• Section 504

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with disabilities from discrimination. Merrimack School District is responsible for identifying students and evaluating if they are eligible under Section 504 and for providing a free appropriate public education for all students with disabilities.

    The determination of whether a student has a disability under Section 504 involves the following inquiries:

    Does the student have:

    • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; or
    • A record of such as impairment; or
    • Is the student regarded as having such an impairment

    The determination as to whether a substantial limitation exists is made on a case-by-case basis. Typically, for a physical or mental impairment to substantially limit a major life activity, the impairment should limit the major life activity to a considerable degree and is usually expected to last more than three months. An impairment will be considered substantially limiting when a student is substantially restricted or unable to perform a major life activity that most peers in the general population can perform. Current illegal use of drugs or alcohol is not an impairment protected under Section 504.

    The question of whether a student requires a Section 504 accommodation plan is decided after the Section 504 team has determined that the student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The determination is made by the Section 504 team, which can include parents, student, administrator, school counselor, teachers, nurse, and 504 Coordinator.

    The purpose of a Section 504 plan is to protect against discrimination and to remove barriers that prevent students from having an equal opportunity to access their education.

    A Section 504 plan is NOT:

    • A guarantee of academic success
    • For students with minor impairments
    • An eligibility determination based solely on a medical diagnosis
    • The establishment of specific goals or skills, a modification of a student’s curriculum, or specialized education
    • Automatically carried forward to the post-secondary level (either an IEP or 504 plan can be presented for an eligibility determination at that level)

    Any parent, legal guardian, or school staff member may initiate a referral for a student who is believed to be a child with a disability under Section 504. An adult student of eligible school age also may initiate such a referral for him or herself. Please complete the referral form below and send it to the building 504 Coordinator, Christina Connor, at christina.connor@sau26.org.