Pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitaton Act of 1973, A+ Charter Schools, Inc. has a duty to identify, refer, evaluate and if eligible, provide a free, appropriate public education to disabled students.
Child-find-any student who needs or is believed to need 504 Services must be “identified” by the school district for referral to 504 committee for evaluation.
What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Unlike Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that governs special education, Section 504 is not an education, service, or funding statue. The purpose of Section 504 is to ensure that individuals with disabilities are given the same opportunity to participate in programs and activities as are their nondisabled peers.
Students may qualify for protection under Section 504 if they have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A label, disability, or diagnosis, alone, does not make a student eligible under Section 504. The disability must substantially limit the student’s performance as compared to the performance of the average student in the general population.
Does Section 504 require an evaluation to determine eligibility?
Yes. However, evaluation does not necessarily mean a test or formal psychological evaluation. It refers to the gathering of data and/or information from a variety of sources so that the Section 504 committee may make the required determinations. Depending on the suspected disability, common sources of evaluation data are grades, attendance records, health information, standardized test scores, teacher comments, observations, medical records, discipline referrals, etc. The committee will consider any data provided by the parent, including medical documentation and private evaluations.