As each year begins, I am more excited than ever to continue our success. As principal, I hope to provide you each with our vision and clear direction as committed partners at Poplar Grove Elementary. It is an incredible joy to be surrounded by the unbelievable talents, knowledge, and passion our teachers possess, and it is inspiring to watch them at work in the classroom. What an honor it is to have the opportunity to serve such an exemplary group of individuals!
We know that educating a child is a team effort between educators and parents. Parents at Poplar Grove Elementary are a vital part of our success! The countless volunteer hours you provide ensure our students have the best elementary experience possible. Our PTO sponsors a number of events throughout the year, and I encourage you to get involved. Working together, we can create an elementary campus environment that offers a shared vision, supports student growth, celebrates successes, is rooted in traditions, and consistently encourages the joy of learning.
Please take a moment to read this parent handbook. It has been created to give information concerning our school, district, and state as well as federal policies and guidelines. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school office. I look forward to a great year as we embark on a new journey of learning together!
Dr. Alisha Erickson
Poplar Grove Elementary School
ARRIVAL & DISMISSAL PROCEDURES
Students should not be dropped off before 7:00 a.m., as there is no adult supervision. All students should be dropped off and picked up in front of the elementary school. Students are expected to be in their classroom when the tardy bell rings at 7:30 a.m. A student who is tardy to school must report promptly to the office with the parent/guardian to sign in and get a class admission slip.
Buses load and unload in front of the middle school entrance. Bus students will enter through the main entrance of the middle school and proceed directly to the cafeteria for breakfast or one of the common areas. In the afternoon, bus students will exit the main entrance of the middle school and go directly to their bus. All bus changes must be sent to Bo (Guy) Alexander at 615-790-4704 or firstname.lastname@example.org to be approved prior to riding a different bus.
Cars load and unload in front of the elementary school entrance. In the morning, car riders will enter through the main entrance of the elementary school and proceed directly to the cafeteria for breakfast, one of the common areas, or the media center. Your child(ren) should exit the vehicle once you reach the sidewalk located to your right near the gym entrance. If you wish to walk your child(ren) in the building, you may park in a designated lane and cross at the crosswalk where there is a staff member on duty.
In the afternoon, car riders will exit through the main entrance of the elementary school and wait for a staff member to call their names before walking to their cars. In the afternoon, it is critical drivers remain in their cars. Each family will have a car rider placard with the last name(s) and grade(s) of your child(ren). Please keep this in the dash of your car during dismissal as it helps us direct students to cars in a timely manner. Please do not wait for your child(ren) under the covered sidewalk. Students will walk to their cars. Each car must have a school-issued name card, or you will be required to sign out your child(ren) in the office. Please notify the school if you need an additional car sign.
In the rare occurrence you need to make a change to your child’s dismissal during the school day, please call the office prior to 2:00 p.m.
FSSD Board policy 6.200 on attendance lists excused absences as follows:
• Personal illness or illness of immediate family member
• Personal Injury
• Death in the family
• Extreme weather conditions
• Religious observances
• Military service of parent or guardian
• School sponsored or school endorsed activities
• Summons, subpoena, or court order
• Extenuating circumstances which, in the judgment of the principal,
create emergencies over which the student has no control,
determined on a case-by-case basis
Absences not due to reasons above will be considered unexcused and the student will be responsible for making up missed work upon his/her return. When a student is absent, please call the school by 8:00 a.m. and state the reason for the absence. This helps the attendance secretary verify absences and assists her with accountability of all students. The attendance secretary will call a student’s parent/guardian regarding all absences not verified. When your child returns to school, please email email@example.com or hand deliver a note to the attendance secretary explaining the absence(s) within seven (7) days from the day the child returns to school. Otherwise, the absence will be marked as unexcused. If you send the note to school through your child, we encourage you to follow up by phone or email with the attendance secretary to ensure that it has been received and properly documented
Unexcused Absence Laws
Laws [Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA)]
TCA 49-6-3007 authorizes judges to assess a $50.00 fine against parents when a child has more than five (5) unexcused absences during a six-week period.
TCA 49-6-3007 requires the principal to notify a parent/guardian when a child is absent five (5) cumulative days.
