Overview of Section 504
The Section 504 Program is one of many ways that DCPS promotes equity for students with disabilities and provides a continuum of resources to support students' growth.
Section 504 is part of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, created to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities in services, programs, and activities that receive federal funds. In public schools, it protects students with disabilities so that they are able to access the curriculum and educational opportunities provided by the schools. Unlike special education, Section 504 provides accommodations and related services to eligible students with disabilities so that they can access the general education curriculum, opportunities for learning, and school activities to the same extent as their non-disabled peers.
The law states: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States...shall, solely by reason of his or her 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.”
A student is considered eligible for Section 504 if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Students who are found eligible for special education should receive all accommodations and modifications through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and should not have a concurrent 504 plan.
Every DCPS school has a Section 504 Coordinator, designated by the school principal. The Section 504 Coordinator serves as the school’s main point of contact for questions from students, parents, and school staff regarding accommodations and services under Section 504.
Within the Office of School Improvement and Supports, the Section 504 and Student Accommodations Team has staff members dedicated to supporting schools' development and implementation of 504 plans.