Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Section 504 is a federal law, designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ."
- The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
- To be eligible under Section 504, your child must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life functions.
- If a 504 plan is developed for your child, your child may receive specific supplementary accommodations that are necessary to allow for equal access to their educational curriculum and environment as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students.
- Eligibility under Section 504 is reviewed every three years, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- The 504 plan is to be reviewed within each school year as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- In most cases, determination of your child’s eligibility for Section 504 and, if appropriate, development of the 504 plan would occur within the same meeting.
- Supplementary aids/accommodations are provided at no cost to families. Supplementary aids/accommodations should be specific and based on need. For example, if a student requires preferential seating, what does that look like? Does that mean, close to the teacher to focus, close to the door to access frequent breaks or in the back of the class to allow for easier movement? Another example would be extra time on assignments or tests? Is that for all subjects or just for Math is that is the area their disability impacts?
How to Request a Section 504 plan
- Families interested in having their child evaluated for eligibility under Section 504 should put their request in writing to the school’s 504 Building Case Manager.
- For example: I am writing to request a 504 evaluation for my child ___________ because I have the following concerns (please be as specific as to what your concerns are and how they impact your child.).
- At the Early Childhood and Elementary schools, parent(s)/guardian(s) should reach out directly to their school Principal. At this level, the Building Case Manager for the Section 504 plans are the Principal and/or Assistant Principal.
- At the Middle Schools and High Schools, parent(s)/guardian(s) should reach out directly to their child’s school Counselor. At this level, the Building Case Manager for Section 504 plans are the school Counselors.
- Once a request has been made and received by the school, the Building Case Manager should get an eligibility meeting scheduled within a reasonable amount of time. While a reasonable amount of time is not defined by Section 504, we look to schedule the meetings as soon as possible depending on the availability of the team.
- At the District Level, Section 504 plans are overseen by the Specialized Student Services Department. Specifically, the Assistant Director for Compliance, Amanda Leatherby. If you have questions and/or concerns that cannot be addressed at the Building Level, please contact Amanda.
For more information regarding Section 504, please visit the U.S. Department of Education Website, linked here.