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504 Handbook

An overview of Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) is a federal law, which prohibits discrimination against students with a disability. It states, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability …, 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….” Because River Springs Charter Schools is a recipient of federal funding, it is required to provide eligible disabled students with equal access to services, programs, and activities offered by its schools.

Section 504 is a civil rights statute and not a special education statute. For each school program within Springs Charter Schools (SCS), the responsibility for ensuring Section 504 compliance rests with the Section 504 coordinator, education specialist/ teacher of record, program director/principal, classroom teacher and the school counselor.

There are two main purposes of Section 504. The first purpose of Section 504 is to protect students from discrimination under federal law. Section 504 assures access to educational services and the learning process that is equal to that given to students who do not have disabilities. All students who have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, have a record of such an impairment or are regarded as having such an impairment, are protected from discrimination under Section 504.

The second purpose of Section 504 is to provide a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) to those students who (1) have a physical or mental impairment, (2) that substantially limits, (3) one or more major life activities. The provision of FAPE is accomplished through the creation and implementation of a Section 504 Service Plan. Only those students who satisfy all three of these criteria are eligible for and are provided general education related aids and services under Section 504 (in the form of a Section 504 Service Plan).

The purpose of this Section 504 Service Plan Handbook is to provide guidance for students who may be or are, eligible for FAPE in the form of a Section 504 Service Plan. For information regarding a student’s right to be protected from discrimination, including grievance procedures, please see Springs Charter Schools Board Policy 1001.1, 5011.1 (see pg 8). Springs Charter Schools takes the necessary steps to locate and identify children with disabilities or those suspected of having a disability and to publicize the rights established by section 504.

Click here to view the 504 Handbook.

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