Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights statute that assures individuals will not be discriminated against based on their disability. All school districts that receive federal funding are responsible for the implementation of this law. This law protects a student with a covered disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities, whether the student receives special education services or not.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) administers Section 504. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has no enforcement authority for this law. In addition to complaints of discrimination based on disability, complaints may be filed with OCR that pertain to discrimination based on race, sex, age, or national origin in education institutions. A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the date the discrimination occurred. Although it is not necessary to file a complaint with the school district before filing it with OCR, complaints may be filed with both the school district and OCR. See our list of Related Resources for more information.
OCR Region Office for Minnesota:
U.S. Department of Education
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1427
Chicago, IL 60661
MDE is authorized to conduct on-site reviews of school districts to assure the application of certain laws regarding discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and disability in vocational education programs. Based on the on-site reviews, MDE submits its findings in a biennial Civil Rights Compliance Report to OCR. The following laws are the subject of MDE on-site reviews:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance (34 C.F.R. Part 100);
Title IX of the Education of 1972 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance (34 C.F.R. Part 106);
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance (34 C.F.R. Part 104); and
Title II of the Americans Act of 1990 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities (28 C.F.R. Part 35).