Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Students with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and who are not eligible for services under IDEA, may be eligible for reasonable accommodations under Section 504.

 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities and require equal access to the programs, services and benefits offered by the District, with reasonable accommodations if necessary. The Illinois Human Rights Act, similarly, prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation, including schools, on the basis of a variety of legally protected categories, including disability. Providing reasonable accommodations is a primary means of ensuring non-discrimination under the Act.

 

The District prohibits discrimination or harassment against students, parents, staff or visitors to its programs and services on the basis of a disability or retaliation against individuals who report suspected discrimination or participate in investigations of such reports. Reasonable accommodations are available for qualified individuals with a disability to support equal access, as outlined herein.  

 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – 504 Plans

 

This legislation is relevant to schools because all schools receive federal funds. Therefore, they cannot exclude or discriminate against children and adolescents on the basis of a disability, a record of a disability or a perceived disability. Schools are required to (a) have written policies and procedures regarding Section 504 and (b) make reasonable accommodations to make programs accessible to children with qualifying disabilities.    

 

To be eligible to receive reasonable accommodations under Section 504, the following must be determined by a team of knowledgeable individuals, including parent(s):

 

  1. The person is school age and is or will be registered as a student with DeKalb CUSD 428;
  2. The person has a physical or mental impairment;
  3. The impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities, which adversely affects the student in the educational environment.

 

Assessments completed for consideration of special education eligibility under IDEA may be relied upon for Section 504 consideration in lieu of repeating testing if it is considered to be relevant and still current.

 

If your child is eligible for services under Section 504, the school district is required to provide access to an appropriate education. This may mean modifying the regular education program and providing the accommodations set forth in a "504 Plan" developed following review of the information gathered during the evaluation.. These services might include reducing the amount of required work, completing fewer assignments in a shorter period of time, providing more visual instruction, and/or developing behavioral interventions.  Accommodations also may be necessary related to non-academic activities, such as meals, extra-curricular activities, counseling services or transportation.  Once a 504 plan is in effect, it will be periodically reviewed and revised as necessary.  A 504 plan will not be terminated without first conducting an evaluation to assess the ability of the student to access the District's programs and services without reasonable accommodations, except if the student graduates or otherwise transfers from the District.

 

Requesting Consideration for a 504 Plan.  If you believe a student may be eligible for accommodations under Section 504, please contact either: 

  • Your student's school nurse
  • Your student's  school principal 
  • The Director of Special Education, Ms. Cristy Meyer (815-754-2290; cristy.meyer@d428.org; or DeKalb CUSD 428, 901 S. Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115) to request a team meeting to consider the need for evaluation.  
The request should be made in writing and indicate the nature of the suspected disability and the accommodations being requested, to the extent known.  A copy of the District's 504 policies and procedures may be requested from the principal or Director of Special Education.

 

Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA)

The ADAAA is a federal anti-discrimination statute designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities.  It gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities, to individuals with a history of a disability and to individuals perceived as being disabled when they are not. More specifically, it mandates equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunication. 

Schools typically meet their obligations to students under the ADAAA by providing 504 plans to qualifying students with a disability, discussed above.  Reasonable accommodations also may be necessary for parents or visitors with disabilities who need assistance in accessing the District's programs and services, such as wheel chair accessible meeting space, interpreter services or alternative presentations of written materials for persons with visual impairments.  Persons with a perceived disability have a right not to be discriminated against under the ADAAA but they do not otherwise have a right to reasonable accommodations.

Requesting Accommodations. If you have a disability and need assistance accessing the District's programs and services, please contact:  Student Services - Central Office at 815-754-2310.  For students, please follow the request procedures for Section 504 plans.

 

Illinois Human Rights Act – Public Accommodations & Sexual Harassment

 

Similar to Section 504 and the ADAAA, the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with a disability in access to public accommodations, including educational programs.  The law addresses refusals to enroll or allow access to facilities, goods or services on the basis of a protected category, such as a disability.  It also protects against the engagement in or failure to take corrective action to stop severe or pervasive harassment.

 

Reporting Suspected Discrimination 

 

If you believe a student, parent, staff member or visitor to the school has been discriminated against on the basis of a disability or any other legally protected category (e.g. race, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, military status), a report should be made to the building principal of the student's assigned school and/or one of the District's Complaint Managers or Non-discrimination Coordinator.  Complaints also may be filed with the Office of Civil Rights or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.  Retaliation against individuals who report or participate in the investigation of alleged discrimination is strictly prohibited.

 

Non-discrimination Coordinator; (815-754-2290; cristy.meyer@d428.org; or DeKalb CUSD 428, 901 S. Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115)

Complaint Manager:  (815-754-2328; jim.bormann@d428.org; or DeKalb CUSD 428, 901 S. Fourth Street, DeKalb, IL 60115)

 

Additional Resources

RAMP: Center for Independent Living - www.rampcil.org

The Great Lakes and ADA information technology center - www.adagreatlakes.org/

United States Access Board, a federal agency committed to accessible design for people with disabilities - www.access-board.gov/

Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination, questions and answers - www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html

U. S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights - www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

The Department of Justice home page - www.justice.gov

The Department of Justice's guide to disability rights laws www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/cguide.htm

United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) www.hud.gov/

Illinois State Board of Education www.isbe.net

Illinois Department of Human Rights - http://www2.illinois.gov/dhr/Pages/default.aspx

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