Section 504

Accommodations, supports and interventions for students eligible solely under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Butte County SELPA. The SELPA is mandated to coordinate and facilitate services to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) only. However, as 504 eligibility, requirements, and services often overlap with those in the IDEA, the SELPA is frequently called upon to provide information and clarification about 504. Some students may be eligible for protections and services under IDEA and 504, others are eligible under 504 only.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is Congress’ directive to schools receiving any federal funding to eliminate discrimination based on disability from all aspects of school operation. It states, “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability…shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…" Member districts of the Butte County SELPA are recipients of federal funding and are therefore required to provide eligible students with disabilities with equal access (both physical and academic) to services, programs, and activities offered by its schools. Image of the beginning of YouTube video on the Power of 504.

Click on the image at the right to learn about the struggle behind the signing into law of Section 504.

Section 504 is a civil rights statute which bars discrimination based on disability. At each school, the responsibility for ensuring Section 504 compliance rests with the District and the individual site administrators. There are two main purposes to Section 504: 

The first purpose of Section 504 is to protect students from discrimination. Section 504 states that, "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability..., shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.... " Section 504 assures access to educational services, programs, and activities that is equal to that given to students who do not have disabilities, and assures that qualified individuals with a disability are provided aids, benefits, and services that are effective as that provided to others.

The second purpose of Section 504 is to provide a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") to each qualified person with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s disability. Under Section 504, FAPE may consist of either general or special education and referral that are designed to meet the individual educational needs of persons with disabilities as adequately as the needs of non-disabled persons are met. Section 504 also requires that students be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  The provision of FAPE is accomplished through the creation and implementation of a Section 504 Service Plan. 

Venn diagram of IEP and 504 law componentsLinks

Office of Special Education Programs Section 504 Frequently Asked Questions

Section 504 Handbook - courtesy of San Joaquin County SELPA 

Section 504 Issues and Answers Presentation Slides - Cynthia Yount, Esq., Parker and Covert, LLP