What is Section 504?
(excerpt taken from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction website)
Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a civil rights act that protects the rights of people with disabilities. The law states that no person with a disability can be excluded from or denied benefits of any program receiving federal financial assistance; this includes all public schools. With passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress required that school districts make their programs and activities accessible as well as usable to all individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 regulations require recipients of Federal financial assistance to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each qualified person with a disability in the recipients jurisdiction designed to meet individual educational needs of persons with disabilities as adequately as the needs of non-disabled persons are met. This must be based on adherence to the procedural requirements of the regulation (educational setting, evaluation, placement and procedural safeguards).
Section 504 falls under the management responsibility of the general, rather than special, education program. No state or federal funding is provided to assist in complying with Section 504. All costs are the obligation of the local school.
Section 504 defines a person as disabled if he or she has (or is perceived to have) a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes 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 for special accommodations under Section 504.
In order to determine eligibility for services, the students must be evaluated by a team of individuals who are familiar with the student and the results must be shared at a team meeting in which parents or caregivers are involved. If it is determined that a student has a disability under Section 504, the school must develop and implement the delivery of all needed services and/or accommodations.
The following links contain an abundance of information related to Section 504 law. Helpful links, handy tools, and lots and lots of practical and personal advice can be found at these trusted sites...