The information below was taken from A Parent & Educator Guide to Free Appropriate Public Education provided by the Puget Sound ESD.
What is Section 504?
Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that is designed to eliminate disability discrimination in programs and activities that receive federal funds. Since all public school districts receive federal funds, all public school districts must comply with Section 504. Under Section 504, denying a disabled student a free appropriate public education constitutes disability discrimination.
Who is a Disabled Student Under Section 504?
A school-aged student is a disabled student under Section 504 if the student:
- Has a physical or mental impairment
Physical or mental impairment means any physiological or psychological disorder or condition. The definition of physical or mental impairment under Section 504 is broad. It includes students with life threatening health conditions (conditions that will put a student in danger of death during the school day if a medication or treatment order and a nursing plan are not in place), and is not limited to any specific diseases or categories of medical conditions.
- That substantially limits
Substantially limits means significantly restricts as to the condition, manner, or duration under which a student can perform a major life activity as compared to how a non-disabled age/grade peer can perform the same activity. As a general rule, a student with a physical or mental impairment who is able to participate in and benefit from a district's education program (e.g., attend school, achieve passing grades, advance from grade to grade, and meet age/grade appropriate standards of personal independence and social responsibility) without the provision of special education or related aids or services, is not a disabled student under Section 504.
- One or more major life activities
Major life activities include but are not limited to the following: walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, attending school, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks and behavior.
Section 504 Process
- Refer Student to the Student Support Team (SST).
- Decide whether to evaluate the student under Section 504.
- Evaluate the student under Section 504.
- Determine the student's eligibility under Section 504.
- Develop a Section 504 plan for the student.
- Annually review the student's Section 504 plan.
- Periodically reevaluate the student.
Contact the counselor at your child's school for more information.