Section 504 Services

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly known in the schools as “Section 504,” is a federal law passed by the United States Congress to prohibit discrimination against disabled persons who may participate in, or receive benefits from, programs receiving federal financial assistance. In the public schools specifically, §504 applies to ensure that eligible disabled students are provided with educational benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled students.

Under §504, a student is considered to have a medical condition/disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Section 504 also protects students with a record of an impairment, or who are regarded as having an impairment from discrimination on the basis of disability. Students can be considered disabled and can receive services under §504 even if they do not qualify for, or receive, special education services under the IDEA. While IEPs fall under Special Education Law, 504 Plans fall under the Office of Civil Rights, with the intent that students who qualify are provided equal and reasonable access to education.

To be eligible under a 504 plan, there are two requirements: First, a determination of whether a student has a qualifying disability needs to be based on a review/evaluation of all pertinent information but need not necessarily include a formal medical diagnosis; however, routinely this is obtained and shared as part of the pertinent information by which to establish the qualifying disability. Once the medical condition/disability has been determined the next consideration is whether that disability substantially limits the child’s ability to learn in a general education classroom (which is one of the major life activities). This can include learning, reading, communicating, and thinking Evaluative data from observations, record review, and teacher input is reviewed in addition to the medical documentation to determine whether and what types of accommodations may be required to provide equal access to learning in the general education setting. In comparison, to be eligible under an IEP, a child has one or more of the 13 disabilities listed in IDEA; the disability must impact substantially on the child’s educational performance and/or ability to learn and benefit from the general education curriculum, and the child must need specialized instruction in order to appropriately progress in school.

Procedures are followed by a knowledgeable committee in making decisions regarding this federal law. To be eligible for Section 504 the committee must identify:

Process of Referral for a 504 Plan

Request for a section 504 plan should be sent to the grade level assistant principal (see below) for your child’s corresponding high school. The request can also be sent to the child’s school counselor. Once received, the grade level 504 Coordinator will provide an overview of the process and parental rights and obtain parental consent to initiate the 504 process. The grade level 504 Coordinator will request to obtain a collection of data from a variety of sources (Parent Input, Medical Reports/Records, Teacher Input, Nurse Health/History Form, School Records, etc). The 504 Committee Reviews this information in order to determine if the student meets eligibility for a 504 Plan and if so, identifies the accommodations to be included in the plan. Once the plan has been developed, it is shared with the appropriate school staff to be implemented and monitored, with annual review and re-evaluation every three years or sooner if appropriate.

504 Plan Grievance Procedures

1. This grievance procedure shall apply to a student with a disability alleging discrimination under the provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.


2. The parent who believes his or her child has a valid basis for a grievance under Section 504 shall file an informal complaint in writing with the District 504 Coordinator stating the specific facts of the grievance and the alleged discriminatory act.


3. The District 504 Coordinator will make reasonable efforts to resolve the matter informally by reviewing the grievance with appropriate staff including, but not limited to:  the Principal, Child Study Team staff, and/or classroom teacher(s).


4. The District 504 Coordinator will investigate and document the complaint including dates of meetings, dispositions, and date(s) of dispositions.  The District 504 Coordinator will provide a written decision to the complainant within seven working days of the written complaint.


5. If the complainant is not satisfied with the District 504 Coordinator’s written decision, the complainant may appeal the decision in writing, setting out the circumstances that give rise to the alleged grievance.  This written appeal must be filed with the District 504 Coordinator within three working days of the complainant’s receipt of the written decision. The written appeal must state the basis for the appeal and the remedy sought by the complainant.


6. The District 504 Coordinator will appoint a qualified hearing officer within seven working days of the receipt of the written appeal.  The hearing officer will conduct a hearing within seven working days of receipt of the written appeal.  The hearing officer will give the parent a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised under the initial grievance.  The parent may, at his or her own expense, be assisted or represented by individuals of their choice, including legal counsel.  The hearing officer will present a written decision to the District 504 Coordinator and aggrieved individual within seven working days of the hearing.


7. The complainant may file a written appeal to the Board if not satisfied with the hearing officer’s decision provided the written appeal is submitted to the Superintendent within three working days of the complainant’s receipt of the hearing officer’s written decision.  The Board may, but is not required to, conduct a Board hearing on the appeal.


8. The complainant may request mediation and due process in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.6 and 2.7 if unsatisfied with the written decision of the Board.  If specifically requested by the parent, the aforementioned N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.6 and 2.7 grievance procedures must be followed.

District Section 504 Coordinator

Mr. Michael Wnorowski

Section 504 Plan Resources

District Policy

Federal 504 Regulations

New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Division of Civil Rights

New Jersey Special Education Advocacy Guide

Office of Civil Rights, New York Office

United States Department of Education

32 Old Slip, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005

Phone: (646) 428-3800

Toll-Free: (800) 421-3481

(This location serves: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands)