Section 504 Information and Procedural Safeguards

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that:

“No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives or benefits fromFederal financial assistance.”

Section 504 applies to preschool, elementary, secondary, and adult education programs and activities that receive or benefit from Federal financial assistance for the operation of such programs or activities. Each recipient that operates a federally assisted public elementary or secondary education program must provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified person in its jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability. Recipients that operate a public elementary or secondary education program must also annually attempt to identify and locate unserved children with disabilities.

Section 504 regulations at 34 CFR 104.3 (j-I) defines a person with a disability as any person who: has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

For purposes of public education services; a qualified person with a disability is: of an age that persons with disabilities are provided such services; of any age that it IS mandatory under state law to provide such services to persons with disabilities; or a person for whom a state is required to provide a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Provision of an appropriate education is the provision of regular or special education and related services such that:

• Educational services are designed to meet individual educational needs of children with disabilities as the needs of nondisabled persons are met.

• Each child with a disability is educated with nondisabled children, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the child with a disability.

• Nondiscriminatory evaluation and placement procedures are established to guard against misclassification or misplacement of students, and a periodic reevaluation is conducted of students who have been provided special education or related services.

• Procedural safeguards shall be established and implemented so that parents and guardians: receive notice with respect to actions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of children who, because of a disability, need or are believed to need special instruction or related services; have the opportunity to review relevant records; may challenge the identification, evaluation and placement decisions made with respect to their children; and have the opportunity to participate and be represented by counsel in any subsequent impartial hearing and review procedures.

Provision of a free public education requires recipients that operate a public elementary or secondary education program to provide services without cost to the person with a disability, or to the child’s parents or guardians, except for those fees imposed on nondisabled persons, parents or guardians. It also means that, if a school district is unable to provide a child with a disability with an appropriate education and places or refers that child to a program it does not operate, the district is still responsible for the costs of the program, including tuition, room and board, transportation, and nonmedical care.

An appropriate education could consist of education in regular classes, education in regular classes with the use of supplementary services, or special education and related services. Special education may include specially designed instruction in classrooms, at home, or in private or public institutions, and may be accompanied by such related services as developmental, corrective, and other supportive services, including psychological counseling and medical diagnostic services.

Children with disabilities must also be afforded an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities such as counseling, physical education, recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recipient sponsored clubs, recipient employment and assistance in obtaining outside employment. These services must be provided by the recipient in such manner as is necessary to afford students with disabilities in equal opportunity for participation.

Elementary and secondary school recipients operating preschool and adult education programs may not exclude qualified persons with disabilities and must take into account their needs in determining the aid, benefits, or services to be provided under these program or activities.

The Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education enforces the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The address of the Regional Office which includes Oklahoma is: Office for Civil Rights, 8930 Ward Parkway, Suite 2037, Kansas City, Missouri 64114-3302 (telephone 816-268-0550, fax 816-823-1404, TDD 877-521-2172, email

Adapted  from the Rights of Individuals With Handicaps Under Federal Law: Information for Those Who Have Rights and Responsibilities Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a publication of the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

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