Section 504



Section 504 is an anti-discrimination law that requires schools to provide disabled students equal access to educational benefits and opportunities as provided to non-disabled students. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is the law that outlines these student protections.

This stature ensures that eligible students receive reasonable accommodations necessary for them to have equal access to school related programs and activities.  These accommodations do not guarantee success; they simply provide the opportunity - they level the playing field.   Accommodations cannot provide the student with an unfair advantage to non-disabled students. 


An eligible student is a student who:

(a) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,

(b) has a record of having such an impairment, or

(c) is regarded as having such an impairment. 


The campus Section 504 committee determines eligibility.  In order to make this determination, the committee must answer the following questions:

- What is the disability?

- What major life activity is affected?

- Although the life activity is affected, is it substantially limited?


When a condition does not substantially limit a major life activity then the student does not qualify.  If determined eligible by the 504 committee, the need or development of an accommodation plan will be considered. 

Impairment vs Disability 

Section 504, the ADA, and the Amendments Act are consistent in drawing a distinction between individuals with impairments and those with disabilities.  According to legislation, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.  The term may also be used to describe an individual who has a record of such an impairment or who is regarded as having such an impairment. 

An individual may have an impairment and many people do have impairments such as poor eyesight or medical conditions or disorders.  Unless the impairment substantially limits that individual in a major life activity, however, they are not considered to be "disabled" under the legislation.

Major Life Activities

Regulations include a sample list of "major life activities." but also makes it clear that the list is not exclusive.  Eligibility should be determined on a case-by-case basis.  The list includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning , reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.  42 U.S.C. Section 12102(4)(a)(2)(A).

The regulation also include "the operation of bodily function,"  The operation of a major bodily function , including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. 42 U.S.C. Section 12102(4)(a)(2)(B).


Referral Process 

A referral by a parent or district professional concerning a child with a disability, who may be considered for protection under Section 504 is made through the campus designee for section 504.

An evaluation, designed based on the specific condition, may include a review of medical or psychological documentation provided by the family's private provider(s).  For conditions, other than dyslexia, there is not a "test" for eligibility.  Parent and teachers may complete checklists or observations in order to gather data to support the need for accommodations through 504.

The 504 committee determines the eligibility for supports and services, then develops the accommodations plan to address the identified concerns. 

504 Information and Resources

Accommodations for Standardized Testing in Texas

Accommodations for College Entrance Exams (College Board: SAT, PSAT,AP)

Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities

US Dept. of Education Frequently Asked Questions

Section 504 Handbook:

Section 504 Contacts:

Monnie Metcalfe

Executive Director of Student Services

[email protected]

Gina McDonald

Rice HS Assistant Principal

[email protected]

Bridgett Null

Rice IMS Assistant Principal

[email protected]

Kim Burks
Rice Elementary Assistant Principal

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