The Logic of Legal Opinions Regarding A School District's Responsibility For Providing Accommodations In A Section 504 Plan: No Special Needs Child Left Behind

by Naccarati, Lillian

Abstract (Summary)
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights statute. The purpose of the statute was to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in any program receiving federal funds. The passage of the Act set the stage for future legislation which addressed the education of students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) encased, specified and extended the regulatory requirements of Section 504. It is this very nature of co-existence that has created a climate of confusion for those who are charged with the responsibility of implementation, particularly in the area of designing 'reasonable accommodations' for disabled students. The language of Section 504 is relatively vague, opening the door for wide interpretation. Common terminology in IDEA and Section 504 are defined differently. Again, creating confusion and, in some cases, argument between parents and the school district. 'Reasonable accommodations' is a relevant term under Section 504 however; it is not a relevant term under the IDEA. The Office for Civil Rights has infrequently attended to substantive issues but rather focused on procedural issues, leaving 'reasonable accommodations' and other such questions to the courts. Although marked by inconsistency and some confusion, the judicial trend seems to be toward interpreting Section 504 as requiring recipients to make 'reasonable accommodations' rather than unqualified affirmative action. This dissertation will provide an examination of select court cases that address the issue of 'reasonable accommodations' under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973. It is assumed that the most recent court rulings would incorporate the findings of prior court rulings as a basis for the decision. This analysis of the interpretations of the rulings will be the foundation for the development of a reference tool for district administration to consider when developing an accommodation plan.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Charles Gorman

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:administrative and policy studies


Date of Publication:03/29/2005

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