Individuals with disabilities are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled students are met. All individuals determined to have a disability are protected by this law. To be protected under Section 504, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The Section 504 regulations also require a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.
Consideration for Section 504 eligibility entails a specific, detailed, and timely process that school professionals must follow. Each school in the Alleghany County System has a 504 contact who can assist with parent questions and coordinating the eligibility process. The school system's Section 504/ADA Coordinator is Mrs. Melissa Fitzgerald and may be reached at 336-372-4345.