Office of Civil Rights| 504 | ADA

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

U.S Department of Education OCR 
OCR enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and  Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. OCR is responsible for enforcing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504); Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 508); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as they apply to entities under the jurisdiction of OCR. Section 504 regulations 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. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met. (34 C.F.R. Part 104).   

Contacts for Regional Offices
For assistance related to civil rights, contact the OCR headquarters office in Washington D.C. or the OCR enforcement office serving the specific state or territory. Contact the enforcement offices to file a complaint (or use the online complaint form) or if technical assistance is needed on a problem or assistance to prevent civil rights problems. 

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 
American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990-Prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in state and local government services, programs, and activities (including public schools), regardless of whether they receive Federal financial assistance. Pursuant to a delegation by the Attorney General of the United States, OCR shares in the enforcement of Title II for all programs, services, and regulatory activities relating to the operation of public elementary and secondary educational programs, institutions of higher education and vocational education (other than schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other health-related schools), and libraries.

Questions and Answers on the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 for Students with Disabilities Attending Public Elementary and Secondary Schools
Provides guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (Amendments Act) on public elementary and secondary programs.  

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
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). Recipients of Federal financial assistance include public school districts, other state and local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education. Section 504 provides: "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.  The regulations implementing Section 504 in the context of educational institutions appear at 34 C.F.R. Part 104 

Section 504 regulations 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. Under Section 504, FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Section 504 and the Education of Children with Disabilities
Provides answers to frequently asked questions concerning the identification of students who are protected by Section 504 and the means to obtain an appropriate education for such students. 

PART 104 -Nondiscrimination On The Basis of Handicap In Programs Or Activities Receiving Federal Assistance
Provides information on the requirement that schools receiving Federal funds must provide non-academic and extracurricular services and activities, counseling, and athletics in such manner which provides handicapped students an equal opportunity for participation.

Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (December 2016)

U.S. Education Department OCR Page with Listing of All Documents and Dear Colleague Letters by Date of Issue  
Please note that these two letters are of particular relevance to schools:

    • Dear Colleague letter (January 19, 2012) - addresses how the ADA affects Section 504; the obligations of school districts and the requirement to evaluate students to determine eligibility for regular or special education and related aids and services and addresses how OCR evaluates compliance. Includes an FAQ.
    • Dear Colleague letter (January 25, 2013) - addresses equal access to extracurricular athletics for students with disabilities and specific Section 504 regulations that require students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity for participation in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities; and discusses the provision of separate or different athletic opportunities. Includes a Fast Facts' about Dear Colleague Letter Fact Sheet and gives actual examples.

NY State &  NY City 504 Resources 

Advocates for Children of NY Guide to Section 504
This guide explains what Section 504 is, how it applies to children in public schools, and how to get Section 504 services or accommodation.

HSS Civil Rights - Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
OCR is responsible for enforcing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504); Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 508); and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as they apply to entities under the jurisdiction of OCR.

National Reporting System

NYC Department of Education 504 Accommodations
The Office of School Health manages the processes surrounding students needing medication administration, medically-prescribed treatment, glucose monitoring, insulin pump maintenance, and other Section 504 and Individualized Education Program (IEP) services. This site contains health forms that are used in the New York City public schools to provide care, services, and the accommodations they need during the school day.

Pregnant and Parenting Students

Pregnant Parents Resource Memo from Office of Civil Rights
Provides strategies that educators may use and programs schools can develop to address the educational needs of students who become pregnant or have children.

Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Provides information on requirements for services and programs which support attendance, retention, and graduation rates supporting students. 

Page Updated 9/6/22