Section 504 Plans
It is the intent of the District to ensure that students who are disabled within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are identified, evaluated and provided with appropriate educational services.
Students may be considered disabled within the meaning of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act even though they do not require services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Referral for a 504 Plan
A student may be referred to the educational team — which may include a general education teacher, special education teacher, social worker, speech-language pathologist, school psychologist, special education coordinator and/or building administrator — when a student is not progressing within the general education environment due to an impairment in a major life activity.
The educational staff will schedule a meeting with the parent/guardian in order to review the referral information, including student data and to determine whether or not an evaluation for a 504 plan is appropriate.
What Is a Section 504 Plan?
Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination civil rights statute intended to ensure that persons with disabilities are provided equal access to all programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including those found in public schools.
Who Is Covered Under Section 504?
To be covered under Section 504, an individual must:
(i) have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity;
(ii) have a record of such an impairment; or
(iii) be regarded as having such an impairment.
An "impairment," as defined in Section 504, may include any disability, long-term illness or other physiological, mental or psychological disorder or condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Major life activities, as defined in the regulation, include functions such as caring for one's self, bending, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, eating, learning, reading, sleeping, concentrating, thinking, standing, communicating, lifting and working.
"Substantially limits" is defined by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) as being determined on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student and requires that a group of knowledgeable persons draw upon information from a variety of sources in making this determination.
District 401's Policy on Section 504
Procedures and practices in this area are governed by District 401's policy on Section 504 accommodations, which can be found in Section 6:120 of the Board of Education's Policy Manual. The policy includes the following provisions:
The School District shall provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and necessary related services to all children with disabilities enrolled in the District, as required by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and implementing provisions of the School Code, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The term "children with disabilities," as used in this policy, means children between ages 3 and 15 (inclusive) for whom it is determined, through definitions and procedures described in the Illinois State Board of Education's Special Education rules, that special education services are needed.
It is the intent of the District to ensure that students who are disabled within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate educational services. Students may be disabled within the meaning of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act even though they do not require services pursuant to the IDEA.
A searchable online version of the Board of Education's Policy Manual can be found here.
To Learn More
For additional information about Section 504, please refer to the Parent and Educator Resource Guide for Section 504 created by the OCR.
If you have questions or concerns related to your student receiving a Section 504 plan, please contact your school's building administrator.