Exceptional Student Education, (Section 504)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is federal civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in any program receiving federal financial assistance, including public schools. Section 504 requires School Districts to evaluate if there is a suspected disability or concerns that a student may be in need of services. Students with a disability are provided with equal access to their education the same as a non-disabled student. Section 504 affords students with disabilities an equal opportunity in extracurricular activities and nonacademic services as well. A free appropriate public education (FAPE) is provided to qualified students who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- Ensure eligible students have educational opportunities equivalent to those of their non-disabled peers
- Develop processes and procedures in compliance with Federal law
- Provide support to schools and district departments
- Communicate best practices to schools to ensure compliance with Section 504
- Assist schools in identification of students who might be eligible for Section 504 protections and services
- Provide technical assistance to individual schools
- Provide customer service to parents and community
- Conduct staff trainings to ensure compliance with Section 504 law
- Provide individualized need based trainings to ensure compliance with Section 504
- Annually monitor schools’ notification to parent/guardian regarding John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program to be in compliance with Florida Statute Section 1002.39
- Monitor Section 504 program compliance at schools
- Keep abreast of legal rulings and Office for Civil Rights actions
How do I get my child evaluated for Section 504 eligibility?
Contact the 504 Liaison at your child’s school. Every Broward County Public School has a Section 504 designee.
What does the Section 504 evaluation entail?
Evaluation under Section 504 requires a review of evaluation data from a variety of sources. Evaluation data may include a collection of data (ex. school records, medical reports, behavioral rating scales, outside evaluation reports, informal assessments etc.), parent input, speaking with outside professionals (with parent/guardian consent) who either made a diagnosis or are working with the student. Unlike most IDEA evaluations, Section 504 evaluations do not necessarily involve formal testing.
My doctor has provided a prescription with a diagnosis of ADHD and for 504 accommodations. Is my child eligible for Section 504 based on that documentation?
Although a medical diagnosis of ADHD is one source of data to consider, it is not sufficient for establishing a disability under Section 504.
Are there any impairment’s which automatically mean that a student has a disability under Section 504?
No. An impairment in and of itself is not a disability. The impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities in order to be considered a disability under Section 504.
Does a medical diagnosis of an illness automatically mean a student can receive services under Section 504?
No. A medical diagnosis of an illness does not mean a student can receive services under Section 504. The illness must cause a substantial limitation on the student’s ability to learn or another major life activity.
Can you define substantial limitation as described under Section 504?
Section 504 does not provide an operational definition of “substantial limitation” and is determined on a case-by-case basis by the Section 504 Team. Under Section 504, the 504 Team is comprised of a group of persons who are knowledgeable about the student, knowledgeable about the meaning of the evaluation data and knowledgeable about placement options.
What are the responsibilities of regular education teachers with respect to implementation of Section 504 Accommodation Plans?
Regular education teachers must implement the provisions of Section 504 Accommodation Plans when those plans govern the teachers’ treatment of students for whom they are responsible.