• Section 504

    ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES FOR QUALIFIED STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES UNDER SECTION 504, REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 AND CHAPER 15, STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION REGULATIONS PURPOSE OF SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15:

    SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15 SERVICES: Services to be provided under Section 504/Chapter 15 include: Academic, Nonacademic, and Extracurricular services and activities. Academic services include the use of supplementary aids and services. Accommodations will be afforded but must be framed so as to give the student equal opportunity to achieve commensurate to the opportunities provided to nondisabled students. Nonacademic and extracurricular services include, but, are not limited to counseling services, physical recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the recipients, referrals to agencies which provide assistance to handicapped persons, and employment of students, including both employment by the recipient and assistance in making available outside employment.

    The purpose of the Act and these procedures is to prohibit discrimination and to assure that students who are disabled have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to nondisabled students in school programs and extra-curricular activities, to the maximum extent appropriate.

    QUALIFIED STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY: An eligible student is a student of school age, who (a) has, (b) has a record of having, or (c) is regarded as having, a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities including, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual activities, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, reading, concentrating, thinking, and communicating:

    CHILD FIND OBLIGATION: The school district shall identify and locate qualified children with disabilities within their jurisdiction who are not receiving a free appropriate public education. The school district must also annually notify persons with disabilities and their parents or guardians of the School District’s responsibilities under Section 504.

    EDUCATIONAL NEED: A substantial limitation on learning must be demonstrated by an educational need i.e., a serious academic deficit and/or serious behavior problems resulting from the student’s disability and not from other causes. Remember that learning is only one of the major life activity limitations which can qualify a student. Educational needs also include students with physical disabilities that have a need for accommodations to access the general education program including extracurricular activities.

    MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES: This impairment must substantially limit a major life activity such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working or the operation of major bodily function.

    DEFINITION OF IMPAIRMENT: “Physical or mental impairment” means (a) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or (b) any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities, (c) or recovery from alcohol or substance abuse (current use of illegal drugs is not protected under 504).

    SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS: When an individual is (a) unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform; or (b) significantly restricted as to the condition, manner, or duration for which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the condition, manner, or duration for which the average person in the general population can perform that same major life activity. A substantial limitation must be an important and material limitation. AGE: Eligible disabled students between the ages of 3 and 21 who have not graduated are covered by these procedures. Revised: August 15, 2014

    DUAL ELIGIBILITY: Many disabled students will be eligible for educational services under both Section 504/ Chapter 15 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The procedures set out herein are applicable only to Section 504/Chapter 15. Parents/guardians and/or students seeking services under the IDEA should referred to the District’s Program for Students with Exceptionalities and/or the appropriate school level designee.

    PLACEMENT OF SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15 – ONLY STUDENTS: Disabled students who do not meet the specific criteria for eligibility under the IDEA are not entitled to receive specially designed instruction through the District’s special education programs. Students who meet the eligibility requirements for Section 504/Chapter 15 only, may be placed in, and receive services through, regular education programs on the same basis as nondisabled students.

    REFERRALS: Parents or guardians may make a written referral to the appropriate Section 504/Chapter 15 Building Coordinator, who will present their requests for educational services to a Section 504/Chapter 15 Team for determination SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15

    EVALUATIONS: Evaluations must be completed within 60 calendar days of receipt of written permission.

    SCHOOL DISTRICT INITIATED: Any school staff member may refer a student for consideration for evaluation under Section 504/Chapter 15. If it is determined that an evaluation is appropriate, written notice will be sent to the parents and will include: A) A statement that the District believes the student is qualified student with a disability under Section 504/Chapter 15; B) The basis for this belief; C) A permission to evaluate which will include the procedures and types of tests that will be administered; D) The District may request additional medical records, these records can include: 1. A diagnosis 2. The basis of the diagnosis 3. A prognosis 4. A treatment plan E) A copy of the Procedural Safeguards Notice

