Section 504 Plans
Section 504 is federal civil rights law under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It provides
protection against discrimination for individuals with disabilities. Students in school
settings fall under the civil rights protection of Section 504. The law and regulations
prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability from all school programs and activities
in both public and private schools receiving direct or indirect federal funding. Section
504 accommodations could be available to identified students with disabilities, who
have been evaluated. Section 504 is designed to provide equal access and fairness in
general education to students with disabilities, thereby leveling the playing field for them
through what is known as a Section 504 Accommodation Plan. The student must be evaluated
and meet the Section 504 identification criteria.
A student is entitled to a Section 504 Accommodation Plan if they have been identified
and the evaluation shows that the individual has a mental or physical impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities. This determination is made by
a team of knowledgeable individuals, including the parents, who are familiar of the
student and his/her disability.
The general education Early Intervening Team is usually the starting point to explore
whether or not a student needs to be evaluated for accommodations. When a student
has not responded positively to research-based interventions in an intervention plan
and/or has a suspected disability, the team may determine to conduct an evaluation for
special education and/or Section 504.
Responsibility for considering and developing a Section 504 Accommodation Plan
consists of a core group that includes the school principal or administrator, referring
and/or general education classroom teacher, school counselor, and parents—virtually
the same as the core members of the Early Intervening Team. This team, in
many cases, may also be the school’s Section 504 Team.