1. Section 504
• federal legislative act /law (civil rights legislation) that is designed to protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities
• component of Rehabilitation Act of 1973
• applies to entities that receive federal funds
2. American Disabilities Act (ADA)
• civil rights law for persons with disabilities passed in 1990
• applies to every entity in the country with the exception of churches and private clubs
3. The Louisiana Law for the Education of Dyslexic Students
• law for identification and services within the regular education program for students demonstrating characteristics of dyslexia
• all students in LA are screened before the end of 3rd grade, if parent gives permission, by using Bulletin 1903
4. Bulletin 1903 Screening
• Five step process for the evaluation and determination of programs for students suspected of having characteristics of dyslexia or other related disorders according to the Louisiana Law for the Education of Dyslexic Students
5. Definition of Disability under Section 504
• has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working)
6. Substantial Limitation
• unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform (not the optimal performance level for a person, but the average)
7. Specific Requirements for Schools regarding Section 504:
• annually identify children with disabilities
• provide a “free appropriate public education”
• educate with nondisabled students to the maximum extent
• establish procedural safeguards to enable parents to participate in decisions
• afford children an equal opportunity to participate in all services and activities
• can be made by anyone - usually teachers and parents
• referral should be put in writing
• SBLC and/or Section 504 committee reviews all information about student and determines if student is likely eligible
• evaluation determines if there is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity - and if so, what types of accommodations
• determine types of accommodations
• Re-evaluations are conducted every three years on or before anniversary date, unless needed sooner
10. Individual Accommodation Plan
• interventions/accommodations for environment, teaching strategies, materials, time, behavior concerns
• teacher must receive and sign for copy of accommodation plans (Teacher Receipt of Section 504 Documents)
• teacher must implement the accommodations on the plans
• teacher should document implementation of the accommodation - examples: write on student’s paper - Test Read Aloud, date, and initial or document in grade book
• I.A.P.’s are reviewed annually
• teacher should have input on I.A.P.
• parents are invited; however, if they do not show, the meeting is held and a copy sent
11. Due Process
• procedural safeguards are in place and parent/student rights are distributed at all meetings
• parents have right to examine and obtain copies of all school records
• same procedure as Special Education students
• expulsion or suspensions of 10 or more days are considered a change in placement and require a manifest determination (unless student needs to be removed because of extreme circumstance)
• manifest determination shows if there is a relationship between the behavior and the disability - if there is, then the school must consider the current placement and consider changes - if there is no relationship between the behavior and the disability, then the student can be disciplined as any other student
• drug and alcohol abuse are not protected under Section 504
13. POINTS TO REMEMBER
• Section 504 does not ensure remediation. It provides an “even playing field” through accommodations.
• Multisensory Reading Programs (Project Read/Wilson Reading) are to be provided for children that qualify under the Louisiana Dyslexic Law and meet the criteria of program eligibility
• Accommodations will be routinely provided as designed.
• Teachers should inform principal or SBLC Chairperson in writing of any student that appears to have an educational, social, or emotional problem.
• All information concerning students is confidential.
• Teachers should create a paper trail documenting accommodations. Legally teachers are responsible.
• Dyslexia is difficulty with language. It is characterized by problems with expressive or receptive, oral or written language. Intelligence is not the problem.
• 504 is a civil rights law that protects disabled individuals from discrimination.
• Parents cannot refuse IDEA (Special Education) and elect to have Section 504 accommodations. When the parent rejects IDEA services, the parent essentially rejects what is offered under Section 504.
• Notice must be given to parents under Section 504 before an evaluation is completed. Section 504 does not contain any consent requirements; however, OCR (Office of Civil Rights) has taken the position that parental consent is necessary before initial evaluation. Tangipahoa Parish adheres to this policy.
• Placement decisions concerning Section 504 and students must be made by a group of persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options.
• An accommodation is not to be “if needed”. Either the accommodation is given or not. On standardized test, accommodations are to be the same as on the classroom test.