District 504 Guidelines and Procedures

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires school districts to provide the full range of special accommodations and services necessary for students with special needs to participate in and benefit from public education programs and activities. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by school districts receiving federal financial assistance.  Students with disabilities must be provided with a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE).
 
Section 504 protects all students with disabilities, defined as those having any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. (All individuals who have disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are also considered disabled and therefore protected under Section 504.) Major life activities include but are not limited to, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 also includes “the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, the function of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endrocrine and reproductive functions.”.
 
The ADAAA of 2008 established a broader interpretation of eligibility. It is clear that the act meant to be inclusive – not exclusive – in eligibility determinations. 'Substantially limits' does NOT mean “significantly restricted”. According to ADAAA, this standard is too high. Mitigating measures DO NOT PREVENT a child from qualifying for a Section 504 plan. They may impact on the accommodations the plan includes. Section 504 includes impairments that are episodic or in remission as disabilities if they would substantially limit a major life activity when active. Section 504 does NOT include impairments that are transitory or minor. A transitory impairment is one with an actual or expected duration of less than 6 months. 
 
Section 504 regulations require guidelines and procedures for identification, evaluation, provision of appropriate services, and procedural safeguards be in place in all public schools in the United States. The Southern Door School District uses the guidelines provided by Chicago Office of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the document entitled Protecting Students with disabilities: Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities as the basis of our procedures and activities. See  http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html#safeguards

Section 504 requires that the determination of services, accommodations and or modifications be made by a group of people knowledgeable about the student.   The group should review the nature of the disability, how it affects the student’s education, whether specialized services are needed, and, if so, what those services should be. The decisions about Section 504 eligibility and services must be documented in the student’s file and reviewed periodically.

For more information contact the district's 504 coodinator:

Kennedy Reed
School Psychologist
920-825-7321 ext 2213