SECTION 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
What is Section 504?
Section 504 is a federal law that protects the civil rights of persons with disabilities. The Act prohibits any organization that receives federal funds from discriminating against otherwise qualified individuals because of a disability. School programs and activities are subject to this law.
Who is Eligible?
A student with a disability should be considered for eligibility under Section 504 if he/she:
Major life activities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
- has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities
- has a record of such an impairment ; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
A diagnosis of a disability does not automatically qualify a student for eligibility under Section 504. Teachers or parents who feel a student may meet criteria for Section 504 eligibility may request a meeting with the school counselor or building principal.
What if You Suspect a 504 Disability?
Contact your school counselor or building principal.
What is a 504 Service Agreement or Plan?
Students who meet the eligibility guidelines will have a 504 Plan developed for use in school. The Plan specifies the nature of the impairment, the major life activity affected by the impairment, accommodations necessary to provide access based on the student’s needs, and the person(s) responsible for implementing the accommodations.
Parents are encouraged to participate in the development of the Plan.
Accommodations should “level the playing field” for the student.
Can My Child’s Doctor Write a Plan?
A medical diagnosis made by your child’s doctor does not necessarily mean automatic eligibility for a 504 Plan. The role of the school is to accept the medical diagnosis and make it part of the 504 team’s overall evaluation data. The team should take the information under consideration but it will not necessarily drive the final determination of eligibility. A 504 Plan is written by the school team for use in school.
What if I Disagree?
Federal law has granted rights to students who are eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Your child’s school can provide you with copies of the Summary of Parent/Student Rights in Identification, Evaluation, and Placement (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).