Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs receiving federal financial assistance. The primary purpose for the law is to ensure that qualified students with impairments/disabilities do not experience discrimination. As St. Mary's County Pubic Schools (SMCPS) receives federal funds, the school system is subject to the provisions under Section 504. SMCPS is, therefore, responsible for the identification, evaluation, and determination of eligibility for the purpose of providing access to appropriate educational services through a written accommodation plan. This plan includes modifications and/or services as deemed necessary to meet a student's educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.
A student's parent(s)/legal guardian(s) or school staff member may refer a student to the 504 Team Chairperson at their student's school for a Section 504 evaluation. The parent(s)/legal guardian(s) are notified of the referral and a meeting is scheduled to review all relevant information pertaining to the student's suspected disability and any educational concerns.
Inquiries regarding Section 504 may be made to the Section 504 Coordinator for St. Mary's County Public Schools, Rhonda Harris, at the Department of Student Services at 301-475-5511, ext. 32150.