Section 504 is a federal law (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) that protects students with disabilities from being discriminated against at school. This law applies to any district that receives federal financial assistance (Title 1, special education monies, free breakfast/lunch, etc.). Schools are required to provide the same opportunities to students with disabilities as those that do not have disabilities. This is typically provided through "reasonable accommodations or modifications." (Section 504 Plan)
The Act defines a person with a disability as anyone who:
1) has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (major life activities include activities such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working);
2) has a record of such impairment; or
3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the school district recognizes a responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel, students and their parents. No discrimination against any person solely due to his/her age, color, disability, parental status, marital status, race, national origin, religion, sex, or veteran status will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the school system. Parents who have a temporary or permanent disability may request the District to provide appropriate accommodations necessary for them to participate in essential instructional activities of their students. Students who are at least eighteen (18) years of age may submit their own requests.
The school district has specific responsibilities under the Act, which include the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and if the child has a current disability and is termed to be eligible under Section 504, to afford access to appropriate educational programs.
If you have questions or want to refer your child for an evaluation for Section 504, please contact your child’s school.