VF in the News

Discrimination Based on Disability Prohibited: A Parent’s Guide to Section 504 in Public Schools

by Mary Durheim, GreatSchools.org

Read the entire article at: https://bit.ly/2GYcHWa


Section 504 — just what exactly is it? You’ve probably heard about it, but every school district addresses Section 504 in a different manner.

Some districts have even been heard to say, “We don’t do that in this district.” But in fact, compliance to Section 504, which is a federal statute, is not optional.

What is Section 504?

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 that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.

What is an “impairment” as used under the Section 504 definition? An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning-behavior- or health-related condition.

Many students have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent to others. They may include conditions such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy and allergies.

Hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness may not be obvious, but if they substantially limit that child’s ability to receive an appropriate education as defined by Section 504, they may be considered to have an “impairment” under Section 504 standards.

What types of accommodations will my child receive if determined eligible under Section 504?

Each child’s needs are determined individually. Determination of what is appropriate for each child is based on the nature of the disabling condition and what that child needs in order to have an equal opportunity to compete when compared to the non-disabled.

Accommodations that may be used, but are not limited to, include: › Extended time on tests or assignments › Rearranging class schedules › Taping lectures › Peer assistance with note-taking

Learn how a Section 504 plan is helping to make attending school safer, easier, and more productive for young adults with vasculitis.

“My daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with GPA at 10 years old. As a parent I advocate for her with the school. I set up a 504 plan around the issue of exposure to germs which is critical when you are being treated for vasculitis.

Each classroom has sanitation wipes that Leah can use to sanitize her desk and chair. She is allowed to leave and wash her hands afterwards, too. Also, she can wash her hands in between classes if necessary. If there is a class where there are shared supplies, Leah has her own supplies that only she uses.”

Helaine Goldman Meyer, and Leah

“My daughter, Sara, will start sophomore year of high school this week. She has GPA vasculitis.

We have met with the school nurse and the 504 coordinators. A 504 plan will provide specific accommodations for her throughout the school year.

Ours will give her extra time to turn in assignments as she frequently misses school for appointments and hospitalizations, a pass to leave class if she needs to go to the nurse’s office, permission to carry water and snacks, permission to use the elevator at school.

Sara’s main issues are fatigue and bronchial stenosis which causes shortness of breath. This 504 plan will follow her through college.”

Teri Gignac Raspanti