Back to School with Section 504

Back to School with Section 504

Students all across the greater Denver metropolitan area headed back to school in August. For some the start of a new school year is happy occasion, a chance to reconnect with their friends and explore new areas of interest. The typical public-school setting may not be conducive to success for all students, however. Students who have been diagnosed with autism, dyslexia or some other type of learning disability, may need accommodations to fulfill their potential. 

Fortunately, there is an important civil rights law in this country that helps to ensure that children with a learning disability and/or ADHD in Denver’s public schools also have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a good education. That law is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

As the U.S. Department of Education explains, “Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education (ED).” Public school districts, institutions of higher education and other state and local education agencies are recipients of federal financial assistance, so the law applies to them.

Section 504 specifically states that: 

“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his 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 . . . .”

Regulations relating to Section 504 require a school district to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability who is in the school district’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. 

Section 504 is a powerful tool that can be used to protect the rights of children in Denver with ADHD, autism, dyslexia or other types of learning disabilities.  If you have questions about how the law applies to your child, call us today at 303-808-4140.