504 Information

Section 504Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (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”.     Section 504 is a federal anti-discrimination statute, which protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including public schools.

Section 504 protects all persons who:

have a physical or mental impairment which
substantially limits one or more major life activities 
have a record of such an impairment, or
are regarded as having such an impairment

Section 504 requires a school district to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.  Under 504, FAPE is defined as regular or special education and related services that are designed to meet the student’s individual needs as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met.  In addition, a student with a disability, as defined by Section 504, is entitled to receive an equal opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is a component of the United States Department of Education.  OCR enforces Section 504.  Its role includes receiving complaints from parents and students, conducting compliance reviews and providing technical assistance to parents, school districts and schools upon request.  It is important to note that in general, OCR does not review educational decisions so long as the school district complies with Section 504’s procedural requirements.

District 504 Coordinator:
Ralph Valenzisi


Sección 504 del Manual de la Ley de Rehabilitación 


[1]29 U.S.C. Section 794; 34 C.F.R. Section 104.   The Norwalk Board of Education, as a public school, receives federal financial assistance, and therefore Section 504 applies to the Norwalk Public Schools.

[1] Please see Section VI, pages 10-11 for the definitions and explanations of these terms.