OCR revises 504 FAQs in light of ADAAA
The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a revised frequently asked questions (FAQ) document for the purpose of clarifying the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) in the area of public elementary and secondary education. The revisions to OCR’s earlier FAQs is to incorporate information about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), which amended the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and included a conforming amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that affects the meaning of “disability” in § 504. The ADAAA broadens the interpretation of disability but does not require ED to amend its § 504 regulations, which OCR indicates are valid as currently written but are being enforced consistent with the ADAAA. OCR is evaluating the impact of the ADAAA on its enforcement responsibilities under § 504 and Title II of the ADA. Background and resources on § 504 and on the ADAAA are available below. School districts have been trying to anticipate how significantly the ADAAA’s revisions will increase the numbers of § 504 plans they must prepare for students whose needs previously were handled under health plans. The revisions to OCR’s FAQs do not address the effects, if any, on § 504 and Title II of the amendments to the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that were published in December. Information on those regulations also is below.
OCR resources on disability discrimination
NSBA School Law pages on ADAAA
NSBA School Law pages on Section 504
NSBA School Law pages on December IDEA regulations