Congress prohibited discrimination against students with disabilities in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, in a segment most often referred to simply as "Section 504." This is a broadly worded prohibition that covers both children and adults. The principals enumerated in the section were later expanded and served as the basis for the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 also amended some definitions of Section 504. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a federal civil rights law and prohibits discrimination by LEAs receiving federal financial assistance against students with disabilities. Included in the U.S. Department of Education regulations for Section 504 is the requirement that students with disabilities be provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
Under Section 504, an individual with a disability (also referred to as a student with a disability in the elementary and secondary education context) is defined as a student who:
(1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity;
(2) has a record of such an impairment; or
(3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
Major life activities include but are not limited to:
- caring for one's self
- performing manual tasks
Requests for Section 504 evaluations should be made to the School Counselor.