What is Section 504?
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a one sentence civil rights law that prohibits agencies that receive federal funding from discriminating against persons with disabilities on the basis of disability. There are also several federal regulations, passed by the DOE, that specifically tell schools how to implement Section 504 requirements.
What is the Purpose of Section 504?
Section 504's main emphasis in the schools is equal educational opportunity, which is mainly accomplished by providing appropriate classroom accommodations to eligible disabled students. Section 504 also requires that eligible students are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in school extracurricular and nonacademic activities.
Section 504 is a nondiscrimination statute. The results of the disability must be that the student is unable to achieve equal access or benefit from the school's program and activities as compared to a nondisabled peer. The existence of a physical or mental impairment does not mean that the child automatically qualifies under Section 504.
Who Is Disabled Under Section 504?
An eligible Section 504 student is one with
a physical or mental impairment
that substantially limits learning or another major life activity