Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The law provides:
No otherwise qualified individual with a disability…shall solely by reason of her of his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial
29 U. S. C. § 794
Section 504 is based on the principle that students with disabilities shall not be denied access to educational facilities, activities, programs and opportunities on the basis of their disability.
What is Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits disability discrimination in programs and activities that receive Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education. The law requires all public and charter schools to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to qualified individuals.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforces compliance for Section 504. The law ensures
that students with disabilities have access to educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to non-disabled students. Section 504 regulations require school districts to provide appropriate education to students with disabilities under Section 504.
Who is Protected by Section 504?
A student may qualify as a student with a disability under Section 504 if the student has (1) a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (as compared to the non-disabled student), (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. An impairment that is “episodic” or “in remission” is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life
activity when active.
Section 504 requires that the district offer a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) ensuring access to educational services and the learning process that is equal to those provided to non-disabled students. The provision of FAPE is accomplished through the creation and implementation of an Individual Accommodation Plan (IAP).