Guidelines for the Implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 required that federal fund recipients make their programs and activities available to all individuals with disabilities. Section 504 of the Act protects persons from discrimination based on their disability status. A person is disabled within the definition of Section 504 if he or she:
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activites.
- Has a record of such impairments.
- Is regarded as having such an impairment.
“Major life activities include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.” When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual does not qualify under Section 504.
Points to Consider
- Services that are provided under Section 504 are to occur within the regular classroom setting.
- Students that are suspected of having a disability that falls under Section 504 will need to be evaluated by the district.
- A group of educators (preferably a Student Assistance Team or group of educators that is familiar with the student) must review the nature of the disability and how it affects the student’s education.
- All decisions about Section 504 eligibility and services must be documented in the student’s file and reviewed periodically.
- Although Section 504 does not require school districts to develop an IEP with annual goals and objectives, it is recommended that the school document the services and/or accommodations for each eligible Section 504 student as provided. Section 504 requires appropriate accommodations for student assistance and success.
- Procedures that have been outlined for the verification of students suspected of having a verified disability (the Student Assistance Process) may also be used to evaluate students that are suspected of qualifying for services under Section 504. It is important to remember that special education and Section 504 programs are not combined, since Section 504 services are provided within the regular classroom setting.
Parent Rights Afforded by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The following is a description of the rights granted by federal law to qualifying students with disabilities. The intent of the law is to keep you fully informed concerning the decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions.
You have the right to:
- Have your child take part in, and receive benefits from, public education programs without discrimination because of your child’s disability.
- Have the school district advise you of your rights under federal law.
- Receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation or placement of your child.
- Have your child receive a free appropriate public education.
- Have your child receive services and be educated in facilities which are comparable to those provided to students without disabilities.
- Have your child receive an individualized evaluation and receive Section 504 accommodations and related services if your child is found eligible under Section 504.
- Have evaluation, eligibility, educational and placement decisions made based on a variety of information sources and by persons who know your child and who are knowledgeable about the evaluation data and placement options
- Have transportation provided to and from an alternative placement setting at no greater cost to you than would be incurred if your child were placed in a program operated by the school district.
- Have your child be given an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities offered by the school district.
- Examine all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation and placement.
- Receive a response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child’s records.
- Request amendment of your child’s educational records if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of your child. If the school district refuses this request, it shall notify you within a reasonable time, and advise you of the right to a hearing.
- File a local grievance in accordance with school policy.
- Request an impartial hearing related to decisions regarding your child’s identification, eligibility, and educational program or placement with opportunity for participation by the person’s parents or guardian and representation by counsel, and a review procedure. This is provided in the local grievance procedure. (Hearing requests are to be made to the Department of Student Services).
For Additional Information…
If you have additional questions, contact an administrator or counselor at your school or contact the Office of Student Services at 436-1688.
For additional information regarding the Section 504 process download the following tri-fold leaflet: