Section 504 is a provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. SECTION 504 is a civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.
The Referral Process
The LEA’s duty to evaluate a student for Section 504 protections is triggered by the suspicion that the student has a disability that substantially limits a major life activity. Referrals can be made by families or LEA staff. Examples of circumstances in which referral requests may be made include:
The student has a chronic medical condition that is not covered by the IDEA.
The student has one of the disabilities identified in the IDEA, but is not eligible for special education and related services because the student does not need specially designed instruction.
The student has a “hidden disability,” such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease, or a chronic illness, such as diabetes.
Families have received an outside evaluation and are requesting Section 504 protections and/or accommodations.