Introduction to Section 504 and 504 Accommodation Plans

  • Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of 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 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.


    The Special Education Department monitors the provision of Section 504 Plans for those students who experience qualifying physical or mental impairments.


    How a Student Qualifies Under Section 504 

    Section 504 covers qualified students with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a student must be determined to: 

    1. have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    2. have a record of such an impairment, or
    3. be regarded as having such an impairment.


    Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified students in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.


    Problem Solving and Grievance Procedure

    Speak with the current 504 coordinator at your child's school. Review the document A Parent's Guide to Section 504. A full review of Grievance Procedures is also available from Special Education Senior Director. 


    1. Contact the School 504 Coordinator at the student's school to request a meeting to review the 504 Plan or decision with which parents do not agree. Each school has a 504 Coordinator or administrator who can answer questions and assist with problem solving and grievance procedures.
    2. Contact the District 504 Coordinator at (907) 742-4299.
    3. Contact the Senior Director of Special Education at (907) 742-4236.
    4. Request for a formal Section 504 impartial hearing must be made to the District 504 Coordinator within 30 calendar days after receipt of the Section 504 meeting determination. 


    In each case where a hearing has been requested, the district will designate an impartial hearing officer who is not an employee of the district. The Section 504 hearing officer shall render a decision in writing to the district and parent/guardian of the student within 45 days after the completion of the Section 504 hearing. Review of the hearing officer's decision is available through an administrative appeal under Rule 602 of the Alaska Appellate Rules to the Alaska Superior Court.