Guidelines and Procedural Guidelines for Section 504 Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 and the ADA protects all qualified individuals with disabilities. It is a birth-to-death mandate. Responsibilities extend beyond providing physical access to public (and now private) structures and in providing a free appropriate public education for students aged three through twenty-one who qualify for special education. Additionally, responsibilities extend to a larger population; children and young adults that do not qualify for special education, yet meet the definition of an individual with a disability in Section 504 and the ADA, employees, applicants, and the community who impact on our schools, programs, and activities.
Overview of Section 504
Section 504 in and of itself is very generally stated. Though the Regulations serve to provide further definition, there is much left to local interpretation. The purpose of this section is to provide an overview of Section 504 by providing the following:
- The Statute, excerpts from the Regulations, and definition of terms;
- A general comparison of IDEA and Section 504; and
- A brief discussion of student population and discrimination.
Federal Statute For Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in Section 706(6) of this Title, shall, solely on the basis of his or her disability, be denied participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by the United States Postal Service. The head of each such agency shall promulgate regulations as may be necessary to carry out the amendments made to this section of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities Act of 1978.”
Section 504 Rehabilitation Alternative Learning Plan
There are four primary cases when a Section 504 Rehabilitation Plan should be considered.
- When an IEP team determines that a child no longer requires an IEP and a 504 Plan is needed to document the necessary general education accommodations or modifications to assure ongoing student success.
- When an IEP team has conducted a case study and a student is found ineligible for special education under IDEA, the team will consider whether a disability under 504 is indicated.
- When there is an identified disability not covered by special education (remember, while there are literally hundreds of different types of disabilities, special education law only covers thirteen specific types of disabilities).
- When a parent approaches a teacher with concerns that his/her child may have a disability that requires special instructional accommodations or program modifications.
Section 504 Alternative Learning Plan
When parents or school personnel identify a concern for which a 504 Plan might be appropriate, the principal will convene a meeting of a 504 planning team. The team, varies from student to student, and generally consists of the parent, the classroom teacher and any other school personnel with knowledge of the student that might be helpful (e.g. building nurse, psychologist, social worker, learning behavior specialist etc.).
Once it is determined that a child is eligible under Section 504, Section 504 Alternative Learning Plan is developed. The Section 504 planning team must determine what instructional accommodations or modifications are needed to meet the child’s needs as they relate to the general educational setting. The 504 Alternative Learning Plan provides the reasonable instructional accommodations and modifications to which the student is entitled, based on the student’s individual needs. Once the Plan has been developed, the general education team is responsible for implementing the Plan.
Location and notification
[ 34 C.F.R. 104.31, et. seq. Subpart D —Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education] A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary education program shall annually:
(a) Undertake to identify and locate every qualified handicapped person residing in the recipient’s jurisdiction who is not receiving a public education; and
(b) Take appropriate steps to notify handicapped persons and their parents or guardians of the recipient’s duty under this subpart.
PUBLIC NOTICE TO OUR SCHOOL COMMUNITY
SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 is committed to complying with the requirements in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. We are responsible for providing you access to parent-teacher conferences and other programs and activities including graduation.
Please notify your school’s principal if you have a disability, or if you know an individual with a disability, that may attend a function in our building (i.e., graduation ceremony)? We would like to be aware of this in case there are physical barriers in accessing our building. All responses will be kept confidential.