TCA-49-6-3001 (School Attendance Law) requires all children ages 6 to 17 inclusive to attend school each day.
TCA-49-6-3007 communicates the steps involved in the required Tiered Truancy Intervention Plan.
NEW TRUANCY PLAN
Truancy only refers to UNEXCUSED absences. All schools now must follow a new state law that requires school personnel to follow a truancy intervention plan for students who are accruing unexcused absences. Tier 1 intervention will be implemented when a child has accrued five (5) unexcused absences. Tier 1 requires tasks to be completed by parent/guardian and student. Should Tier 1 requirements not be met and the student acquires three (3) more UNEXCUSED absences totaling eight (8) UNEXCUSED absences, Tier 2 will be implemented for the parent/guardian and the student. If UNEXCUSED absences continue to accumulate, Tier 3 will be implemented for the parent/guardian and the student. Tier 3 interventions may result in a referral to the Williamson County Juvenile Court for truancy and a referral to the Department of Children’s Services.
(EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES)
Chronic absenteeism includes both excused and unexcused absences. Research shows that for student achievement, days absent from school can be a contributor to poor student success. In FSSD, attendance is monitored to determine what barriers, if any, are impacting a child’s ability to be in school on time and for the full day. We want to help eliminate ALL barriers that keep children out of school, so our school attendance secretaries, principals, and/or the district safety and attendance supervisor will contact parents/guardians if absences appear to be leading toward chronic absenteeism. The Tennessee Department of Education’s reporting standards use attendance data as an indicator of school quality and student success.
NOTIFICATIONS OF ABSENCES AND TARDIES
When a student accumulates five (5) unexcused absences or five (5) unexcused tardies, the parent/guardian will receive a letter from the attendance secretary. When a student accumulates eight (8) unexcused absences or eight (8) unexcused tardies, the parent/guardian will receive a letter from the attendance secretary. When a student accumulates 10+ absences (excused or unexcused) and/or 10+ tardies (excused or unexcused), a referral will be made to the district safety and attendance supervisor. A letter will be sent to the parent/guardian from the district Safety and Attendance Supervisor indicating that excessive absences may result in juvenile court proceedings. Once a student accrues 10+ absences or tardies, he/she also will be required to submit a doctor’s note for absences or tardies to be excused for the remainder of the school year. It should be noted that if a student is not in school for three (3) hours and 15 minutes, the student is considered absent according to state regulations.
Leaving school early is strongly discouraged due to the loss of instructional time and disruption to the learning environment. However, if you know your student(s) will need to be checked out early, then please send a note to the teacher(s). Students leaving early must be signed out in the school office by parents/guardians. If the student is leaving early because of a medical appointment, parents/guardians are encouraged to get an excuse note prior to leaving the medical facility and provide it to the front office upon the student’s return. We appreciate your efforts to make appointments during non-school hours. Please note that an early dismissal is also considered a tardy. Please refrain from picking your child up after 2:00 p.m. unless it is an unavoidable situation.
No Advance Assignments
Teachers will not send makeup work for days absent in advance. It will be the parent’s/guardian’s and student’s responsibility to get the work when the student returns. This allows the teacher to set aside work as the week goes on rather than having to prepare it hastily prior to the absence.
A student is considered tardy to school if he/she is not in his/her homeroom when the bell rings at 7:30 a.m. or if he/she is checked out from the office before the school day ends. There will be exceptions for students arriving on late buses. Tardiness related to oversleeping, traffic, weather, or not leaving home on time is unexcused. A student who is tardy to school must report to the office to sign in with a parent/guardian and get a class admission slip. If a student is late because of a medical appointment, then please provide an excuse note from the medical office. When a child comes to school late, it causes him/her to get off to a delayed start and disrupts the classroom.
Please remember to check the bus information related to your child(ren). Each year, bus routes, bus stops, and approximate times of the bus stops have the potential to change due to projected student ridership. The bus routes and the approximate times of the stops will be available on the FSSD website and at each school. In addition, you may contact the Transportation Office at 615-790-4704 if there are additional questions related to bus transportation.
