MANSFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Parent/Student Rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973 and its amendments
A student is eligible under Section 504 when he/she is professionally diagnosed as
needing special services or programs because he/she is one who (1) has; (2) has a
record of having; or (3) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities such as learning.
Parents have the rights to:
1. Have your child take part in, and receive benefits from public education programs
without discrimination based on a disability.
2. Have the district advise you as to your rights under federal law.
3. Receive notice with respect to identification, evaluation, or placement of your child.
4. Have your child receive a free appropriate education (FAPE). This includes the right to
be educated with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate. It also
includes the right to have the District make reasonable accommodations to allow your
child an equal opportunity to participate in school and school-related activities.
5. Have your child educated in facilities and receive services comparable to those
provided without disabilities.
6. Have your child receive special education and related services if she/he is found
eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), or to receive reasonable
accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
7. Have eligibility and educational placement decisions made based upon a variety of
information sources, and by individuals who know the student, the eligibility data, and
8. Have a right to periodic re-evaluation and evaluation before any significant change in
9. Give your child an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular
activities offered by the school District through the provision of reasonable
10 Examine all relevant records relating to decisions regarding your child’s identification,
eligibility, educational program and placement under the Family Educational Rights and
Privacy Act. The requirements are described in the Board’s policy manual on file at the
11. Obtain copies of educational records at a reasonable cost unless the fee would
effectively deny you access to the records.
12. Receive a response from the District to reasonable requests for explanations
and interpretations of your child’s records.
13. Request amendment of your child’s educational records if there is reasonable cause to
believe that they are inaccurate, misleading or otherwise in violation of the privacy rights
of your child. If the District refuses this request, it shall notify you within a reasonable
time, and advise you of the right to a hearing.
14. Request an impartial due process hearing related to decisions regarding your child’s
identification, eligibility, and educational placement. You and your child may take part
in the hearing and have an attorney represent you at your own cost. You have the right,
also, to appeal the impartial hearing officer’s decision.
15. File a complaint with the District when you believe your child’s rights have been
School Level 504 Compliance Officer: Mansfield Public Schools
402 Grove Street
Mansfield, AR 72944
Guidelines for evaluating and determining a disability under Section 504
dictate the use of a multi-disciplinary team that includes persons knowledgeable
about the student’s suspected disability. In the Mansfield Public Schools, the 504 Team
performs this function at the school level. Information from a variety of sources
should be used. The evaluation must accurately and thoroughly assess the
nature and extend of the disability and focus on specific areas of educational
deficit, if any are found.
Section 504 Handbook
The type of disability suspected and the type of services that may be
needed determines the specific evaluation procedures employed. In some
cases, solely the 504 Team may handle the evaluation. The
504 Team, in cooperation with parents, could appropriately access
existing evaluation data, review school records and obtain observation data, or
conduct additional assessments to determine if a disabling condition under
Sections 504 exists, and recommend programming within regular education.
An example would be a child who enters school with medical documentation
of ADD/ADHD. The 504 Team might collect observation data indicating
that the child has difficulty paying attention, and completion of tasks or
assignments. Appropriate services might include re-orienting the child to
discussions or tasks, reiterating task completion and assisting parents with
giving feedback to medical personnel.
In cases where comprehensive evaluation is needed and/or the child
demonstrates characteristics of a disability under the IDEA that would require
special education, a referral to the IEP Team is warranted.
Programming and Accommodations
Once all evaluation data has been reviewed and if the student’s eligibility as
disabled under Section 504 has been determined, the 504 Team must
determine what educational accommodations are needed. Appropriate
educational services include regular or special education and related aids and
services that are designed to meet the individual needs of the child.
Most children identified under Section 504 can be educated in the regular
setting with accommodations and/or supplementary aids and services. The
student must be placed in the regular educational environment unless there is
evidence that the child’s needs cannot be met in the regular setting with the use
of supplementary aids and services.
The accommodation plan can be modified as needed. Schools must
consistently implement all accommodations documented in Section 504
Accommodation Plans that were agreed upon by the Intervention Team and
Teachers are expected to review the accommodation plans of their students
periodically as appropriate in order to make the necessary provisions for them.
The Intervention Team and the parent(s) should review the 504
Accommodation Plan at least annually.
Section 504 regulations require that re-evaluations be done periodically, but
a specific time frame is not mandated. However, regulations do require that a
re-evaluation with notice to parents occur prior to any significant change in
placement, including graduation and long-term suspensions or exclusions.
