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SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973 RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education. It applies to ensure that eligible students are provided with educational benefits and opportunities equal to those provided to non-disabled students. The purpose of this notice is to inform parents and students of the rights granted to them under the law and to keep parent/guardian fully informed concerning decisions about his/her child and to inform him/her of their rights if they disagree with any of these decisions.

Under Section 504, parents/guardians have the right to:

  • have their child reasonably take part in and receive benefits from public education programs without discrimination because of his/her disability;
  • have the school district advise parent/guardian of their rights under federal law upon request;
  • receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation, or placement of their child;
  • have their child receive a free appropriate public education, including the right to be educated with other students to the maximum extent appropriate;
  • have their child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those provided to students without disabilities whenever reasonable;
  • have their child be given a reasonable equal opportunity to participate in non-academic and extracurricular activities offered by the school district;
  • have evaluation, educational, and placement decisions made based up a variety of information sources, by a group of persons who know the student, the evaluation data, and placement options;
  • have their child receive reasonable accommodations and related services if they are needed in order for the child to receive a free appropriate public education;
  • examine all relevant education records relating to decisions regarding their child’s identification, evolutional program, and placement;
  • receive a response from the school district to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of their child’s record.

Disabled parents/guardians will be afforded reasonable accommodation if required to allow participation in their child’s education.

Colonial School District’s representative who is responsible for assuring that the District complies with Section 504, is the Director of Student Services. Inquiries concerning potential discrimination can be directed to:

Dr. Jon Cooper, Director of Student Services
Colonial School District
318 East Basin Road
New Castle, DE 19720
Tel: (302) 323-2700
Fax: (302) 323-2748

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE TO ADDRESS SECTION 504 DISCRIMINATION:

The Section 504 Compliance Officer’s responsibilities include overseeing all complaints of discrimination and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints.

The Colonial School District strives to provide an environment free from discrimination.  The District encourages students, parents, and staff to identify barriers to a discrimination-free and appropriate learning environment in all schools.  Any employee, parent/guardian of a student enrolled in the Colonial School District, or student eighteen years of age or older may file a grievance if he/she believes they or their child has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability by students, employees, or third parties.  All grievances will be received and investigated in a fair and expeditious manner.

Steps to Resolution

Step 1:  The best solutions to parent/student concerns often occur at the school level.  Therefore, the District encourages parents/students to attempt to resolve concerns by working with the building principal or other appropriate building staff to reach a joint resolution of the issue.  Contact the building principal to arrange a meeting or to discuss the complaint.

Step 2:  If the issue is not resolved at the school level, the Colonial School District Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Grievance Form shall be submitted to the District Section 504 Compliance Officer (Director of Student Services) within 180 calendar days of the alleged Section 504 violation to request a hearing.  The Compliance Officer will be independent and impartial.  If he or she has prior knowledge of the situation, an independent and impartial designee shall be appointed.  He or she will thoroughly and diligently investigate the circumstances of the concern, obtain information as to relevant witnesses and evidence, obtain all relevant evidence, hear equally from the grievant’s witnesses, and other witnesses, equally review all evidence from the grievant and accused and interview and obtain statements from all relevant witnesses, and then present a report of his or her finding of fact and conclusions within 30 business days.  The investigation will be adequate and reliable.  The report of his or her findings shall be sent to the parties upon completion.  The complaint should be sent to:

Dr. Jon Cooper, Director of Student Services
Colonial School District
318 East Basin Road
New Castle, DE 19720
Tel:  (302) 323-2700
Fax:  (302) 323-2748

The Colonial School District Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Grievance Form must be completed with all information listed below and signed by the grievant.

  • the child’s name, date of birth, address and the school he or she attends;
  • complainant’s name, address and phone number;
  • complainant’s relationship to the child (parent, guardian, surrogate);
  • name, address, and phone number of the person representing complainant (if complainant has someone);
  • decision of the school with which complainant disagrees and the reason;
  • date complainant received this decision; and
  • complainant’s signature.

Colonial School District Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Grievance Form:  click here for the form

Step 3: The person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the District Section 504 Compliance Officer to the Superintendent (or designee) within 10 days of receiving the Section 504 Compliance Officer’s decision.  The Superintendent (or designee) shall review all statements and evidence as well as the Section 504 Compliance Officer’s report (or designee’s report), gather such additional evidence as deemed necessary, and then issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 days after its filing.

In the event there is a finding of discrimination, the District shall take remedial efforts and efforts to prevent recurrence and shall make all reasonable efforts to correct the discriminatory effects of a prohibited action.

Any party aggrieved shall have the right to file a formal complaint after the Superintendent’s decision (or designee’s decision) with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Office for Civil Rights, Philadelphia
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA  19107
Tel:  (215)656-8541
Fax:  (215)656-8605
Email:  OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov
OCR Electronic Complaint Form:  https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html