Parents are urged to contact the child’s teacher first with any concerns. While the principal urges you to contact your child’s teacher first, please feel free to contact PGES administration whenever you feel the need. Both the principal and the assistant principal have an open door policy. However, to ensure that an administrator is available to you at the appropriate time, please call and make an appointment in advance.
The teachers and administrators at Poplar Grove are committed to regular and meaningful communication with parents regarding the progress of children. It is our goal to have a conference with each of our students’ parents/guardians during the fall semester. This provides an excellent opportunity to discuss progress and academic goals for the year. Teachers are also available for conferences throughout the school year. Please contact your child’s teacher in advance for a meeting time to be scheduled during planning time or in the afternoon to safeguard all instructional time during the school day.
How do I pay? Can I pay ahead?
You may send cash or checks for the cafeteria to the school. Please be sure to include your child’s full name in the memo line of your checks. Checks should be made out to the school cafeteria. Lunch monies must be paid separately from any other monies. For your convenience, you may use a credit or debit card online through your Skyward Family Access account using RevTrak. The District Child Nutrition office, 615-472-3728, also can enter the monies into RevTrak from a credit or debit card for you.
2018-19 Meal Prices
Students K-8 $2.00
Reduced Breakfast K-8 $0.30
Employees & Adults $2.25
Students K-8 $2.90
Reduced Breakfast K-8 $0.40
Adult Visitors $4.75
Children Visitors $2.90
Holiday Visitors $5.50
How do I sign up for Free and Reduced Meals?
A free and reduced application must be filled out each year. You can find that application online through your Skyward Family Access account. Each family also will receive an application with the back-to-school forms that are sent home. Please check the District Child Nutrition Office, 615-794-6624, if you have any questions about Free and Reduced applications and your family eligibility. You will receive a letter indicating your application has been processed and your eligibility determination.
Can my child buy extras like ice cream?
We offer ice cream and other additional items for sale to students who have money in their accounts or pay with cash. All extra items (i.e., a la carte items) are Smart Snack compliant. If a child has a negative balance, then they will not be able to purchase a la carte items. Elementary schools limit ice cream purchases to an assigned day of the week by grade level.
May I come have lunch with my child?
Parents/Guardians are welcome to join their child(ren) for lunch. It is not necessary to call ahead for reservations. You must sign in the office with a photo ID to receive a visitor’s badge. Please meet your child(ren) in the cafeteria. Once you finish lunch, you need to return to the front office to sign out.
May I bring in lunch for my child from his/her favorite restaurant?
FSSD policy 3.50 states the following: “Students will be permitted to bring their lunches from home and to purchase beverages and incidental items. Breakfast and lunch brought from outside food service facilities will not be permitted to be consumed in the cafeteria.”
What happens if my child forgets hi/hers lunch or lunch money?
What happens if my child’s account develops a negative balance? All children in FSSD who want breakfast and/or lunch will receive a meal. They will be offered the same lunch as every other child. However, if your child has a negative balance, then he or she will not be able to purchase a la carte items. Please see the FSSD Negative Balance Policy in this handbook for more details.
My child prefers to bring his or her lunch. Is there anything I cannot send?
We do not allow glass containers, energy drinks, coffee drinks, or carbonated beverages.
My child has a food allergy. How is this handled? The Child Nutrition staff works closely with the school nurse to make sure all allergies that are listed on the child’s Individualized Health Care Plan are noted on his/her cafeteria account.
How is my child expected to behave in the cafeteria?
All students are expected to behave in the cafeteria in a positive manner and are expected to help make the cafeteria a pleasant place for everyone.
Please limit cell phone use when visiting in the cafeteria.
P.E. Classes: Students are required to wear tennis shoes for physical education classes. Shoes may be kept at school and changed before class. Students not wearing tennis shoes will not be able to participate. Girls wearing dresses or skirts should wear shorts underneath.
* PGES is not responsible if the e-reader is lost, stolen, or damaged.
* Students may only read previously downloaded books on the e-reader.
* Internet access is not permitted on the device.
* Students may not “buy” books on their device while at school.
* Students may not lend or share their e-readers with others.
* Please be sure that each student’s e-reader has his/her name on the device.
The most important aspect of this policy is communication. Timely and open communication between students, teachers, parents/guardians, and administrators is essential in implementing this policy. The student and his/her achievement is at the heart of all communication.
