Section 504 and Disability Discrimination
Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. It prohibits discrimination based on disability by recipients. The Department's Section 504 regulations require schools to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) that consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the student with a disability's individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met.
2022 Section 504 Student Discipline Guidance Documents:
Dear Colleague Letter: Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. English [PDF, 1.3MB] | Español [PDF, 1.06M] (July 19, 2022)
Fact Sheet: Supporting Students with Disabilities and Avoiding the Discriminatory Use of Student Discipline Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. English [PDF, 299KB] | Español [PDF, 299K] (July 19, 2022)
IDEA and the Education of Students with Disabilities
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles each eligible child with a disability to a FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet the child's unique needs.
2022 IDEA Student Discipline Guidance Documents:
Title VI and Race, Color, or National Origin Discrimination
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Resource on Confronting Racial Discrimination in Student Discipline. English [PDF, 1.06M] | Español [PDF, 1.06M] (May 26, 2023)
Federal Civil Rights Enforcement
A complaint of discrimination may be filed by anyone who believes that a recipient of Federal financial assistance has discriminated against them or someone else, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, sex, disability, or age. The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination and may complain on behalf of another person or group.
Complaints can be filed with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education online or via email (OCR@ed.gov), fax (202-453-6012), or mail (400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100). For additional information, contact OCR's Customer Service team, at 1-800-421-3481, or one of OCR's regional offices.
Complaints can also be filed with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. For additional information, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
- Compendium of School Discipline Laws and Regulations for the 50 States, District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories (June 2022) This Compendium provides information on school discipline laws and administrative regulations for each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands effective as of June 2022.