SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES AMENDED ACT
The Belmont Public School District will ensure that no student with a disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Amended Act (ADAA) within the District’s jurisdiction will be denied, because of his/her disability, participation in curricular, intramural, or interscholastic activities or any of the services offered or rendered regularly to the students of this District.
No otherwise qualified person shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity sponsored by the Belmont Public School District. The District is committed to ensure that students with Section 504 disabilities be identified, evaluated, and provided with a free appropriate public education. The District does not discriminate on the basis of disability with regard to admission, access to education services, treatment or employment in its programs and activities.
Student Related Section 504 Grievance Procedures
In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Belmont Public Schools (BPS)prohibits discrimination based on disability and has adopted the following grievance procedure to provide for the prompt and equitable response to complaints.
The Director of Student Services, for the BPS, Ken Kramer, is responsible for Section 504 Compliance. As the District Section 504 Compliance Officer, he will investigate all complaints of disability-based discrimination. Ken Kramer can be reached at 617-993-5440 or by writing to 644 Pleasant Street, Belmont, MA 02478.
A student, or his or her parents or guardians (“complainant”), who disagrees with a decision under section 504 with respect to identification, evaluation, or placement of the student shall have the right to present grievances free from coercion, interference, restraint, discrimination or reprisal.
A complainant shall have the right to be represented at any stage of the procedure by a person or persons of his or her own choice.
A complainant may at any time request an informal hearing/meeting with the school principal (the building level 504 coordinator) to discuss his or her concerns. A complainant is not required to have an informal meeting, and may, at any time, request a formal process.
A complainant may file a formal written request for a hearing with the Compliance Officer. If a complainant is unable to draft the written request and/or complaint, he/she may have the complaint taken orally by the Compliance Officer who will then reduce it to writing.
Within twenty (20) days of the receipt of the grievance, the Compliance Officer shall conduct a hearing at which the complainant may present any documentation and witnesses relative to the complaint. The District 504 Compliance Officer will conduct a full investigation collecting any relevant documentation and interviewing witnesses to determine if discrimination has occurred. Within ten (10) school days of the meeting, the Compliance Officer will provide the complainant with the facts found, documentation reviewed, witnesses interviewed, analysis and conclusion based on the appropriate legal standards. If the Compliance Officer determines that discrimination occurred, s/he will provide remedies for the Complainant.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the finding of the Compliance Officer, or with the proposed remedies, the complainant may, within ten (10) school days of the decision of the Compliance Officer, appeal in writing (with assistance as needed) to the Superintendent of Schools.
The Superintendent may request additional information from the complainant, members of school district staff or others with information relevant to the grievance.
Within ten (10) school days of receipt of the appeal, the Superintendent will schedule a hearing at which the parties may appear and present oral and/or written statements supplementing their position in the matter.
Within ten (10) school days of the hearing, the Superintendent shall notify the complainant of his/her decision in writing. Such determination shall include a finding that there has or has not been a violation of section 504, and if there has been a violation of section 504, a proposal for equitably resolving the grievance.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the Superintendent or with the proposed resolution, he/she may submit a Request for Hearing to the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906, (781) 338-3000, or by fax to the BSEA at 781-338-3398. The complainant must also send a copy of the Request for Hearing to the Superintendent of Schools, Belmont Public Schools, 644 Pleasant Street, Belmont, MA 02478.
A complainant may also, at any time, seek recourse from the Federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Boston Office, U.S. Dept. of Education, 8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109-3921; Telephone: 617-289-0111; FAX: 617-289-0150; TDD: 877-521-2172; Email: OCR.Boston@ed.gov.