When Schools Fail to Follow an IEP


My son has had a 504 plan for 2 years. Last year he received no accommodations; this year he has accommodations, however the school has failed to follow the majority of them. He just had a complete psych evaluation and since his ADHD is severe, they decided to give him an IEP. He will be in regular classes but will have more accommodations. How can I make sure the school is doing what they should for my child? And what can I do if they do not comply with the accommodations called for in his IEP?

Kari, McKinney, TX

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Matthew C. Saleh, J.D., Ph.D.

Matthew Saleh is a Research Associate at Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, and an instructor of disability studies coursework at Cornell. 

All program modifications and accommodations should have been provided through the Section 504 Plan, since a 504 Plan specifically exists to provide modifications and accommodations to the regular curriculum.

If teachers and staff were not following the modifications and accommodations laid out in the 504 Plan, they were already out of compliance. This doesn’t change with the decision to give your child an IEP, because the IEP will always contain a page with a list of all of the modifications and accommodations that come under the Section 504 Plan, including:

  • materials, books, and equipment
  • assistive technologies
  • modifications of tests, quizzes, and assessments
  • grading
  • organization
  • environment
  • behavioral interventions and supports
  • instructional strategies
Ensuring IEP Compliance

You certainly can ask what the school is doing to address each of the needs outlined in the IEP, but it is best to have an expert evaluator—either from the school or a private outside evaluator—recommend modifications and accommodations, as well as appropriate services and service time.

If the school continues to fail to comply with the modifications, accommodations, or services, you will want to document that in an email to them, and immediately call for an IEP meeting to address these concerns. If the IEP meeting does not resolve the problem, you can resort to your procedural safeguards under the IDEA, including mediation and a due process hearing.

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