SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.
Section 504 provides:
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States…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….”
Under 504, a person is considered to have a disability if that person:
1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities,
2) has a record of such an impairment, or
3) is regarded as having such an impairment
OCR (Office of Civil Rights) states that the determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. Substantial Limitation means:
(i) Unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform; or (ii) Significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration under which the average person in the general population can perform that same major life activity.
The determination of substantial limitation must be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual student. The Section 504 regulation requires that a group of knowledgeable persons draw upon information from a variety of sources in making that determination. Those sources could include but not be limited to aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, adaptive behavior, and medical diagnosis, among others. Information from all sources must be documented and considered by knowledgeable committee members. A medical diagnosis of an illness does not automatically qualify a student for services. The illness or condition must cause a substantial limitation on the student’s ability to learn or other major life activities. It would be accepted that without modifications and/or interventions, the student would not be afforded an equal opportunity to an appropriate education as determined by the committee.
The School District of Janesville Board of Education, in its goals to ensure every student is provided with coherent instruction and that families and community are engaged as partners and is committed to compliance with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you would like more information about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act or wish to file a formal grievance, you may contact Kim Peerenboom, Section 504 and Title II Coordinator at 608-743-5144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org