Section 504 is a federal law (Rehabilitation Act of 1973) that protects students with disabilities from being discriminated against at school. This law applies to any district that receives federal financial assistance (Title 1, special education monies, free breakfast/lunch, etc.). Schools are required to provide the same opportunities to students with disabilities as those that do not have disabilities. This is typically provided through "reasonable accommodations or modifications." (Section 504 Plan)
A 504 plan is an outline for how the school will support a student with a disability and remove barriers to learning. The goal is to give the student equal access at school. They are written plans that schools use to give kids with disabilities the support they need and protect the rights of kids with disabilities in school. 504 plans are different from IEP’s and are not technically part of Special Education Services. 504 plans and IEPs are covered by different laws and work in different ways but have the same end goal of helping students receive the services they need to thrive in the school environment.