Support for a program that’s been here since 1973

504’s helpful tool for people who have physical, mental impairments


Kayleigh Fisher

Student Support is a resource for students who are going through something, want to talk, and for students who just need a break

Kayleigh Fisher, Staff Writer

It started with my grades dropping.

I was an A+ student and “social butterfly” all throughout elementary school. Then COVID-19 hit when I was 12 years old, and I entered seventh grade with immense anxiety from not being in contact with people for six months of quarantine. 

I never went to classes online, and it got so bad that my parents got a letter for truancy stating that we would go to court if I missed another day of school. I managed to scrape by and pass the second semester, then moved the summer before eighth grade.

Before I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Teachers thought I was lazy and gave up on me. I rarely paid attention or did my work, and I couldn’t seem to climb out of this hole that I had dug myself into. After visiting with a guidance counselor, I had a  504 put in place. This program has raised my grades and has helped me get my work done even on my worst days.

Not all students are aware of this aid. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a program for students who have a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major activities in their life, such as eating, sleeping, seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating and working. More students should be aware of the opportunities that come with Section 504.

The process of acquiring a 504 is getting a referral first. Although a parent can request an evaluation for a 504, the district can refuse a request for an evaluation. 

If the district allows for the evaluation, there is more than one source of information (like a doctor’s note) that they take into consideration. They look over grades for the past few years, teachers’ reports, state assessment scores, discipline records, observations, information from parents or other sources and attendance. 

With a 504, you can get accommodations that are specific to every individual. 504s are different for everyone, but some accommodations allow for extra time on tests (and other assignments), a quiet place to work in. If your impairment is a mental illness (such as depression), then you can get passes to counselors/student support when needed. 

504’s should be more utilized by those who need them. With students aware of this plan, they will have the extra support needed to succeed.