Michele Burian, Assistant Director
Subpart D: Requirements for Preschool, Elementary,
Preschool, elementary, middle level/junior high and secondary programs must take into account the needs of qualified persons with disabilities in determining the aid, benefits, or services to be provided under these programs or activities.
The school must provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities in its jurisdiction who are eligible under Section 504. Instruction must be provided to meet the needs of those students as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities. This standard of what is “appropriate” differs from the IDEA “appropriate” standard, which requires the school to design a program reasonably calculated to confer educational benefit. An appropriate education under Section 504/ADA requires that the services be effective and fair.
Although Section 504 does not require schools to develop an Individualized Education Program with annual goals or an accommodation plan, the school should provide written documentation for each student identified and provide accommodations and/or services under Section 504. If the Building Level Support Team determines a possible need for accommodation, a referral should be made, and evaluations conducted. If the student is identified as having a disability that is substantially limiting, the team may develop a Section 504 Accommodation Plan.
Section 504 should fall under the management of general education. School staff and parents should collaborate to help ensure that students are provided accommodations through general education. The exception to this standard is a student who has been determined as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Such a student could receive special education services under IDEA and accommodations under Section 504. Many schools will include the Section 504 accommodations on the IEP rather than developing two separate documents.
FAQ’s - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has published an extensive list of Section 504 frequently asked questions. (external link)
The regional Office for Civil Rights for North Dakota is located at: