Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT

The 504 plan refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary, or postsecondary schooling.  The focus is to ensure that the educational system provides the full range of reasonable accommodations necessary for students to participate in and benefit from public education programs and activities. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities as defined under the Section, including both students and staff. This applies to any entity who receives federal financial assistance. The regulations require identification, evaluations, provision of reasonable accommodations, and procedural safeguards to students enrolled in Bellmawr Public Schools.

 

How is a disability defined under Section 504?

The definition of disability is a person who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Examples include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking breathing, learning, and working. It also defines a person of having a disability as anyone who has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment.

 

How is the determination for eligibility made?

An evaluation is conducted to gather information on how the disability is substantially impacting on a major life function. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but it must come from various sources including, but not limited to the school nurse, classroom teacher(s), guidance counselors, and outside persons with relevant information.

Evaluation procedures may include review of records, assessment information, interviews with persons knowledgeable about the child's functioning, observations, individualized assessments

The 504 Team, a group of people knowledgeable about the student, collaboratively develop the 504 Plan, if appropriate. The purpose of the group is to examine the information regarding the person, and determine if reasonable accommodations are necessary, and subsequently what those accommodations will be if the person is considered eligible.

The term substantial is not defined within the law. Therefore, the 504 Team considers the impact of the impairment on the major life function specific to the individual. The 504 Team is directed to determine if the student is afforded and equal opportunity to participate and/or benefit from education when compared to non-disabled, age-appropriate peers. A frame of reference for their responsibility is to use the average student in the general population for the purposes of comparison. Periodic reevaluation is required by Section 504. Reevaluation of the 504 Plan is recommended once per school year or upon significant change in school placement or program.

 

SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT PROCEDURES

 

  1. Request in writing forwarded to the Guidance Office.
  2. Guidance Office Administrative Assistant contacts parent to arrange a meeting date with Building Principal, Guidance Counselor, Teacher, and Nurse (If needed).
  3. Guidance Office Administrative Assistant sends home 504 Meeting Notice, Parent Input for 504 form, and Parent Rights packet.
  4. Guidance Office Administrative Assistant notifies parties of meeting via email and sends the 504 Referral Form and Teacher Input 504 Form to be completed by the classroom teacher. (Both Forms must be completed prior to meeting)
  5. Notice of 504 Accommodation Plan meeting results is completed by Guidance Counselor at the meeting.  If ineligible, parent signature is required, and paperwork filed under Inactive.
  6. If Eligible, Section 504 Accommodation Plan is completed at meeting using Tracker document.
  7. Copies of 504 plans are given to building principal and teacher.  Original kept in the Guidance Office.
  8. Case Manager gives information for Guidance Office Administrative Assistant to create folder and put information into Genesis.
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