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DEFINITION

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) is a one-sentence civil rights law that prohibits agencies that receive federal funding from discriminating against persons with disabilities on the basis of that disability. Several federal Department of Education regulations specifically tell schools how to implement Section 504 requirements.

The main emphasis in the schools is equal educational opportunity, which is mainly accomplished by providing appropriate classroom accommodations to eligible students with disabilities that are not severe enough to qualify for special education, but which are substantially limiting their learning or other major life activities. Eligible students are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in school extracurricular and non-academic activities.