Solutions For Resolving a 504 Plan Dispute

When your child’s school is crafting its 504 plan, there may be some aspects of the plan that you disagree with, or maybe the plan is fine, but you don’t like the way it is executed. When either of these two things occurs, the best thing to do is talk the issues out. After that, if things are not to your liking, the situation may have to be escalated. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act gives you several avenues that you can use as a solution for resolving a 504 plan dispute. Here are a few of the options you have available to you.


As the parent, you cannot help craft your child’s 504 plan. Though this is legally the case, most educational establishments opt to include the parents in meetings. In these meetings, you may have the ability to negotiate on behalf of your child’s needs. 

Afterward, if your child’s 504 plan isn’t effective, in your opinion, you can request another meeting on the subject. Typically, your child’s school and teachers will agree and try to adjust the plan to address your concerns.  

Impartial Hearing

If you haven’t received the communication and changes to the plan that you feel are necessary, you can escalate the issue to get it resolved. This usually leads to an impartial hearing, which is like a short trial. 

Here, you will present your case to a neutral third-party official known as a hearing officer. Once the hearing officer has made their ruling, you can appeal again if you don’t like the decision. 

The first step to get this option started is to send a letter to your child’s school and request the hearing. The laws surrounding this type of hearing will differ from state to state, so it might be a good idea to hire a specialist for the hearing. 

Civil Rights Complaint

Another option to resolve the dispute is to file a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. By submitting a letter detailing the school’s infractions against Section 504, you will be taking the first step. This must be done within 180 days of the plan being activated. 

This is a limited option, though, as they are only looking at if the establishment has broken the law regarding Section 504. To determine this, the OCR may instigate an investigation. This option is not designed to decide on the educational content decisions of the plan. 

Taking It To Court

The last option to resolve a 504 plan dispute is an actual lawsuit. If you, as the patent, believe discriminatory actions are being taken against your child, then this may be the only avenue that will end the dispute. This can be a costly option, so you will need to make sure you are sure that your child is being discriminated against. 

Concluding Thoughts

There are several options parents have to resolve disputes regarding their child’s 504 plan arrangements. When you begin enrolling your student in a new school, it is essential to remember that 504 plan guidelines vary from school to school. This means you should ask what that particular school’s rules are when disputing the plan.

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