Section 504 Process

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights act prohibiting discrimination based on disability.  It was enacted to eliminate barriers that exclude persons with disabilities.  In the River Dell Public School District, all staff and administrators have the responsibility of ensuring that all students with disabilities are identified, evaluated and provided with needed accommodations and services, resulting in a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Section 504 is not a special education statute, although it addresses the provision of education to qualified individuals with disabilities.  Public school districts are required to provide a free appropriate public education to all qualified students with disabilities.  This must include an education designed to provide educational benefit despite the child’s disability.


Section 504 defines “disability” as a physical or mental condition which substantially limits or impairs a major life activity such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, focusing, concentrating, or learning (this is not an exhaustive list).  Section 504 does not specifically list or define all the possible qualifying disabilities like IDEA does. In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students who meet eligibility requirements and are not receiving special education services will be provided services.


A substantial limitation is a restriction as to the condition, manner, or duration under which an individual can perform a major life activity as compared to an average person in the general population.  It would be an error to measure substantial limitation in reference to the child’s potential and/or the student’s immediate classmates.  Instead, the reference should be to the performance of children at the same age or grade in the general population.

Temporary and non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual effects are not typically substantially limiting.  Conditions such as the common cold, seasonal influenza, a sprained joint, minor and non-chronic gastrointestinal disorder, and broken bones that are expected to heal completely are examples of conditions that are not impairments under Section 504.


According to the ADA Amendments Act 2008, major life activities under Section 504 include, but are not limited to:

  • caring for oneself

  • bending

  • performing manual tasks

  • speaking

  • seeing

  • breathing

  • hearing

  • learning

  • eating

  • reading

  • sleeping

  • concentrating

  • walking

  • thinking

  • standing

  • communicating

  • lifting

  • working


Districts must make Section 504 eligibility determinations based upon the student’s disability, as it would present itself without mitigating measures. A mitigating measure is something a student can use without any assistance from the school (i.e. – eyeglasses). Determining that a student is not Section 504-eligible because of the corrective effects of mitigating measures is prohibited, except for the use of corrective lenses or ordinary contact lenses.  Mitigating measures include:

  • Medication

  • Medical supplies, equipment, or appliances

  • Low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses)

  • Prosthetics, including limbs and devices

  • Hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices

  • Mobility devices

  • Oxygen therapy equipment and supplies

  • The use of assistive technology

  • Reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services

  • learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications


Below are some examples of instances in which a Section 504 plan would not be appropriate:

  • A student has a disability but is functioning well and making academic progress without accommodations. This might include a student whose parent feels could be making A’s rather than C’s; or a student who only experiences difficulty in one subject area and the team determines the difficulty is not a function of the disability.

  • When a plan is created solely to support a request for extended time on standardized tests.

  • An individual does not fall within the definition as someone regarded as having a disability if the physical or mental impairment is transitory (that is, having an actual or expected duration of six months or less) and minor.  For example, if a person has a broken leg but is expected to fully recover within six weeks, and the injury is considered minor, that person is not regarded as a person with a disability even if others treat the person as if he or she has a disability.


It is the intent of Section 504 to keep parents/guardians fully informed concerning decisions about their child. The River Dell Public Schools provides notice of “Procedural Safeguards” with regards to the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a student suspected of having a disability.  Parents should be provided a copy of their rights at the initial meeting to discuss possible referral, evaluation, eligibility or placement under Section 504.


River Dell Middle School: Parents/guardians who wish to refer their child for a 504 plan should contact the 504 coordinator at their child's grade level.

   7th Grade: Demetra Binder, School Counselor:


                     [email protected]

   8th Grade: Marnie Ross, School Counselor:


                     [email protected]

River Dell High School: Parents/guardians who wish to refer their child for a 504 plan should contact:

                     Brian Pepe, Principal:


                     [email protected]

The district administrator for 504 services is:

                    James Cooney, Director of Special Services


                    [email protected]



Each student with accommodations and/or services will have the plan reviewed annually. The review may occur more often if the student’s rate of progress changes significantly, if there is noticeable change in behavior, or upon parental request.

The review should address the need for additional evaluation information, whether the student continues to have a qualified disability, and the effectiveness of the accommodations.

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