504 plan WJ

Sophomore Ian Mcclain uses his 504 plan accommodations to work in the hallway and stay focused. “It’s easier for me to work in the hall because I get distracted easily in the classroom and it allows me to get my work done,” Mcclain said.

A 504 plan is a legal document that guarantees that students with learning disability or other medical factors get accommodations in order to ensure their equal academic success. There are numerous opinions about whether these plans actually benefit students.

The purpose of the given accommodations is to give everyone an equitable learning experience according to the students needs. Students with ADHD could get a seat in the front in the class so they can focus. Students who need more time to process information can get extra time on tests and assignments. Students with dyslexia could be able to use text to speech so they can understand the reading better.

“I can’t focus for long periods of time and so that extra time lets me take a break and refocus to finish my work,” sophomore Theo Maisel said.

Although teachers are required to adhere to these accommodations, many students feel that teachers ignore them.

“Some teachers bend the rules a little bit which can be frustrating. When I ask them for an extension many times they don’t allow it,” Maisel said.

There is a large number of students at WJ who need these accommodations. In a poll that surveyed 629 students asking whether they had a 504 plan, 127 said yes; 20.2% of everyone surveyed needed a 504 plan.

Some people don’t think it’s fair that certain people get extra time to do work and tests. They think that everyone should have the same amount of time because they think making accommodations for some people gives them an advantage.

“I need extended time because I process stuff slower than others. If I didn’t have my 504 plan my grades would drop and I would be a lot more stressed,” sophomore Erik Austegard said.

The process of getting a 504 plan can be expensive and time consuming. Many people think that they have a learning disability, but are unable to get it diagnosed due to the cost. Also, even if a student has already been diagnosed with a learning disability, there are still several steps needed before a 504 plan is issued.

“Many people have told me that they think I have ADHD and I tried to get it tested, but it was too expensive and I wasn’t able to finish all the tests,” sophomore Torben Mucchetti said.

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