Section 504 which was included in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 passed by Congress prohibits discrimination against persons with a handicap in any program that receives federal financial assistance. The Act defines a person with a disability as anyone whom:
- has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (major life activities include activities such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working);
- has a record of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment;
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Tangipahoa Parish School District recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a disability will be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system.
The school district has specific responsibilities under Section 504, which include the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if the child is determined to be eligible under Section 504, to afford access to appropriate educational services.
If the parent or guardian disagrees with the determination made by the professional staff of the school district, he/she has a right to a hearing with an impartial hearing officer.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also specifies rights related to educational records. This act gives the parent or guardian the right to: (1) inspect and review his/her child's educational records, (2) make copies of these records, (3) receive a list of all individuals having access to these records, (4) ask for an explanation of any item in the records, (5) ask for an amendment to any report on the grounds that it is inaccurate, misleading, or violates the child’s rights, and (6) a hearing on the issue if the school refuses to make the amendment.
Note: Should a parent disagree with the evaluation and/or Accommodation Plan, contact Deondra Warner Section 504 Coordinator, at (985) 748-2477 to intervene and determine if grievance procedures or due process procedures need to be initiated.