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Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Section 504 guarantees certain rights to individuals with disabilities, including the right to full participation and access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Princeton ISD provides a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

Determination of Eligibility

To qualify under Section 504 a student must:

  • Be determined to have a physical or mental impairment that *substantially limits one or more major life activities including learning and behavior.
  • Have a record of having such an impairment OR
  • Be regarded as having such impairment.

    The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. The Section 504 regulatory provision at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i) defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The regulatory provision does not set forth an exhaustive list of specific diseases and conditions that may constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of such a list.

Section 504 Services

Under Section 504, Princeton ISD’s goal is to provide appropriate educational services that are designed to meet the individual needs of qualified students to the same extent that the needs of students without a disability are met. If the 504 committee determines that the student has a physical or mental impairment which substantially impairs a major life activity and is in need of Section 504 services, a specific, custom-designed individual 504 Plan will be developed. The child may receive appropriate accommodations and modifications tailored to his/her individual needs. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.

Princeton ISD has established guidelines and procedures for initial evaluations, annual reviews, and periodic re-evaluations of students who need or are believed to need Section 504 services because of disability.

Notice of Rights for Disabled Students and their Parents Under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly known in the schools as “Section 504,” is a federal law passed by the United States Congress with the purpose of prohibiting discrimination against disabled persons who may participate in, or receive benefits from, programs receiving federal assistance. In the public schools specifically, §504 applies to ensure that eligible disabled students are provided with educational benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled students.

Under §504, a student is considered “disabled” if he or she suffers from a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Section 504 also protects students with a record of an impairment, or who are regarded as having an impairment from discrimination on the basis of disability. Students can be considered disabled, and can receive services under §504, including regular or special education and related aids and services, even if they do not qualify for, or receive, special education services under the IDEA.

The purpose of this Notice is to inform parents and students of the rights granted them under §504. The federal regulations that implement §504 are found at Title 34, Part 104 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and entitle eligible students and their parents, to the following rights:

  1. You have a right to be informed about your rights under §504. [34 CFR 104.32]. The School District must provide you with written notice of your rights under §504 (this document represents written notice of rights as required under §504). If you need further explanation or clarification of any of the rights described in this Notice, contact appropriate staff persons at the school or District’s 504 Coordinator and they will assist you in understanding your rights.
  2. Under §504, your child has the right to an appropriate education designed to meet his or her educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met. [34 CFR 104.33]. You have the right to refuse consent for services at any time.
  3. Your child has the right to free educational services, with the exception of certain costs normally also paid by the parents of non-disabled students. Insurance companies and other similar third parties are not relieved of any existing obligation to provide or pay for services to a student that becomes eligible for services under §504. [34 CFR 104.33].
  4. To the maximum extent appropriate, your child has the right to be educated with children who are not disabled. Your child will be placed and educated in regular classes, unless the District demonstrates that his or her educational needs cannot be adequately met in the regular classroom, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. [34 CFR 104.34].
  5. Your child has the right to services, facilities, and activities comparable to those provided to non-disabled students. [34 CFR 104.34].
  6. The School District must undertake an evaluation of your child prior to determining his or her appropriate educational placement or program of services under §504, and also before every subsequent significant change in placement. [34 CFR 104.35]. Written consent must be obtained before an evaluation can begin. You have the right to refuse consent for initial evaluation.
  7. If formal assessment instruments are used as part of an evaluation, procedures used to administer assessments and other instruments must comply with the requirements of §504 regarding test validity, proper method of administration, and appropriate test selection. [34 CFR104.35]. The District will appropriately consider information from a variety of sources in making its determinations, including, for example: aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, reports of physical condition, social and cultural background, adaptive behavior, health records, report cards, progress notes, parent observations, statewide assessment scores, and mitigating measures, among others. [34 CFR 104.35].
  8. Once information has been gathered, a Section 504 Committee will convene to discuss the information and to determine Section 504 eligibility. If eligible, the committee will create an Student Service Plan (SSP) for the student. The plan will be distributed to all pertinent school personnel who will implement it.
  9. Accommodations may be written to address the needs of each individual student, based on his/her disability. The intent of an accommodation is to provide the student with the same access to education as other students without disabilities. They are not intended to give the student an advantage or to modify the state curriculum.
  10. Upon referral to Section 504, parents will receive a Notice of Rights for Disabled Students and their Parents, which outlines the procedural safeguards in place for Section 504 students.