Section 504 Plans - What is it and Who Qualifies (Part 1)
Section 504 is a Federal law that prohibits disability discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance. All public schools and school districts, as well as all public charter schools and magnet schools, that receive federal financial assistance from the Department must comply with Section 504.
Who qualifies for a 504 Plan?
A student with a disability. This means any physical or developmental condition that substantially limits a major life activity, which can include learning or concentrating.
- Students are entitled to equal access to programs under 504.
- Students with 504 Plans are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.
- Procedural safeguards are designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities ( and their parents), including informed consent, access to school records, the right to appeal and timelines for certain actions.
- Prohibition against discrimination at private schools (including colleges and universities) that receive federal funding.
The development of a 504 Plan for eligible students.
Disability: Under Section 504, an individual with a disability (also referred to as a student with a disability in the elementary and secondary education context) is defined as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
- A diagnosis is not enough. The condition must limit a major life activity.
- A major life activity includes certain acts a person does such as hearing, speaking, and reading. The list is not exhaustive.
- 504 includes any major life activity.
- A student may have a disability and be eligible for Section 504 services, including modifications even if the student earns good grades.