Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973The intent of the law is to keep students and parents fully informed concerning decisions about identification and placement, and to inform students and parents of their rights.The Coordinator of Student Services is the 504 Coordinator for the Tuscaloosa County School System and is responsible for assuring that the school system complies with requirements outlined in Section 504 concerning students with disabilities. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, students with qualifying disabilities have the right to receive a free appropriate public education, which includes the right to an education with students without disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate.In particular, the enabling regulations for Section 504, as set out in 34 CFR Part 104, provide parents and/or students with the following rights:
- Your child has the right to an appropriate education in the least restrictive environment that is designed to meet his/her individual education needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
- Your child has the right to free educational services, except for those fees that are imposed on nondisabled students or their parents. Insurers and similar third parties are not relieved from an otherwise valid obligation to provide or pay for services provided to a disabled student.
- Your child has a right to nondiscrimination and to facilities, services and activities that are comparable to those provided for nondisabled students.
- Your child has the right to an evaluation prior to initial Section 504 placement and any subsequent significant change of placement.
- Placement decisions must be made by a group of persons (i.e., the Section 504 committee), including persons knowledgeable about your child, the meaning of the evaluation data, the placement options and the legal requirements for least restrictive environment and comparable facilities.
- You have the right to examine relevant records prior to any action by the District in regard to the identification, evaluation, or placement of your child upon request.
- You have the right to an impartial hearing with respect to the District's actions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, or educational placement. You have the right to participate and be represented by an attorney at your expense.
- You have the right to obtain copies of your child's educational records at a reasonable cost unless the fee would effectively deny you access to the records.
- You have the right to receive a response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of your child's records.
- You have the right to request amendment of your child's educational records if there is reasonable cause to believe that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights of your child.
- You may challenge the actions of the District's Section 504 Committee in regard to your child's identification, evaluation, or educational placement, by filing a complaint with the District's Section 504 Coordinator within 30 calendar days from the time you received written notice of the Section 504 Committee's actions. A due process hearing will be scheduled before an impartial hearing officer and you will be notified in writing of the date, time, and place for the hearing. You have the right to participate in the hearing and to be represented by counsel if you choose. If you disagree with the decision of the impartial hearing officer, you have the right to request a review of the decision in a court of competent jurisdiction.
- On Section 504 matters other than your child's identification, evaluation, and/or placement, you likewise have a right to file a complaint with the District's Section 504 Coordinator, who will investigate the allegations to the extent warranted by the nature of the complaint in an effort to reach a prompt and equitable resolution.
- You have a right to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. The contact information is as follows:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
61 Forsyth Street SW, Suite 19T70
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
Telephone: (404) 562-6350
Fax: (404) 562-6455
Email: OCR.Atlanta@ed.govCHILD FIND - SECTION 504 SERVICESThe Tuscaloosa County School System has a duty to locate, evaluate, and identify any child residing in the district who qualifies for Section 504 accomdations or services. Children eligible for Seciton 504 accomodations or services include those children who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. If you suspect your child has a disability and may require Section 504 accomodations, or if you would like additional information, contact your child's teacher or call the Coordinator of Student Services at (205) 342-2726.