504 Programs Overview
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a federal civil rights statute which provides that:
“No otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States…shall solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Section 504 protects all individuals with disabilities – students, staff, parents and the public – including students in public schools. Since all public school districts receive federal funds, all public school districts (and public charter schools) must comply with Section 504. Additionally, public school districts are government entities covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), a federal law and must comply with these nondiscrimination laws.
In 2008, Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which resulted in changes to aspects of Section 504 and the ADA, particularly the determination of who is considered “disabled” under Section 504 and the ADA.