Student Support Services
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in any program receiving federal funds. Section 504 States that:
"No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benfits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
This law guarantees individuals with disabilities certain rights, including the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Appropriate services are those designed to level the playing field and meet the needs of the students with disabilities to the same extent that the needs of students without disabilities have been met so that students with disabilities may enjoy full participation in educational opportunities. This law is intended to provide individuals with disabilities equal to pursue employment, educational, and recreational goals without discrimination.
A student must meet the definition of a student with a disability as defined in the statute to be covered under Section 504 (i.e. have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limites one or more major life activities, have a record of such impairment, or be regarded as having such an impairment). (Note: A physical or mental disability only constitutes a disability for the purposes of Section 504 if its severity results in substantial limitation of the life activity in question. A student's general weakness in a given area would not typically constitute a diability under Section 504.)
If there is reason to suspect that t student has a disability and accommodations may be needed in order for the student to adequately participate in educational programs, the school must conduct an evaluation. If the student is determined to be disabled under Section 504, the school must develop an