Section 504 Procedures
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by any program or activity that receives or benefits from federal funding. Section 504 requires that disabled students be provided with a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) including education with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate, including non-academic and extra-curricular activities.
- Concerned individuals (teachers, parents, counselors, students, and others) may contact the school principal to initiate a referral.
- Referral should contain basic information about the student, the concern, and a description of the student’s needs to gain access to the general education curriculum
- Referral may be on the District 504 referral form or in any written format that includes the above information.
- The principal forwards the referral to the director of student services who will determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant an evaluation. Concerned parties will be notified of this decision within 10 school days.
- If an evaluation is recommended, the director of student services will assemble a team, including parents to determine what evaluation information is needed and obtain parent permission to collect such information.
- Upon the conclusion of the evaluation, the team will reassemble to determine
- if the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, and thus, is eligible for services under Section 504, and
- if because of the disability, the educational needs of the student are not met as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students,
- if 1, and 2 are met, the student is eligible for the development of a 504 plan.
- After a student is determined to be eligible, the team completes the 504 plan by outlining the educational services, reasonable accommodations, and/or modifications that the student requires.
- Individuals will be notified of their responsibility to implement/provide services, accommodations, and/or modifications.
- 504 plans will be reviewed at least annually or more frequently, if necessary.
- 504 eligibility will be reviewed at least triennially or more frequently, if necessary.
Who is eligible?
A person has a disability within the meaning of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if he or she has a physical or mental impairment, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Major Life Activities
Major Life Activities include (but are not limited to): seeing, hearing, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, working, breathing, learning, reading, communicating, thinking, concentrating, caring for oneself and performing manual tasks. The operation of major bodily functions (e.g., the immune system, cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, neurological, brain, and reproductive functions) also count at major life activities. Note that this list of major life activities in not exhaustive.
Section 504 does not specifically define the term “substantial limits.” The basis for evaluating this criterion is the impact the impairment has on one or more of a student’s major life activities. A substantial limitation means that the student is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform or is substantially limited in the condition, manner, or duration under which the student can perform the major life activity at issue.
Additionally, with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses, the ameliorative effects of available “mitigating measures” (including, but not limited to, medications, prosthetics, hearing aids, mobility devices, and learned adaptions) may not be considered in determining whether someone is “substantially limited: in a major life activity.