Section 504 & Disability Discrimination

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a civil rights law enforced by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs receiving federal funds. Public schools are required to comply with the law and provide disabled students with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). One way the school can provide a FAPE is through a 504 Plan. The plan provides accommodations, modifications, and other supports designed to "level the playing field" for the child with a disability.

Schools are also prohibited from discriminating against students with disabilities and their parents. Discrimination involves denying the student access to the benefits of the school.

Some common issues that we see arise regarding disability discrimination:

  • Refusing to evaluate a student to determine 504 eligibility;
  • Refusing to provide needed accommodations;
  • Prohibiting a student from attending field trips or requiring a parent to accompany the student;
  • Discouraging or denying enrollment in honors-level classes; or
  • Limiting participation in extra-curricular activities due to the student’s disability or need for disability-related accommodations.