    PARENT/GUARDIAN INITIATED: Parents/guardians may initiate an evaluation for provision of services to begin, terminate, change, or modify an existing Service Agreement by written request to the school principal. This written request should include all relevant medical records. The District will respond in writing to the parent/guardian written request for evaluation and services within 25 days of the receipt of the written request. This response shall state: A) Whether the parent’s/guardian’s request or a portion of the parent’s/guardian’s request is being granted or denied; B) The procedural safeguards available to students and their parents/guardians (Procedural Safeguards Notice); C) The District’s request for additional records and/or information, if appropriate. D) The parent’s/guardian’s right to meet with the appropriate school officials to discuss the issues associated with accommodating the student E) The parent’s/guardian’s right to file suit in federal court under § 505.22 Pa. Code § 15.6 (d)-(e). Revised: August 15, 2014 Under Child Find, the school is not alleviated of their obligations under 504 if the parent/guardian does not make such a request.

    SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15 SERVICE AGREEMENT(504 PLAN): If a disability determination is made through the evaluation, a meeting should be held to develop a Section 504 Plan/Chapter 15 Service Agreement. If the parent/guardian does not attend, the 504 Plan should be based on all available information, signed by the school principal, and mailed home to the parent/guardian for approval. Aids, services, and/or accommodations can begin upon the District’s receipt of the properly executed agreement.

    1. Document Requirements
    2. If the parent and the District agree as to what related aids, services, or accommodations should or should no longer be provided to the qualified student with a disability, the parent/guardian and the District will enter into or modify the 504 Plan, which: a) Will be executed by a District representative and a parent/guardian; b) Will set forth the specific aids, services, and/or accommodations to be provided; c) Will specify the dates to begin and discontinue the Service Agreement; and d) Will specify emergency medical procedures, if appropriate. 2. The 504 Plan may also include: a) The dates of specific evaluations given; b) A statement that all parties recognize the student as a protected student with a disability; c) A statement of the disability condition; d) A statement of the extent to which the disabling condition substantially limits access to a major life activity and what activity is limited; e) The goals and objectives which the aids, services, or accommodations intend to address; and f) The location where the aids, services, and/or accommodations will be provided. 3. If the parent/guardian and District cannot agree as to the related aids, services, and/or accommodations that should or should not be provided to the protected disabled student, either party might invoke the procedural safeguard system. The District will notify the parent/guardian of their rights in writing.
    3. Service Agreement Expiration, Renewal, and Transition
    4. The Section 504/Chapter 15 Team should convene, prior to the expiration of the 504 Plan, a meeting to determine if aids, services, and/or accommodations should be terminated, renewed, changed, or modified. The parent/guardian must be given reasonable prior notice (i.e., 10 days) to the date and time of this meeting and be invited to attend. If the parent/guardian does not attend, the team should use all available information to make a determination as to whether either: (a) the 504 Plan should be renewed and/or revised; or, (b) the reasons why the 504 Plan should not be renewed. In either case, the outcome of the meeting is communicated to the parent/guardian through the appropriate District form along with a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Notice. 2. The Section 504/Chapter 15 Team will forward all supporting 504 documents to the appropriate school. The team will be available for consultation.

    SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15 SERVICES: Services to be provided under Section 504/Chapter 15 include: Academic, Nonacademic, and Extracurricular services and activities. Academic services include the use of supplementary aids and services. Accommodations will be afforded but must be framed so as to give the student equal opportunity to achieve commensurate to the opportunities provided to nondisabled students. Nonacademic and extracurricular services include, but, are not limited to counseling services, physical recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the recipients, referrals to agencies which provide assistance to handicapped persons, and employment of students, including both employment by the recipient and assistance in making available outside employment. Revised: August 15, 2014

    SECTION 504/CHAPTER 15 COORDINATOR: The District has designated the Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Melissa Friez, or designee as its Section 504/Chapter 15 Coordinator for Students, who may be contacted at (412) 529-3950 or mfriez1@pghschools.org. The District’s designees by area are as follows:

     
    District Contact for Behavorial Health 504s
    Monika Pugh, Director of Student Support Services (Guidance)
    341 S. Bellefield Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA  15213
    Room 448
    412-529-3984
    mpugh1@pghschools.org


    District Contact for Medical 504s

    Rae-Ann Green, Director of Health Services

    341 S. Bellefield Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA  15213
    Room 430
    412-529-3956
    rgreen1@pghschools.org

    The Building Section 504/Chapter 15 Coordinator will be the school principal or his/her designee.