• What is Section 504? 

     

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly known as Section 504) is federal law  that affects all programs receiving federal financial assistance of any kind. It is a civil rights and  anti-discrimination law. The law is intended to provide equal opportunity for qualified people  with disabilities. This translates into the provision of accessibility, the provision of benefits,  services, and aids that are equally effective for people with disabilities and those without, as well  as the provision of programs and activities that are otherwise free from discrimination based on  disability. The law itself is very broad and is an area Congress and federal courts are continuing  to develop. The NHRHS Board of Education (BOE) has implemented Policy 2418 to implement Section 504.  

    The Northern Highlands Regional High School Section 504 Coordinator contact information is as follows: 

          Kelly Peterfriend

          Northern Highlands Regional High School

          298 Hillside Avenue

          Allendale, New Jersey  07401

          201-327-8700 ext. 509 (office)

          201-236-9543 (fax)

          peterfriendk@northernhighlands.org

    Section 504 states: No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of  her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be  subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial  assistance.  

    This may be interpreted as: 

    • NHRHS must follow Section 504 requirements since it receives federal financial
      assistance. 
    • NHRHS cannot exclude a student on the sole basis of a disability from participation in  school system programs or deny a student the benefit of such participation.  
    • NHRHS cannot discriminate against a student on the basis of disability.  

    NHRHS is committed to providing a quality education for all students. Section 504 Plans assist in ensuring that students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). 

    Disability: Under Section 504, an individual with a disability (also referred to as a student with a disability in the elementary and secondary education context) is defined as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

    The determination of whether a student has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (and therefore has a disability) must be made on a case by case basis. In addition, when determining if someone meets the definition of a disability, the definition must be understood to provide broad coverage of individuals.

    Physical or mental impairments. Section 504 defines a physical or mental impairment as any

    • physiological disorder or condition,
    • cosmetic disfigurement, or
    • anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine.

    The Section 504 definition of physical and mental impairment also includes any mental or psychological disorder. The definition does not include all specific diseases and conditions that may be physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the completeness of such a list. 

    Major life activities include certain acts a person does (such as hearing, speaking, lifting) and a person’s bodily functions (such as lung disease that affects a person’s respiratory system, or a traumatic brain injury that affects the function of the brain).

    The list of major life activities under Section 504 includes, but is not limited to, the activities listed below. 

    • caring for oneself
    • bending
    • performing manual tasks
    • speaking
    • seeing
    • breathing
    • hearing
    • learning
    • eating
    • reading
    • sleeping
    • concentrating
    • walking
    • thinking
    • standing
    • communicating
    • lifting
    • working