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Section 504 Reference Guide

students and teacher

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It requires schools that receive federal funding (including magnet and charter schools) to provide all students with a free and appropriate education (FAPE). FAPE comprises regular or special education and related services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.

What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan is a specific plan outlining services and/or changes to the environment that ensure a child can access learning in school. It will outline specific services, accommodations, or adjustments and those staff members responsible for implementing the plan.



All students with disabilities are protected under Section 504. When determining if students require an accommodation plan, 504 teams consider the following:

  1. Is there a physical or mental impairment?
  2. Does it substantially limit a major life activity?
  3. Does the student require a 504 plan to access school programming and / or the educational program?

A substantial limitation exists when a person is unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform, or when a person is significantly restricted in the condition, manner or duration under which they can perform the same major life activity. 

Major Life Activities

Major life activities include an exhaustive list of both physical and cognitive activities. Examples include reading, writing, communicating, speaking, hearing, seeing, and numerous other activities.

Evaluation Process

504 teams consider multiple sources of information when determining student eligibility. This may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • parent/caregiver reports
  • teacher reports and student
  • performance 
  • medical documentation
  • evaluation results
  • degree of impact

Standardized testing instruments are not necessarily part of the eligibility process under Section 504. The Planning and Placement Team (PPT) in each school reviews referrals for standardized testing.

Procedural Safeguards

Procedural Safeguards provide informed guidance for parents/caregivers and can be viewed in the Special Education Resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact us:

District 504 Coordinators:

Melissa Caballero
Executive Director of Pupil Services
860-561-6686, Room 426

Anne McKernan 
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment

50 South Main Street
West Hartford, CT 06107