Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

  • Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. This includes all programs or activities of a school district receiving federal funds; regardless of whether the specific program or activity involved is a direct recipient of federal funds.  Public school students with disabilities have the right to be free from discrimination based on disability; are entitled to equal opportunity regardless of disability; and have the right to aids, benefits, or services, equal to and as effective as those provided to students without disabilities.

    Under Section 504, an individual with a disability is defined as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

    If a parent has a concern and believes their child may be eligible under Section 504, they should reach out to their building principal.  If, after review of information, assessments and data from multiple sources, a transdisciplinary team determines that a student has a disability as defined by Section 504 and requires special accommodations or related services in the
    general education environment in order to fully participate in the school program, the district must develop and implement a plan for delivery. This is referred to as a 504 Plan.

    Each building principal or their designee is responsible for the implementation of Section 504 plans.  The Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services serves as the Section 504 Coordinator, and is available as a resource throughout the referral, eligibility and if deemed appropriate, the implementation process.

    Under Section 504, the parent or guardian must be provided with notice of actions affecting the identification, evaluation or placement of the student.  They are entitled to an impartial hearing if they disagree with the district’s decisions in the aforementioned areas.

    All individuals who are disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are also considered to be disabled and are protected under Section 504.  However, all individuals who have been determined to be disabled under Section 504 may not be eligible for classification and special education services under IDEA.  If you believe your child requires specialized instruction through special education, please talk with your child’s teacher, principal or call the Department of Special Education.