Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a Federal law that focuses on non-discrimination. The law states, "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United State, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance or under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency or the United States Postal Service..." - 29 U.S.C., 794(a)(1973)."
As it applies to public schools, "the language broadly prohibits the denial of public education participation or enjoyment of the benefits offered by public school programs because of a child's disability. To encourage compliance, Congress did not create an additional source of federal funding, but instead, conditioned future receipt of federal funds on the district's compliance with the new requirements." (Richards, Lindsay, & Martin, L.L.P., Fall 2006.)