Section 504

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. It requires that the education needs of students with disabilities be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. A disabling 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. Furthermore, such a condition must result in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities.

Many students have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent to others, such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy, low vision, poor hearing, or a chronic medical illness. If they substantially limit that child’s ability to receive an appropriate education they may be considered to have an “impairment” under Section 504 standards. The regulations specify what persons are classified as disabled under Section 504 and also specify that only physical and mental impairments are included, thus environmental, cultural and economic disadvantage are not in themselves covered under Section 504.

Who can refer a child for a Section 504 Plan?

Parents/guardians, medical personnel or school staff can refer a child for evaluation under Section 504. However the school district’s team must also have reason to believe that the child is in need of services under Section 504 due to a disability for the referral to proceed to an evaluation.

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.

Our practice in the District is for the school psychologist to meet with the referred student to perform any screenings and review available records, then bring their findings to the initial eligibility determination meeting.

Mrs. Stephanie Gibson (518-623-9747 x 2) is the Chair of the 504 Committee in the District. She accepts referrals, makes arrangements for evaluations/screenings, and schedules meetings to assess the results and make a plan for the referred student with the committee and the students’ parents/guardians.

For more information, a good resource is:

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