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Home » Policy & Funding » Equity and Civil Rights » Section 504 & Students with Disabilities

Section 504 & Students with Disabilities

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Equity & Civil Rights


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly called "Section 504," is a federal law that protects students from discrimination based on disability. This law applies to all programs and activities that receive funding from the federal government-including Washington public schools.
Section 504 Regulations | Chapter 28A.642 RCW | Chapter 392-190 WAC

Equal Opportunities & Benefits

State law also protects students from disability discrimination in public schools. These laws make sure that students with disabilities have educational opportunities and benefits equal to those provided to students without disabilities. To be protected by these laws, a student must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Under Section 504, students with disabilities can access the accommodations, aids, and services they need to access and benefit from education. Section 504 requires that public schools provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to every student with a disability - regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.

Families-Section 504

Students' Rights

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User-friendly Guides

Harassment | Discriminatory Harassment-Based on Disability

Harassment based on disability is a form of discrimination prohibited in Washington public schools. Schools must take steps to protect students and investigate possible discriminatory harassment-as soon as they know or reasonably should know-even if a parent or student does not file a complaint.
Discriminatory Harassment - Equity and Civil Rights at OSPI

Special Dietary Needs Accommodations

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Questions, Concerns, Complaints

The Section 504 coordinator in each district makes sure students with disabilities receive the accommodations they need and respond to allegations of discrimination based on disability.

A discussion with your school principal, or Section 504 coordinator at the school district, is often the best step to address your concerns or disagreements about Section 504 and work toward a solution. Share what happened and let the principal or coordinator know what they can do to help resolve the problem.

If you cannot resolve the concern or disagreement this way, you can file a complaint.

Districts-Section 504

Section 504 - Step-by-Step

Sample Section 504 Notice of Parent Rights

School districts must provide parents a copy of their rights and procedural safeguards before evaluating students for Section 504 eligibility.
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Sample Section 504 Forms

The Equity and Civil Rights Office at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) developed the following forms to assist Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in meeting requirements to identify, evaluate, and serve students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Information on the forms does not substitute for reading the Section 504 regulations, reviewing OCR guidance on Section 504, or reviewing OCR resolution agreements or case law related to Section 504. Adoption of these forms by LEAs is optional. They are designed to be saved, filled out, and then printed. However, LEAs may reformat or revise these forms to meet their own needs, or they may develop their own forms. Please note that these forms may be revised in the future, as necessary, to comply with any changes to Section 504 requirements.

Tips for using the sample Section 504 forms:

  • The forms are designed to be filled out on a computer. However, feel free to revise the forms so they can be filled out by hand.
  • If you do not see instructions for filling out fields, under "Home" tab, push the paragraph marker symbol (&‌para;). For example, you should see "Enter LEA Here" at the top of each form.
  • To fill in a field, place curser in field before typing or selecting from drop-down menu.

Discriminatory Harassment-Based on Disability

School staff must take steps to protect students from discriminatory harassment. This means the investigation of possible discriminatory harassment - as soon as they know or reasonably should know - even if a parent or student does not file a complaint.
Discriminatory Harassment - Equity and Civil Rights at OSPI

Section 504 in ALE Programs

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