SECTION 504 of the Rehabilitation ActSubpart D of 504 Regulations | Civil Rights forChildren and Youth with DisabilitiesSchool Level Training
Presenter • Not an attorney • Director, TAESE • Technical Assistance Provider • Special Education Teacher • LEA Director • School Psychologist • Section 504 Coordinator • General Education Teacher • Educational Surrogate Parent
Section 1Introduction What is Section 504 Subpart D of the Section 504 Regulations and how does the law and regulations apply to schools? Purpose—to provide practical guidance, information, and best practices ADA Amendments of 2009 Not legal advice Final word should be with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and your school legal services.
Disclaimer • This presentation is not intended to provide legal advice or establish policy, but practical implementation strategies. The content is for general information only and might not reflect the opinion and/or policy of the U.S. Department of Education or Office for Civil Rights (OCR). • The slides of this presentation should not be used out of context or distributed to other parties. The content of the presentation was reviewed and approved by the regional Office for Civil Rights.
Section 2Office for Civil Rights (OCR) What agency provides technical assistance and enforcement for Section 504 and other Civil Rights laws?
Office for Civil Rights • The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is a law enforcement agency charged with enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age by recipients of federal financial assistance. • Investigates complaints • Technical assistance • Collects data
Section 3Overview of Section 504 What is the purpose of Section 504 and other civil rights laws?
Critical Laws/Regulations • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Amendments of 2009 • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) • State special education regulations • Elementary/Secondary Improvement Act (1965) • Title VI and Title IX—Race/gender • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) • OCR/OSEP Letters
Section 504—Regulations • Subpart A — General Provisions • Subpart B — Employment Practices • Subpart C — Accessibility • Subpart D — Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education • Subpart E — Postsecondary Education • Subpart F — Health, Welfare, and Social Services • Subpart G— Procedures • Focus of presentation—Subpart D of 504 Regulations • * Refer to handout.
Terminology Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Section 504 Title 34 Education, Part 104 Similar Requirements
Focus of Presentation Subpart D of 504 Regulations • Requirements in regards to preschool, elementary, and secondary education • We will address student issues, not employment. • Follow the school policies and procedures.
ADA Amendments of 2009 • The Americans with Disabilities Act, Amendments of 2009 created some changes to Section 504. • * Refer to OCR Q&A.
Pupose—504 • Section 504 is a civil rights law aimed at discrimination. Like the sister statutes of Title VI (race) and Title IX (gender), Section 504 focuses on discrimination based on disability. Obligations come with receipt of federal funds.
Civil Rights • Section 504 is often referred to as the first civil rights law for individuals with disabilities—1975. • Section 504 applies to students, parents, employees, and other individualswith disabilities.
Civil Rights • Prior to Section 504 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, children were denied a free and appropriate public education.
Types of Discrimination • Disability, aging, gender, and culture are all part of human existence. We should accept and respect these realities. • disABILITY • Focus on what a person can do, • not what they cannot do.
Who Must Comply? • IDEA • All public, charter, and virtual schools • Section 504 • Schools that receives federal funds of any kind or any amount. This includes private, charter, and virtual schools. • ADA • Any business, governmental agency, or public accommodation other than churches or private clubs.
Discrimination • Discrimination occurs when people are treated unequally or less favorably than others because of some real or perceived characteristic. In schools, discrimination can make it difficult for students to learn because they don’t feel safe or accepted.
Discrimination • Discrimination can be… • Real • Perceived • School records * Bullying and discrimination are related.
Life is Not Fair! • Two students, one with superior academic abilities and one with low academic skills, cope with the same general curriculum and expectations. • One student has 20/20 vision while another is legally blind. • One student comes from a supportive familywhile another deals with the problems of a dysfunctional family. • Individuals with disabilities have a higher unemployment rate than those without disabilities.
Key Section 504 Concepts Civil Rights Substantial Limitation Access General Education Level Playing Field Accommodations Fairness Identification
Access to Educational Programs • For many years, schools thought the main responsibility under Section 504 was to make buildings accessible (ramps, curb cuts, elevators, larger restroom stalls, etc.) • Within the last few years, the Office for Civil Rights has become active in assisting schools to further define access. • The definition of access means more than physical access; students may need special accommodations, such as modified assignments and behavior plans to benefit and access their educational program.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ActGeneral Requirements • Prohibits discrimination against any individual because of a disability. • Requires physical accessibility of public buildings, including schools. • The school program must provide accommodations in the general education program to allow the identified student with disabilities to access their educational program. • Prohibits discrimination based upon a “record” or “perception.”
