Concord Special Education Parent Advisory Committee

What is a 504 Plan? 

It is a plan designed to accommodate the unique needs of an individual with a disability, as required by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the first civil rights law guaranteeing equal opportunity for more than 35 million Americans with disabilities.

Children who have disabilities, but whose disabilities do not interfere with their ability to progress in general education are not eligible for special education services, may be entitled to a 504 Accommodation Plan.

School districts must ensure that students with disabilities have meaning full opportunities to participate in all aspects of school on an equal basis with students without disabilities.

Depending upon the student's individual needs, a school district may be required to provide the following: specialized instruction, modifications to the curriculum, accommodations in non-academic and extra curricular activities, adaptive equipment or assistive technology devices, an aide, assistance with health related needs, school transportation, or other related services and accommodations.

How is a 504 Plan Similar to IEP?

How is a 504 Plan Different from an IEP?

(The above comparison information is from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, IEP Workshop and updated by Neil Green, OCR)

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Wrights law Article:
Section 504 and IDEA: Basic Similarities and Differences, by S. James Rosenfeld, Esq., EDLAW, Inc.

The difference between IEP and a 504, is that if your child needs access to the curriculum, but they can learn from the regular education curriculum, the 504 is appropriate.

504 is a Civil rights law, under ADA (American with Disabilities Act).  An IEP (Individual education Program) falls under IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act) and is an Educational Law.

An IEP says your child needs a "special education program"  a program that is fundamentally different from the way other children are learning.

Both can technically provide specialized instruction, but because no federal funding accompanies a 504, in practice schools use a 504 only for accommodations,  modifications, (not for specialized instruction, related services, etc.).  If  child needs those, then it's an IEP.  Either one should encompass all of the child's needs.

Any child covered under IDEA (has an IEP) is automatically under the Section 504 laws (but the opposite is not true).

IDEA (child with a IEP) offers more rights and protections than 504.

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Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA, by Pat Howey

Here are a few important differences between these two laws.

1. Section 504 does not require written plans (most school have created their own forms).

2. Parents have few rights under Section 504.

3. The school does not have to invite the parent to the meeting when the 504 plan is developed (most schools district do invite parents).
    The school must notify the parent that a 504 plan was developed.

4. Section 504 has fewer procedural safeguards to protect the parent and child.

5. What appears to be discrimination may really not be discrimination.

6. Section 504 protections follows the child after s/he leaves the public school system. IDEA (IEP) does not(504's are written per environment.  Colleges and secondary school write the 504 plan, not the high school.  They can use 504/IEP as input.)

(text in italics = our parent comments.)

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Students who may be protected by Section 504, but who may not be eligible for services under the IDEA:

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Concord's 504 coordinator is Jessica Murphy (as of Sept. 2008)
Diana Rigby, Superintendent of our schools, used to be our Assistance Superintendent and she was our 504 coordinator).

Download Concord Public School 504 form (2 pages)  14  
    Notice of Parent and Student Right, under Section 504, The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (2 pages)  14

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Download sample 504 form, created by a local public school (4 pages) 28

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Download a sample 504 plan for a child with Diabetes

Section 504 Plan Outline for Children with Severe Food Allergies

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From the MA Department of Education:
Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools Guide (80 pages) 14
Describes what a Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) would address.

From the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities (45 Q&A)

The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Council of Education for Students with Disabilities:

Section 504 Eligibility Question and Answers

          FY2010 Eligibility Frequently Asked Questions 

         Section 504 Resources

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

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Question and Answers about student responsibilities as a postsecondary student
 (Student going to attend college).

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Customer Service Team:
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities, September 2007
Scroll down to read over a dozen questions and answers (Q & A) listed in this letter new tag

Transition of Students With Disabilities To Postsecondary Education:
A Guide for High School Educators
, March 2007

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U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR):
Protecting Students With Disabilities
45 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities

Section 504 and Special Education, by Reed Martin, J.D. 14

Wrightslaw Articles:
Discussion of Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA
Who is Eligible for Protections Under Section 504 . . . but Not Under IDEA?

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Have a questions? Need to verify some information?

Office for Civil Rights (US DOE OCR) 
New England Regional office, Region 1
U.S. Department of Education
33 Arch Street
Suite 1030
Boston, MA 02110-1490

Our  New England Representatives are:
Civil Rights Complaint Investigators and Technical Assistance providers:

Neil Green, EOS

Ruth Ricker, EOS

EOS=Equal Opportunity Specialist

Michael Sentance, SRR

Kristen Lepore, DSRR

SRR=Secretary's Regional Representative

DSRR=Deputy Secretary's Regional Representative

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One of our original Concord SPED PAC webpages, created  September 10, 2002, by Melody Orfei
Webpage last modified on October 15, 2011 - V20, by Melody Orfei