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David Richards

National Level Speaker, Author and Educator

David Richards is a partner in the Austin, Texas school law firm Richards Lindsay & Martín, LLP. The firm’s practice is limited to the defense of school districts and special education cooperatives in matters arising under Section 504 and the IDEA. Mr. Richards is a frequent speaker on disability law issues at school districts and conferences throughout the country.


's Sessions

New to Section 504 or want to understand a public school’s duties under the law? This session is for you. Veteran school lawyer David Richards will explain how 504 and IDEA fit together, and the importance of process-based compliance to satisfy the Office for Civil Rights. He’ll walk through the school’s duty to provide a Section 504 FAPE (from child find, through evaluation and eligibility, creation of the 504 Plan to re-evaluation) and the law’s nondiscrimination protections including manifestation determination and equal participation in extracurricular and nonacademic services. Participants will receive written materials and a set of Section 504 forms.

What goes into a Section 504 Plan depends on evaluation data and student need. This lively session will examine the Section 504 FAPE and provide examples from OCR Letters of Finding and case law on using data to determine appropriate Section 504 accommodations and services (and figuring out what’s NOT appropriate) for a range of impairments from diabetes to physical injuries arising from accidents to allergies and asthma. Questions are encouraged.

The work of Section 504 often involves making decisions using a combination of school data together with information received from doctors or other health care providers. This lively session examines the role of doctors and medical data as part of the 504 process, including a discussion of doctors’ opinions on educational placement and services. We’ll also look at modern Section 504 child find and students on health plans and discuss which students on health plans should be referred for Section 504 evaluation. Questions are encouraged.

In this lively session, school attorney Dave Richards examines the legal obligations of schools to prevent and appropriately respond to disability harassment. We’ll analyze the rules and look at examples from cases and OCR letters of finding to answer questions like, “How do I respond when the allegations of harassment are vague and no bully or harasser can be identified?” “This is my second conversation with the same bully/harasser about the same conduct, anything I should know?” “Any additional concerns when the harasser and target are both students with disabilities?” Audience questions are encouraged.

The civil rights approach of Section 504 means that discipline of students eligible under Section 504 is different from the discipline of non-disabled students. This lively session by school attorney Dave Richards will examine the reason for the different treatment, the need for behavioral supports in 504 plans, the 10-Day Rules and manifestation determination requirement, and other related issues. Questions are encouraged.