Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.
- It guarantees students with disabilities the right to and equal educational opportunity.
- Qualified student who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities are provided a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and have procedural safeguards under the law.
A student with a disability may be considered for eligibility under Section 504 if he /she has a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having impairment.
Major life activities (MLA) include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. The ADAAA08 added: reading, concentrating, thinking, sleeping, eating, lifting, communicating, and the operation of major bodily function such as the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive, bowel, and bladder functions (non-exhaustive list)
Remember: Learning does not have to be the major life activity substantially limited by the impairment or disability for a child
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and the conforming amendment to 504:
- Broadens the umbrella of coverage
- Expands the list of major life activities (MLAs)
- Clarifies that eligibly for impairments that are episodic or are in remission is based on a substantial limitation when active
- Prohibits consideration of mitigating measures (except for eyeglasses) when considering eligibility
- Clarifies accommodations are not required for persons “regarded as disabled”
- Clarifies that minor and transitory impairments are not protected disabilities (transitory impairments is one with an expected duration of 6 months or less)
A diagnosis of a disability does not automatically qualify a student for eligibility under Section 504.
Before a 504 can be provided, a student will have to be evaluated and determined eligible for a 504 by a 504 team. The eligibility team should consist of parent(s), administrator, local 504 coordinator and/ or school counselor, general education teacher(s), and the certifying specialists.
If you suspect your child has a disability and you (parent, staff member or a referral from and outside resource) may request verbally or in writing that your child’s school start the 504-evaluation process.
- Contact the 504 Coordinator at your child’s school
- Be ready to assist in documenting a disability
- Attend the 504 meetings
- Be an active partner in the process with the school
- The 504 Team will review your concerns and proceed with the 504-evaluation eligibility process.
Students who are determined eligible under Section 504 may have a 504 Individualized Accommodation Plan (IAP) for use in school. The 504 Team must make individualized determinations for each student as to eligibility, and if eligible and must design reasonable accommodations based upon the specific needs of the student.
MNPS Section 504 District Guide Parent/Student Rights
- Student Grievance Procedure SBO 1.111 Form
- Formal Complaint Form
- MNPS ADA Public Notice home page
- Procedural Safeguards
- MNPS Section 504 District Guide
Contact: Shree Walker, Public Chapter 426 & 504 Compliance Coordinator (615) 259-8486