Section 504 is a federal law which protects the rights of persons with qualifying disabilities. It requires that recipients of federal funds make their programs and activities accessible to all persons with disabilities.
Section 504 has three areas of emphasis: employment; facility and accessibility; and requirements for preschool, elementary, and secondary education programs/activities.
It must be emphasized that Section 504 falls under the responsibility of the general education program. It is also important to understand that schools receive no additional funding to implement Section 504 accommodations. At each school, the responsibility for ensuring Section 504 compliance rests with the building principal or principal designee.
How does Section 504 define disability?
Section 504 protects persons from discrimination based upon their disability status. A person is considered to have a disability if he or she:
- has a mental or physical disability impairment which substantially limits one or more of the person’s major life activities;
- has a record of such impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
In general terms, this means that without accommodations and/or interventions, the student would not have a comparable opportunity to an appropriate education.