Supporting Students With Disabilities
Section 504 requires that: “No other qualified individual with a handicap in the United States…shall, solely by reason of his or her handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance” (29 USC 794, 34 CFR 104.1).
Section 504 is a civil rights law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. It is a protection from discrimination, which provides for an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment based on the student’s unique needs. It prohibits denial of participation in public education, or the benefits offered by school programs because of a student’s disability.
When considering whether a student qualifies under Section 504, the 504 Team should ask the following three questions:
- Does the student have a potentially limiting mental or physical disability or impairment?
- Does the student's disability impair a major life activity (i.e. seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, working, performing manual task, learning, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, speaking)?
- Is the degree of impairment substantial?
The product of the 504 meeting is an accommodation plan. This plan provides a systematic approach to ensure that the student is receiving the necessary accommodations. The plan lists the student’s disabilities and the major life activity affected. The accommodation plan shall have an explanation on how learning is affected and what accommodations are being recommended to remediate the disability.
34 CFR 104.36, 29 USC 706 (28)
Following the 504 Team Meeting, if the parent/guardian is not in agreement with the team’s decision, an appeal process may address this concern. An informal review of the site procedures by the District 504 Coordinator will be scheduled upon meeting with the education rights holders.
Lisa Minami-Lin, Ed.D
Section 504 District Coordinator