Section 504 Resources
Section 504 is an Act that prohibits discrimination against persons with a disability in any program that receives federal financial assistance. The Act defines a person with a disability as anyone who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (major life activities include activities such as walking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, seeing, speaking, caring for one’s self, working, helping, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, and operation of a bodily function). In order to fulfill its obligations under Section 504, the school recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a disability will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system. The school has specific responsibilities under the Act, which include the responsibility to identify, evaluate and, if the student is determined to be identified under Section 504, to afford access to appropriate educational services.
To request a referral for a student to be evaluated for qualifications under a 504 plan, contact the student's teacher or administrator.
504 Grievance Procedures:
The U.S. Department of Education maintains Regional Civil Rights Offices to enforce Section 504 and other civil rights laws. All parents have the right to directly contact the Office for Civil Rights if they believe their child is being discriminated against based on a disability. Most differences with schools can be resolved before contacting the Office for Civil Rights. It is suggested you follow the procedures outlined below:
1. First, try to resolve your differences at the teacher or school level. Set-up a meeting to discuss your concerns.
2. If unsuccessful, set up a meeting with the school's Section 504 Coordinator.
3. If unsuccessful, ask for mediation through the ND Pathfinder Parent Center. Pathfinders Services of ND provides free mediation service for parents. A neutral individual will work with you and the school to help resolve your differences. Contact them at Pathfinder Services of ND, 1015 S. Broadway, Suite 42, Minot, ND 58701. The phone number is 701-837-7500. http://pathfinder-nd.org
4. If unsuccessful and you believe your child has been discriminated against, ask the Section 504 Coordinator how to file a grievance.
5. A parent can file for a due process hearing if all other attempts to resolve the issue have failed.