

You have many options for what you can do next.

Remember that a student qualifying for a 504 plan has certain rights by law, but they are not the same procedural safeguards put in place by law for students with an IEP under IDEA.

Here's what you can do: 

  • Talk to your contact at the school department and explain why you disagree with the 504 plan. Be persistent! If you think your child should qualify for more services and/or accommodations, then say so!

  • If the school found that your child qualifies for a 504 plan but not an IEP, consider getting another evaluation. If you disagree with the school's results, you can ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (or IEE). The school system might be able to pay for it. There is no guarantee.

  • Get advice from your local Families Helping Families office (see below).

  • File for a due process hearing. We'll tell you more below.

Click the boxes below to learn more:

If you don't agree with the results of the evaluation, you can ask for an IEE.

This is another appraisal from an independent evaluator: someone you choose, who is not from the school system. You have a right to ask for this! The law doesn't require the school system to pay for it, but you can always ask.

The school district must consider information from a variety of sources when they decide where to place your child. This includes information from an independent evaluation.

Note: Your local school district will often be called your LEA or Local Education Agency.

Image of a folder and documents alongside the text 'Keep records of all your communications with the school! Include emails, letters, phone calls, even conversations. Make sure theres a date. This can prove what you have asked for and when. It may help you later on if you have to stick up for your rights.'

Source: OCR, LA DOE

If you disagree with any decisions about the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child, you can file for a due process hearing, which means you can get a lawyer and review these decisions from the school district.

Click the boxes below for more on getting legal help.

Source: OCR

You may need to find a lawyer to help you resolve your dispute.

It’s best to find one who has lots of experience with special education laws and regulations.

Choose a lawyer who lists one of these as their specialty:

  • Special Education

  • Education Law

  • Advocacy

Be sure to ask in advance about fees.

Fees will vary based on each lawyer's experience and how complex the case is.

If you can't afford a lawyer, try calling one of these organizations.

They should be able to give you free advice and maybe free or low cost legal help.

Click on the title and the website will open in a new tab.

  • The Advocacy Center of LA provides free services. Call their hotline at 800-960-7705.

  • The Louisiana Civil Justice Center offers a free legal hotline with brief advice and attorney referrals. Call 800-310-7029, Monday-Friday 9am-4pm.

  • Louisiana State Bar Legal Education and Assistance Program provides a search directory by parish that includes legal aid organizations. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select your parish.

  • The Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provides legal aid to low-income people. Visit their website to find contact information for an office located near you.

  • The courts may also provide some legal assistance but there is no guarantee.

  • You can also call the LA DOE and ask if they can help you find free legal assistance.

Reminder: We do not endorse any of these providers. We are simply providing links for your reference.

To find legal help:

Please note that when you click on a link, the website will open in a new tab or window on your screen. When searching through these resources, look for lawyers who specialize in special education law.

  • Search for lawyers in your parish through the Disabilities Assistance Network. This list isn't comprehensive; the people listed here have asked to be included.

  • Check with the Louisiana Bar Association's Referral Service. In New Orleans you can call504-561-8828; in Baton Rouge you can call 225-344-9926.

  • You can also call the Louisiana Bar Association at 1-800-421-5722 for help finding a lawyer in your area.

  • Special Needs Alliance: Louisiana Listings.

    Reminder: We do not endorse any of the lawyers listed through these resources. We are simply providing links to databases for your reference. Legal fees will vary depending on the complexity of your case.

Image of Families Helping Families LogoFamilies Helping Families:

  • Parent support groups and trainings 

  • Help with education and other services

  • They offer free help and advice for many kinds of needs.

  • Has a network of support offices across the state to help families of people with disabilities.

  • Most program staff members are parents of kids or adults with disabilities.

  • They can give you information and support, and their services are free.

To find your local office, click on the box below.

 

Sources: Families Helping Families, LA DOE

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