Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a federal law that protects individuals from discrimination based on disability. Under this law, individuals with disabilities may not be excluded from or denied the opportunity from certain programs.
Who Can Qualify for a 504?
A student that does not qualify for special education services under IDEA (an educational law) still may qualify for services under Section 504 (a civil rights law) if the disability is shown to substantially limit his or her educational performance.
A child with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Accommodations often refer to building accessibility, classroom adjustments, and curriculum modifications and may be updated or revised as the need changes.
Having a disability doesn’t automatically make a student eligible for a 504 plan.
First the school has to do an evaluation to decide if a child’s disability “substantially” limits his ability to learn and participate in the general education classroom.
This evaluation can be initiated by either the parent or the school. If the school initiates the evaluation, it must notify the parents and get the parents’ consent to evaluate a child for a 504 plan.
When doing an evaluation for a 504 plan, the school considers information from several sources, including:
Documentation of the child’s disability (such as a doctor’s diagnosis)
Evaluation results (if the school recently evaluated the child for an IEP)
Observations by the student’s parents and teachers
Section 504 requires evaluation procedures that prevent students from being misclassified, incorrectly labeled as having a disability or incorrectly placed.
My Child has a 504 Plan and I have concerns. What are the next steps?
Getting your concern addressed
All families at some point have a concern that they need support resolving. The Whitehall-Coplay School District is here to help.
If you have a concern in a class related to your child’s 504, please reach out to their teacher.
If for any reason you require additional assistance after speaking with your child’s teacher please reach out to your child’s school counselor.
If you require further assistance after speaking with the child’s teacher and school counselor, please contact the building’s assistant principal.