504 Plans

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act  has been a federal law since 1973. This law protects all students with  disabilities defined as those having any physical or mental impairments  that substantially limit one or more major life activities, including  learning. An example of a student who may be covered under the 504 Act  is one who has juvenile arthritis but who is not eligible for special  education and related services through IDEA. It is important to note  that the 504 Act is NOT an aspect of special education. It is a civil  rights law and is the responsibility of the comprehensive general public  education system.

The determination of services needed  must be made by a group of persons knowledgeable about the student. The  group should review the nature of the disability, how it affects the  student's education, whether specialized services are needed, and if so,  what those services are. The decisions about Section 504 eligibility  and services must be documented in the student's file and reviewed  periodically.

The Requirements of Section 504 ensure the following:

  1. The educational system will provide the full  range of special accommodations and services necessary for students with  special needs to participate in and benefit from public education  programs and activities. 
  2. These individuals will receive a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE). 
  3. It is required to identify, evaluate, provide appropriate services, and provide procedural safeguards. 

Building administrators and  superintendents of schools are responsible for the implementation of a  504 Plan within districts, while special education administrators/staff  may be participants. Parents should contact a building administrator if  there are questions concerning 504 Plans.