Section 504 District Compliance
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The law states that no otherwise qualified person with a disability shall, solely on the basis of their disability, “be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives or benefits from federal financial assistance.” [34 C.F.R. 104.4(a)]
Section 504 requires that reasonable accommodations be made for individuals with disabilities within the regular classroom setting. Accommodations are modifications made by classroom teachers and other staff to help individual students access and benefit from their program of education. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Adjusting student seating,
- Modifying recess or physical education,
- Providing study guides or other organizational tools, and
- Modifying assignments and/or tests.
No state or federal funding is provided to assist in complying with Section 504. All costs are the obligation of the local school district. If you have additional questions regarding Section 504, please contact the Special Services department at 507.645.3410.
A person is disabled under the definition of Section 504 if they have, have a record of having or are perceived as having, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes such things as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working. If the condition does not substantially limit a major life activity, the individual is not eligible under Section 504.
In order to determine eligibility under Section 504, students must be evaluated by a team of individuals, including the child’s parents or caregivers, who are familiar with the student. If it is determined that a student is disabled under Section 504 and requires accommodations in order to receive a free appropriate education, the district will develop and implement a Section 504 Plan.
While all parents want their children to perform well in school, a child not performing to their fullest potential is not a sufficient reason for referral and evaluation. When a child is passing their classes without accommodations, they are most likely already receiving educational benefit and therefore may not need accommodations. Furthermore, provision of a 504 Accommodation Plan does not guarantee that a student’s grades will improve.
Each school building in the district has a 504 Coordinator. If you believe your child may be eligible for and needs a 504 Accommodation Plan, contact the 504 Coordinator in the school building your child attends.
Bridgewater Elementary: Adam Danielson 507.664.3300
Greenvale Park Elementary: Melissa Larson 507.645.3510
Spring Creek Elementary: Allison Sweeney 507.645.3470
Northfield Middle School: Counselors 507.663.0664
Northfield High School: Nancy Ververka 507.645.3450
Area Learning Center: Daryl Kehler 507.645.1238
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 grants certain rights to students with 504 disabilities. The intent of the law is to keep parents fully informed concerning decisions about their child and to inform them of their rights if they disagree with any of these decisions. A copy of these rights are given to parents whenever consideration is given to developing a Section 504 Plan.
If any person believes Northfield Public Schools or any of the district’s staff have violated the principles and/or regulations of Section 504, they are encouraged to contact the 504 Coordinator or principal within the building the student attends to seek a solution to the problem. If the concern cannot be resolved informally or the person so wishes, they may file a formal complaint using the 504 complaint procedure.