Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
“No otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, as defined in section 706(8) of this title 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 or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or by the United States Postal Service.” (29 U.S.C. Sec.794)
To determine eligibility under Section 504 the committee must consider all the following questions:
- Does the learner have a physical or mental impairment?
- Does the physical or mental impairment affect one or more major life activities including major bodily functions?
- Does the physical or mental impairment substantially limit a major life activity? It is important to specifically identify what the substantial limitations are and how they impact learner performance and progress.
- Does the student require Section 504 services in order for his/her educational needs to be met as adequately as those of non-disabled peers?
In accordance with Federal Regulations, Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act, Child Find Identification (34CFR section 300.125, 300.451), this is notification that Commerce Independent School District, Located at 3315 Washington St., Commerce, Texas has a child find system for identifying, locating and evaluating all children with disabilities, from birth through 21 years of age, residing in the district, including children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly known in the schools as “Section 504,” is a federal law passed by the United States Congress with the purpose of prohibiting discrimination against disabled persons who may participate in, or receive benefits from, programs receiving federal financial assistance. In the public schools specifically, §504 applies to ensure that eligible disabled students are provided with educational benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled students.
- You have a right to be informed about your rights under §504. [34 CFR 104.32] The School District must provide you with written notice of your rights under §504 (this document represents written notice of rights as required under §504). If you need further explanation or clarification of any of the rights described in this Notice, contact appropriate staff persons at the District’s §504 Office and they will assist you in understanding your rights.
- Under §504, your child has the right to an appropriate education designed to meet his or her educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met. [34 CFR 104.33].
- Your child has the right to free educational services, with the exception of certain costs normally also paid by the parents of non-disabled students. Insurance companies and other similar third parties are not relieved of any existing obligation to provide or pay for services to a student that becomes eligible for services under §504. [34 CFR 104.33].
- To the maximum extent appropriate, your child has the right to be educated with children who are not disabled. Your child will be placed and educated in regular classes, unless the District demonstrates that his or her educational needs cannot be adequately met in the regular classroom, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. [34 CFR 104.34].
- Your child has the right to services, facilities, and activities comparable to those provided to non-disabled students. [34 CFR 104.34].
- The School District must undertake an evaluation of your child prior to determining his or her appropriate educational placement or program of services under §504, and also before every subsequent significant change in placement. [34 CFR 104.35].
- If formal assessment instruments are used as part of an evaluation, procedures used to administer assessments and other instruments must comply with the requirements of §504 regarding test validity, proper method of administration, and appropriate test selection. [34 CFR104.35]. The District will appropriately consider information from a variety of sources in making its determinations, including, for example: aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, reports of physical condition, social and cultural background, adaptive behavior, health records, report cards, progress notes, parent observations, and scores on TAKS/STAAR tests, and mitigating measures, among others. [34 CFR 104.35].
- Placement decisions regarding your child must be made by a group of persons (a §504 committee) knowledgeable about your child, the meaning of the evaluation data, possible placement options, and the requirement that to the maximum extent appropriate, disabled children should be educated with non-disabled children. [34 CFR 104.35].
- If your child is eligible under §504, he or she has a right to periodic reevaluations. A reevaluation must take place at least every three years. [34 CFR 104.35].
- You have the right to be notified by the District prior to any action regarding the identification, evaluation, or placement of your child. [34 CFR 104.36]
- You have the right to examine relevant documents and records regarding your child (generally documents relating to identification, evaluation, and placement of your child under §504). [34 CFR 104.36].
- You have the right to an impartial due process hearing if you wish to contest any action of the District with regard to your child’s identification, evaluation, or placement under §504. [34 CFR 104.36]. You have the right to participate personally at the hearing, and to be represented by an attorney, if you wish to hire one.
- If you wish to contest an action taken by the §504 Committee by means of an impartial due process hearing, you must submit a Notice of Appeal or a Request for Hearing to the District’s §504 Coordinator. A date will be set for the hearing and an impartial hearing officer will be appointed. You will then be notified in writing of the hearing date, time, and place.
- If you disagree with the decision of the hearing officer, you have a right to seek a review of the decision by a making a written request to the District’s Section 504 Coordinator, and/or you may seek relief in state or federal court as allowed by law.
- You also have a right to present a grievance or complaint through the District’s local grievance process. The District will investigate the situation, take into account the nature of the complaint and all necessary factors, and respond appropriately to you within a reasonable time. Parents may contact the District’s Section 504 Coordinator for more information about the District’s grievance process.
- You also have a right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education.