Section 504 is a federal law and part of the American with Disabilities Act designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ." The school district must provide a free appropriate public education to district students who are eligible under Section 504. Instruction must be individually designed to meet the needs of those students as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities. An appropriate education under Section 504 requires that the services be effective and fair.
Although Section 504 does not require schools to develop an Individualized Education Program with annual goals, the school does provide written documentation for each student identified and provide accommodations and/or services under Section 504. A school evaluation team (if an evaluation is deemed necessary), consisting of persons knowledgeable about the student, will conduct an individual evaluation of a student initially referred for a Section 504 evaluation. The team will review all submitted documentation, current teacher reports, past records and tests. Additional evaluation measures will be conducted by the School District if deemed necessary. Parental consent will be obtained prior to the initial evaluation completed by the District. An eligibility determination meeting will follow. If the student is eligible, a Section 504 plan will be developed and implemented. Section 504 plans will be reviewed annually and reevaluations will occur periodically.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504)
A person has a disability within the meaning of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if he or she has a mental or physical impairment, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active. The determination of whether impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures (except for ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses).