The School Board of Miami-Dade County
Bylaws & Policies
Unless a specific policy has been amended and the date the policy was revised is noted at the bottom of that policy, the Bylaws and Policies of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools were adopted on May 11, 2011 and were in effect beginning July 1, 2011.
 

2260.01 - SECTION 504 PROCEDURES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

The School Board shall not discriminate in educational programs and activities and will strive to provide equal opportunity for all as required by law.

The District has established and implemented standards and procedures for the identification, evaluation, placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) program for students with disabilities pursuant to Federal law.

The Federal law states, "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in Section 705(20) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…" (29 U.S.C. 794 (2009))

A student is entitled to FAPE and may be entitled to Section 504 accommodations if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more major life activities.

Procedures

Students experiencing difficulty in the classroom and/or are suspected of having a disability should initially be referred to the School Support Team (SST).

The SST shall determine whether it is appropriate to refer the student for possible 504 services. All established procedures for SST should be followed.

Students with obvious physical or health needs that require accommodations need not go through the SST process in order to be referred for Section 504 eligibility determination.

Section 504 Eligibility Determination teams and Section 504 teams that convene to write the initial Section 504 plan should consist of the following professional staff: a person who knows of the documented disability, a person who knows the student, and a person who knows of accommodations. Though special education personnel may be requested to provide support at a Section 504 meeting, the Section 504 process is the responsibility of general education staff.

Parents must receive notice of the Section 504 meeting and be invited to attend. Parents and students should be encouraged to attend the meeting and provide input that would help the team in making decisions. The parents' attendance, however, is not required.

Section 504 teams that convene for annual or interim meetings should consist of the parents, the student, the school administrator or designee, and school personnel who are familiar with the student, such as the student's teacher or counselor.

The school principal must assume responsibility for the Section 504 coordinator or assignee a designee who is responsible for proper implementation of Section 504 regulations.

It is inappropriate to provide Section 504 services automatically to a student who has been found ineligible for IDEA or to a student with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD). Section 504 eligibility is based on whether or not a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more life activities.

Definitions of Section 504 Terms

 A.Individual with a Disability:
  Any individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.
  An individual meets the requirement of being "regarded as" having an impairment if the individual establishes that s/he has been subjected to an action prohibited under the Act because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. "Regarded as" does not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor, expected to last six (6) months or less.
  The student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more life activities is entitled to FAPE and may be entitled to Section 504 accommodations. The student who has a record of having impairment, or is regarded as having impairment is considered disabled under Section 504 for purposes of anti-discrimination protection.

 B.Physical or Mental Impairment:
  A physical impairment is any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one (1) or more of the body systems. A mental impairment is any mental or psychological disorder.

 C.Substantial Limitation:
  A person is substantially limited when s/he is limited as to the condition, manner, or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity, as compared to the condition, manner, or duration under which the average person in the general population can perform that same major life activity.

 D.Major Life Activity:
  Major life activities under Section 504 include, but are not limited to, caring for one’s self, seeing, breathing, walking, hearing, speaking, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and performing manual tasks.

 E.FAPE:
  FAPE is the provision of a free and appropriate public education. The student must be provided access to regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with disabilities. The instruction must be individually designed to meet the needs of these students as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met. An appropriate education is based upon an adherence to procedures that satisfy the requirements for least restrictive environment, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.

The Section 504 standard of what is appropriate differs from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) appropriate standard which requires the District to design a program reasonably calculated to confer educational benefits. Section 504 requires that no discrimination occur against a student solely because his/her disability. Students with disabilities who qualify for Section 504 services must be provided with aids, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided non-disabled persons.

Section 504 Requirements

 A.Notice
  Parents must receive notice of the Section 504 meeting and be invited to attend. Parents must also receive a copy of the Section 504 Procedural Safeguards (Notification of Rights and Due Process Procedures).

 B.Monitoring
  If additional information is presented to school personnel by the parent or other interested party, or the person(s) responsible for implementing the plan are not satisfied that the plan is working, (e.g., the student has not demonstrated improvement or progress) the Section 504 team should reconvene to consider modifying the current plan or to determine other options. Section 504 plans and eligibility should be reviewed annually, or sooner, if requested by either District personnel or parent.

 C.Evaluation
  Section 504 evaluation means reviewing information from a variety of sources, such as teacher observations, standardized test scores, report cards, and information from parents and medical providers. Section 504 requires periodic reevaluations. Reevaluations should occur every three (3) years, before any significant change in placement, or, at the request of the parents or school personnel.

 D.Change in Placement
  Section 504 requires that the parent is notified prior to any significant change in placement. Examples of significant change in placement are: expulsion, repeated suspensions which exceed ten (10) days in a school year, graduation from high school, and a significant change in the delivery of education.

 E.Discipline
  School staff must reevaluate students with Section 504 services prior to suspending or expelling them for more than ten (10) days. A team of persons knowledgeable about the student must convene to complete a manifestation determination form (FM 3918), and to consider if other strategies, interventions, or assessments are appropriate. This procedure for reevaluation meets the Section 504 requirement.

Section 504 Grievance Procedures

Parents or students who have a disagreement involving a Section 504 plan are entitled to the following grievance procedures:

 A.appeal to the District Section 504 Compliance Officer, 1500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 409, Miami, Florida 33132, Phone: 305-995-2799, Fax: 305-995-1760.

 B.request mediation; and/or

 C.request a hearing.

Mediation and hearing requests should be made to the Clerk of the Board, 1450 N.E. Second Avenue, Suite 268B, Miami, Florida, 33132, Fax: 305-995-1448.

All students, including students with disabilities shall be treated with respect. The Board intends that all students be provided equal access, opportunity, and treatment in the provision of educational programs and activities. The Board strives to provide an educational environment that is free from discrimination and harassment and school personnel shall strive to ensure that all students receive equal access to all educational opportunities.

For grievances based upon a record of a disability or the fact that school personnel are treating a non-disabled student as disabled, or for a complaint of discrimination or harassment that does not relate to the identification, eligibility, evaluation, or educational placement of the student, a local grievance may be filed according to the grievance procedures in Board policy. A complaint may be made to the Office of Civil Rights Compliance, 1500 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 234, Miami, Florida, 33132, Phone: 305-995-1580, Fax: 305-995-2047.

F.S. 1000.05
29 C.F.R. Part 1630
34 C.F.R. Part 104
29 U.S.C. 794, Section 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990