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Role of Parents in the Reasonable Accommodation Process

 

Students that are in the process of transitioning to college from high school and currently enrolling into Penn State are welcome to have parents accompany them to the SDR office meetings with the specialist for general information and registration with the office.  (Information about Student Disability Resources and applying for services may be accessed from this website: http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/applying-for-services. )  Parents may not request accommodations and/or services on behalf of their son and/or daughter. The student must request services and accommodations. (Brown Mackie College, and Texas Southern University No. 06-02-2078 OCR 12/06/2002).

It important to note that, because the academic accommodations are provided for students, the process for requesting and providing academic accommodations requires the active participation of the student. Student Disability Resources needs to be able to have open communication directly with the student so that we are able to assess the needs and wishes of the student who is requesting the accommodations.   For this reason, our policies and procedures require the student’s involvement.  Furthermore, the Office for Civil Rights has ruled that students must initiate the process, be active participants in the accommodation process and have direct interaction/contact with the SDR coordinator.

Written consent provided by students under FERPA entitles parents to information regarding their sons and daughters’ educational program, however, such consent does not entitle parents to participate in the academic accommodations process.  Specifically, the General FERPA Authorization form available from the Regristrar is a release form that allows access to student records.  It is not related to any services provided by Student Disability Resources and the authorization does not allow parents to insist that students not be contacted directly or involved in the accommodation process.   

The basis for this policy is the existing FERPA (Family and Education Rights Privacy Act) regulations and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) decisions involving colleges and universities across the country.