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504 Coordinator - The Principal?

19 replies [Last post]
By lindsey's mom on Tue, 02-18-03, 19:29

Hi Everyone,
Just a quick question....
I called the district office, and asked who the 504 coordinator for my daughters elementry school. They told me it was the school principal.
I thought the coordinator was to be someone at the district office, or *off-site*
so as to be unbias in regards to implementation and follow through.
Please let me know.
Thanks everyone!!!!


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By Gail W on Tue, 02-18-03, 19:51

We have both-- our elementary school's 504 coordinator is our school counselor. There is also a staff member at our district board office who is the 504 coordinator for all the district. We were told that if we wanted to request 504 status for our daughter, we should request it *in writing* to our school counselor. Our school counselor would then convene a meeting to determine whether or not status would be granted. She would consult with the district at her discretion.

It may be different from school to school, district to district.

Hope that little bit helps~

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By lindsey's mom on Tue, 02-18-03, 20:07

Thank you Gail!
I haven't been able to speak with the principal yet.
I'm really nervous because the other PA children going to school there don't have any provisions at all (not even Epipens).
The nurse is absolutely intollerable!
If Lindsey has any trouble at school, I can garantee it will be due to the nurse.

??? On what grounds could we be denied 504 status?

Thank You again


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By Gail W on Tue, 02-18-03, 20:33

As I understand it, they simply can say they convened and determined that your child doesn't meet the criteria. End of story. We were told that they can basically do whatever they want *until you challenge it*... through the District, and then (if still denied) through the Office of Civil Rights. We contact the OCR and were advised that they can get involved only when 504 status was requested and denied. While it is widely held that food allergies are considered a hidden disability covered under Section 504, to my understanding there has not been legal precedent that upholds this (in fact the one and I believe only case-- Land v.-- was actually lost). That is why it is all a bit sticky. At least that is my understanding after having paid large legal reasearch fees 4 years ago [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif[/img]

I asked our district coordinator if they had any 504 plans for children with food allergies. She was very cautious not to break any confidentiality, and only stated that they had "very few" 504 plans. I interpreted this as a "no." You might see if they can share this info with you?

I found as many as I could posted here that I forwarded on to the district coordinator as examples. I ended up with an IHP, but was told very directly that we would qualify for the 504 if we were to request it.

Hope that helps address your question...

Good luck to you. This was a long, stressful process for me and I certainly wish you smooth sailing.


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By lindsey's mom on Tue, 02-18-03, 20:47

Thank You again for all the info, and encouragement!
I'll let you know how it goes.


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By Rae on Wed, 02-19-03, 15:57

504, in our district, consist of members of the SBLC (School Building Level Committee).

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By Rhonda RS on Wed, 02-19-03, 17:38

Hi Lindsey’s Mom and Gail,

Gail, so lovely to talk with you!

Lindsey’s Mom,
For a few years now, I’ve been trying to collect court cases and OCR rulings regarding food allergy. Additionally, I contacted OCR in Boston to collect data from them under U.S. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) OCR provided me with rulings that OCR has made regarding Section 504.

I firmly believe that the law is on the side of children who have anaphylactic food allergies, however it’s up to parents to provide the burden of proof. Again, these were cases that applied to daycare centers, not public schools, and they were looking at ADA not Section 504.

OCR clearly states food allergy as a hidden disability, therefore it is recognized. Visit this document for lots of links: [url="http://www.allergysupport.org/index.php?contents=rhondadocs/Primer.htm"]http://www.allergysupport.org/index.php?contents=rhondadocs/Primer.htm[/url] If you wanted to provide your school with a powerful document, I’d provide them with the document that OCR wrote that describes “allergy” as a hidden disability covered under Section 504 (as long as a life system = breathing is affected).

Do not let these cases deter you one bit. The law is on your side. Here are the reasons…
1. The Land v. Baptist Case is an ADA case, not a Section 504 Case. The Land child was in “daycare,” not public school.

2. The “expert” opinion in the Land v. Baptist case was given by the child’s own doctor who made a fate-sealing tactical error: I quote from the summary of this case in the words of one of the judges…“In this case, Megan's allergy is not substantially limiting because, as her doctor stated, Megan's allergy impacts her life only "a little bit."

3. The parents in the Land v. Baptist case could have taken this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They never did, which means it does not set precedence as “law of the land.” It is not nationally recognized like Roe v. Wade for example.

4. Your school district probably does not know that the Land V. Baptist case or Petite Academy cases exist. I don’t see their relevance unless your issues were with daycare (and even then you could challenge those decisions), but you still don’t need to bring it up either.

5. The Baptist case was heard by the Arkansas State Supreme Court. Each state has its own Supreme Court and the case had to go through the lower courts first in each state. Based on the quality of skills of each person’s lawyer, a case in your state may have a completely different outcome, should it ever come to that.

6. There also exists the case La Petite Academy v. Jester, Brownds, etc. Again, La Petite academy is a child daycare center, not a public school. This case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Academy settled before the U.S. Supreme Court could make a ruling. Perhaps the Academy thought they could not win.

