Section 504 of the the Federal Vocational & Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Section 504 protects against discrimination and/or denial of participation in public education, or the benefits offered by school programs, which provides for an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment based on the student's needs. Students may qualify for services under Section 504, but may not necessarily qualify for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA.
Students who qualify under Section 504 are to receive services to the same extent as students without disabilities. Section 504 students could be served in regular classrooms with accommodations, or may be served in special education with related services. When considering whether a student qualifies under Section 504, the 504 Team (teachers, counselors, administrators, school nurse, and others who are knowledgeable about the student) asks 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 (seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, working, performing manual tasks, learning, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, speaking)?
- Is the degree of impairment substantial?
If the answer to the three questions is "yes," the student qualifies under Section 504. If any of the answers to the questions is "no," the student does not qualify. The decision to create a 504 plan with accommodations is always a team decision.
504 Accommodation Plan
The 504 Accommodation Plan provides a systemic approach to ensure that the student is receiving necessary accommodations. The Plan lists the following components:
- Description of the nature of the concern
- Description of the basis for determination of the disability
- Description of how the disability affects a major life activity
- Description of supplementary aids, services and accommodations needed
- Review/assessment date
- Determination of the case manager and names and titles of the 504 team
- Procedural rights and safeguards
504 Plan Review & Reevaluation
CVUHSD schools conduct periodic reviews of the 504 plans and reevaluations of the status of each student to determine if the accommodations provided are appropriate to the student's academic success. It is suggested that an annual review take place whenever a significant change occurs. Reevaluations should be considered every three years.
For information about Section 504 Plans, please contact your student's counselor.