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 (ED). Section 504 is widely recognized as the first civil-rights statute for persons with disabilities. 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 . . . ."
Section 504 forbids schools and other organizations from excluding or denying individuals with disabilities an
equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services. It defines the rights of individuals with disabilities
to participate in, and have access to, program benefits and services.