Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The statute ensures that a qualified student with a disability receives reasonable accommodations necessary for that student to access education or school related programs and activities. The Section 504 process includes identification, referral and screening, evaluation, eligibility, need for accommodations and triennial reevaluation. This process begins when a referral from a parent, teacher, physician or another interested person is received by the school. At this time, a school-based committee will meet within 10 administrative working days to review all the available information and determine if the student is eligible under Section 504.
Any student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity may be eligible. Additionally, students with health problems (including allergies or anaphylactic reactions) or other medical impairments may be entitled to rights and protections under Section 504. “Major life activity” means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and major bodily functions. If the Section 504 Committee finds a student eligible, the committee will move forward with determining if the student requires a Section 504 plan. A Section 504 Plan may include reasonable accommodations and/or related services necessary for the student to access education, including school-related programs and activities.
|Referral to Eligibility Meeting||10 Administrative Days|
| Eligibility to Initial Section 504 Plan
|30 Calendar Days|
|Annual Review of the Section 504 Plan||One Year|
|Reevaluation of Student Eligibility||Every Three Years|
Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) screens the vision and hearing of all students within the first 60 business days of initial enrollment. All students in kindergarten through third grade are also screened in the areas of speech, voice, language and motor development. All students in grades three, seven and 10 are screened in vision and hearing.
Scoliosis information will be distributed annually to the parents of students in grades five through 10 within 60 business days after the opening of the school year. If scoliosis screening in grades five, seven and nine will be conducted, parents will be notified and given the opportunity to opt out.
VBCPS maintains screening procedures to assure the identification of students with disabilities. Safeguards include written notice, confidentiality and maintenance of student's scholastic records. A notice of general screening is provided in the student handbook given to all students annually.
The Section 504 evaluation entails a Records Review Process. The members of the Section 504 Committee completing the Records Review should include: (1) the 504 Administrator (AP) or designee; (2) the Section 504 Coordinator; (3)the student's school counselor; (4) one or more of the student's teachers; (5) the minor student's parent/guardian; (6) the student, if appropriate; and (7) other staff knowledgeable of the student's functioning and the meaning of the data (e.g., school psychologist or school nurse, if appropriate).
The Section 504 Committee will review a student's present level of performance, teacher reports and comments, health and development, and areas of concern. Information on how the student functions in the school environment, as well as pertinent information from educational records (e.g., aptitude and achievement tests, report cards, medical, psychological and other reports) will be reviewed and documented. Input from the adult student or minor student's parent/guardian shall also be requested, presented, and considered by the Committee and documented. The Committee shall decide whether the information available is sufficient to determine if the student has a mental or physical impairment, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. If sufficient information exists to make a determination of eligibility, the Committee will proceed with determining eligibility.
Section 504 Plan
If the student is eligible under Section 504, the Section 504 Committee will move forward with determining if the student requires a Section 504 plan. Students who are found eligible under Section 504 only under the category of being regarded as having a disability are not eligible for a Section 504 plan, but are entitled to protection from discrimination.
Eligible students may receive a written Section 504 Plan that can be developed at the end of the determination of eligibility meeting, or within a reasonable timeframe, 30 calendar days. The Section 504 Committee should develop or select appropriate accommodations and/or related services directly related to the documented disability that enable the student to have equal access to school programs and activities.
Parents’ and Students’ Rights under Section 504
The following is a description of the rights granted by federal law to students identified as disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 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:
- File a grievance with the school district over an alleged violation of Section 504 regulations.
- Have an evaluation that draws on information from a variety of sources.
- Be informed of any actions to determine qualification under Section 504 and provide a plan for services.
- Examine all relevant records.
- Receive all information in the parent’s/guardian’s native language and primary mode of communication.
- Periodic re-determination of qualification and an assessment before any significant change in program/service modifications.
- Request an impartial hearing if there is a disagreement with the school division’s proposed action.
- Be represented by counsel in the impartial hearing process.
- Appeal the decision of the impartial hearing officer’s decision to a court of competent jurisdiction.
We Want To Hear From You
As a parent or guardian, do you have a question about Section 504? Please call the Office of Student Support Services at 757-263-1980 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.