Skip to main content

Using the IEP or 504 Plan to Help Address Bullying - Episode 12

Using the IEP or 504 Plan to Help Address Bullying - Episode 12

Did you know that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 plan can be a helpful tools when creating a bullying prevention plan for students with disabilities? In this week’s episode of PACERTalks About Bullying, Rose Quintero, a PACER parent advocate, shares information about how to use an IEP or 504 plan to identify strategies to stop and prevent bullying. We’ll see you back here next week for a new episode!

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 6:48 minutes
  • Date Posted: 11/28/2018

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 2

We are thrilled to return for another season with more videos featuring interviews, stories, and informational content. New this season will be the feature “Ask Us” in which we will respond to questions from students around the world.


>> Hey there, welcome back to PACERTalks about Bullying. I'm Bailey, we're glad you're here.

[ Music ]

On today's episode we are so excited to have an interview with Rose, who's one of PACER's parent advocates. In today's video, she's going to share a little bit with you about how you can use an IEP or a 504 plan to help with a bullying situation. Now, let's get into the episode. So again, we're so excited to have Rose on today's episode and we're going to be talking a little bit about the IEP and how it can be used for bullying situations. So just to get started, would you share with our viewers, what is an IEP or a 504 plan?

>> Sure, so a 504 plan is generally an accommodations plan and an IEP, which stands for an individualized educational program, is a plan that includes accommodations and specialized instructions for students with disabilities.

>> So it sounds like the IEP and the 504 plan can be great tools to help kids be successful at school. Could you share a little bit about how they can be used for bullying situations?

>> Yes, both 504 plans and IEPs can be used to address bullying situations. They can be used to address if a student is being bullied or if a student is displaying bullying behavior. 504s generally include accommodations that help address it and prevent it from occurring and IEPs can include also accommodations but in addition, some instruction for the child to either prevent them from continuing to do the bullying or to prevent it from reoccurring.

>> Awesome, so it sounds like it's a great way to get a written strategy in place to help with what's happening.

>> Correct. Exactly.

>> So, for anyone that may be interested in doing this, how do you get the process started?

>> So for either a 504 or an IEP you'd probably want to contact, if it was an IEP or IEP case manager, let them know that you'd like to request a meeting to discuss this topic. And then you probably want to involve any kind of staff or teachers or designated people who are involved in addressing bullying situations in school, in that meeting so you can get the ball rolling on starting to have the IEP team address it directly. For a 504 plan, it would be the same process except you would want to contact the 504 coordinator in your school building to get a meeting together of similar people to address the situation.

>> That's great. So now that we know the steps to get started, what are some examples of what could be written into the IEP, and where would it go?

>> So for either a 504 plan or an IEP, you could right in some accommodations and could be put into the accommodations section. There's numerous places it could go. The important thing is to get it written into the 504 plan or the IEP. So some examples might be; for kids that might want to have alternative passing times so they don't have to encounter people that have been bullying them in the hallway, they might have preferential seating in a classroom. The important thing is to make sure that that written plan is written, and that the teachers and the people who have to implement it, know what's in that plan. For an IEP there might be some additional steps the team could take. If the child is having difficulty self-advocating or letting people know when the bullying is happening, they might provide some additional instruction on how to identify bullying, how to report it, who to go to, so that child starts to build the skill of knowing what to do when they are experiencing bullying. That's just some examples.

>> Yeah, that's super helpful, because sometimes you're like, okay I can write it but I don't know where to start so it's nice to kind of get some examples.

>> Right, right. So we also have a handout which is called the IEP and Bullying, and that gives some additional suggestions. And that's a great thing to bring to your team or look at ahead of time and then bring into your team so you and your team can work together, whether it's a 504 or IEP, on addressing the situation and getting that written plan in your 504 plan or your IEP document.

>> I think this information is going to be so helpful to anyone watching and kind of figuring out how to navigate the IEP and the 504 plan. Do you have any success stories that you could share for those watching?

>> Yeah, you know, one story comes to mind of a middle school student that I was working with, and the parents called me. The child had been bullied by another student in the classroom in the cafeteria. There was teasing going on. The student had even taken the child's lunch tray and dumped it out. And there were some significant things happening. The parents had reported it and didn't feel that there was a lot of progress in getting it addressed, so we suggested going to the child's IEP team, raising the concern. We provided information about what are the rights of students when they are getting bullied, especially a student with a disability because there are extra protections in the law. And as soon as the parents did that, and advocated, the school came up with a written plan that included a number of accommodations that would go in the IEP to prevent it from recurring. Some of these accommodations included, for example; flagging on the child's schedule that they shouldn't be put together in another classroom with this child, notifying, in writing, teachers and staff that would be working with that child and would be watching for things to occur in the hallway and the cafeteria. And really significantly having a documentation process, in other words, when the child or someone else saw bullying happening, there was a process of document, of reporting it and documenting, so there would be a record. This way, the IEP team and the parents could come back to the table and decide how to address it. And it was a, it was really the first time I saw a very specific, proactive plan to address a very specific bullying situation.

>> Wow, that's a great example. I think it just shows how powerful an IEP or a 504 plan can be with helping with a bullying situation.

>> Right. I think one of the keys is to get things, to report things in writings and keep things in writing and continue to work with your team to get them, to get it addressed until it is put somewhere in writing. And that's not only for accountability, but that's really important also for the entire team to know what the steps will be that they need to follow through on. So in terms of communication as well as accountability, it's a really important step.

>> Yeah, and knowledge is power so I think it's great to have this information out there for any parents looking to do that. Thanks so much again to Rose, for being on this episode of PACERTalks about Bullying. That's all that we have for you this week, but we'll see you right back here next week, and remember, together we can help create a world without bullying. Bye.

[ Music ]