The school division maintains what are referred to as on-going “child find” activities. At least annually, the school division undertakes to locate and identify qualified students with disabilities and to advise the public of the school division’s responsibilities under Section 504 (and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The school division will make every reasonable effort to identify and locate every qualified disabled student residing within the school division’s jurisdiction who is not receiving a public education and shall inform the individual with a disability and their parents or guardians of the school division’s responsibilities under Section 504. As part of its child find efforts, the school division annually will publish a “child find notice” in student handbooks, and/or place the notice in locations such as physician’s and pediatricians’ offices, and public broadcasting channels where it will likely be seen and/or heard by parents of qualified students. Public notice may also include news articles and brochures that discuss the availability of appropriate services, the nature of disabling conditions, the advisability of early intervention, and information about how to make a referral of a student suspected of having a disability.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination based upon a disability. Section 504 ensures that eligible disabled students receive opportunities and benefits and have equal access to facilities in the same manner as their nondisabled peers. School districts must provide an appropriate education for each disabled student with reasonable accommodations that allow access to the benefits of public education.
Students who are protected under Section 504 must be determined to:
- Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity
- Have a record of such an impairment
- Be regarded as having an impairment
Eligibility for a Section 504 Accommodation Plan is determined using a 3-pronged approach that considers if the student:
- Has a physical or mental impairment ...
- That substantially limits ...
- A major life activity.