Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a civil rights law designed to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities. Section 504 requires a school district, receiving Federal financial assistance, to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible students. The FAPE must meet the students’ individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: (1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or (2) have a record of such an impairment, or (3) be regarded as having such an impairment. The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has jurisdiction to enforce Section 504 in instances of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against anyone based on disability.



    The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), signed by President George H. W. Bush, is a “sister act” to Section 504. The act is one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream. Much of the language of the law is the same or similar to that of Section 504 and broadens the scope of civil rights protections for people with disabilities from only entities receiving federal financial assistance to all of society, including the private sector. Congress amended the ADA in 2008 in response to court decisions that narrowed the definition of impairment. In amending the ADA, Congress sought to reestablish the original intent of the law by underscoring the broad definition of impairment and clarifying its intent that impairments should be determined without reference to or consideration of mitigating measures. Mitigating measures are things like medications, prosthetic devices, assistive devices, or learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications that an individual may use to eliminate or reduce the effects of an impairment. These measures cannot be considered when determining whether a person has a substantially limiting impairment.


    Parent Guide
    Parent Guide (Spanish)
    Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards
    Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards (Spanish)

    Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities



    Dr. Sarah Longshore
    Telephone: 803-821-5628
    Fax: 803-821-1103
    Email: slongshore@lexington1.net


  • Who do I contact regarding 504 accommodations?

  • If I want my child to have extra time on the SAT or accommodations for college, can the team meet to give them accommodations in advance?

  • What does a 504 plan include?

  • What students are eligible for accommodations under Section 504?

  • How is 504 eligibility determined?

  • Who can request 504 eligibility meetings?

  • What documentation can parents provide that will assist the team?

  • Are students automatically eligible for 504 accommodations based on assessment by a private provider/outside agency?

  • How does the 504 team determine “substantially limits” in an educational setting?

  • Does a student retain 504 eligibility continually each school year?