A California school district faced allegations that it discriminated against students in its special day classes when it reportedly failed to invite them to participate in field trips. San Ramon USD, 114 LRP 7220 (SEA CA 11/25/13)
In this matter, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) explained before excluding a student with a disability from a field trip, a student's 504 team or IEP team must demonstrate that even with the provision of accommodations, the student isn't qualified to participate in the field trip; providing accommodations would result in an undue burden; or, the field trip is otherwise inappropriate to the child's needs. These decisions cannot be made in a general fashion, but rather should be made on a case by case basis, considering each individual Student's unique needs and in the context of a 504 meeting or IEP meeting with the parent participating.
School districts should not put the onus on parents to demonstrate that their child with a disability could participate in the field trip. Please note that requiring parents to affirmatively show that a field trip is appropriate to their child's needs as a condition for participating contravenes Section 504. Rather, the school district should consider all reasonable accommodations for the child to participate before making a determination to bar participation.
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