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Policy Manual


Regulation: GAEB
Guidelines For Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability: Section 504


Grievance Procedure

The section 504 Coordinator of the District is: Director of Special Education, SAU #22 41 Lebanon Street Hanover, NH 03755 603-643-6050

A. It is desirable that problems and complaints of alleged unlawful discrimination be resolved in a prompt and equitable manner.

B. A grievance under this procedure is a complaint alleging that no action, policy, procedure or practice of the School Board or its agents and employees discriminates on the basis of disability against a qualified disabled person. When a student, parent, guardian, employee or community member who is an intended beneficiary or who is in a class protected by a statutory or regulatory provisions which provides for a grievance procedure, or has the right to use the grievance procedure by the express District policy or procedure, has a complaint or grievance against any school in School Administrative Unit #22, the procedure outlined below will be followed, except that grievances concerning identification, evaluation and educational placement of qualified disabled students shall be addressed through the procedures set out in the Vermont/New Hampshire Standards for the Education of Handicapped Students.

C. Retaliation in any form for the filing of a grievance, the reporting of instances of discrimination, or any participation in the grievance procedure is prohibited. Such participation shall not in any way affect the status, grades, or work assignments of the complainant.

D. Processing of Grievances:

1. A grievance must be initiated within thirty (30) days after a complainant knew, or should have known, of the alleged discrimination.

2. Level 1: The complainant will first meet informally with the school site administrator. The school site administrator shall be the Principal of the school or his/her designee. Where the complaint does not involve a single school operated by the District, the complainant shall first meet with the Section 504 Coordinator. Each school shall make available in its central office the name, address, and phone number of its site administrator. If the complainant's concerns are not dear, or cannot be resolved through informal discussion, the school site administrator may request that the complaint be put to him/her in writing. The school site administrator shall respond to the complainant in writing within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the written complaint.

3. Level II: In the event that a grievance or complaint is not satisfactorily resolved at Level 1, the complainant may meet with the District's Superintendent or his/her designee. Every reasonable attempt will be made to resolve the problem in a manner acceptable to all parties.

The complainant may present his or her grievance to the Superintendent orally or in writing, describing specifically the time, place and nature of, and the participants in the alleged discriminatory acts of policies. If the complainant's concerns are not clearly understood when presented orally, the Superintendent may request that they be presented in writing.

The Superintendent shall conduct any investigation necessary to resolve the complaint, including discussion with the complainant, the person against whom the complaint was filed, appropriate staff members and student(s), and a review of relevant documents. The Superintendent will respond to the complainant in writing within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of a complaint. If a written complaint is requested by the Superintendent, the 15 days shall be fifteen (15) working days from receipt of the written complaint. In the event that a response from third parties is necessary, the Superintendent may designate up to ten (10) additional working days for investigation of the complaint. An additional period of time, with the complainant's consent, may be allowed for resolution of the grievance.

4. Level III: in the event that the matter cannot be resolved at Level II, the complainant may request a hearing before the School Board. Any such request must be made in writing within twenty (20) working days after receipt of the decision of the Superintendent. The Board shall hear the grievance at its next regular meeting, unless the request for hearing is received seven (7) days or less before such next regular meeting, in which case, the Board may set the hearing, at its discretion, for the first regular meeting subsequent to such next regular meeting. The complainant shall have the opportunity to present evidence relevant to the grievance at the hearing, and to hear or examine and to respond to all witnesses and other information, and to be represented by counsel, at his/her own expense. The Board shall render its written decision within ten (10) working days of the hearing. The decision of the Board shall be final.

5. In the event that a grievance is against the individual responsible for the grievance process at any level, the complainant may address the grievance directly to the next appropriate level.

6. In the event a written decision is not issued in a timely manner at Level I or II, the running of the time for such written response shall be treated as a denial of the grievance, and the complainant may file his/her complaint at the next appropriate step, within the time allowed.

E. Remedy not Exclusive
The existence of this grievance procedure does not affect the right of any individual or group to pursue any other procedure provided for by contract, or by State or Federal law.

Pre-placement Screening

Any student who because of handicap, needs or is believed to need special education or related services, should first be referred to the building Child Study or Pupil Placement Team. Referrals from that group should be referred to the building 504 coordinator designee.

The 504 building coordinator shall convene an evaluation team to evaluate the referred student prior to any placement decisions. The team shall be comprised of persons who are knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options. The student's parents shall be given advance notice of all team meeting dates and may participate in all such meetings.

The evaluation team shall review information on the student including, but not limited to, aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, medical information, physical condition, social or cultural background and adaptive behavior. If additional information, including further testing is appropriate, the team will arrange to obtain the information. The team shall document and carefully consider information obtained from all sources.

The team shall use tests and evaluation materials that have been validated for the specific purpose for which they will be used and will include those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need. All tests and evaluation materials shall be administered by trained personnel in conformance with the instructions provided by the producer.

Placement Decisions

The School District shall conduct an evaluation, as set forth above, prior to the initial placement of a disabled student in a regular or special education program and any subsequent significant change in placement. All placement decisions shall be based on the individual needs of the student.

Reevaluation

The School District shall convene an evaluation team and conduct periodic reevaluations of students who are provided special education and related services. An evaluation team will be reconvened at least every three years to review all tests and other evaluation data, and to determine if additional testing or updated information is needed.

Procedural Safeguards

With respect to all actions regarding the identification, evaluation or educational placement of persons, who because of disability, need or are believed to need special education or related services, the School District shall provide parents with notice of all such actions, notice of parental rights, an opportunity to examine relevant records and an impartial hearing with opportunity for participation by the parents and representation by counsel.

At the start of each school year the School District shall provide parents with notice of the District's Section 504 policy, notice of parental rights, and the name, address and telephone number of the building and district 504 coordinators.


EFFECTIVE: 21 December 1993