• Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    Purpose of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    Evaluation
    Eligibility
    Definitions
    "mental or physical impairment"
    "substantially limits"
    "major life activities"
    "has a record of such an impairment"
    "is regarded as having an impairment"
    When students enter the RJUHSD with a pre-existing Section 504 plan
    Rights in Identification, Evaluation, and Placement

    Purpose of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
    The purpose of Section 504 is to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. Eliminating discrimination on the basis of disability is accomplished by providing equal access to educational opportunity by providing reasonable modifications and services. In other words, Section 504 is the section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights act, which protects the civil and constitutional rights of persons with disabilities. It states that no person with a disability can be excluded from or denied benefits of any program receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance.

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    Evaluation
    The process for determining Section 504 eligibility begins with an evaluation. The evaluation must be appropriate to the needs and circumstances of the individual pupil. However "evaluation" does not necessarily mean "test". In the section 504 context, "evaluation" refers to a gathering of data or information from a variety of sources so that the 504 committee (group of persons knowledgeable about the student) can make the required determinations. The 504 committee will carefully consider any pertinent information as it relates to the pupil in the school setting. The information typically considered comes from several sources; school records, school wide standardized assessments, report cards, teacher observations, parent observations, interviews by school personnel, physician reports, etc. The 504 evaluation may also include some formal testing if additional information is needed to make a determination. Written parent permission will be requested if the committee recommends formal testing.

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    Eligibility
    A disabled student eligible for services under Section 504 is one who (a) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including learning, (b) has a record of such an impairment, or (c) is regarded as having such an impairment. (34 CFR 104.3)

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    The term "mental or physical impairment" means: 1) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. 2) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine.
    The term "substantially limits" is defined as follows: According to the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, a major life activity is substantially limited if a person is "unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform?. For example, to determine whether a student’s mental or physical impairment "substantially limits" the major life activity (of learning, writing, reading, etc.), the district should compare the student’s academic progress to that of the "average child" of comparable age, not a child of similar intellectual potential. Indications of a possible disability that may substantially limit a student's learning may include, but are not limited to, the following factors:
    1) Below average achievement test scores.
    2) Below average or failing grades over a lengthy period of time.
    3) Failure to pass from grade to grade.
    4) Failure to complete assignments on a regular basis.
    5) Poor attendance
    6) Pattern of suspensions from class or school.
    7) Inability to gain physical access to what is needed for learning.
    Major life activities are functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. Examples of students with such impairments include, but are not limited to: 1) Students with a normal ability to learn but who have a mobility or sensory impairment and require aids or services in order to function physically. 2) Students with a normal ability to learn, but who have problems attending school due to medical conditions such as severe asthma or heart disease, or other illness or accident. 3) Students with emotional disabilities manifested by behavior problems that result in exclusion from classes or school.

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    The phrase "has a record of such an impairment" means: The student has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The use of this definition of a handicapped person is rarely applicable in elementary and secondary education, and is insufficient, by itself to trigger section 504 protections and accommodations (OCR memorandum, 8/3/92, 19 IDELR 894).

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    The phrase "is regarded as having an impairment" means: Although the student has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit a major life activity, he/she is treated by others in such a manner as to constitute such a limitation. Thus the physical or mental impairment substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward the impairment. Or, the student has none of the impairments defined above, but is treated by the school community as having such an impairment. The use of this definition of a handicapped person is also rarely applicable in elementary and secondary education, and is also insufficient, by itself to trigger section 504 protections and accommodations.
    Whether or not the pupil is eligible for 504 services will be determined by participating public school personnel after consideration of all relevant data, including consideration of any information the parent and pupil wish to provide. If the pupil is found to be eligible for Section 504 accommodations, a written 504-accommodation plan of services will be developed and reviewed periodically. Please note: Students found eligible for 504 accommodations are not exempt from the requirement of passing the California High School Exit Exam. The 504 team will address the issue of the CAHSEE during the eligibility meeting and determine whether or not any accommodation is needed. Fortunately, unlimited time is allotted to all students.

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    When students enter the RJUHSD with a pre-existing Section 504 plan:

    If a student with a Section 504 plan transfers to the Roseville Joint Union High School District (RJUHSD) from another school district, then the local Section 504 Team will review the previous 504 plan and supporting documentation. If the local RJUHSD 504-team determines the previous 504 plan is appropriate, then the pre-existing plan must be implemented. If the local RJUHSD 504-team determines the pre-existing 504 plan does not properly address the student's educational needs, then the local RJUHSD 504-team must evaluate the student's needs consistent with the Section 504 procedures cited in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 104.35 and determine which educational program is appropriate for the student.

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    RIGHTS IN IDENTIFICATION, EVALUATION AND PLACEMENT
    (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

    The following is a description of the rights granted by federal law to students with handicaps. The intent of the law is to keep you fully informed concerning decisions about your child and to inform you of your rights if you disagree with any of these decisions.

    You have the right to:

    1. Have your child take part in, and receive benefits from public education programs without discrimination because of his/her handicapping conditions;
    2. Have the school district advise you of your rights under federal law;
    3. Receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation, or placement of your child;
    4. Have your child receive a free appropriate public education. This includes the right to be educated with nonhandicapped students to the maximum extent appropriate. It also includes the right to have the school district make reasonable accommodations to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school-related activities.
    5. Have your child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those provided non-handicapped students;
    6. Have your child receive special education and related services if she/he is found to be eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PL 101-476) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;
    7. Have evaluation, educational, and placement decisions made based upon a variety of information sources, and by persons who know the student, the evaluation data, and placement options;
    8. Have transportation provided to and from an alternative placement setting at no greater cost to you than would be incurred if the student were placed in a program operated by the district.
    9. Have your child be given an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities offered by the district;
    10. Examine all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, educational program, and placement;
    11. Obtain copies of educational records at a reasonable cost unless the fee would effectively deny you access to the records;
    12. A response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child's records;
    13. Request amendment of your child's educational records if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of your child. If the school district refuses this request for amendment, it shall notify you within a reasonable time, and advice you of the right to a hearing;
    14. Request mediation or an impartial due process hearing related to decisions or actions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, educational program or placement. You and the student may take part in the hearing and have an attorney represent you. Hearing requests must be made to: Ron Severson, R.J.U.H.S.D. Assistant Superintendent;
    15. Ask for payment of reasonable attorney fees if you are successful on your claim;
    16. File a local grievance.

    The person in this district who is responsible for assuring that the district complies with Section 504 is Ron Severson, Phone #786-2051.