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Who is Eligible for Protections Under Section 504 . . .
but Not Under IDEA?


Q: Three children with disabilities - a child with AIDS, a child with ADD, and a child with chronic asthma. Who is protected under Section 504, but not under IDEA?

A: All three children are protected from discrimination under Section 504.

Section 504 is a civil rights law. Section 504 protects individuals with disabilities from discriminatio and ensures that children with disabilities have equal access to an education.

Each child may also be eligible for special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Eligibility for special education and related services under IDEA, and eligibility for protection from discrimination under Section 504, are not disability-specific. This means that one child who has ADD or asthma or AIDS will be eligible for special education services under IDEA (which always makes a child eligible under 504) while another child who has ADD, asthma or AIDS will not be eligible for services under IDEA, but is protected from discrimination under Section 504.

Eligibility determinations are specific to each child with a disability.

If a child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, that child is eligible for special education services under IDEA. All children who eligible for special education services under IDEA are protected under Section 504 (but the converse is not true).

If a child has a disability that does not adversely affect educational performance, that child is not eligible for special education services under IDEA, but is usually entitled to protections under Section 504.

Confused? Read the definition of "child with a disability" (page 49-50 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law).

You'll find more information about Section 504 and the relationship between IDEA and 504 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, which includes the full text of both statutes, implementing regulations, and special education decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Revised: 03/01/11
Created: 01/xx/07


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