Congress prohibited discrimination against persons with disabilities in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in a segment most often referred to simply as ‘Section 504.” This was a broadly worded prohibition that covers both children and adults. It applies to programs that receive any federal financial assistance.
Section 504 prohibits discrimination against individuals whose physical or mental impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities, including: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, working, and learning.
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 nondisabled students are met.
The implementing regulations for Section 504 as set out in 34 CFR Part 104 provide parents and/ or students with the following rights:
- Your child has the right to an appropriate education designed to meet his or her individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. 34 CFR 104.33.
- Your child has the right to free educational services except for those fees that are imposed on non-disabled students or their parents. Insurers and similar third parties who provide services not operated by or provided by the recipient are not relieved from an otherwise valid obligation to provide or pay for services provided to a disabled student. 34 CFR 104.33.
- Your child has a right to participate in an educational setting (academic and nonacademic) with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate to his or her needs. 34 CFR 104.34.
- Your child has a right to facilities, services, and activities that are comparable to those provided for non-disabled students. 34 CFR 104.34.
- Your child has a right to an evaluation prior to a Section 504 determination of eligibility. 34 CFR 104.35.
- You have the right to not consent to the school system’s request to evaluate your child. 34 CFR 104.35.
- You have the right to ensure that evaluation procedures, which may include testing, conform to the requirements of 34 CFR 104.35.
- You have the right to ensure that the school system will consider information from a variety of sources as appropriate, which may include aptitude and achievement tests, grades, teacher recommendations and observations, physical conditions, social or cultural background, medical records, and parental recommendations. 34 CFR 104.35.
- You have the right to ensure that placement decisions are made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about your child, the meaning of the evaluation data, the placement options, and the legal requirements for least restrictive environment and comparable facilities. 34 CFR 104.35.
- If your child is eligible under Section 504, your child has a right to periodic reevaluations, including prior to any subsequent significant change of placement. 34 CFR 104.35.
- You have the right to notice prior to any actions by the school system regarding the identification, evaluation, or placement of your child. 34 CFR 104.36.
- You have the right to examine your child’s educational records. 34 CFR 104.36.
- You have the right to an impartial hearing with respect to the school system’s actions regarding your child's identification, evaluation, or educational placement, with opportunity for parental participation in the hearing and representation by an attorney. 34 CFR 104.36.
- You have the right to receive a copy of this notice and a copy of the school system’s impartial hearing procedure upon request. 34 CFR 104.36.
- If you disagree with the decision of the impartial hearing officer (school board members and other district employees are not considered impartial hearing officers), you have a right to a review of that decision according to the school system’s impartial hearing procedure. 34 CFR 104.36.
- You have the right to, at any time, file a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
Click here to download the: Notice of Rights of Students and Parents Under Section 504.
Please also click on the following link for more information regarding the:
Procedural Safeguards for Section 504.
For more information contact:
District 504 Coordinator, Department of Special Education
130 Trinity Avenue, S.W. | CLL Building
Atlanta, GA 30303-3624
Ph: 404.802.2702 | Fax: 404.802.1602