Frontline Education launches “Understanding Section 504,” a seven-episode video series detailing key aspects of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a resource for administrators and educators supporting students with disabilities.

The series aims to build understanding and awareness around complex 504 regulations, to help school districts ensure equitable instructional access, improve the quality of 504 Plans and enhance compliance, to mitigate risks to the district.

The series features leading school law practitioner, John Comegno, a media release from Frontline Education explains.

“Section 504 is not about expanding rights. It’s not about changing student experience. It’s not about creating educational rights. It’s about protecting education rights,” says Comegno, founder and president of The Comegno Law Group.

“Understanding the criteria of Section 504 is crucial to compliant delivery and implementation of the mandate for students.”

The videos include:

  • “Introduction to Core Concepts of Section 504”: Examines the origins of Section 504, looking at the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to discuss the intention of the laws and their evolution as a result of important cases and events. Learn three guiding principles to strengthen your 504 processes.
  • “Understanding the Section 504 Eligibility Criteria”: Aims to help educators make informed decisions based on specific criteria in the Americans with Disabilities Act, and understand what is needed to gather high-quality Section 504 eligibility data. This episode defines the terms “physical impairment,” “mental impairment” and “major life activity” with regard to 504 eligibility.
  • “Unraveling the Key Concept of “Otherwise Qualified” and its Implications”: Addresses the challenges education organizations face when defining this term and defending 504-eligibility decisions by looking at important cases that bring the regulation into focus. The episode also walks you through the legal definition of “substantially limit” and identifies specific data to consider when determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity.
  • “Are We Just Talking About Medical Diagnosis? Using Data in Section 504 Decision-Making”: Discusses how to use student data to ensure access and fulfill 504’s mandate: thou shall not discriminate. The episode identifies specific data that education organizations should consider when determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Several cases are reviewed to shed light on the use of practical data in 504 decision-making.
  • “When are 504 Plans for Students Exiting Special Education Appropriate?”: Reviews best practices for considering 504 eligibility when a student is no longer eligible for special education. The episode outlines specific student data that needs to be plugged in to inform a compliant decision-making process. John also clarifies intent of IEPs and 504 Plans and identifies the legal differences between the two classifications.
  • “What About Behaviors? Do our 504 Students Receive “Extra” Due Process?“: Answers common legal questions that arise around a district’s due process related to behavioral intervention plans and behavior management plans for students that fall under Section 504. The episode reviews how the integrity of your district’s data and 504 processes is critical for compliance management and plan implementation. John also outlines specific disciplinary consequences related to 504.
  • “Best Practices in Drafting Section 504 Plans: The Need for Consistency”: Outlines the many different types of data needed to make legally sound eligibility determinations and ensure that educators are capturing the necessary information for each student. In addition, the series concludes by sharing specific best practices for 504 procedural safeguards and accommodation review. Who should be at your 504-decision-making table? What should your process and plans look like?

New episodes are available each Thursday, beginning April 11 and continuing through May 23. For more information and to watch the series, visit the Frontline Education blog.

[Source(s): Frontline Education, PR Newswire]