Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and ADA Amendments Act of 2008 - Saint Paul Public Schools
Saint Paul Public Schools is committed to providing a free and appropriate public education to each student with a disability within the school district’s jurisdiction. It is the intent of the district to ensure that students who have disabilities within the definition of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate education services.
For more information, please contact your child's school and ask to speak to the Section 504 building contact.
Section 504 Coordinator
Office of College and Career Readiness
Saint Paul Public Schools, 1780 W. 7th St, St. Paul, MN, 55116
Section 504 Information
What is Section 504?What is Section 504?
- A Civil Rights Law
- Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by agencies receiving federal dollars
- Not an education law
- Enforced by the Office of Civil Rights
What Saint Paul Public Schools programs have to comply with Section 504?
- All programs offered by school districts Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade
- Community Education
- Before/after school programs (Discovery Club)
- Field trips or other activities
- Potential other agencies providing programming at Saint Paul Public Schools
Who is eligible for protections of Section 504? A student with a physical or mental impairment that causes substantial limitation of a major life activity.
What is a physical or mental impairment?
Any psychological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organ, respiratory, including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine, any mental or psychological disorder (such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities).
What is a substantial limitation?
- Should not demand extensive analysis.
- Limits the ability of the student to perform major life activity as compared to most people.
What are Major Life Activities?
Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. The operation of a major bodily function such as:
- Immune system (Severe Allergy)
- Normal cell growth (Leukemia, other cancer)
- Digestive (Cystic Fibrosis, Crohn's Disorder)
- Bowel (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS)
- Bladder (Neurogenic Bladder)
- Neurological (ADHD, Epilepsy)
- Brain (Static Encephalopathy, Concussion)
- Respiratory (Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis)
- Circulatory (Hemophilia)
- Endocrine (Diabetes)
- Reproductive functions (Ovarian Cyst)
If you have questions or concerns regarding your student and Section 504 please contact your child's Licensed School Nurse or Licensed School Counselor.
Section 504 Process
- Identify and refer potential students.
- Evaluate for eligibility.
- Develop Individual Accommodation Plan (IAP).
- Annual review of Individual Accommodation Plan.
Who can make a referral for a Section 504 evaluation?
- School staff
- Community members and professionals
Referrals should be made by the school district staff when there is reason to believe that the student might be disabled and require an accommodation or extra services to receive free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
What are the possible results of an evaluation?
- The student does not have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities or major bodily functions. The student is not eligible for an Individual Accommodation Plan.
- The student has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits on or more major life activities or major bodily functions and the student is eligible for an Individual Accommodation Plan.
- The student is referred to the special education team.
Does the parent/guardian need to give permission for their student to be evaluated for a Section 504 Plan?
Yes. The evaluation is completed by a team of people knowledgeable about the student when the parent/guardian has given written permission.
Who are the Section 504 building representatives?
- The Section 504 building representatives include: Licensed School Nurses, Licensed School Counselors, School Social Workers, School Administrators, and teachers.
What are the responsibilities of the Section 504 building representatives?
- Coordinate referrals, evaluations, and annual review team meetings.
- Assist in development of Individual Accommodation Plan.
- Serve as a resource to the staff and families in the building.
- Maintain and transfers all 504 plan and files.
What are the responsibilities of the teacher for a student with a Section 504 Individual Accommodation Plan?
The teacher must implement all accommodations listed in the Individual Accommodation Plan. Failure to do so causes the school and district to be out of compliance with the federal mandate.
Who ensures that staff implements the Section 504 Individual Accommodation Plan?
The principal is responsible for ensuring that the Section 504 process is followed in their building.
Frequently Asked QuestionsMy student is changing schools. How do I ensure their plan follows them?
If your student is transferring within the Saint Paul Public School system their new school will be able to access their plan through shared data systems. It’s important to let your child’s new school know that they have a plan. If your child is transferring out of SPPS, you’ll want to ensure you that your request a copy be sent along with their official records.I have concerns about my student’s existing plan.
If you feel your student is not benefiting from their plan as written you do have the right to request a meeting to review their plan. Contact the 504 coordinator at your child’s school to discuss your concerns.What if my student has a plan, but it isn’t being followed?
If you feel that your student is not receiving accommodations as outlined in their plan there is a grievance procedure process. The best first step is to contact your school’s 504 coordinator to discuss your concerns. If your concerns are not addressed, please contact Beth Coleman at 651-767-8321.Who has access to a 504 plan?
504 plans are only accessible to those individuals who need to know for accommodation purposes. Those with access may include your student’s teachers, school counselor, nurse, administration, and coaches/activity supervisors. It’s worth noting that your child’s 504 plan does not specifically name their disability. That information is only listed in your student’s initial eligibility report which is not shared with general staff.I have a new student transferring in with an existing 504 plan- what should I do?
