Acting Deputy Chief
Kimberly Caputo440 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education and generally refers to adjustments in the regular classroom but can include other educational services as well. Like IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), Section 504 indicates that School districts are required to provide a free appropriate education to students with disabilities based on their individualized educational needs. Disability documentation needs to be provided, and necessary accommodations must be requested. Qualified individuals for Section 504 protection can fall under any of the 13 IDEA classifications or others such as the following examples, including but not limited to: Learning Disability, Epilepsy, Visual impairment/Blindness, Hearing impairment /Deafness, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Emotional/Psychiatric Disability, Attention Disorders, AIDS, and Arthritis.
The School District of Philadelphia is required to provide 504 accommodations to qualified students to access schools and school activities or programs. Compliance with Section 504 for school age children is achieved through implementation of PA Chapter 15: Other Protected Handicapped Students. The School District must provide each identified protected handicapped student enrolled in the district, without cost to the student or family, those related aids, services or accommodations which are needed to afford the student equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program and extracurricular activities without discrimination and to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s ability. This is accomplished through the creation of a Chapter 15 Service Agreement.
A protected handicapped student is one who meets the following criteria:
If you suspect that your child may qualify as a protected handicapped student, please contact the principal of your child’s school to request an evaluation.
Parental Request for Assistance
As part of the protections available to you if we cannot agree as to what related aids, services, or accommodations should or should no longer be provided to your child, the procedural safeguard system may be used to resolve the dispute.
Parents may file a written request for assistance with the Department of Education if the school district is not providing the related aids, services, and accommodations specified in the service agreement and/or the school district has failed to comply with the regulations in Chapter 15 of the State Board Policies.
The Department of Education will investigate and respond to requests for assistance and, unless exceptional circumstances exist, will, within 60 calendar days of receipt of the request, send to the parents and school district written response to the request.
Parents may file a written request with the school district for an informal conference with respect to the identification or evaluation of a student, or the student’s need for related aid, service, or accommodation. Within 10 school days of receipt of the request, the school district shall convene an informal conference. At the conference, every effort shall be made to reach an amicable agreement.
If the hearing pertains to Chapter 14 and 15 rights, the decision of the impartial hearing officer may be appealed to a panel of 3 appellate hearing officers. The panel’s decision may be appealed further to a court of competent jurisdiction. If the hearing pertains to Chapter 15 rights, the decision of the impartial hearing officer may be appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction. Under some circumstances, you may raise these claims directly under section 504 without going through the due process hearing.
If, within 60 calendar days of the completion of the administrative due process proceedings under this chapter, an appeal or original jurisdiction action is filed in State or Federal Court, the administrative order shall be stayed pending the completion of the judicial proceedings, unless the parents and school district agree otherwise.
Formal Due Process Hearing
Parents may file a written request with the school district for an impartial due process hearing. The hearing shall be held before an impartial hearing officer.
Following are some details about the due process hearing:
The following time line applies to due process hearings:
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440 North Broad Street 2nd Floor - Philadelphia, PA 19130
Phone: 215.400.4170 Fax: 215.400.4171