In 1973, the Rehabilitation Act was signed into federal law to protect those with disabilities in California and throughout the country. It was the first law of its kind. The protections are specified in Section 504. They intersect with education law because the protections concern students with disabilities in schools that receive federal government assistance.
The law details which students qualify for Section 504 protections. Parents concerned with these issues will want to gain an understanding of the relevant laws to assess whether they are applicable to their children’s cases. If it appears the law has been violated in a specific circumstance, a parent has several options available to resolve the issue.
Education law protections
For protections covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to apply to a specific student, that student must meet the following qualifications:
- Impairment limits major activities in the student’s life.
- The impairment has been documented on record.
- It has been determined that the student has the specified impairment.
Being regarded as having an impairment means that the student has demonstrated its existence and school administrators, teachers and others recognize the student as having the impairment.
Options available to parents when a Section 504 violation occurs
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the department of the federal government that handles issues concerning Section 504 violations, whether in the workplace or in connection with education law. A parent can file a complaint regarding a violation of these laws in a child’s school. Parents may also file a lawsuit against a school district, even if they have already filed a complaint with OCR.