The following definitions apply to this Section 504 Manual, Policies, Guidelines, and Forms.
A "free appropriate public education" is the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the individual educational needs of students with a disability as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met and is based on adherence to procedures that satisfy Section 504 requirements pertaining to educational setting, evaluation, placement, and procedural safeguards.
An "individual with a disability" is a person who:
1. Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities;
2. Has a record of such an impairment; or
3. Is regarded as having such an impairment.
1. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or
2. Any mental or psychological disorder, such as a cognitive impairment, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
The Section 504 regulations do not provide an exhaustive list of specific diseases or conditions that may constitute a physical or mental impairment because of the difficulty of developing a comprehensive list of possible diseases and conditions.
A student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity is considered a student with a "disability" under Section 504. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Neither Section 504 nor its implementing regulations define the term "substantially limits" but the term is not necessarily synonymous with "unable to perform" or "significantly restricted in" a major life activity.
Except for ordinary eye glasses or contact lenses, the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures may not be considered when assessing whether a student has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. "Mitigating measures" include, but are not limited to: medication; medical supplies, equipment or appliances; low-vision devices (devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image); prosthetics (including limbs and devices); hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices; mobility devices; oxygen therapy equipment and supplies; use of assistive technology; reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; and learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
A temporary impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless it is of such severity that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities for an extended period of time. This determination is to be made on a case-by-case basis.
If a student has an impairment that is episodic or in remission, the District must consider whether the impairment, when active, would substantially limit a major life activity. If it would, then the student meets the definition of a student with a disability.
To be eligible under Section 504, a student's physical or mental impairment must interfere with one or more "major life activities." A "major life activity" includes, but is not limited to functions such as:
This list is not exhaustive. An activity or function not found on the list may nonetheless be a major life activity. A student is protected from all forms of discrimination and is eligible under Section 504 if the student has an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including, but not limited to, learning.
Section 504 also protects students from discrimination who have a record of an impairment or who are regarded as impaired. A student is "regarded as" having an impairment if the District perceives the student as impaired. The District shall not treat students differently based upon a record that shows that the student was disabled in the past, or based upon an assumption or perception of disability. The District is not required to develop a Section 504 plan for a student who either has a record of an impairment or who is regarded as having an impairment, but who is not otherwise currently eligible under Section 504.
A student who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs is not eligible for services or protection under Section 504 when the District takes disciplinary action on the basis of such drug use even if the student is otherwise a student with a disability. A student who is a former drug user or who is participating in a drug rehabilitation program, however, may be eligible for Section 504 services and protection if the student otherwise meets the definition of an "individual with a disability" as described above.