What is Section 504?

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 §504 is a federal civil rights law protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. It is commonly called Section 504 in the school setting and provides accommodations for students with an identified eligibility. §504 is considered a general education program.

Students with 504 eligibility and plans are provided a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and have procedural safeguards under that law. FAPE means their education must be provided with no costs to the parents that are different from any other general education student and meet the student’s needs. TDOE has additional information.

If someone believes a child is eligible under §504, they should first contact the school’s principal and request a meeting with the school team. Anyone can ask for a school team meeting to help problem solve a concern. This team consists of school and family members who know the student. They meet to discuss the concerns about the student and may write an intervention plan. The plan is implemented and monitored. If it is not successful, the team may meet back and determine to change the plan, to screen or to make a recommendation to do a comprehensive evaluation of the student.

Child Find

WCS is required to make sure every child with a disability is getting an appropriate education. This is known as Child Find.

If someone believes a child is eligible under §504, they would first contact the school’s principal and request a meeting with the school team. Anyone can ask for a school team meeting to help problem solve a concern. This team consists of school and family members who know the student. They meet to discuss the concerns about the student and may write an intervention plan. The plan is implemented and monitored. If it is not being successful, the team may meet back and determine to change the plan, to screen or to make a recommendation to do a comprehensive evaluation of the student.

Eligibility

The §504 Team meets to review assessment information, medical information, and other documentation provided to determine eligibility. The team consists of persons knowledgeable about the student and reviewing the evaluation data and educational interventions. This team typically consists of parents, the classroom teacher, a school administrator and the school’s 504 coordinator and often a school psychologist and/or school nurse. The additional members could vary depending on the condition and specific student concerns and the assessments used that would need to be interpreted.

Eligibility under §504 has two components, eligibility and impact. The first step of eligibility determines if a student has a disability under §504. §504 eligibility says an individual with a disability is anyone who:

  1. Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Life activities include activities such as caring for one’s self, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and eating. This is not an all-inclusive listing, but these are some examples.
  2. Has a record of such an impairment; or
  3. Is regarded as having such an impairment.

The second component of eligibility considers the impact on the student in the educational setting which must be substantial. The impact may be made to the student’s academics, physical access, or social/emotional concerns in the school setting.

Some of the conditions that may qualify a student under §504 are ADHD, allergies, asthma, diabetes, emotional disorders, behavior disorders, orthopedic problems, hearing and vision impairments, certain communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.  This is not an exhaustive list. Since many of the conditions for eligibility are medical, the §504 team will need documentation of the condition for review. The evaluation tools used for each individual student may vary depending on the concerns about the student and should come from multiple sources.

The §504 Plan

After the student is deemed §504 eligible, the §504 team considers the impact to the student and determines if accommodations are needed.

The §504 Plan is designed for each student according to individual need. Students who are disabled under §504 may need accommodations, modifications and related services. The plan also identifies the persons responsible for the implementation of the plan. A plan is written and typically reviewed annually. Any member of the team can call a meeting prior to the review if there are concerns.

Section 504 Parents Rights
Aviso de Reunión del Comité de la Sección 504