Section 504


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.  Section 504 guarantees certain rights to individuals with disabilities, including the right to full participation and access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.  Section 504 ensures that a qualified child with a disability has equal access to education.  The child may receive appropriate accommodations and modifications tailored to the child's inpidual needs. 

"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."   

Who qualifies for services under Section 504?

To qualify under Section 504 a student must:

  • Be determined to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities including learning and behavior.
  • Have a record of having such an impairment OR
  • Be regarded as having such impairment.

What is an "impairment: as defined by Section 504?

  • An impairment may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that "substantially" reduces a student's ability to access learning in the educational setting.

What are "major life activities"?

Major life activities include but are not limited to:

  • self-care, manual tasks, walking, seeing, speaking, sitting, thinking, learning, breathing, concentrating, interacting with others, and working.
  • May include individuals. with AD/HD, dyslexia, cancer, diabetes, severe allergies, chronic asthma, Tourette's Syndrome, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, HIV/AIDS, behavior disorders, temporary disabilities (i.e. broken writing arm, broken leg, etc.)

What does substantially limits" mean?

  •  This is not defined in the federal regulations. However, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has stated in a letter that "this determination is to be made by each local school district and depends on the nature and severity of the person's disabling condition."

What types of accommodations are provided under Section 504?

  • Each child's needs are to be determined individually. The determination is based on the nature of the disabiling condition and what the child needs in order to have an equal opportunity when compared to peers without disabilities.

For additional questions, please email or call the Section 504 contact
listed for the specific school. School contacts can be found on our staff page.