Students with Disabilities

Exceptional Children

The mission of the Exceptional Children Division is to assure that students with disabilities and those who are academically or intellectually gifted develop mentally, physically, emotionally, and vocationally through the provision of an appropriate individualized education in the least restrictive environment.

Section 504

Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of students on the bases of a handicapping condition.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that:

"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. " U.S. Department of Education.

Section 504 is different from the Exceptional Children’s Program in that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) has a defined list of disabilities that may qualify under IDEA. Section 504 is much broader in that it has no list. Each potentially qualifying disability must be assessed individually. A student qualifying to be served by Section 504 is one that has:

  1. a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  2. a record of such impairment, or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Section 504 is enforced by the Office of Civil Rights. Please contact your school or district coordinator of Section 504 for additional information.

The OCR office for North Carolina
Connects to the official site for information and resources pertaining to Section 504 in this State.

Parental Partnerships Facilitated by the Office for Civil Rights 
Connects to the webpage that makes the case for parent involvement and empowerment to actively and effectively advocate for the rights and in behalf of the needs of their children.

Prevention – Protecting Students With Disabilities
Provides prevention and intervention strategies to protect students from harassment and discrimination.

Section 504 Complaints Process
Leads to the process and procedures for filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.

Section 504 - Frequently Asked Questions
Provides answers to questions most frequently asked about disability discrimination. The Office of Civil Rights ensures equal access to education and is the enforcement authority for Section 504.

Student Placement in Elementary and Secondary Schools and Section 504
Leads to a section of the US Department of Education webpage that frames the requirements and expectations for placing students on a plan for Section 504.

Exceptional Children's Assistance Center
ECAC is a private, nonprofit parent organization committed to improving the lives and education of ALL children, through a special emphasis on children with disabilities and special healthcare needs. ECAC serves as North Carolina's Parent Training & Information Center (PTI), which is a federally funded program through the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). ECAC's parent educators help NC families navigate systems such as early intervention, special education and the transition to adulthood and provide families with information and resources to help them make informed decisions, to communicate effectively and to become their child's best advocate in school, the community and in life. All services to families are provided at no cost. 

Protecting Students with Disabilities