Having a disability does not automatically make a student eligible for a Section 504 plan. The school has to do an evaluation to decide if a child’s disability “substantially” limits his ability to learn and participate in the general education classroom.
Either the parent or the school can initiate this evaluation. When doing an evaluation for a Section 504 plan, the school considers information from several sources, including:
- Documentation of the child’s disability (such as a doctor’s diagnosis)
- Evaluation results (if the school recently evaluated the child for an IEP)
- Observations by the student’s parents and teachers
- Academic record
- Independent evaluations (if available)
Section 504 requires evaluation procedures that prevent students from being misclassified, incorrectly labeled as having a disability, or incorrectly placed.
Section 504 Accommodations
Most students would benefit from accommodations in the learning environment. A Section 504 plan is not meant for every single child who may be identified as having an impairment. Instead, it is meant for those who have an impairment that substantially affects their lives in school and whose needs are not being met by the classroom teacher. A Section 504 plan is not required for a teacher to provide an accommodation, because great teachers provide accommodations for their students through differentiation and individualization.
A parent may file a written grievance with the Section 504 Coordinator to resolve any complaint regarding the evaluation, identification, or implementation of Section 504 services.
If a complaint cannot be resolved to the parent’s satisfaction by the Section 504 Coordinator, the parent can request an impartial hearing. Requests for an impartial hearing shall be submitted in writing to the Section 504 Coordinator.
The Office for Civil Rights is the governing agency for Section 504. Parents who cannot find a resolution at the district level can contact the Office for Civil Rights.
If you have questions regarding Section 504 please contact your child’s school or the CMCSS District Section 504 Coordinator, Jami Skevington, at (931) 553-1155.