Exiting From Section 504
An exit is defined under Section 504 as a change in placement. Changes in
placement require a re-evaluation to determine if the student continues to be
eligible under Section 504 requirements.
Qualified disabled students must be given the opportunity to participate in
nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities. Such services and
activities might include counseling, recreational athletics, transportation, school
sponsored clubs, etc.
The nature of the disability should be considered when developing and
implementing behavior management strategies and discipline. When a student
with a disability commits a violation of the school rules that would result in a
long-term suspension (exceeding 10 days), ISS (in-school suspension) and bus
suspension or expulsion, a manifestation determination must be conducted by
the 504 Team to determine whether the student’s misconduct was a
manifestation of the student’s disability.
If it is determined that the misconduct is caused by disability, then the
504 Team shall modify the current educational placement or make, if
appropriate, an alternative educational placement. If there is no nexus, then the
school may initiate “normal” disciplinary procedures.
Procedural Safeguards (See Parent/Student Rights Document)
Under Section 504, parents are entitled to certain rights regarding their
child’s education. They must be advised of their rights at evaluation and
eligibility determination, at the development of an accommodation plan, and
prior to any significant change in plans for services.
Other rights include:
• the right to an evaluation decision based on a variety of information
sources, and by persons knowledgeable of the student, the evaluation
data, and placement options
• the right to examine all relevant records
• the right for the child to receive a free appropriate public education
(FAPE) in the least restrictive setting that allows for participation in
school and school-related activities. FAPE for Section 504 is defined as
“an education that meets the needs of a student with disabilities as
adequately as the needs of students without disabilities”.
• the right to request an impartial hearing if there is disagreement on
identification, evaluation, educational program or placement decisions.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act specifies rights related to
educational records. This act gives the parent or guardian the right to:
• inspect and review his/her child’s educational records;
• make copies of these records;
• receive a list of all individuals having access to records;
• ask for an explanation of any item in the records:
• ask for an amendment to any report on the grounds that it is inaccurate,
misleading, or violates the child’s rights; and
• a hearing on the issue if the school refuses to make the amendment.
Students who are officially classified as having a disability under Section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are eligible for appropriate modifications/
accommodations in the Arkansas ACTAAP Testing Program. Students with
disabilities may need modified test formats, special test arrangements, or a
different test environment to demonstrate achievement.
Approved testing modifications for student with disabilities must be
consistent with instructional practices that are routinely used in the general
education classroom and are documented in a current written Section 504
Accommodation Plan. The modifications needed and specific tests involved
should be clearly defined in the Accommodation Plan. Student testing accommodations
may only be granted in compliance with Arkansas regulations regarding standardized
testing and allowable accommodations.
Sign Language Interpreting Services
Section 504 protects parents who have a disabling condition. Parents who
are deaf are entitled to an interpreter if they need it to have an equal opportunity
to participate in school-initiated activities regarding their child.
The following procedures should be followed:
• Parent or guardian should request in writing to the principal for an
interpreter at least seven (10) school days prior to the event or activity.
• Principal should call the District 504 Compliance Officer or the Special Education
Supervisors’ Office for the assignment of an interpreter
at least five (7) school days prior to the event or activity.
V. District-wide Procedures
Assurance of Nondiscrimination
Assurances of nondiscrimination that programs are operated in compliance
with Section 504 requirements are included on various applications for federal
funding and board policy.
The school district (defined as … employs more than 15 persons) shall designate an
individual responsible for coordinating compliance efforts. The Section 504
Compliance Specialist has been designated as the responsible employee.
Notice of Nondiscrimination
The Mansfield Public Schools shall take steps to notify participants,
employees, and applicants of district responsibilities under Section 504. The
following notice shall appear in student/parent handbooks, teacher’s
handbooks, non-certified personnel handbooks and published personnel
The Mansfield Public Schools do not discriminate on basis of race,
gender, national origin, religious affiliation, age or disability in its educational
programs or employment practices.
The Mansfield Public Schools shall endeavor to locate and identify
every qualified disabled person within the district who is not receiving a public
education. The IDEA child-find activities will be utilized to implement this
requirement. Annually, the school district shall make public announcement its efforts to
locate all disabled youth.
Persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the
basis of a disability should first discuss the grievance with the person’s
immediate supervisor or principal. If a mutually satisfactory agreement is not
reached then the person may make a request in writing to the Section 504
Compliance Officer for a formal hearing.