Funding and Civil Rights • Civil Rights is a constitutional guarantee. Congress will never provide money to States for implementing civil rights; it’s just the right thing to do. “It is too bad we have to legislate civil rights.” Martin Luther King
Section 4Section 504Procedural Requirements What are some major procedural requirements under Section 504 and how are they to be implemented?
Some 504 Requirements(CFR 34.104) • Written Assurance • 504 Coordinator—15 or more employees • Public Notice • Grievance Procedure • Child Find • Written Notice • Procedural Safeguards • * Refer to 504 regulations
Section 5Section 504 Student Identification, Evaluation, Placement and Accommodations/Services What is the process and requirements for a student to receive 504 accommodations/services? Understand the 3 prongs relating to 504 identification.
FAPE and 504 | (CFR 34: 104.33) • Under Section 504, “free appropriate public education” is defined as “the provision of general or special education and related services that are designed to meet the individual educational needs” of a disabled student as the needs of non-disabled students are met. A Section 504 Plan, therefore, can address such issues as health care, behavioral, instructional,and educational services and accommodations.
Procedural Safeguards | (CFR 34.104.36) • Once identified, the student and parent are entitled to all of the procedural protections of the law/regulations—notice, consent, team meetings, manifestation determinations, due process hearings, etc. • Identification = Procedural Safeguards Protections
Section 504 Identification Criteria • Prong 1 Identification, Evaluation, & Eligibility • Prong 2 Record • Prong 3 Perception 3 Prongs
Section 504Identification CriteriaProng 1 • The individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities. * Determined through an evaluation and a school team that includes the parents. * Many relate to “employment.”
Impairment or Disability • There are many more people with “impairments” than there are people with “disabilities.” The difference lies in the effect the impairment has on the person. If the impairment causes a “substantial limitation” of “major life activity” then the person has a “disability.” If the impairment does not “substantially limit” the person, then it is an impairment—not a disability.
How Does Section 504 Fit?Big Picture All students within the school 504 Impairments Substantial Limitation Students with Impairments IDEA 13 Disabilities
Evaluation and 504 • Although a 504 evaluation may include formal assessment, it is not required. Only an “evaluation” sufficient to provide information to determine the existence of a disability under Section 504 need be obtained. An “evaluation” under Section 504 could consist of a meeting to examine all existing data, including observational data, to determine whether it is sufficient to support a determination that the student is/is not disabled under Section 504. (34 CFR 104.35)
Determining Identification(34 CFR 104.35(c)) • Three steps are required in interpreting evaluation data and in making placement decisions. A school shall: • draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background and adaptive behavior • establish procedures to ensure that information obtained from all such sources is documented and carefully considered • ensure that the placement decision is made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of evaluation data, and the placement options. • * A medical diagnosis only is not sufficient.
Three Standards for Determining Section 504 Identification Good evaluation data Variety of sources A team knowledgeable about the student, including the parent Individual(s) on the team knowledgeable about the disability
Related Services • Many students under Section 504 might • only need a related service. • School counseling • School nurse services • Transportation • Other
Prong Two • “Has a record of such an impairment”
Possible Discrimination • There are times when a student can experience discrimination based on their school record. Johnny Jones
Prong Three Is regarded as havingsuch an impairment — Perception—
Remember Ryan White • Contracted HIV though a blood transfusion.
Definition Issue • NOTE:The second and third prongs of the definition referring to individuals with a “record of” or regarded as “having an impairment” are relevant only when some negative action is taken based on the perception or record. “This cannot be the basis which the requirement for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is triggered.” (OCR Policy Memorandum, August 3, 1992).
Section 6Section 504: Suggested Identification Process What are the best practices of a Section 504 identification process? School Policy and Practices
Suggested 504 Process 1. At Risk Program • Building Level Support Teams • Interventions and modifications not successful 2. Referral/Evaluation 7. Review • Complete referral • Notice/consent • Formal and informal evaluations. Periodically review and revise plan. 6. Evaluate Plan Collect data and monitor to determine effectiveness of accommodations. 3. Identification • Section 504 committee • Has a mental or physical disability that substantially limits a major life activity. • Meets criteria. • Assign case manager. 4. Developing Section 504 Plan 5. Implement Plan • Areas of accommodation could include: • Academic • Health care • Physical • Behavioral • Training • Placement • Accommodation plan • Possible membership • Parent(s) • Teacher(s) • Principal • School counselor • School nurse • Others, as needed John Copenhaver, MPRRC, 1999
Section 7Comparison of Section 504 with Special Education What are some similarities and differences between special education IDEA and Section 504?
Comparison * Varies by State.