Section 504 and ADAAA Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 American with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) Michelle Crisci SDUSD, Accessibility Coordinator 619-725-7225
American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)Section 504 • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a comprehensive civil rights legislation designed to provide individuals with disabilities access to and benefit from programs and services. As a result of the broad definition of disability, there are many students eligible for protections and services under Section 504 that are not eligible under IDEA. • ADAAA (2008) - Civil rights law which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities (parents, staff and students) and broadened the definition of disability. Districts can no longer consider mitigating measures when determining if a student has a qualifying disability.
Section 504 • The focus of Section 504 is on the eligible student having equal access to and benefit from the schools curriculum, buildings, programs and activities as compared to non-disabled peers. • Services and accommodations are designed to “level-the-playing-field.”
Rehabilitation Act of 1973Section 504 • Curriculum Access- Changes to the general delivery of instruction so students with disabilities have equal access to classroom curriculum. • Program Access- Student with disabilities should have equal access to and receive benefit from all programs receiving federal financial assistance. • Building Access- Classes, activities and services must be accessible (see Uniform Federal Accessibility Guidelines) • Activities Access- Students with disabilities must be provided equal opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and nonacademic activities.
Person with a disability is defined as any one of the following: • 1. has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (FAPE). • 2. has a record of such impairment (nondiscrimination protections only). • 3. is regarded as having such an impairment (nondiscrimination protections only).
What is a physical impairment? • Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory including speech organs; cardio vascular; reproductive; digestive; genitor-urinary; anemic; lymphatic; skin and endocrine system. This list is NOT exhaustive.
What is a mental impairment? • Any mental or psychological disorder, such as intellectual disabilities, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities. This list is NOT exhaustive.
What does “substantially limiting” mean? • An impairment need not prevent or significantly / severely restrict a person from performing the major life activity to be considered substantially limiting. Compare a student to his same grade/age level peers to determine whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. • Focus the inquiry on how the impairment limits the major life activity not on the outcome the individual achieved.
Prong One Eligibility • Prong one eligibility (has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities) does not mean a student is currently subjected to discrimination nor does it mean the students disability related need(s) are unmet.
Person with a disability is defined as any one of the following: • 1. has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Requires an offer of Free Appropriate Public Education. • 2. has a record of such impairment. Nondiscrimination protections only. • 3. is regarded as having such an impairment. Nondiscrimination protections only.
What does “record of such an impairment” mean? • The student has a history of a previous disability, but does not currently manifest any symptoms. • Students with a history of a disability protected under Section 504 nondiscrimination, however, SDUSD does/did not develop 504 accommodation plans.
What does “regarded as” having an impairment mean? • The student has had an impairment only as the result of the attitudes and treatment by others. • Students who are regarded as having an impairment are protected under section 504 nondiscrimination.
General Requirements of Section 504 • Nondiscrimination • Provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE)
FAPE • Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under section 504 is an education designed to meet the individual educational needs and is based on an outcome of procedures that satisfy Section 504’s identification, evaluation, placement and due process requirements.
Identification • Referral- accepted from staff, parents, students, and/or community agencies. • Timelines- 60 days to hold initial meeting • Notification- 504 coordinator notifies the parent in writing of intent to conduct an initial 504 evaluation
Evaluation- Requirements • Must be sufficient to assess the nature and extent of the disability. • Evaluation must be made by a group of people knowledgeable about the child. • Eligibility decisions must be documented in the 504 and reviewed at least annually
Evaluations- Timelines • Initial Meeting- Must be completed 60 calendar days from the request for initial consideration of 504 accommodations • Reevaluation- Yearly or when new areas of need are identified • Change in Placement- 30 days • Manifestation Determination (recommendation for expulsion)- 5 days
Evaluation- Plan Development 504 Team must consider the following factors; * Section 504 eligibility * evaluation results * the student's unmet needs * Plans for staff in-service, if needed * full range of accommodations, programming options and services
Evaluation-Plan Development, Full Range of Program Options • General education with instructional accommodations • General education with supplemental services (consider all student absences related to disability) • General education with accommodations, related services, specialized services including special educators and related service professionals, when the student does not otherwise qualify for special education.
Implementation • Provide all accommodations so the student with a disability will have access to and benefit from; Curriculum Access- Changes to the general delivery of instruction so students with disabilities have equal access to classroom curriculum. Program Access- Student with disabilities should have equal access to and receive benefit from all programs receiving federal financial assistance. Building Access- Classes, activities and services must be accessible (see Uniform Federal Accessibility Guidelines) Activities Access- Students with disabilities must be provided equal opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and nonacademic activities.
Common 504 ErrorsOver Accommodation • Reduces rather than equalizing access to grade-level curriculum. • Equal treatment and equal services may not be sufficient to convey equal benefit.
Common 504 ErrorsMiscellaneous • Assuming the 504 Plan is a “teaching” or “training” plan • Assuming the student will initiate the needed accommodations- Districts are responsible for providing FAPE • “Sliding” IEP or PST/SST meetings into 504 eligibility meetings • Requesting R of I to substantiate 504 eligibility • Proving FAPE under an IEP and 504 Plan at the same time • Failing to provide accommodations when student absences are disability related
Common 504 ErrorsNot Considering ALL Areas of Educational Need • Academic • Social • Health • Emotional • Communicative • Physical • Vocational
Common 504 ErrorsIgnoring Eligibility Procedures • Ignoring eligibility procedure/language and allowing the goal of a particular accommodation/service to drive the eligibility decision. • Full-time Health Technician • Parent signature on IEP • “Consolation” prize
Complaints – Due Process • Any individual which believes a school has inadequately applied the Section 504 regulation (FAPE or nondiscrimination) may bring forward a complaint • School grievance plan • District 504 office (60 days to reply in writing) • Office for Civil Rights (OCR) U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights 50 Beale Street, Suite 7200 San Francisco, CA 94105
Questions? • Michelle Crisci Accessibility Coordinator email@example.com 619-725-7225