Understanding Section 504

Do you ever feel like you’re struggling at school?

Do you ever feel like your depression or anxiety gets in the way of your learning?  Maybe Section 504 can help.

Photo Credit: MariaKosowska | RetroCartoon.wordpress.com Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: MariaKosowska | RetroCartoon.wordpress.com Flickr via Compfight cc

What is Section 504?

Section 504 is a law the prevents discrimination against children with disabilities.

What does it do?

Section 504 makes sure that a student with a disability has equal access to an education and to benefits and services similar to those given to classmates without a disability.

Who does Section 504 protect?

Section 504 applies to students and the parents of students who go to public school (or any program) that receives funding from the federal government.

Does Section 504 protect students who have depression or anxiety?

Yes, if the depression or anxiety limits major life activities.

But what does ‘limits a major life activity’ mean?

Do you ever have trouble with school because of your anxiety or depression?  For example, does your depression make it hard for you to get out of bed and you end up missing school?  Or does your anxiety make it difficult for you to finish taking tests in the time allowed?  Do you avoid asking questions, have fear speaking in front of the class or accepting assignments that have been graded because of fear of finding out the grade?  Anxiety and depression can often make it hard for students to finish work, take tests or concentrate in the classroom

Learning (or reading, writing, doing math) is considered a major life activity.  Other life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, and breathing.  Therefore, if your depression or anxiety is causing you to have trouble learning or another major life activity then you may qualify for Section 504.

What does Section 504 require?

There is a specific process and requirements for Section 504.  Section 504 has its own identification, evaluation, placement and safeguards for students.

Who should you talk to about your depression or anxiety and Section 504?

Any trusted teacher, school counselor, nurse or parent is a great place to start.  Also, each school should have a Section 504 coordinator.

Do you wish to know more about Section 504?

Click here for a more in depth look at Section 504

Do you have any additional questions?  Do you have any experiences with Section 504 that you feel like sharing?  We’d love to hear!

Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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