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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504)

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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities, public or private, that receives federal funding.

Under Section 504, A person with a "disability" is one who (1) "has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities," (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. 34 C.F.R. §104.3(j)(1). Major life activities are defined as “functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.”

Schools must inform parents of their intention to evaluate their child, yet written consent is not required.  Appropriate evaluations are ordered to determine whether a student has a disability with a multidisciplinary team meeting held to determine eligibility.  If a child is determined eligible under Section 504, yet not eligible under IDEA the team will conduct a 504 meeting to develop a 504 plan that outlines accommodations, modifications and other services needed for the child to have access to school programs and activities. 

Helpful Links

  • Parent Center for Information and Resources
    The Parent Center for Information and Resources website section concerning Section 504 with links for more information.
  • LD Online 
    Website focused on learning disabilities and ADHD with much information about the various special education and civil rights laws.
  • LD Online Understanding IDEA and 504
    An overview of these two laws that help students with disabilities including information about identifying students and eligibility requirements.

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