Bill E Young Jr. Middle School

Special Education and 504 Services » Special Education and 504

Special Education and 504

Parents Guide To Section 504

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination , civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, 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…” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)]
 
Who is covered by Section 504? To be covered under Section 504, a student must be “qualified” (which roughly equates to being between 3 and 22 years of age, depending on the program as well as state and federal law, and must have a disability). [34 C.F.R.§104.30*k)(2)]
Who is an “individual with a disability”? As defined by federal law: “An individual with a disability means any person who: i. has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity; ii. has a record of such an impairment; or iii. is regarded as having such an impairment”
What is an “impairment” as used under the Section 504 definition? An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning,-, behavior-, or health-related condition. [“It should be noted that a physical or mental impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities” (Appendix A to Part 104 #3)]
What are “major life activities”? Major life activities include, but are not limited to: selfcare, manual tasks, walking, seeing, speaking, sitting, thinking, learning, breathing, concentrating, interacting with others, and working. As of January 1, 2009 with the reauthorization of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this list has been expanded to also include the life activities of reading,, concentrating, standing, lifting, bending, etc.
What does “substantially limits” mean? Substantially limits is not defined in the federal regulations. However, in a letter from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), they state, “this is a determination to be made by each local school district and depends on the nature and severity of the person’s disabling condition.” New guidance from the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment (ADAAA) states that Section 504 standards must conform with the ADAAA and is “intended to afford a broad scope of protection to eligible persons.” In considering substantial limitations, students must be measured against their same age, non-disabled peers in the general population and without benefit of medication or other mitigating measures such as learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications, assistive technology or accommodations. Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination , civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, 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…” [29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)] Who is covered by Section 504? To be covered under Section 504, a student must be “qualified” (which roughly equates to being between 3 and 22 years of age, depending on the program as well as state and federal law, and must have a disability). [34 C.F.R.§104.30*k)(2)]
Who is an “individual with a disability”? As defined by federal law: “An individual with a disability means any person who: i. has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity; ii. has a record of such an impairment; or iii. is regarded as having such an impairment” [34 C.F.R.§104.3(j)(1)] What is Section 504?
Who decides whether a student is qualified and eligible for services under Section 504? According to the federal regulations: “placement decisions are to be made by a group of persons who are knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, placement options, least restrictive environment requirements, and comparable facilities” [34 C.F.R. §104.35©(3)]
What information is used in doing an evaluation under Section 504? Under Section 504, no formalized testing is required. The 504 committee should look at grades over the past several years, teacher’s reports, information from parents or other agencies, state assessment scores or other school administered tests, observations, discipline reports, attendance records, health records, and adaptive behavior information. Schools must consider a variety of sources. A single source of information (such as a doctor’s report) cannot be the only information considered. Schools must be able to assure that all information submitted is documented and considered. What types of accommodations will my child receive if determined eligible under Section 504? Each child’s needs are determined individually. Determination of what is appropriate for each child is based on the nature of the disabling condition and what that child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to compete when compared to the non-disabled. There is no guarantee of A’s or B’s or even that the student will not fail.
 
Who do I contact to inquire about a Section 504 plan for my child? Each school has a Section 504 Coordinator designated. Consult your school’s Section 504 Coordinator or your child’s teacher for more information about Section 504.
 

Special Education

Legal Background

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (PL 93-112), amended in 1992, includes Section 504, which affirms the right of any student or adult who has a mental or physical impairment which inhibits a major life activity including learning; has a history of such an impairment; or is considered by a team of knowledgeable individuals to have such an impairment, from being discriminated against program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. This Act also requires that students be given a free appropriate public education in regular education classes, with necessary supplementary aids and services, if they are determined by a school team to be disabled under Section 504 or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Such eligibility may exist without concurrent eligibility for special education under I.D.E.A.

The Rehabilitation Act was followed in 1975 by the passage of PL 94-142, the Education of Handicapped Act, which was changed in 1990 to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.). This is the legislation that provides that all students who are eligible for special education must be provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

The California Legislature implements the provisions of IDEA through the California Master Plan for Special Education. This plan was first implemented statewide in 1980 with the passage of SB 1870.

Some of the major areas covered by state and federal laws are the following:

  • Child Find - Each public school system is responsible to find and children with disabilities in its area.
  • Free Appropriate Public Education - Each public school system is responsible for ensuring that each child with disabilities is served appropriately, at no expense to the parent.
  • Least Restrictive Environment - Each child is assured of his/her right of education with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of both.
  • Due Process - The right of parent participation, and challenge, in all aspects of assessment, identification and placement is assured; involves mediation or administrative hearing procedures and complaint procedure in case of disputes.
  • Individualized Educational Planning - The right of a child to an educational program designed to meet his/her individual needs and based on adequate assessment is assured. At age 14 to 16 this includes the development of an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) to provide for transition into the world of work.

These concepts have been reinforced and interpreted by a number of court cases since the passage of the law. Two notable cases in the State of California are the Larry P. Case, which established strict rules concerning the use of standardized intelligence tests with minority populations, and the Diana Case, which has caused school systems to revise their bilingual special education assessments.