Quick Links

Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Main Navigation

Top

Documents

Sign up for the News Update.

Sub Navigation

Top

Home > breadcrumbs: District > breadcrumbs: Documents >

Working...

Ajax Loading Image

 

Section 504

Pleasant Hill CUSD #3

Section 504 POLICY

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and its implementing regulations prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of their disability. The purpose of this document is to provide information to the public about Section 504 and implementation of the procedural provisions for Pleasant Hill CUSD #3. This document also reflects the District’s commitment to serve all students. If you have Section 504 questions, please contact:

Mr. Ron Edwards

Superintendent

Pleasant Hill CUSD #3

P.O. Box 277

Pleasant Hill, IL 62366 

Telephone: 217-734-2311

Facsimile:  217-734-2629 

What is Section 504?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of their disability by institutions that receive federal financial assistance, such as Pleasant Hill CUSD #3. It states, in part, as follows:

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .

29 U.S.C. §794(a).

Section 504’s purpose is, among other things, to assure that disabled students have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students.    

How is eligibility determined?

For a student to qualify for Section 504 protection, the student must meet three (3) criteria: (1) a mental or physical impairment; (2) which substantially limits; (3) one or more major life activities. If the student has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, the impairment is a qualifying disability if it creates a significant barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities afforded to non-disabled students. It is important to understand that all three (3) criteria must be met before the student is eligible for Section 504 protection.

  • Physical or Mental Impairment

Any physical or mental impairment may result in qualification under Section 504. Unlike IDEA, there are no categories of qualifying disabilities. This step in the Section 504 evaluation process relies heavily upon medical/psychiatric diagnosis by qualified professionals. It is vital to understand that for a student to qualify for Section 504, the impairment must impose, to a “considerable” or “large” degree, a limitation to one or more major life activities.

The 504 team will consider the nature and severity of the disability as well as how long the disability is expected to last. Simply having a condition or disability does not automatically qualify a student for Section 504 protection. The condition must present a barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities as those afforded a non-disabled student, or a substantial limitation does not exist.

  • Impairment in a Major Life Activity

The identified physical or mental impairment must affect a major life activity. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing document tasks, walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

Determining whether the impairment substantially limits a student’s learning is often critical to the Section 504 eligibility decision. In this regard, the guidance that the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) has provided is the statement that “by definition, a person who is succeeding in regular education does not have a disability which substantially limits the ability to learn.”

  • Substantially Limited

The impairment must substantially limit the major life activity and, thereby, create a significant barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities afforded to non-disabled students. Section 504 does not specifically define the term “substantially limits.” The basis for evaluating this criterion is the impact the impairment has on one or more of a student’s major life activities. It is vital to understand that for a student to qualify for Section 504, the impairment must impose, to a “considerable” or “large” degree, a limitation to one or more major life activities.

The 504 Team will consider the nature and severity of the disability as well as how long the disability is expected to last. Simply having a condition or disability does not automatically qualify a student for Section 504 protection. The condition must present a barrier to the student’s ability to access the same educational opportunities as those afforded a non-disabled student, or a substantial limitation does not exist.

How is a Section 504 evaluation request made?

Any parent or legal guardian, teacher, counselor, or other school staff member who believes that a student needs accommodation for a qualifying disability can request a Section 504 evaluation. Use the contact information above to request an evaluation.

When is it not appropriate to offer a Section 504 accommodation plan?

Eligibility under Section 504 is always decided by evaluating and determining that all three (3) of the criteria, discussed above, are met. If any of the criteria are not met, the 504 Team should not create a formal 504 Plan for the student. Keep in mind that while a 504 Plan might not be appropriate, an informal intervention plan may be appropriate (See Student Assistance Program link for more information).

 Where will accommodations be provided for students and what are some examples of possible accommodations?

