What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?
Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination of an individual based upon their identified disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. Section 504 states that, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”...[29 U.S.C. §794(a), 34 C.F.R. §104.4(a)]. This law conforms to the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
How Does an Individual Qualify as Disabled Under Section 504?
The law defines a person as disabled if he or she:
- Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,
- Has a record of such an impairment, or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment. 28 CFR Sec.36.104
Under this regulation and listed in the ADAAA, major life activities include, learning, reading, thinking and concentrating among others. Typically, if a child is eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she qualifies for protection under Section 504. However, not all students covered by Section 504 are eligible under IDEA. Section 504 has much broader definitions of a disability and is meant to cover a broader spectrum of individuals than does IDEA.
The school district does not discriminate against any student on the basis of his or her disability and allows equal access to and participation in its programs and activities. The District also does not discriminate against anyone because he or she is associated with someone who is disabled. In addition, it is the District's responsibility to identify and evaluate students who, within the intent of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, need specially designed instruction or services so that those students may receive free appropriate public education (FAPE).
At each school, the responsibility for ensuring Section 504 compliance rests with the building principal or principal's designee. The USD 232 Section 504 Coordinator coordinates the District’s compliance with Section 504. The 504 Coordinator can be contacted at 35200 W. 91st St., De Soto, KS 66018, 913-667-6200.