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I am a special education teacher in Western MA and a parent of a 17-year old who has been variously clinically diagnosed with PDD-NOS, NVLD, PTSD-GIFTED, P. ANXIETY. She was hospitalized for about 2 1/2 months at the end of 2004. Early in 2005, she was put on a 504 plan. Her hospitalization was the only reason for her getting the 504.

My husband and I recently received a “Section 504 Termination Notice.” Our daughter had a complete neuropsychological evaluation in June of 2005. At that time she was diagnosed PTSD-gifted and not NVLD, one of the diagnoses she had during hospitalization.

Perhaps she doesn’t need a 504 anymore, but the lacking evaluation and procedural pieces leave us wondering and concerned about her appropriate education and preparation for college, particularly at a time in her life when she is looking outside for support and guidance. We have refused to sign the termination notice and have informed the school that our daughter is about to turn 18 in February. We are advising that she speak with an advocate before she signs anything. Doesn’t there have to be an evaluation before any change of the 504? What are the steps that my husband and I can take?

Please help,

You are interested in whether a school can unilaterally terminate a 504 plan without a reevaluation. The answer is NO. The 504 regulations are clear that a 504 plan cannot be changed or terminated without conducting a new evaluation and without convening a 504 meeting, with your participation, to make the decision. Further, with or without an evaluation, the school has to have reasons for why they are recommending termination and have to share those reasons with you. If you disagree, you have the right to request a Section 504 hearing to challenge the termination decision and the right to file a complaint with US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

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