Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. An eligible student is one:
- who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, or working; in addition to eating, sleeping, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, or communicating.
- has a record or history of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment
The district annually notifies students with disabilities and their parents or guardians of the district's responsibilities under Section 504. The district assures that disabled students have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students.
Hardin ISD is required to provide a free appropriate education to school-age children within the district's jurisdiction who qualify under Section 504.
A student qualifying under Section 504 is entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
Referral of students to determine if a student qualifies for 504 services is a part of the district's overall regular education student pre-referral or screening system. Students having trouble in the regular classroom are considered for support services available to all students such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory, and other services.
The referral for 504 consideration may be initiated by the parent/guardian, school personnel, physician, or other appropriate individuals. If a student is referred for dyslexia evaluation additional notification is required.
Potential Handicapping Conditions
Potential handicapping conditions under Section 504 which may be covered include:
- chronic asthma and severe allergies
- behavior disorders
- chronic diseases
- orthopedic disorders
- temporary handicapping conditions such as broken limbs (if substantial limiting one or more major life activities for an extended period of time)
The parent has the right to examine relevant records. If a parent disagrees with the district's evaluation results, there is no right to an independent evaluation at public expense.
Students being evaluated for dyslexia and related disorders will follow the guidelines set by the district for dyslexia evaluations.
Purpose of 504 Assessment
The purpose of the Section 504 assessment is to provide accurate data; to determine whether or not a handicapping condition exists; and to collect information that can be utilized to develop an appropriate Section 504 plan if the child is determined eligible.
The 504 committee will consider reports from private professionals, but is under no obligation to follow the recommendations given by the private professionals.
A substantial limitation on learning must be demonstrated by an educational need, i.e., a serious academic deficit and/or serious behavior problems resulting from the student’s disability and not from other causes. Even though the student may have a physical or mental impairment, he/she is not entitled to Section 504 services unless there is an educational need.
Parents are invited to 504 committee meetings but are not required to be members of this committee. Parents are notified of the results of all 504 meetings concerning their child and given a copy of the Accommodation Plan.
Section 504 students are required to take all state assessments unless the student is a special education student.
The decision to use a particular accommodation with a student is made on an individual basis considering the needs of the student and whether the student routinely receives the accommodation in classroom instruction.
Academic / Behavior Concerns
The 504 committee may meet any time a student is experiencing difficulty in school to review the 504 plan and make necessary adjustments. If the committee suspects that a child would qualify as a student with a disability under IDEA, a referral should be made for special education testing. Any student tested but not qualifying for special education is considered for 504 eligibility.
The student has a right to facilities, services, and activities that are comparable to those provided for nondisabled students.
Parents who wish to challenge a decision of the campus Section 504 Committee regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student shall file a written notice of appeal with the district Section 504 Coordinator within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice of the campus 504 Committee decision with which they disagree.
A written appeal should be directed to: Cami Jones, Hardin ISD Admin Office, P.O. Box 330, Hardin, Texas 77561
Within 30 calendar days of receiving the written notice of appeal, the district 504 Coordinator will schedule a hearing with an impartial hearing officer.
Before a student's placement can be changed for more than 10 school days for disciplinary reasons, the 504 Committee will make a “manifestation determination” prior to a Section 504 student being expelled or disciplined in a manner that constitutes a significant change of placement.
Parents or guardians who believe that the district has violated the provisions of Section 504 are entitled to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The Regional Office of Civil Rights, which has jurisdiction of Texas, can be contacted as follows:
Texas OCR Enforcement Office
The Office for Civil Rights
Dallas Regional Office
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, Texas 75201
Telephone: (214) 661-9600
Fax: (214) 661-9587
Section 504 - TEA website
Section 504 – Office of Civil Rights
Office of Civil Rights FAQs
Know the Rights that Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Discrimination