WHAT IS SECTION 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a broad civil rights law which protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
WHO IS PROTECTED?
A student who has a disability which substantially limits one or more major life activities is protected under Section 504. Major life activities can include: eating, breathing, walking, learning, concentrating, thinking, or caring for oneself.
HOW DOES A STUDENT BECOME ELIGIBLE FOR SECTION 504?
In order to consider eligibility under Section 504, PWCS initiates the evaluation/eligibility process to eligibility according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). If a student is found eligible according to IDEA, an Individualized Education Program is developed and services are provided in the student’s identified areas of need. If a student is not eligible according to IDEA, PWCS completes the eligibility process for Section 504. To be eligible under Section 504, a student must have a “physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities”.
WHAT DOES SECTION 504 PROVIDE FOR STUDENTS?
When students are eligible under Section 504, an accommodation plan is developed. Accommodations are designed to reflect specific areas in which a substantial limitation is documented and to meet the individual student’s needs. A case manager is assigned to each student who has an accommodation plan and is the point of contact for all individuals who work with the student. The case manager ensures that everyone working with the student has an understanding of the student and the accommodations. Each person working with the student is responsible for implementing the plan.
The accommodation plan is updated prior to start of each new school year. Eligibility for Section 504 is reviewed at least every three years.