Anti-Discrimination (Section 504)

Section 504, which is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It ensures that the child with a disability has equal access to an education. Section 504 requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. Compliance is not optional.

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.


Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or (2) have a record of such an impairment; or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Training Resources

New to Section 504 or want to improve your understanding of a public school's duties under the law? This session is for you. Veteran school lawyer David Richards will explain how 504 and IDEA fit together, and the importance of process-based compliance to satisfy the Office for Civil Rights. He'll walk through the school's duty to provide a Section 504 FAPE (from child find, through evaluation and eligibility, creation of the 504 Plan to re-evaluation) and the law’s nondiscrimination protections including manifestation determination and equal participation in extracurricular and nonacademic services. Questions are encouraged.