Teachers and administrators may make variations to the following policy based on student need and academic achievement.
Time Spent on Homework
Homework expectations will be shared with students in advance.
* Grades K, 1, and 2: a maximum of one (1) to three (3) assignments per week
* Grades 3 and 4: a maximum of two (2) to four (4) assignments per week
* All grades: students are encouraged to read for 20 minutes nightly
Type of Homework
The purpose of homework is to review, practice skills, and study. It is not to learn new skills and concepts. For younger students, it should foster positive attitudes, good work habits, and responsibility. For older students, it should facilitate knowledge acquisition in specific topics.
LIBRARY / MEDIA CENTER
* Kindergarten students may check out one (1) book per visit.
* Books are due six (6) school days after checkout.
* Students with chronically overdue materials will not be allowed to check out any additional materials until the overdue items are returned.
* Students are responsible for the care and return of library materials. A replacement cost will be charged for lost and damaged library materials.
LOST & FOUND
Classroom parties will be held four (4) times a year in your child(ren)’s classroom(s). Typically, they are scheduled around Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and the end of the year. Students are NOT permitted to wear costumes on party days, including Halloween. On party days, all visitors will be asked to sign out at 2:00 p.m. before dismissal begins. This will help ensure a safe, smooth, and orderly departure for all of our students.
FSSD has adopted a district-wide protocol that prohibits food items being brought to school for birthday celebrations. This decision was based on various factors, including the dietary restrictions of many students and the intent to protect instructional time. If you would like to send something for your child to pass out to classmates on his/her birthday, then you may bring non-edible items such as pencils, bookmarks, stickers, erasers, etc. You also may choose to dedicate a new book to the library for your child’s birthday. Teachers will continue to have their own ways of recognizing the birthday child and making him/her feel special that day.
You may purchase an ice cream treat for all students in the classroom to enjoy at lunchtime (see attachment for a copy of the request form). Please contact the cafeteria to order and purchase ice cream two weeks prior to your child’s celebration day. Ice cream treats available to the students will include options for those students with food allergies and other dietary restrictions. Food items will still be allowed for the four (4) classroom parties that occur around holidays and the end of the school year including October, December, February and May and at other school-specific special events. Food items brought in for these celebrations must be clearly labeled with all ingredients, and foods brought in to “Allergy Alert” classrooms must not contain items restricted in that classroom.
Personal party invitations should not be distributed at school unless they are given to every child in the classroom.
POSITIVE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION SUPPORT (PBIS)
RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, KINDNESS, HONESTY, AND SAFETY
Poplar Grove is committed to the wellbeing, safety, and character development of each student. The Discipline Committee has developed a list of expectations that complements our already existing Character under Construction Curriculum. We believe in the PGS High Five!
Positive Reinforcement for Students
Teachers provide positive reinforcement for appropriate student behavior through our school-wide positive behavior support program. Students can earn “tickets” throughout their day from any teacher or staff member. Each grade level determines the rewards for tickets earned. This year we will have school-wide celebrations (PRIDE Time) quarterly. We will highlight one of the four character traits each Pride Time. Kindness, Encouragement, Acceptance, Determination.
7:20 a.m. Students move from common area to classrooms
7:30 a.m. Student day begins
2:30 p.m. Car rider dismissal
2:32 p.m. Bus rider dismissal begins
SCHOOL WIDE RULES
1. Be Respectful.
2. Be Responsible.
3. Be Kind.
4. Be Honest.
5. Be Safe.
If you do not have a current government-issued photo ID, then please speak to the school principal or assistant principal, and they will be glad to assist you.
Those who are simply visiting the office for the purpose of speaking to staff, filling out paperwork, or dropping items off do not need to present identification. However, anyone who wishes to visit an area beyond the office must abide by this revised policy.
Public schools are not public places, and school officials have a duty to protect the students while they are on campus. While we always welcome visitors and guests, we understand this very serious obligation and are proud that our school board has deemed this a priority by placing it in policy.
As we begin this school year, we respectfully request that all visitors adhere to this new policy, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and support.
Once you have signed in and provided appropriate identification, you will be given a visitor’s pass to enter the rest of the school building. Please sign out and return the visitor’s pass to the office prior to leaving campus.
