Section 504 Introduction

What does “Section 504” mean?

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly referred to as “504”, is a nondiscrimination statute enacted by the United States Congress.  The purpose of the Act is to prohibit discrimination and to assure that disabled students have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students.

What does Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 do?

It prohibits discrimination against any person with a disability by any federally funded agency or organization.

Who is covered by “Section 504”?

Section 504 covers any person who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities;
  • has a record of such an impairment; or
  • is regarded as having such an impairment.

A “major life activity” under Section 504 includes:

  • Breathing
  • Seeing
  • Speaking
  • Caring for oneself
  • Learning
  • Walking
  • Hearing
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Working
  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Standing
  • Lifting
  • Reading
  • Thinking
  • Bending
  • Concentrating
  • Communicating
  • Operation of major bodily function

Section 504 Provisions

Free, Appropriate Public Education (F.A.P.E.)

Eligible students have the right to a free appropriate public education. Eligible students have the right to free educational services except for those fees that are imposed on non-disabled students and their parents.

Evaluation & Placement Procedures

An initial evaluation is required prior to determining if a student is eligible for a Section 504 plan.  Likewise, an evaluation is required before placement changes or accommodations can be made.  Reevaluation is required every three (3) years.  However, if conditions warrant, an assessment should be performed yearly.  Evaluations may draw upon information from a variety of sources including those supplied by the parent or guardian. Any evaluations initiated and conducted by the Kern High School District staff must have parent consent.

Least Restrictive Environment (L.R.E.)

As much as possible, eligible students may attend classes in regular classrooms and take part in school activities with students who do not have disabilities.

Procedural Safeguards

Parents must be told about, and consent to, any identification, evaluation and/or placement before any significant changes are made.

Reasonable Accommodations

Students must receive opportunities that are comparable to those provided to children without disabilities. This includes academic and non-academic school programs.

Uniform Complaint Procedures

Any individual, public agency or organization may file a written complaint of alleged noncompliance. The complaint shall be presented to the Superintendent or designee, who will then give it to the appropriate compliance officer.

The 504 Meeting

Who is involved?

  • Parent
  • Those the parent wishes to have present
  • School 504 Coordinator/Administrator
  • Those the school wishes to have present
  • The student may be involved, but is not required to be involved

When does impairment substantially limit a student’s major life activity?

  • Section 504 does not define the word “substantially”.
  • The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has stated that the term has been interpreted to require an important and material limitation.
  • In 1987 OCR concluded that if a student was « succeeding » in the regular academic program, then the student does not have a disability that substantially limits their ability to learn.

My student requires accommodations under Section 504. Who do I contact?

  • Every school site has a Section 504 Coordinator.
    (Download Coordinator List – PDF)
  • Please contact the school site and request to speak to the Section 504 Coordinator. This is always an administrator (Assistant Principal).
  • If you need additional assistance, please contact the KHSD 504 Coordinator at 661-827-3282.