Understanding Section 504

For many educators, understanding Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 remains difficult and raises several questions, such as:

  • What is the practical intent of this law?
  • Are Section 504 accommodation plans simply “light” IEPs? How can this law ― passed in the waning days of the Vietnam War ― apply to public school students and employees today, when the original meaning of the law was to protect disabled veterans returning from the conflict?
  • Is a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) related to Section 504?
  • Are the rights of special education and Section 504-eligible students different?
  • How is Section 504 different from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), when these laws use the same terms, but appear to impose different requirements on schools?
  • How is a Section 504 plan different from an IEP?
  • Do they have different goals, different criteria?
  • How do you decide which is appropriate in a given situation?
  • Are your 504 eligibility determinations and plans compliant? How can you be sure?

John Comegno, education attorney, provides answers to these questions and other concepts of Section 504 in a series of videos below. Watch now.