Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination/harassment on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. SCCOE has specific responsibilities related to the provision of a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to school age individuals with disabilities under Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
To meet the criteria for Section 504 protections, a child must:
- Have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Have a record of such impairment; or
- Be regarded as having such impairment.
As a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) there is a broader application of the definition of disability under the ADA and Section 504. The new law eliminated the consideration of ameliorative effects of mitigating measures when determining whether a student has a disability, though they remain relevant when evaluating students' needs for accommodations/services. This means more students may be eligible for Section 504 nondiscrimination protections whether or not they currently need Section 504 plan accommodations/services.