Why are 504 students getting their resources taken away?


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504 students have found themselves without a testing center this year.

Natalie Weber, Staff Reporter

Vandegrift 504 students have lost an important resource: testing rooms and the accommodations that come with them. The reason is unknown to students, but they’ve said that the impact it has had has been extremely overwhelming. 

One student that has dealt with “roadblocks” in the past is junior Vanessa Rubio. Rubio was diagnosed with dyslexia and testing anxiety, and in past years, has been given special accommodations such as extra time and a special room specifically for 504 students. When she came into school at the beginning of the year and was ready to take her first test, she did not realize that things had changed for her this year. 

 “When I heard that my accommodations had not been sent to my teacher first and that the testing center was gotten rid of, it just triggered everything and I needed to get out of the class for some air,” Rubio said. “I felt so betrayed and defeated because dealing with dyslexia and testing anxiety already takes a toll on me both education wise and emotionally and mentally, and I had to take a test without my accommodations which I had never done before.” 

Teachers are usually notified of their 504 students and the accommodations that are allotted to them. Now, most students are having to advocate for themselves and put in extra time to stay afloat in their classes. 

“Now everytime I have to take a test I have to step out in the hallway and come in early or during pit to use my accommodations when in the testing center that was already provided,” Rubio said. “I have learned to deal with these circumstances but it’s very unfortunate on my part. I know students who are in the same boat and are scared to say something. I have lost my motivation and I just feel like if I had the testing center I could be doing much better.” 

Rather than succumbing to this new normal, Rubio has decided to take matters into her own hands to help other students in her shoes. She is working hard to raise awareness to this issue and to help other students who are also struggling to be successful. 

“After this situation I wanted to create a club called Viper Buddies,” Rubio said. “Our mission is to create a safe place for students that fall under the 504 categories for learning disabilities. Our goal is to have each member in the club advocate for their accommodations [ dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety, etc.] and having members with non-504 create a safe space by understanding experiences of students with 504.” 

As school continues this year, many 504 students are fighting to get back the resources that they once had. They are working together to help students achieve their highest potential in academics and are benefactors for their mental health and confidence. 

“I think they need to open up the testing room again or have a place for students with accommodations to go too for homework and or tests,” Rubio said. “I understand that Vandegrift is the 10th best public school in the state but you cannot leave the kids ‘that are not as bright’ in the dark because we do have potential to be up there. I know I am not the only 504 student that feels simply disappointed in Vandegrift after all that we go through.”