You may use the student’s current plan until you can update the plan for your school. When updating the plan in EdPlan you can use the student’s existing 504 plan as a evidence for their eligibility report. It is okay to wait for the student to settle into your school before you update their plan. It’s important to understand how their disability impacts major life activities. Once the 504 team has an understanding of the student and their needs, the process would proceed as with an student needing an annual review.
YES. You do need signed parental permission prior to evaluating a student’s eligibility.The Prior Written Notice document is under the 504 documents section of EdPlan.Are we required to have a meeting?
A meeting must be held before any significant changes in placement, per student or family request, or when there is evidence that the plan is not supporting the student. There is no requirement that the meeting must be held in person. Depending on the situation a phone conference might be appropriate.Who should be on the 504 team?
It’s important to include individuals that have an understanding of the student’s disability and will potentially be making accommodations. Teachers, the school nurse, school counselor, and other school staff are all potential team members. Parents and the student (as age allows) are also important team members.How often do we need to review a service plan?
SPPS considers a yearly review as best practice. However, if it is to the student’s best interest to review the plan sooner or later it is acceptable to adjust the review timeline. If a student continues to be unsuccessful at the level of their peers it would be appropriate to review their plan sooner. If the student is adjusting to a new schedule or setting it would be appropriate to wait, if the team feels that it does not have an accurate understanding of how that student’s disability impacts a major life activity. It is important to note that if a plan has not been reviewed in a year ( or is out of compliance) the student’s 504 flag with disappear from Campus. The student will still have an active 504 plan, but it will not be readily apparent in Campus.Who is eligible for a 504 plan?
Any student who is known to or suspected of having a disability that impacts a major life activity is eligible for a 504 plan. Potential candidates may include:
Does the student have to have a diagnosis to have a 504 plan?
- students who previously had an IEP or who were found ineligible for an IEP
- students who have been identified as having ADHD, ASD, or any other chronic mental, emotional, behavioral, medical or physical condition that limits one or more life activities
- students participating in or leaving a treatment program
- students who are being considered for retention
- students who are facing suspension or expulsion
- students who are identified as “at risk” for whatever reason
A student does not need a formal diagnosis to be regarded as having a disability. Section 504 defines a student with a disability as a student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity or a has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment. While a formal diagnosis can contribute to the understanding of a student’s disability it is not required.Where should I store documents?
There are a couple of options on where to store documents, some of which will be determined by your individual school’s policies. Remember any documents created in EdPlan will automatically be available under the the 504 documents section. You can also upload each student’s 504 plan under the 504 plan and emergency plan tab in Campus. Any individual who has access to student information in Campus will be able to access a copy of their plan. Documents that should not be available to everyone such as information provided during the eligibility process can be scanned and upload under the mental health documents tab in Campus. This will limit the access to only those individuals that have access to the mental health record storage tab. Once those documents are upload paper copies can either be returned to the parent or confidentially recycled.
Section 504 Resources
SPPS Grievance Procedure for Section 504
Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) urges that all grievances be resolved with the individual closest to the issue, usually the building 504 representative and/or building administrator. Learn more:
- English: Formal Grievance Procedure for Section 504
- Hmong: Formal Grievance Procedure for Section 504
- Karen: Formal Grievance Procedure for Section 504
- Somali: Formal Grievance Procedure for Section 504
- Spanish: Formal Grievance Procedure for Section 504
The Pacer Center is a parent training and information center for families of children and youth with all disabilities from birth to young adults. They are located in Minneapolis and provide a variety of resources to students and their families. For more information visit the Pacer Center web site at www.pacer.org or call toll free at 800-537-2237.
Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)
For more information from the State of Minnesota regarding 504 practices in this state visit the MDE website at http://education.state.mn.us/mde/index.html.
Office for Civil Rights
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) ensures the protection of rights and privacy of 504 students. For more information about the OCR as it relates to 504 plans check visit the OCR website at www.ed.gov/ocr
General Information for 504 Coordinators
Getting Access to EdPlan
504 plans and process documentation occurs in EdPlan. Finalized 504 plans are uploaded into Infinite Campus in the 504 tab of a student’s profile.
Request access via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Plan Log In - https://go1.pcgeducation.com/mnstpaul
Getting Access to 504 Schoology Group
Join code: 3GDF-MVH7-FGT6V
Asynchronous trainings available in this group
What is a 504? Document to accompany Child Find or provide basic info to caregivers
Case Consultation and Support
Don’t hesitate to reach out to:
We can consult on planning prior to 504 meetings
We can attend 504 meetings to support
We can consult on complex cases
We can consult on ideas for accommodations