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K–12 teaching and learning · from the UNC School of Education

Learn more about Section 504

The law and disabilities
A brief overview of two major laws — the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 — that protect students with disabilities in schools.
By Margaret P. Weiss.
Changing the focus from label to need
Labeling a student's disability is an important step in procuring special education services for that student. But is there a downside to labeling students? This article looks at four commonly held — but ultimately misleading — beliefs about labels in special education, and advocates for focusing on needs rather than labels.
Format: article
By Jennifer Job.
Special education in Mexico
In Bridging Spanish language barriers in Southern schools, page 3.3
In the 1990s, the inclusive education movement gained ground in Mexico, which resulted in the mainstreaming of special needs students into regular classrooms. The effects of this movement can be seen in the educational policies and services focusing on special needs students in Mexico.
Format: article
By Mary Faith Mount-Cors.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that guarantees civil rights to individuals with disabilities. Section 504 provides that individuals may not be subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability from any program receiving federal funding. A central tenet of Section 504 is free and appropriate public education for all children.

See also Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Additional information

Section 504 is distinguished from IDEA in its insistence on the elimination of barriers that exclude individuals with disabilities; IDEA provides additional services for those with disabilities that are not offered to those without disabilities. All IDEA students are protected under Section 504, whereas IDEA does not cover all Section 504 students.

Examples and resources

See “The Law and Disabilites” by Margaret Weiss for a comparison of Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.