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Special Education/re: parochial schools and 504/IEP

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Question
I have recently transferred my child to a local parochial school because of many years of strife with the public school system.  My child has juvenile diabetes and was not allowed to test her blood sugar in the public school classroom.  After many years of fighting, we achieved a 504 plan for her.We decided to move her to parochial schools because she was about to start middle school and that school was not accommodating her. We didn't have the energy to start fighting all over again.
In the parochial school, my child has missed classes due to diabetes.  The school would like to have her 504 plan changed to an IEP in order to offer classes to help her catch up. We would also have to work in conjunction with the same public school we were trying to avoid.  Do Parochial schools receive federal funding for Special Ed programs and must they work with the school district in order to receive those funds?  Are they bound by the same IEP/504 plans that public schools are? If my child is listed as "other health impaired" do they receive federal funding for her? Also, must we work with this particular school or may we work with another school within the same district?   I appreciate any help with this matter.

Answer
Hi Karen,

A 504 and an IEP are quite different. A 504 is a legal protection against discrimination for people with disabilities. In a school setting, a 504 is legal protection that says that the school must provide accommodations to ensure that the student has access to the same education as the other students. That may mean allowing her to leave class to do a glucose test and helping her with anything she missed (notes, extra time to complete an assignment, etc.). It does not necessarily provide the same level of ongoing modifications and accommodations that are provided with an IEP, though sometimes it is that detailed. If the school receives federal education funding, they are required to follow the 504 or an IEP.  The public middle school would have to follow the 504 even though it was created at the elementary school.

IEPs and 504s are optional for private schools that do not receive federal funding. You can request that the local district consider an evaluation, though they are not obligated to test just because testing is requested. There must be a suspicion of a disability, as defined by IDEA. OHI is defined as:

"Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to       environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that—

(i) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and

(ii) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance. [§300.8(c)(9)]"

Usually testing for a student at a private school is handled through the district, not the school so you may be able to avoid the people you were working with previously.

The private schools, not the federal government, make the decision about whether or not they receive federal funding so you would need to check with the school. They do not automatically receive funding because a student with a 504 or IEP attends.

Best of luck to you,
Morgan  

Special Education

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Morgan Potts

Expertise

I can answer most questions related to psychological evaluations including an explanation of the scores and the assessment measures. I can also answer most questions regarding special education eligibility, response to intervention (RtI), and recommendations and interventions for specific areas of disability including intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional and behavioral disorders, other health impaired, autism, and pervasive developmental disorder. I can also answer questions regarding Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and parent rights. I cannot determine if a child has a disability or not based on anecdotal information or assessment scores.

Experience

As a graduate student, I interned at a psychoeducational facility for students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders as well as other disorders including specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Following my internship, I was hired full-time there as a school psychologist and worked there for several years. Since then I have worked as a regular school psychologist in a district mostly completing psychological evaluations and consulting with the Student Support Team (SST). I currently work as a contract psychologist for several metro Atlanta counties.

Organizations
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) The Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators (SSTAGE)

Education/Credentials
My undergraduate degree is from the University of Georgia in Psychology. I have an M.Ed. and Ed.S. from Georgia State University. I recently completed my Educational Leadership Certificate at West Georgia University.

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