What is a Section 504?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §794, ("Section 504"), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, and requires recipients of such assistance to take positive steps (such as providing accessibility and reasonable accommodations) to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in their programs and activities.
A student with a disability under Section 504 means any student who:
- Has a disability, which substantially limits one or more of the student’s major life activities and has a record of such a disability.
Note: Major life activities may include but are not limited to functions such as bending, breathing, caring for one’s self, communicating, concentrating, eating, hearing, learning, lifting, performing manual tasks, reading, seeing, sleeping, standing, speaking, thinking, walking, and working. Major life activities may also include, but not be limited to: functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
- Or, is regarded as having such a disability.
It is important to note that any student eligible for special education and related services is also protected from discrimination under Section 504, but that not all students who are eligible under Section 504 meet the eligibility requirements for special education and related services. A student who is suspected of requiring special education and related services should be referred for a special education assessment. If an IEP (Individualized Education Program) team finds the student is not eligible for special education, but suspects the student has a disability, it may refer the student for the Section 504 evaluation process.
(1) Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Applicable Statues and Regulations
504 Rehabilitation Act
(2) Source: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
Protecting Students with Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities