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Having a 504 plan doesn’t make someone dumb, it means they have a different path to success

Even though many people think that having a 504 plan means that people are disabled, it actually means that they might need a little extra help but they can still succeed even if it isnt the “normal” path to success.
Catie Campagnino ’26
Even though many people think that having a 504 plan means that people are disabled, it actually means that they might need a little extra help but they can still succeed even if it isn’t the “normal” path to success.

No, having a 504 plan doesn’t mean that you are disabled; it means that you are like everyone else, but may have medical or financial disadvantages that make it so you need a little extra help in order to succeed.

According to CT.Gov, a 504 plan “provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” In a way, 504s are supposed to give students an equal playing field when it comes to success and making sure kids who need accommodation are supported.  

I have always thought that having a 504 plan is not that big of a deal. Since it’s only a document that tells my teachers about any accommodations that I might need during classAccording to understood.org, a 504 plan “is a blueprint for how the school will support a student with a disability and remove barriers to learning. The goal is to give the student equal access at school.” In my mind, my 504 is telling teachers about little accommodations such as extra time on tests or having access to my computer. I can still succeed like my peers, but I need this accommodation and it’s important for my success that I make my teachers aware of my accommodations.

No, having a 504 plan doesn’t mean that you are disabled; it means that you are like everyone else, but may have medical or financial disadvantages that make it so you need a little extra help in order to succeed.

— Catie Campagnino ’26

 

One of the common misconceptions about 504 plans is that they are based on whether or not a student has good grades, but there are so many other factors that go into having a 504. According to The Connecticut Association of schools, “if only one school within a school system received federal financial assistance, every other school within that system would also be bound under Section 504.” There are so many factors that qualify a student to have a 504 plan, maybe for financial aid or anxiety or a medical condition, it’s not based on how smart a student is.  

In the state of Connecticut, students that need accommodations are actually not that rare. CT Data says that in “the 2020-2021 school year, 83,623 of 429,456 students are special education students.” This number has been going up since the pandemic, making it extremely common for  students to have a 504.

I have noticed more kids throughout the Staples community, kids who I have never thought have a 504 plan, go up to my teachers and ask to use accommodations given to them on their 504 plan. In a way, this kind of makes me feel better about myself, seeing that there are so many other kids who might have a different path from what is viewed as “normal.” Seeing this shows me that you can’t tell who has a 504 and who doesn’t, because many people who “don’t look like they need a 504 plan” actually have this different path to success. 

Having a 504 plan doesn’t mean that someone is not as smart as their pears, it means that they have a different path to success.

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About the Contributor
Catie Campagnino ’26, Staff Writer
Staff Writer Catie Campagnino ’26 is loving her time in Inklings already. “I want to continue writing stories because I really like to write and it’s a lot of fun,” Campagnino said.  Campagnino started writing for Inklings because she values being involved in a community. “I’m looking forward to having that sense of community everyone says they get when they are in [Inklings],” Campagnino said. Another community Campagnino enjoys being involved in is rowing. “I have a lot of really good rowing friends who don’t take life all that seriously,” Campagnino said. “They’ve taught me there’s always fun in life.”  

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