The Grievance Procedure is outline in detail below:
Mansfield Public Schools
Section 504 Grievance Procedures
The purpose of the Section 504 Grievance Procedure is to settle any disagreements
regarding a requested service, accommodation, or modification of a district practice or
requirement, inaccessibility of a program or activity, harassment or discrimination on the
basis of disability and violations of privacy in the context of disability. These procedures
are designed to meet the requirements for grievance procedures as set forth in the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its
amendments of 2008 (ADAAA). Students and their parents or representatives, who
believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability, or have been
denied access to services or accommodations required by law, may use this grievance
INFORMAL SETTLEMEMT OF GRIEVANCE
It is the goal of the Mansfield Public Schools to settle any grievance issues related to
disabled students or those with civil rights complaints in an informal but thorough
manner as recommended by the United States Office for Civil Rights. Prior to initiating a
formal complaint, the student or his/her representative should first discuss the matter
orally or in writing with the individual(s) most directly responsible. This person is
usually the school’s principal and/or the school district’s Section 504 Compliance
Officer. If necessary, the district’s Section 504 Compliance Officer or his/her designee
shall meet with the person(s) filing the complaint (hereinafter “the complainant”) at a
time, date and place convenient to both parties. The Section 504 Compliance Officer or
his/her designee shall always be someone other than the person who took the action
resulting in the grievance.
A complaint to the district’s Section 504 Compliance Officer should be filed within
thirty (30) calendar days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged
(Special circumstances shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.) A complainant and
all interested persons and their representatives shall have the opportunity to submit
evidence relevant to the complaint. All statements and evidence shall be held in strictest
confidence by both parties. The Section 504 Compliance Officer shall maintain the files
and records relating to all complaints filed. After the meeting for informal settlement, the
Section 504 Compliance Officer shall issue a written decision within 30 working days
to the Complainant, the School District Superintendent, and the appropriate school
Within the written decision of the informal settlement the complainant shall be advised of
his/her right to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed. Also, the
complainant shall be advised that this procedure shall not preclude his/her right to pursue
other remedies such as the filing of a Section 504/ADAAA complaint with the
responsible federal department or agency. The filing of this informal grievance
procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
PROCEDURES FOR FILING A FORMAL GRIEVANCE
If the informal procedure fails to satisfy the dispute, the formal hearing process becomes
available to all students who have a grievance concerning a disability or who have a
stated case of discrimination that may be the subject of a complaint under Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and/or the ADAAA.
Below are the steps to follow under the formal grievance procedure:
Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the results of the informal settlement, the student(s)
or his/her representative(s) seeking relief from Mansfield Public Schools may file a
formal, written grievance. The request must give the following information:
A. the filer’s (hereinafter known as “the complainant”) name, address,
e-mail address and phone number;
B. a full description of and the nature of the grievance;
C. description of what efforts have been made to resolve the issue
D. and, the action, remedy or relief sought;
The complaint should be sent to the Mansfield Public Schools, Office of the
Superintendent, 402 Grove Street, Mansfield, AR 72944.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the Superintendent will review the complaint for
timeliness and appropriateness for this grievance procedure, and provide the complainant
with written notice acknowledging the receipt of the formal complaint.
The Superintendent or his/her designee shall promptly initiate an investigation. In
undertaking the investigation, the Superintendent may interview, consult with and/or
request a written response to the issues raised in the grievance from any individual the
Superintendent believes to have relevant information, including faculty, staff and
The complainant and the party against whom the grievance is directed shall have the right
to a representative. If the complainant brings an attorney to the grievance meeting
without informing the Superintendent’s Office in advance, the meeting shall be adjourned
until an attorney representing the Mansfield Public Schools is available to attend the
grievance meeting. However, for the purposes of this meeting an attorney is not usually
an appropriate representative.
After completion of the meeting(s) and investigation(s) the Superintendent shall prepare
and transmit to the complainant, his/her representative(s), and to the party against whom
the grievance is directed, a final report containing a summary of the investigation, written
findings, and a proposed solution or disposition. This report (transmission) shall be
delivered within forty-five (45) calendar days of the filing of the formal complaint. This
deadline may be extended by the Federal/State Compliance Office for good cause. The
final report shall be provided, also, where appropriate, to any Mansfield Public Schools
officer whose authority will be needed to carry out the proposed disposition.
The disposition proposed by the Superintendent shall be put into effect promptly. The
complainant or any party against whom the grievance or the proposed disposition is
directed may appeal to the United States Office of Civil Rights. Appealing to the Office
of Civil Rights will not suspend the implementation of the disposition proposed by the
Superintendent unless the Office of Civil Rights decides that good cause exists making
the suspension of implementation or relief appropriate.
