504 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with
disabilities. Section 504 ensures that the child with a disability has equal access to an education. The child may receive accommodations and modifications.
In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued Guidance in recognizing, redressing, and preventing racial discrimination in special education in violation of the Federal civil rights laws.
In December 2016, the U.S. Department of Education also released three sets of guidance about how to interpret and enforce federal civil rights laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities. This Guidance clarifies the responsibilities of educational institutions to ensure that all students have opportunities to learn.
1. The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, issued by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), provides a broad overview of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) This is an excellent publication and should be required reading for all educators, attorneys and lay advocates.
2. The Dear Colleague letter (DCL) and Question and Answer Document (Fact Sheet) - additional information about the legal limitations on use of restraint or seclusion to assist school districts in meeting their obligations to students with disabilities.
3. OCR and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) joint Dear Colleague Letter and question and answer documents will help update educators, parents, students, and other stakeholders to better understand the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools under Section 504 and IDEA.
Wrightslaw 504 Quiz! Take our new 504 IQ Quiz.
October 2016: New Regulations The U.S. Department of Justice issued new regulations significantly expanding who’s covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This final rule clarifies Congress’s original mandate and sets forth clear new rules, new examples and detailed guidance to ensure that courts, covered entities and people with disabilities better understand the ADAAA. The new regulations took effect October 16, 2016.
US Department of Education Protecting Students With Disabilities. Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities.
On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA AA). The Act, effective January 1, 2009, emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.
ADA AA Changes Apply to Section 504. Section 504 was amended so that it incorporates the ADA by reference and applies to public school students. Read more.
2015: US Department of Justice Technical Assistance on Testing Accommodations for individuals with disabilities who take standardized exams and high-stakes tests. Students with a history of academic success may still be a person with a disability who is entitled to testing accommodations under the ADA.
07/15/15: DOJ Finds GA Violates ADA by Segregating Students with Disabilities.GA GNETS program violates ADA by failing to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs. Read more at ADA: Information and Technical Assistance l DOJ Findings (PDF)
01/19/12: ADA - Additional Guidance from OCR. (pdf format) - The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued additional guidance about how the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments of 2008 affect public elementary and secondary programs. In most cases, these rules should shift inquiries away from the question of whether a student has a disability, and toward the school district's obligations to ensure equal educational opportunities.
U.S. DOE OCR Guidance Letter advises school districts of the expanded definition and services for students with disabilities. This new guidance requires students who may not have been identified under Section 504 and Title II under ADA to be reevaluated and tested under a broadened definition of disability. (pdf format) This Guidance letter requires school districts to revise their procedures for determining the services a student with a disability will receive after s/he is identified in order to comply with the revised law.
A New Look at Section 504 and the ADA in Special Education Cases by Mark C. Weber. The recent amendments to Section 504 and the ADA greatly expanded section 504/ADA protections and coverage. The ADA Amendments Act (Pub. L. No. 110–325 (2008)) overturns Supreme Court precedent that created narrow coverage of the ADA and section 504. The new law ensures that impairments are to be considered in their unmitigated state and widens the definition of major life activities set forth in the statute’s coverage provision.
Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sends a Resolution/Closure Letter (2007) in a life threatening Peanut Allergy case in virginia. In an argument to the OCR, Gloucester County, VA claimed that a child who had a life-threatening peanut allergy was not "a child with a disability" so was not entitled to an IEP or a 504 plan.
US Department of Justice FAQs (2015) about Service Animals and the ADA. US Department of Justice Revised Rules (2010) on Service Animals under the ADA.
US Department of Justice Technical Assistance on Testing Accommodations for individuals with disabilities who take standardized exams and high-stakes tests.
What's Your 504 IQ? TAKE THE QUIZ. Try the eleven multiple-choice questions generated by OCR in the 2016 Section 504 Guide.
Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan? There is nothing in the law that says a child with a disability should have an IEP for some needs and a 504 plan for others. It’s confusing, it’s more work, and it’s unnecessary.
My School Doesn't Do 504s. Will a Child Study Plan Work? Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Compliance is not optional.
When Schools Punish Sick Children Who Miss School. Public schools are required by law to accommodate the health needs of students. The plan to accommodate health needs may be called a health plan or a 504 plan.
Age 19 Rules: Fair Play or Discrimination. "Although my daughter wants to play basketball in high school, she will only be eligible in 9th and 10th grades. She is being penalized because of her disability and I don’t think it’s fair. Is this legal?" No, it’s not fair and some courts have found that this is discrimination.
Child with ADD Kicked Out of After-School Program. Parent attorney Bob Crabtree answers questions and describes responsibilities of private programs to provide services to children with disabilities; suggests strategies parents may use to resolve problems with day care and after-school program providers.
Discrimination: Sending Special Ed Kids Home Early. Surprisingly, we continue to receive questions about school districts that have one set of rules for "special ed kids" and a different set of rules for everyone else. This article answers the questions, then describes a successful OCR complaint brought by a group of parents in Virginia.
Child with 504 Plan Failing, School Won't Evaluate. Child has a 504 Plan; grades dropping; school will not evaluate for IEP because child does not have failing grades on report card. Parent needs a game plan.
