Framework (What’s Required):
CFR §104.34 of section 504 regulations
(a) Academic setting. A recipient to which this subpart applies shall educate, or shall provide for the education of, each qualified handicapped person in its jurisdiction with persons who are not handicapped to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person. A recipient shall place a handicapped person in the regular educational environment operated by the recipient unless it is demonstrated by the recipient that the education of the person in the regular environment with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Whenever a recipient places a person in a setting other than the regular educational environment pursuant to this paragraph, it shall take into account the proximity of the alternate setting to the person's home.
(b) Nonacademic settings (including field trips). In providing or arranging for the provision of nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, including meals, recess periods, and the services and activities set forth in 104.37(a)(2), a recipient shall ensure that handicapped persons participate with nonhandicapped persons in such activities and services to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person in question.
(c) Comparable facilities. If a recipient, in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section, operates a facility that is identifiable as being for handicapped persons, the recipient shall ensure that the facility and the services and activities provided therein are comparable to the other facilities, services, and activities of the recipient.
Methods (What We Do):
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) provides students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in field trips and other extra-curricular activities. Prohibiting or limiting the participation of a student with a disability in field trips may constitute unlawful discrimination under Section 504 and the ADA.
All students with disabilities must be provided the same opportunity to participate in field trips as their non-disabled peers unless it is determined by an ARD/IEP or Section 504 committee that the student should not attend the field trip for a clearly justifiable reason. The decision for a student not to participate on a field trip should be made on an individual basis. The burden of proof for demonstrating the student should not participate in a field trip is on the district.
Participation in field trips cannot be denied based on the following criteria:
- Lack of funds
- Medical conditions (Unless the field trip activity presents an unacceptable risk to the student’s health or safety)
- Parent is unable to attend the field trip
If a student with disabilities requires supports and services while on a field trip the district is required to provide these accommodations to ensure participation. Students with disabilities and their families should receive notice about the planned field trip when all other students and their families receive the notice.
Should it be determined that a student with a disability cannot attend a field the trip, the decision to exclude the student from participation and the reasons for the exclusion must be considered and agreed upon by an ARD/IEP or Section 504 committee. The ARD/IEP document or Section 504 Accommodation Plan will in part, serve as the notice to exclude the student from the field trip, if this decision is necessary. However, the prior written notice document is required for a student with a disability.