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What do you know about a 504?
A Complete Guide to Section 504 for Parents and Teachers
by Becky L. Spivey, M.Ed.
What is a 504?
The correct term is 504 Plan. If your student has a physical or mental health disability that limits one or more major life functions, he/she may be eligible for educational accommodations under a 504 Plan. A federal civil rights law supports the 504 Plan in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.This is the part of the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against public school students with disabilities and includes students with learning and attention issues who meet certain criteria.
Much like an IEP, but yet very different, a 504 Plan can help students with learning and attention issues participate fully in the general education curriculum. A 504 Plan outlines how specific measures including accommodations (adjustments to the learning environment), modifications (changes in what a student is taught or expected to learn), and other services can help meet a student’s specific needs. These adjustments are in an effort to “remove barriers” to learning.
Did you know that…
  • Students with disabilities are eligible for Section 504 services, including modifications, even if the student performs very well academically?
  • All public schools and all public charter and magnet schools that receive Federal financial assistance must comply with Section 504?
Beyond the information provided by the team of special educators in your child’s school, there is a now a treasure trove of information available and provided by US Department of Education to serve as a resource guide for all parents and educators alike.
Do you have questions about getting or maintaining services for your child or student with a disability?
In an effort to eliminate discrimination against students with disabilities, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) offers the following resource guide. This guide provides extensive information (and answers to questions that OCR has received) to increase understanding among parents and members of the school community of the Federal civil rights laws that protect students with disabilities in public schools, and in particular, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).
Download and print the following document:
Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools by the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, December 2016. Updates to this resource guide will be available at this website.
This resource guide is in the public domain. The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, grants authorization to reproduce this document completely, or in part; December 2016.
This document explains how…
  • Educators can tailor an effective 504 Plan to meet their students’ needs.
  • Students’ informal accommodations will have the law behind them when formalized in a 504 plan.
  • Parents need to be proactive about participating in their child’s 504 meetings.
In reading this document, parents in particular will:
  • Learn extensively about their student’s educational and civil rights in school.
  • Know the school’s obligations for students with disabilities.
  • Understand the required procedures ensuring your student’s services and access to programs.
US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. 2016. Retrieved January 2017 from
Wrightslaw. Discrimination: Section 504 and ADA AA Retrieved January 2017 from

*Handy Handouts® are for classroom and personal use only.
Any commercial use is strictly prohibited.

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