Possible remedies under this grievance procedure include corrective steps, actions to
reverse the effects of discrimination or to end harassment, to provide a reasonable
accommodation or proper ongoing treatment.
FAILURE TO REQUEST A HEARING
Anyone who is covered under this procedure waives his or her right to a hearing if he/she
has not requested a hearing within 30 days of the incident. Other rights to file a
complaint under the relief granted by the terms of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its
amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its Amendments of 2008
(ADAAA), are not waived.
In order to qualify for a formal Section 504 Grievance Hearing, the Complainant must
waive an informal hearing or have participated in the informal settlement procedure
outline above. If the Complainant can show just cause why he/she did not participate or
request an informal settlement under the provisions above, then the Hearing Officer may
waive this requirement.
LOCATION AND TIME OF THE HEARING
The location and time of the hearing shall be jointly agreed upon by all parties involved,
as aforementioned. Every effort shall be made to locate the hearing in a fully accessible
location. If the Complainant seeking relief under this procedure needs signers for the
hearing impaired or special accommodations, such services will be provided at no
expense to the Complainant by the Mansfield Public Schools upon receiving notice ten
(10) days prior to the hearing.
PROCEDURES GOVERING THE GRIEVANCE HEARING
All hearing procedures will held before the Hearing Officer. The Complainant or his/her
representative shall have the opportunity to examine, before the start of the proceedings
all relevant materials. The Complainant shall have the right to secure aid in
representation whether of a professional nature or otherwise. This would include, but not
be limited to, attorneys, health professionals, or any other person beneficial to the
presentation of the case. These hearings shall be held in private. A public hearing will
be given consideration if requested by the Complainant. The Complainant has the right
to present any and all pertinent evidence and cross-examine any and all witnesses. The
decision of any and all hearings shall only be based on fact presented at the time of the
FAILURE TO SHOW FOR THE HEARING
In the event that the Mansfield Public Schools representative or the Complainant or
his/her representative(s) fails to show, the Hearing Officer may postpone the hearing for
up to five (5) days or find against the party who failed to show. This determination does
not effect the Complainant’s or the district’s rights to pursue any other legal process
RECORDS OF PROCEDURES OF TRANSCRIPTS
Mansfield Public Schools will or the Complainant may arrange for a transcript of the
hearing in advance at the expense of the party requesting the transcript.
DECISION OF THE HEARING OFFICER
The hearing officer must issue a written decision within ten (10) working days and
furnish a copy to all parties. A copy must be kept on file in the Mansfield Public Schools
Office of the Superintendent, and the 504 Compliance Officer’s Office. A copy of the
decision with all names deleted shall be kept on file for future reference for any other
party filing a grievance.
After completion of these processes if the complainant finds he/she is still being
discriminated against, he/she maintains the right to file a complaint with the Office for
Civil Rights with the U.S. Department of Education.
This procedure was developed to protect the substantive rights of interested
persons, meet appropriate due process standards, and ensure the Mansfield Public
Schools comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its
amendments and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its amendments of 2008
(ADAAA) and their implementing regulations
Qualified disabled students shall be provided an equal opportunity to
engage in counseling services, physical recreation, athletics, transportation,
special interest clubs, etc.
For example, qualified disabled students shall:
• not be counseled towards more restrictive career objectives than non
disabled students (with similar abilities)
• have an equal opportunity to participate in physical education courses
and athletics. Although qualified disabled students may participate in
separate activities for the disabled, no qualified disabled student shall be
denied the opportunity to compete for teams or to participate in courses
that are not separate or different.
VI. Role of 504 Compliance Officer
The Mansfield Public Schools has adopted and complies with
policy and procedures that ensure protection against discrimination of
individuals with disabilities. Each school is responsible for providing a free
appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students including those with
We endeavor to and communicate with parents of students with special
needs. To effectively do so requires that school personnel be knowledgeable of
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADAAA).
To assist school personnel and parents in matters regarding education of
students under Section 504, the district’s 504 Compliance Officer shall:
• Serve as a liaison between the school and the district’s Office of the Superintendent.
• Serve as a liaison between your school and other schools.
• Provide in-service training to school staff on 504 procedures.
• Monitor 504 Student Accommodation Plans.
• Ensure that all teachers receive copies of their students’ 504
• Schedule and facilitate the review of all 504 Accommodation Plans
• Forward a copy of the 504 Accommodation Plan to accompany the
student to summer school, after school programs, driver education,
management school, learning academy, other alternative programs and
• Ensure that a copy of the student's 504 Accommodation Plan is added to
the student's Personal Education Plan (PEP).