ILLNESS AT SCHOOL
Students should not come to school under the following conditions:
* They have had fever of 100 degrees or higher in the past 24 hours.
* They have had vomiting or diarrhea two (2) or more times in the past 24 hours.
* They have been on antibiotics for strep throat, pink eye, or other infections for less than 24 hours.
* Students will be sent home for the following:
* Fever of 100 degrees or higher (must be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school)
* Vomiting or diarrhea
* Unexplained rash (must have a doctor’s note that student is not contagious to return to school)
* Suspected pink eye (must have 24 hours of antibiotic treatment before returning to school OR have a note from the doctor stating the student is not contagious)
* Lice. FSSD has a strict NO NIT, NO BUG policy. See nurse for lice eviction guidelines
Medications at School
State law prohibits dispensing of medications at school without a completed medication form. This applies to prescription AND non-prescription medications. This includes medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, behavioral medications, and ointments (e.g., Neosporin, hydrocortisone, etc). If your child requires medication during the school day or if you would like to have medications available at school to be given if needed, then please complete a medication request form.
These forms are available from the school clinic or can be downloaded from the website at www.fssd.org.
Non-Prescription (Over-the-Counter) Medications
These require a parent/guardian signature. The medication must be in a new, unopened container with the name of the medication and expiration date clearly visible.
Prescription Medications; Complementary and Alternative Medications
These require both a doctor’s signature and a parent/guardian signature. The medication must be in a labeled prescription medication bottle from the pharmacy. Students may carry inhalers ONLY, but we still must have a medication authorization on file.
Medications must be brought to the clinic by a parent or legal guardian. It is a violation of state law and school policy for a child to bring medication to school. Any medications not picked up by the end of the school year will be discarded.
Types of Information–The school system maintains various types of records as described below:
1. Attendance records
2. Scholastic records
3. Medical records
4. Discipline records (including individual assessment)
5. Directory information
6. System-wide group test results
7. Special education data
Directory information can be disclosed to outside organizations without a
parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that publish yearbooks or sports conferences. FSSD has designated the following information in a student’s educational record as “directory information”:
1. Student name
2. Physical and electronic mail address
3. Date and place of birth
4. Participation in officially recognized activities and sports
5. Weight and height of members of athletic teams
6. Honors and awards
7. Dates of attendance and grade level
If a parent or guardian does not want a student’s directory information released or published in any manner (e.g., school publications, such as the directory, the yearbook, honor roll or recognition lists, promotions programs, and sports activity sheets), a Non-Release of Directory Information Form is available in the school office and should be completed and returned to the school. Forms remain active throughout a student’s time in the FSSD. It may be voided only by parent or guardian signature.
Locations and Authorized Custodians
The primary source of access is the school in which a student is enrolled. The principal is the authorized custodian for these records. The Director of Special Education regulates records of students involved in Special Education Programs, including the dates of individual assessments. If a student leaves the FSSD, the student record will be sent to the new school upon written request from that school.
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Answers to many questions may be obtained from the State Department of Education by calling 1-888-212-3162 or visiting http://www.state.tn.us/education/speced/index.htm
Legal Services Division West TN Regional Resource Center
Division of Special Education, TDOE 100 Berryhill Drive
710 James Robertson Parkway Jackson, TN 38301
Andrew Johnson Tower, 5th Floor Phone: 731-421-5074
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0380 Fax: 731-421-5077
Fax: 615-253-5567 or 615-532-9412
CHILD ADVOCACY INFORMATION
In addition to the state and local resources available to parents and children, there are many agencies and organizations that offer support, information, training, and help in advocating for persons with disabilities in Tennessee. A few of these organizations are listed below:
The ARC of Williamson County, 129 W. Fowlkes Street, Suite 151, Franklin, TN 37064, 615-790-5815, Fax: 615-790-5891
Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP), 712 Professional Plaza, Greeneville, TN 37745, 615-463-2310
Tennessee Protection and Advocacy (TP&A), 416 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212, 615-298-1080, Toll free: 1-800-287-9636, TTY: 615-298-2471, Fax: 615-298-2046
Tennessee Voices for Children, 1315 8th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203, 615-269-7751, Fax: 615-269-8914, TN Toll Free: 800-670-9882, TVC@tnvoices.org
These are but a few of the organizations available to help with information, training, and advocacy. For a more extensive list visit the Tennessee Disability Services – Disability Pathfinder Database: http://kc.vanderbilt.edu/tennesseepathfinder/ServiceFinder/Default.aspx.
