Section 504 assures students with disabilities have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to students without disabilities. To be eligible, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly called "Section 504," is a federal law that protects students from discrimination based on disability. Section 504 guarantees all children the following rights:
- Receive a free and appropriate public education.
- Participate in and benefit from the district’s educational programs without discrimination.
- Be provided an equal opportunity to participate in the district’s nonacademic and extracurricular activities.
- Be educated with students who do not have disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.
- Be educated in facilities and receive services that are comparable to those provided to students without disabilities.
- Receive accommodations and/or related support and services to allow your child an equal opportunity to participate in school activities.
- Receive educational and related aids and services without cost, except for those fees imposed on the parents of children without disabilities.
- Receive special education services if needed.
Parents/Guardians have the following rights under Section 504:
- Review of child’s educational records and to receive copies at a reasonable cost or no cost if that prevents a review of records.
- Ask the district to change a child’s education records if they are wrong, misleading or are otherwise in violation of a child’s privacy rights. If the district refuses this request, parents/guardians have the right to challenge the refusal by requesting an impartial hearing.
- A response to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of a child’s education records.
Section 504 Evaluation Process
A child has the right to an evaluation before the school determines if he or she is eligible under Section 504. This includes:
- Receiving notice before the District takes any action regarding the identification, evaluation and placement of the child.
- Having evaluation and placement decisions made by a group, often called a “504 team.” This group includes individuals that know the child, the meaning of the evaluation information and the placement options available.
- Having evaluation decisions based on a variety of sources, such as aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical conditions, medical records and parental observations.
- Refusing consent for the initial evaluation and initial placement of the child.
If the child is eligible under Section 504, they have a right to periodic re-evaluations, including re-evaluations before any significant change is made in their placement.
Challenging the Team's Decision
Talk to your Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator. Try to resolve the issue. A discussion with your civil rights coordinator at the school district is often the best action you can take to address your concerns. These staff members can make sure your student has equal access to all the programs and services your school has to offer.
Challenging The District's Decision
Parents/Guardians who disagree with district decisions regarding their child’s identification, evaluation, educational program, or placement under Section 504 may request mediation or an impartial due process hearing. The parent/guardian and child have the right to take part in the hearing and have an attorney represent them. Hearing requests and other concerns can be made to the district’s Section 504 Coordinator:
Director of Special Services
333 4th Ave. NW, Ephrata WA 98823
Parents/Guardians have the right to file a complaint of discrimination with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), or to file a complaint in federal court. Generally, an OCR complaint may be filed within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act. The regional office is located at 915 Second Ave, Room 3310, Seattle, WA 98174-1099.
Phone: (206) 607-1600 | TDD: (206) 607-1647
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights website