What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was designed to eliminate discrimination against any student with a disability in any program offered by the school district. Section 504 states that:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any other program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
What is the definition of a disabled student under Section 504?
A disabled student is one who:
Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning;
Has a record of such impairment; or
Is regarded as having such impairment
What is a “major life activity”?
Major life activities are:
Caring for oneself, doing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, breathing, standing, lifting, bending, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, or the operation of a major bodily function. An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.
What is Section 504 eligibility and how does it work?
Section 504 is intended to “level the playing field” usually by eliminating barriers.
The following questions should be addressed when considering eligibility for Section 504 accommodations:
Is the student’s condition physical or mental?
Does the condition impair a major life activity?
Is the degree of this impairment substantially limiting as compared to the general population?
Does the student’s condition require any accommodations in order for the student to access an educational activity?
Would the impairment substantially limit a student in a major life activity if they were not getting a mitigating measure?
What rights do parents and students have under Section 504?
The parent/s or guardian of students being considered for Section 504 eligibility shall be given the “Notice of Parent and Student Rights” under Section 504.
The parent/s or guardian must be notified in writing of all District decisions concerning the identification, evaluation, or placement of their student in Section 504.
The parent/s or guardian has the right to review student records as per Board Policy.
The parent/s or guardian has the right to appeal the decisions of the Campus 504 Committee and to question the implementations of individual accommodations to the District 504 Director.
The parent/s or guardian has the right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights in Dallas, Texas. For more information about Section 504 law, visit the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights web site.
Who should be contacted if there is a question about a student qualifying for services under Section 504?
Every campus has a designated Campus 504 Coordinator. Contact your home campus if you have questions or contact the District 504 Specialist.