What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the United States Code protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. The Act forbids organizations receiving government assistance from discriminating on the basis of handicap against otherwise qualified persons. This statute applies to school programs and activities.
Who is Eligible?
A student with a disability should be considered for eligibility under Section 504 if he/she:
has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities
has a record of such an impairment ; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
Major life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
A diagnosis of a disability does not automatically qualify a student for eligibility under Section 504. Teachers or parents who feel a student may meet criteria for Section 504 eligibility may request a meeting with the school counselor or building principal.
What if You Suspect a 504 Disability?
Contact your school counselor or building principal.
What is a 504 Service Agreement or Plan?
Students who satisfy the criteria for eligibility will have a 504 Plan established for school use. The Plan defines the nature of the disability, the primary life activity affected by the disability, the accommodations required to allow access based on the student's requirements, and the individual(s) responsible for implementing the adjustments.
Parents are encouraged to participate in the development of the Plan.
Accommodations should “level the playing field” for the student.
Can My Child’s Doctor Write a Plan?
A medical diagnosis made by your child’s doctor does not necessarily mean automatic eligibility for a 504 Plan. The role of the school is to accept the medical diagnosis and make it part of the 504 team’s overall evaluation data. The team should take the information under consideration but it will not necessarily drive the final determination of eligibility. A 504 Plan is written by the school team for use in school.
What if I Disagree?
Federal law has granted rights to students who are eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Your child’s school can provide you with copies of the Summary of Parent/Student Rights in Identification, Evaluation, and Placement (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).