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Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

What is a Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973?

Section 504 is a civil rights law which protects individuals who have a disability against discrimination.  If you child has a disability, they cannot be kept from participating in school activities, excluded from benefits, or experience any other type of discrimination.

What is my child entitled to with a Section 504?

Under this law, children can receive accommodations in areas such as, accessing buildings in school, preferential seating in class, or modifying test taking procedures if necessary. 

What is the difference between Section 504 and IDEA?

Section 504 entitles your child to an education without discrimination, not educational services to help them access the curriculum.  If your child’s disability is impacting their ability to learn, the only way to acquire educational services is with an IEP.  Remember, the IEP is covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 only

If your child has an IEP under IDEA, are they covered by 504?

Yes, your child is always protected from discrimination in their school environment.  All children covered under IDEA are also covered by Section 504.  However, children who only have a 504 are not necessarily covered under IDEA.  The key is whether the disability adversely affects educational performance.  If it does, than that child would qualify for an IEP, if it does not, than that child might still qualify for accommodations under section 504.

Does my Child have the same protections under Section 504 and IDEA?

No, a child with a Section 504 does not have the same procedurals safeguards that are set up  through an IEP under IDEA.  If a child is expelled and has an IEP they must continue to provide that child with a free appropriate education.  This is not the case with children under Section 504 who can be expelled as long as the behavior was not caused by the disability.  Section 504 does not require “Prior Written Notice” to change education placement and also does not require a right to an independent educational evaluation.

For more information please read, Do You Need a 504 Plan for Your Child’s Health Needs.

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