Section 504


Some children may have a disability that affects a major life activity but they do not meet the eligibility criteria under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  These children may be protected by a different law, which is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

For more information about Section 504, please contact the counselor at your child’s school as they also serve as 504 case managers.  You may also call the Sherwood School District Special Programs Department at (503) 825-5031.

504 Parent/Student Rights Handbook

More Information


The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or post-secondary schooling. "Disability" in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have an opportunity perform at the same level as their peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes.



What is Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act?

Section 504, as it is often called, is a civil rights law that covers the rights of all individuals with disabilities, not just school-aged children. It prohibits disability discrimination by any program or activity that receives federal funds. For example, it applies to public schools, colleges, and vocational programs. State and local government agencies and programs, public services, are also covered. Section 504 has significant differences from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Who Qualifies for Section 504 in Public Education Programs?

Section 504 - Schools are required to provide appropriate, reasonable adaptations and modifications for individuals who have disabilities, have a record of disabilities, or are regarded as having disabilities that substantially affect a major life function such as physical or mental functioning. Consequently, this law covers a very broad range of potential disabilities. Learning disabled students who receive specially designed instruction are automatically covered under Section 504.


What does Section 504 Require Schools to Do?

Districts must provide students with disabilities the same opportunity to succeed in school as they provide to students without disabilities;

School programs must be accessible to people with disabilities. Reasonable adaptations and modifications must be made for instructional purposes; and

School facilities must be accessible, as in making meetings and classes accessible for wheelchair use.

What is a Section 504 Plan?

Section 504 - For students with a physical or mental impairment who do not meet the more stringent requirements for special education services, a 504 Plan may be an alternative if the disability is substantial.

A 504 Plan has accommodations, is developed by a 504 committee, and must be implemented by school staff. If you suspect your child has a disability that may qualify, call the 504 coordinator in your district to request a meeting to request a meeting to discuss your child's needs and the possibility of an evaluation.


Are There Limitations on What Schools Must Provide?

Yes. Schools are only required to implement reasonable accommodations and adaptations. If a requested accommodation is too costly for the program, it may legitimately seek a less expensive alternative. Schools are not required to pay for personal use items such as a student's glasses. They are required, however, to provide adaptive materials or technology that may be needed by a student with a visual impairment in the classroom. 

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