The Department of Education and the Franklin Special School District do not intend this as an endorsement or recommendation for any individual organization or service represented in this list.
Children may qualify for consideration under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act if any of the following apply: you live in a shelter, motel, vehicle, campground, abandoned building or trailer, or other inadequate accommodations or if you live with friends or relatives because of the inability to afford adequate housing. If any of these apply, you may be
entitled to all services, rights, and protections provided under this law. Children have the right to attend school. They have the right to continue In the school last attended before becoming homeless (if that is your Choice and it is feasible) and receive transportation to the school last attended prior to becoming homeless if requested. Children may enroll in
a school without a permanent address, school records, or immunization records in hand. The school will provide assistance in obtaining proper documentation, and homeless children will receive the same special programs and services
provided to all other children. For more information, please call 615-794-6624.
UNSAFE SCHOOL CHOICE
Under the Tennessee State Board of Education’s Unsafe School Choice Policy, any public school student who is the victim of a violent crime as defined under Tennessee Code Annotated 38-111(g) or the attempt to commit one of these offenses as defined under Tennessee Code Annotated 39-12-101 shall be provided an opportunity to transfer to
another grade-level appropriate school within the district.
EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
It is the policy of the FSSD not to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, national origin, creed, age, marital status, or status of disability in its educational programs, activities, or employment policies as required by Title VI and VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Inquiries about compliance may be directed to the Civil Rights Coordinator at the FSSD Board of Education at 615-794-3015 or 615-794-6624.
Initial grievance regarding complaints relative to Title VI, Title IX or Section 504 must be directed to the Civil Rights Coordinator. Complaints must be filed in writing to the Civil Rights Coordinator with a copy sent to the person or persons against whom allegations are made. The coordinator will notify all parties involved in the allegation of discrimination within five (5) days of receiving the initial grievance as to the date and time of the hearing. The hearing must be held no later than thirty (30) days from the time of the initial filing of the complaint. If an allegation of discrimination involves student admissions or programs, the coordinator will call the entire hearing before a committee composed of the principal, guidance counselor, and homeroom teacher. All parties involved will give ample opportunity for the presentation of evidence. If the complaint cannot be resolved in the meeting, another hearing will be scheduled within five (5) days of the appeal and will be called no later than forty-five (45) days from the date of the first hearing. This hearing will be before the director of schools and the Board of Education.
The results of each hearing will be presented in writing to all parties involved within five (5) days of the grievance hearing.
If a satisfactory solution cannot be obtained locally, appeals can be made to the Office of Civil Rights in Washington, DC. The completion of a hearing at the local level is not a prerequisite for filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. No person who files a grievance or participates in a grievance hearing shall be subjected to harassment, reprisals, or retaliation in any form. Forms for filing initial grievances are available in the office of the Board of Education.
RIGHT TO REVIEW TEACHER QUALIFICATIONS – NCLB TITLE I
Title I of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provides parents the right to request information regarding the professional qualifications of a student’s classroom teachers and any paraprofessionals providing support to the child. Parents must be provided, upon request, state qualifications and license criteria for teachers and paraprofessionals. For more information, contact the Human Resources Department at 615-794-6624.
SAFE AND DRUG-FREE SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES ACT – TITLE IV-A
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act is designed to support programs that prevent violence in and around schools; that prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; that involve parents and communities; and that are coordinated with related federal, state, school, and community efforts and resources to foster a safe and drug-free learning environment that supports student academic achievement.
SECTION 504—FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS STATUTE ENACTED IN 1973
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. It states the following: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance . . . .”
Section 504 regulations require school districts to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. That is, students with disabilities will be provided with educational services designed to meet their individual needs to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.
To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to meet
* Have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (walking, breathing, learning, seeing, hearing, ability to take care of oneself)
* Have a record of such impairment
* Be regarded as having such impairment