Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal law prohibiting discrimination based upon handicapping conditions. the law requires that schools assure that their facilities and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including students, staff, parents, and community members.
Purpose: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the U.S. ...shall, soley by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimintation under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." - Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 504 is: Federal Law - civil rights legislation; protection from discrimination; applicable to programs receiving Federal funds.
Section 504 is not: IDEA; state enforced; funded - comes with no funds attached.
Who is protected?
- People with temporary or permanent disabilities i.e.: emotional or mental illness conditions, physiological conditions, anatomical losses, or disabilities regarding learning (ADD, etc.)
- Conditions that substantially limit a major life activity such as: walking, seeing, breathing, hearing, speaking, working, or learning - compared with the average population.
504 applies to equal opportunity to participate in academics and non-academics. A student who is impaired but succeeding does not need a plan.
What does this mean for students?
- A team process involving people knowledgable about the student and the disability
- Accommodations to access education
- An individualized plan
- Plans that are revisited periodically
- Academic and non-academic protections
- Parents Rights
- Advance planning for upcoming situations, such as field trips, etc.
What does this mean for staff?
- A forum to strategize and develop plans for helping studnents
- Specific expertise
- Accommodations, related aids and services
- Prior planning for field trips and non-academics
- Individualized 504 plans
- Periodic review of effectiveness in accessing education
Vermont Agency of Education 504 Parental Rights notice.