Programs for Students with Disabilities
Certified special education teachers serve children with all types of disabilities in Bemidji Area Schools. The school system encourages parents to become involved in the educational planning for their children. Special education services are provided to over 750 students in a variety of educational settings. Emphasis is placed on educating students in settings with all students (least restrictive environment). Educating students in special settings occurs only when assessments and planning determine that the students’ needs require such a setting (most appropriate placement). Inclusion is a word often heard with regard to special education programs. Inclusion means involving students with special needs in those areas of development (in and out of school) experienced by most students. The term does not apply only to education. Special education programs in the Bemidji Area Schools begin identifying students with needs at birth. Services provided are based on identified needs and goals listed in each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP). For more information, contact your building principal, Director of Special Education – 333-3100 or the school social worker at 333-3119.
Title I/Assurance of Mastery Program
Title I/Assurance of Mastery programs are present in all district schools, grades kindergarten through five. Title I teachers and educational paraprofessionals provide supplemental help to students who qualify in reading and/or mathematics. For more information, contact a building principal.
Section 504 – Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 is an act, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in any program with Federal financial assistance. The act defines a person with a disability as anyone who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity including activities such as care for one’s self, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.
- Has a record of such an impairment; or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment (34 Code of Federal Regulations Part 104.3).
In order to fulfill its obligations under Section 504, the Bemidji Area Schools recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system.
The school district has specific responsibilities under the act, which include the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if the child is determined to be eligible under Section 504, provide access to appropriate education services. If the parent or guardian disagrees with the determination made by the professional staff of the school district, he/she has a right to a hearing with an impartial hearing officer.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also specifies rights related to educational records. The act gives the parent or guardian the right to: 1.) inspect and review his/her child’s educational records; 2.) make copies of these records; 3.) receive a list of all individuals having access to those records; 4.) ask for an explanation of any item in the records; 5.) ask for an amendment to any report on the grounds that it is inaccurate, misleading or violates the child’s rights; and 6.) a hearing on the issue if the school refuses to make the amendment.
If there are any questions, please feel free to contact the Section 504 Coordinator, Special Education Director at 333-3100, ext. 31104.