Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of any disability Section 504 guarantees certain rights to individuals with disabilities, including the right to full participation and access to a free and appropriate public education. Essentially, Section 504 was designed to “level the playing field,” to ensure full participation by individuals with disabilities. To qualify for services, accommodations and modifications under Section 504 a student must: “have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (e.g. caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working), have a record of having such an impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment”.
Section 504 requires an evaluation and parent consent before any action is taken with respect to placement and services. If the Section 504 team determines that a child qualifies for services or support, a 504 plan is written and reviewed annually. Accommodations and modifications that offer access to curriculum/instruction are outlined in the 504 plan.