Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
(Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit discrimination against persons with a disability in any program receiving federal financial assistance. A person with disability is defined as anyone who has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sleeping, standing, lifting, reading, concentration, thinking, communicating, helping, eating, bending, or operation of a bodily function.
Detroit Public School Community District has the responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations and services to eligible individuals with disabilities. The District acknowledges its responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding individuals with disabilities. No discrimination against any person with a disability shall knowingly be permitted in any program or practice in the District.
Frequently Asked Questions
If my child is struggling in school, where can I get help?
Talk with your student’s teacher – see if they are noticing the same things that you are concerned about. Have they done anything in the classroom to help/support the student? Is there anything they can do that they think could be helpful? If they have already interacted with the teacher: if the student is a general education student (no IEP, no special ed) have them get in touch with their school’s 504 coordinator.
What is a 504?
A 504 is an accommodation plan for students with disabilities or suspected disabilities. A student with a 504 follows the general education curriculum and is supported with accommodations.
A. Students with a 504 is not guaranteed to pass classes, nor is there a guarantee the student can’t still get disciplined.
B. Students who are eligible for 504’s may not qualify for special education services but may need additional support to better access the curriculum in school.
If child has a medical diagnosis will they automatically get a 504?
Not necessarily. A medical diagnosis does not automatically guarantee eligibility for a 504. The diagnosed disability must cause a substantial limitation to a major life activity. The building 504 team may conduct an evaluation to determine the impact the disability has on your child.
What does the 504 process entail?
1. Once a request for a 504 is made, the building starts collecting information and data on the student.
2. The parent is contacted and completes a referral form.
3. Once basic information is gathered; the parent meets with the 504 coordinator and perhaps the building 504 team.
4. If the team is proceeding with an evaluation, the parent signs consent to evaluate and a release of information to communicate with outside agencies and medical professionals.
5. Once consent is signed, the 504 team has up to 30 school days to complete their evaluation and determine eligibility.
6. The evaluation may include interviews, observations, data and records reviews, and information gathered from outside sources.
7. If found eligible, the team will determine what accommodations would be most helpful for that student.
8. At the end of the evaluation, the parent is invited in to discuss eligibility and accommodations, if eligible. The plan is formally reviewed annually, and the student is re-evaluated every three years.
Can a 504 be used in college?
Yes. If a school is receiving any amount of federal funding, they must provide accommodations through 504, if requested. Students should check in with the student disability offices at the school(s) in which they are interested and see how they can assist. Responsibility is usually up to the student to self-identify and notify their professors.
Can 504 accommodations be used on the SAT and ACT?
Possibly. It depends on the accommodation and approval by the College Board and ACT. They make the final decision on granting accommodations.
Can a pregnant student get a 504?
Not typically. Pregnancy itself is not considered a disability. However, if the pregnancy substantially limits a major life activity (walking, standing, lifting, major bodily functions) a student may qualify.
Can a student have a 504 and an IEP at the same time?
An IEP can to provide more extensive accommodations than a 504 – so if a student is eligible for an IEP, their needs will be covered without an additional 504.
Who handles the 504 process at the district level?
Anne Meirow, PhD. Anne.firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-870-3480.
My child broke his leg and is in a wheelchair (or any other temporary injury) – does he need a 504?
No. 504 plans are for students with disabilities lasting longer than 6 months in length. However, since the injury is temporarily affecting a major life activity (walking), the student is still protected under section 504. Temporary accommodations can be put in place to ensure access to the curriculum until the injury is healed.