Section 504 is a federal law which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law provides: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability…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 USC § 794 One of the principal purposes of Section 504 is to ensure that students with disabilities are not denied access to educational facilities, programs, and opportunities on the basis of their disability. For a student to have a disability which may be protected under this law, he or she must:
(1) have a mental or physical impairment,
(2) which substantially limits,
(3) one or more major life activities. For a student to be considered an “eligible student” under
Section 504, all three criteria must be fulfilled.
Under Section 504, schools that receive federal funds may not discriminate against eligible students with disabilities. Section 504 also protects students who have a record of a disability, and students who are regarded as having a disability. Discrimination against students in either category is prohibited under Section 504. Section 504 requires the District to provide a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) to each eligible student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student’s individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met and in accordance with Section 504 requirements pertaining to the educational setting, evaluation, placement, and procedural safeguards. The FAPE obligation extends to all students described in this paragraph, regardless of the nature or severity of their disability.
If you have Section 504 questions concerning either current or prospective students, please contact the District’s Section 504 Coordinator, Sarah Vander Baan, Director of Special Education (or your building level coordinator, Ali Dubois)
New Branches Charter Academy
3662 Poinsettia Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Director of Student Services and Specially Designed Instruction
Building Section 504 Coordinator