504 FAQ

What is a 504 Plan?
• Section 504 is a Federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. A 504 plan can be developed for students to receive accommodations and modifications in order to access a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Who is eligible?
• Students whose illness, physical or mental disability substantially limits one or more life activities, such as caring for oneself, seeing, breathing, learning and walking are protected under Section 504. Examples of students who are eligible include children with asthma, diabetes, allergies, cerebral palsy, cancer, HIV related illness, epilepsy, dyslexia, dysgraphia, spina bifida, ADD/ADHD and children with chronic health conditions. Some bodily functions are now also considered major life activities under the law. The list of major life activities in the ADA now includes, but is not limited to:
• caring for oneself
• performing manual tasks
• seeing
• hearing
• eating
• sleeping
• walking
• standing
• lifting
• bending
• speaking
• breathing
• learning
• reading
• concentrating
• thinking
• communicating
• working
• The list of major bodily functions that are now considered major life activities includes, but is not limited to: functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Can a medical diagnosis suffice as an evaluation for the purpose of providing FAPE?
• No. A physician's medical diagnosis may be considered among other sources in evaluating a student with an impairment or believed to have an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity. Other sources to be considered, along with the medical diagnosis, include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior. Section 504 regulations require school districts to draw upon a variety of sources in interpreting evaluation data and making placement decisions.

Does a medical diagnosis of an illness automatically mean a student can receive services under Section 504?
• No. A medical diagnosis of an illness does not automatically mean a student can receive services under Section 504. The illness must cause a substantial limitation on the student's ability to learn or another major life activity. For example, a student who has a physical or mental impairment would not be considered a student in need of services RVHS 504 FAQ under Section 504 if the impairment does not in any way limit the student's ability to learn or other major life activity, or only results in some minor limitation in that regard.

What is the process for placing a student on a 504 plan?
• There are essentially four steps:
1. The parent or guardian should contact the 504 chair to request an initial meeting. This request can be sent to Mr. Judge at [email protected]
2. A 504 plan meeting is held where eligibility is determined.
3. A plan for the student is developed should he/she/they be eligible for a plan.
4. A review date is set.

Does a 504 transfer between schools?
• Plans are reviewed annually and are made to be building specific. When a student in our district moves up, the 504 follows them and the annual review sets an appropriate plan for their transition year. If a student is entering or exiting the district, the plan does not follow them. It is up to the school to evaluate any existing plan and determine eligibility and appropriate accommodations for that institution.

Why do seniors not have an annual review?
•Students in their senior year of high school do not have an annual review as the plan is specific to their needs in high school. High schools do not make 504 plans for a college to follow. Accommodations needed in college need to be applied for at the specific institution. A senior who has a medical need or new diagnosis impacting their ability to complete their senior year may be eligible for a 504 plan.

Does a 504 expire?
• Yes. All plans have a date range. After that date, the plan expires. Annual reviews are held to extend the date a plan is active for. Lack of updated documentation requested by the 504 committee can also lead to a plan becoming inactive. At any time, a plan can also be deactivated upon parental request or if it is deemed that the student no longer needs the accommodations.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
• First, you can contact your student’s school counselor. The high school 504 chair, Mr. Ryan Judge can also be reached via email at [email protected] or 845-687-2400 ext. 4206.