Should Poor Organizational Skills be Accommodated in the IEP? Some students with disabilities need accommodations or modifications to their educational program. Even with consistent teaching of strategies, his areas of weakness will probably never be strengths. It’s time for the school to identify and focus on his strengths, and help him find ways to compensate with the problem areas.
Has Health Problems, School Reports Him Truant Sue Whitney explains, "You
need to take steps to document that your child's absences were due to illness.
You also need to prevent this from happening again. Here is your
plan . . .". This
article includes links to sample Section 504 plans and health plans.
Key Differences Between Section 504 & IDEA - Confused about Section 504 v. IDEA? You aren't alone. Pat describes some important differences between these two laws?
Help! My Son with LD Graduates: Who Will Write His 504 When He Loses His IEP? Post-secondary schools have no obligation to create a document like the IEP and there is no protection under IDEA. But post-secondary schools are subject to Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You need to make sure you both know what to expect.
Banks and Calculators: Pete Answers Questions About Accommodations and Modifications.
Do teachers have to provide the accommodations and modifications listed in the
IEP? Pete answers questions, offers thoughts about teaching skills v. providing
accommodations and modifications, Diana Hanbury King and Helen Keller, and his
"Big Gripe" about special education.
OCR Complaint & Getting the School to Apologize. Congratulations on the successful resolution to your OCR complaint. Regarding your desire for the district to apologize to your son – it’s not going to happen.
ADA & Day Care Centers: Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA. Many parents
find day care centers unwilling to accept their children with disabilities. The
doors to day care centers opened wider for children when a federal judge issued
an injunction on behalf of Jordan Burriola, ordering the center to reinstate him
and train their staff. This article includes links to pleadings and an article
by Tom Zraik, Jordan's attorney.
How to File an Education Discrimination Complaint with the Government. This article from FindLaw describes what to do for anyone wishing to file a formal complaint with OCR.
Sample Section 504 and Medical Management Plans - The American Diabetes Association offers excellent model 504 Plans and health plans. These forms can be modified to cover other medical problems. Tip: Consult with your child's pediatrician to make sure the plan is complete and covers all your child's health needs.
& As about IDEA, Students with Disabilities and State and District Assessments.
"Family friendly" version of OSEP Memorandum about assessments; 26 questions
and answers about parental permission, role of IEP team, accommodations and modifications;
alternate assessments, out-of-level testing, accountability, and more.
Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. Developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards Assessing Special Education Students.
This publication provides a comprehensive professional development guide for states to establish or improve quality accommodations monitoring programs.
Section 504 updated: Greater eligibility and accommodations for students with LD, AD/HD. Learn about recent improvements made to Section 504, a civil rights law that now provides protection and accommodations to even more students with LD and/or AD/HD.
ADDitude’s Classroom Accommodations to Help Students with AD/HD. A free handout from ADDitude Magazine - School Help for Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD ADHD) and Learning Disabilities Like Dyslexia.
v. Bd Ed. Newburgh City Sch. Dist, U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
In damages case under Section 504 and ADA, disabled child must first exhaust administrative
remedies under IDEA (2002).
Yankton v. Schramm. In a case involving a high school student with cerebral palsy, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit discusses eligibility for special education and related services under IDEA, Section 504, and transition plans.
Legal Rights of Children with Epilepsy in School & Child Care: An Advocate's Manual (PDF) This Advocate's Manual published by The Epilepsy Foundation that provides detailed practical guidance to help parents and non-attorney advocates understand the rights of children in the special education process. The information in this manual is not limited to children with epilepsy. It provides excellent information about how to effectively advocate to secure the rights of all children with disabilities.
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities (U. S. Department of Education). Five-page booklet answers questions about admissions, accommodations & academic adjustments, documentation, evaluations, and discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities. (in html) Developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards Assessing Special Education Students.
The Accommodations Manual presents a five-step process for individualized educational program teams, 504 plan committees, general and special education teachers, administrators, and district-level assessment staff to use in the selection, administration, and evaluation of the effectiveness of the use of instructional and assessment accommodations by students with disabilities. The guidance in the manual pertains to students with disabilities who participate in large-scale assessments and the instruction they receive.
All Kids Count: Child Care Centers & the ADA. Describes obligations of child care providers under the ADA.
a Diabetes Advocate - Learn how to advocate for students with
diabetes from the American Diabetes Association.
at School - Is your child's school equipped to
treat your child's diabetes? Includes success stories of school districts that
have adopted policies to ensure that children are safe.
Office for Civil Rights - "We serve student populations facing discrimination and the advocates and institutions promoting systemic solutions to civil rights problems. An important responsibility is resolving complaints of discrimination."
Student Placement in Elementary and Secondary Schools and Section 504 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (Code No. 19) (1998). This OCR publication explains Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act and how they affect student placement in elementary and secondary schools. It also explains evaluation and placement procedures, the educational setting, reevaluations, the individualized education program, procedural safeguards, and nonacademic services and activities.
Free Appropriate Public Education for Students with Disabilities: Requirements Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (Rev. August 2010). This OCR pamphlet answers the following questions about FAPE: Who is entitled to a free appropriate public education? How is an appropriate education defined? How is a free education defined?