Section 504 Implementation Guide

Several federal and state laws safeguard educational rights and services for students with disabilities in Florida. One of them is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, including schools. Section 504 also guarantees the right to full participation and access to a free appropriate public education or FAPE. (FDOE, BESE, 2011, p. 2).

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE), Bureau of Exceptional Student Education (BESE), has compiled a resource for implementing Section 504 in school districts called the District Implementation Guide for Section 504. The guide is available here (pdf) and includes:

  • Background information and federal and state laws
  • Section 504 requirements and procedures
  • Operational guidelines for referral, evaluation, and eligibility
  • Developing and implementing the plan
  • Procedural safeguards
  • Discipline
  • Comparison of Section 504 and IDEA
  • Postsecondary students and 504 (FDOE, BESE, 2011, p. 1)

The guide does not replace the legal advice of a school board attorney when questions arise as to the applica­tion of Section 504 and other disability laws with respect to a particular student or situation (FDOE BESE, 2011, p.1).

Another helpful resource developed by the Florida Department of Education is A Parent and Teacher Guide to Section 504: Frequently Asked Questions (pdf).


Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Exceptional Student Education. (2011). District implementation guide for section 504. Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of State. Available at