Section 504 is part of a federal civil rights law known as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law specifically prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities and guarantees them a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Discrimination, as defined in Section 504, is the failure to provide students with disabilities the same opportunity to benefit from education programs, services, or activities as provided to their non-disabled peers. Therefore, schools cannot exclude students with disabilities from facilities, programs, benefits, activities, or services that are provided to students without disabilities. Schools must make sure that all students receive equal access to educational opportunities.
Once a district has determined that a student is a disabled student under Section 504 for purposes of a free appropriate public education, the district must provide whatever services it decides the student needs to participate in and benefit from the district’s education program. As a general rule, a district is under no obligation to provide a service that a student’s parent or guardian or doctor requests unless, in the district’s determination, the student needs the service to participate in and benefit from its education program.
Contact your local school counselor for more information.