Section 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.
Unlike the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section
504 does not require the school to provide an individualized educational
program (IEP) that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and
provides the child with educational benefit. Under Section 504, fewer
procedural safeguards are available to children with disabilities and
their parents than under IDEA.
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.
Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend
schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under
Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life
activities; or (2) have a record of such impairment; or (3) be regarded
as having such impairment. The determination of whether any particular
condition is considered a disability is made on a case by case basis.
The Section 504 regulations require a school district to provide a "free
appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified student with a
disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of
the nature or severity of the disability. Under Section 504, FAPE
consists of the provision of regular or special education and related
aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational
needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students are met.
Dr. Robbie Vincent
508 E Second Street
Rome, GA 30161