Implementation of most Section 504 Plans occurs within the regular classroom. Accommodations generally are those minor adjustments to things like seating arrangements, removal of physical barriers, and other facets of the learning experience that provide the student with equal access to learning opportunities. Accommodations might involve the use of special visual aids, large print texts, or video recordings. Allowing a student additional time to complete a specific kind of task is also an accommodation. Numerous accommodations exist that can support a student’s equal access to educational opportunities.

 What is the discipline process for a Section 504 identified student?

Section 504 identified students are subject to the same disciplinary action as a non-disabled student, provided that the student’s behavior is not a manifestation of his or her qualifying disability. A 504 Team must conduct a manifestation determination whenever a Section 504 identified student is subject to out-of-school suspension or expulsion for more than ten (10) consecutive school days. If the 504 Team concludes that the violation is a manifestation of the student’s qualifying disability, the discipline process must end and the 504 Team should review the 504 Plan to determine if changes are appropriate. If the violation is not a manifestation, the student is subject to the same disciplinary action that any non-disabled student would receive for the same violation.

Are schools required to provide parents with prior notice of a Section 504 eligibility meeting?

A parent/legal guardian must receive prior notice of a Section 504 eligibility meeting. Parent/legal guardian consent is not required to conduct eligibility determination; however, it is recommended that written consent be obtained if possible. Parent/legal guardian consent must be obtained before administering any individualized standardized testing.

Must schools secure parental consent before conducting an initial eligibility meeting?

Section 504 requires the parent’s/legal guardian’s consent to conduct a 504 eligibility meeting.

Are schools required to provide parents with a list of parent/student rights under Section 504 before conducting an initial student review?

Pleasant Hill CUSD #3 is required to establish and implement procedural safeguards. A copy of these rights is at the end of this document.

How are parent concerns and complaints handled?

The best solutions to parent/legal guardian concerns occur at the school level. Therefore, the first step in resolving a complaint should involve the school principal or 504 Team Leader working with the parent/legal guardian to a mutually acceptable resolution of the parent’s concern(s). If the concern(s) cannot be resolved informally, the parent/legal guardian may seek formal resolution under the District’s complaint process.

Pleasant Hill CUSD#3

Parent’s Rights and Safeguards under Section 504 

The following is a description of the rights granted by federal law to students with disabilities.  The intent of the law is to keep you fully informed concerning decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions. 

As a parent, you have the right to: 

  1. Have your child take part in and receive benefits from public education programs without discrimination based on a disability;
  2. Have the District advise you of your rights under federal law;
  3. Receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation or eligibility determination of your child;
  4. Have your child receive a free appropriate public education.  This includes the right to be educated with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate.  It also includes the right to have the District make reasonable accommodation to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school-related activities;
  5. Have your child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those provided to students without disabilities;
  6. Have your child receive special education and related services if she/he is found to be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (PL 101-476) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;
  7. Have eligibility and educational placement decisions made based upon a variety of information sources, and by individuals who know the student, the evaluation data, and placement options;
  8. Have transportation provided to and from an alternative placement setting at no greater cost to you that would be incurred if the student were placed in a program operated by the District;
  9. Have your child be given an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities offered by the District through the provision of reasonable accommodations;
  10. Examine all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, educational program, and placement;
  11. Obtain copies of educational records at a reasonable cost unless the fee would effectively deny you access to the records;
  12. Receive a response from the District to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child’s records;
  13. Request amendment of your child’s educational records if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of your child.  If the District refuses this request for amendment, it shall notify you within a reasonable time, and advise you of your right to a hearing;
  14. Request mediation or an impartial due process hearing related to decisions or actions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, educational program or placement. You and the student may take part in the hearing and have an attorney represent you at your costs to examine relevant records and participate in the hearing. 
  15. File a complaint with the District when you believe your student’s rights have been violated.  A complaint may be filed by contacting the District Superintendent at P.O. Box 277, 501 E. Quincy, Pleasant Hill, IL 62366, or by phoning 217-734-2311.

Back To Top