What is a Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly called “Section 504,” is a federal law that protects students from discrimination based on disability. Section 504 assures that students with disabilities have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to students without disabilities. To be eligible, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
The Section 504 process
Your child has the right to an evaluation before the school determines if he or she is eligible under Section 504. You have the right to:
- Receive notice before the district takes any action regarding the identification, evaluation, and placement of your child.
- Have evaluation and placement decisions based on a variety of sources, and made by a group of persons who know your child, the meaning of the evaluation information, and the placement options available.
- Refuse consent for the initial evaluation and initial placement of your child.
If your child is eligible under Section 504, your child has a right to periodic re-evaluations, including re-evaluations before any significant change is made in your child’s placement.
Your child's educational records
You have the right to:
- Review your child’s educational records and to receive copies at a reasonable cost. You will not be charged if the cost would keep you from reviewing the records.
- Ask the district to change your child’s education records if you believe that they are inaccurate, misleading, or are otherwise in violation of your child’s privacy rights. If the district refuses this request, you have the right to challenge the refusal by requesting an impartial hearing.
- A response to your reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child’s education records.
Your child's education
Your child has the right to:
- Receive a free and appropriate public education.
- Participate in and benefit from the district’s educational programs without discrimination.
- Be provided an equal opportunity to participate in the district’s nonacademic and extracurricular activities.
- Be educated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.
- Be educated in facilities and receive services that are comparable to those provided to students without disabilities.
- Receive accommodations and/or related aids and services to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school activities.
- Receive educational and related aids and services without cost, except for those fees imposed on the parents of children without disabilities.
- Receive special education services if needed.
If you disagree with the district's decision
If you disagree with the district’s decisions regarding your child’s identification, evaluation, educational program, or placement under Section 504, you may request mediation or an impartial due process hearing. You and your child have the right to take part in the hearing and have an attorney represent you.
Hearing requests and other concerns can be made to the district’s Section 504 Coordinator, the Executive Director of Special Services.
You have the right to file a local grievance or complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), (206) 607-1600/TDD (206) 607-1647 or www.ed.gov/OCR.