School-aged children who have or are thought to have disabilities as defined in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12102, may receive related aids, services, or accommodations. They are needed to afford the student equal opportunity to participate in and obtain the benefits of the school program without discrimination and to the maximum extent appropriate to the student’s abilities.
For those students who have a disability that require accommodations or services to appropriately access their regular education program, an evaluation for an educational service agreement (504 Plan) can be requested. Students receiving services under this category are typically children who are not eligible for special education services, yet demonstrate a disability that requires special consideration within the educational setting. The disability should not be a temporary, non-chronic impairment of short duration, with little or no permanent long-term impact. In order to request a Section 504 evaluation, the parent should contact their child’s Guidance Counselor.
The McKinney-Vento Act states that it is the policy of Congress that state educational agencies shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths 42 U.S.C. § 11431. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (A) indicates that the local educational agency (LEA) shall, according to the child’s best interest: In accordance with Section 722 (g) (3) (B) (ii), the local educational agency:
(I) Must presume that keeping a homeless child or youth in the school of origin is in the student’s best interest unless doing so is contrary to the request of the student’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the student;
(II) Must consider student-centered factors related to a student’s best interest, giving priority to the request of the student’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth; or
(III) If the LEA determines that it is not in a student’s best interest to attend the school of origin, or the school requested by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, it must provide a written explanation of the reasons for its determination, in a manner and form that is understandable.
According to the McKinney-Vento Act, the term “school of origin” means the school the child or youth attended when permanently housed, or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g) (3) (G).
In determining the best interest of the child or youth under McKinney-Vento Act, the LEA shall:
(I) Continue the student’s education in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness when a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; and for the remainder of the academic year even if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or
(II) Enroll the student in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the student is actually living are eligible to attend.