Section 504 is a Federal law that prohibits disability discrimination by recipients of Federal financial assistance. 2 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.
Section 504 provides a broad spectrum of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability. For example, all qualified elementary and secondary public school students who meet the definition of an individual with a disability under Section 504 are entitled to receive regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet their individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met.3 Section 504 also requires, among other things, that a student with a disability receive an equal opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities, and to be free from bullying and harassment based on disability.
Specifically, this resource guide:
- Highlights key requirements of Section 504 in the area of public elementary and secondary education, including available services and complaint procedures;
- Explains how Section 504 applies in various hypothetical situations within public elementary and secondary schools;4 and
- Discusses two other Federal laws that address the rights of students with disabilities: (1) Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II); 5 and (2) Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 6