Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as Section 504) is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Those programs include:
- Public school districts
- Institutions of higher education
- Other state and local education agencies
To qualify under Section 504, a student must have a disability and that disability must limit a major life function.
The school must conduct an evaluation to determine if the student has a disability as defined under this act. Based on documented information from varied sources, decisions must be made by a group of school personnel who are knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the data, and the placement options.
Section 504 requires a school district to provide a free appropriate public education to each eligible student in its jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, an appropriate education for a student with a disability could consist of education in a regular classroom, education in a regular classroom with supplementary services, or special education and related services. A child who has a disability but does not qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act may still be entitled to services or accommodations under Section 504.
The school must provide a plan for providing reasonable accommodations and other services so a child may participate fully in the school setting. Parents are usually invited to a meeting where the plan is developed. Putting the plan in writing is an effective way to document what services the school will be providing.
Accommodations are a way to help students learn the same material or take the same test in a different way.
For more information on common academic accommodations, see Common Academic Accommodations Following a Concussion.
Parts of a 504 Plan
504 Plans vary from school district to school district, but some things that they should always include would be:
- student's name
- date of plan formation
- documented disability area
- accommodations required for student
Contact Carly Endres at carly.endres@UND.edu or (701) 777-8004.