7. Reed Martin (well known disability lawyer: [url="http://www.reedmartin.com)"]www.reedmartin.com)[/url] has told me that he has taken cases to court regarding food allergy and accommodation plans and has won. I do not know the names of the cases, but some do exist.

Here is the link to the Land v. Baptist case: [url="http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=8th&navby=case&no=982019P"]http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=8th&navby=case&no=982019P[/url]

Here is a link to the Settlement of Le Petite Academy & United State of America

Ps. Let me dig up my OCR rulings. I know there is one case in Rhode Island where the school was found in violation of the child’s civil rights.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 19, 2003).]

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By Gail W on Wed, 02-19-03, 18:08

CHANT: Go Rhonda... Go Rhonda... Go Rhonda. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Wonderful, detailed clarification. Thanks!


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By cathlina on Thu, 02-20-03, 01:25

The school district can appoint whomever they wish to be the 504 coordinator.

It could be someone in the district office or on a building by building basis.

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By Rhonda RS on Thu, 02-20-03, 15:30

No, the person does not have to be located off-site. Section 504 states that the district only has to designate one person as the Section 504 Coordinator. The law does not state who that person is. That person could hold multiple titles. And I suppose, there could be multiple 504 Coordinators. In our district for example, our 504 Coordinator holds the title, "Director of Pupil Personnel." She is the Section 504 Coordinator as well as the Special Education Coordinator. We had to make our request to our Section 504 Coordinator for the 504 Designation. However, it was our school principal who called us to set up our first 504 Meeting. Our school principal runs all the 504 Meetings for her building (with great skill I might add.) The 504 Coordinator did not attend, though she told me she would if I wanted her to.

Each district must also have a designated 504 Compliance Officer. Do you know who the compliance officer is? That might be the principal too.

If you find that your school principal / 504 Coordinator is denying you a 504 Designation with accommodations and modification that you believe your child is entitled to, you can go to the next level. You can contact the Director of Pupil Personnel, this person is probably the Special Education Director. You can also contact the superintendent of schools. Each school reacts differently to a 504 Designation request.

Put all your requests in writing.

Be sure to put your request in writing, along with a carefully crafted doctor’s letter - stating that “breathing is affected;” this is the language of 504. And to be safe, I would include my CAP RAST Test results. This method seems to be most effective for parents in obtaining a 504 Designation.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 20, 2003).]

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By cynde on Thu, 02-20-03, 16:24

This is off topic, but I'm just wondering Rhonda, if there is something wrong with your keyboard. I think you have a lot of good information, but I am having trouble following it all because of the weird symbols that keep popping up.

I do not have any info to add about the topic, we do not have a 504 system in Canada. But I like to find out how other people handle things.


[This message has been edited by cynde (edited February 20, 2003).]

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By lindsey's mom on Thu, 02-20-03, 19:52

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Hi Everyone!
The Principal of Lindsey's school called, and our first meeting is next Tuesday morning! He seemed to be very concerned, and helpful (thank God!).
We will be going over the 504 I've written, and also meeting with the cafeteria staff. The Principal stated that they have had extensive training concerning food allergies, although no one else on the staff seams to be aware of that (especially the nurse).*I didn't mention any of my previous conversations with these other staff members, because they are actually the individuals that kept me from getting an appointment with him. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img])
Rhonda, Thank You for all the great information!!!! I am truly indebted to everyone here, and can't thank you enough!

Question???? What is the difference between a skin-prick test, and a CAP-Rast?
Lindsey has only had the skin test.

Love to all!!


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By Rhonda RS on Thu, 02-20-03, 22:10

Hi Cynde,
Hope all is well. There is nothing wrong with my keyboard, but thanks for letting me know there might be. Perhaps it is the version of windows that you are using. This is the first time someone has brought this up to me. What version are you using?
Take care,

Hi Lindsey's Mom,
Prick Skin is a topical test, CAP RAST is a blood test.

Take care,

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By lindsey's mom on Thu, 02-20-03, 22:31

Thanks Rhonda,
I have one more question?
Should I request a blood test in your opinion? Lindsey's first reaction was very severe just by residue that got on her, and her second was anaphylactic as well from smell. She has never actually ingested peanut. When she has the skin test they usually have to flush her skin immediately, and give Benadryl because she has reacted to quickly to it. (She sees an Allergy/Imunology Specialist)
Should I wait to see if the school asks for a blood test specificaly? Her Pediatrician & Allergist have both written letters to the school on our behalf concerning Lindsey's PA and its severity.
Again, Thank You so very much,

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By Rhonda RS on Thu, 02-20-03, 23:21

Hi Lori,
You are welcome. The need for a blood test is only a call your doctor can make. If your docs have not seen a need up to this point, there probably is not one as far as they are concerned. In my opinion, I think the results from a Prick Skin test could be just as powerful with your school. I don't believe that you should be concerned that you don't have an IgE blood test. The most important issue you need to be concerned with at this point is the language that your doctors used in their letters. Did they include the statement that "the life system of breathing is affected?" This statement in the letter is significant. The letter that your allergist writes must be carefully crafted because she/he is considered the "expert." Did you see the outline of the letter that I sent to our doc? Here is the link: [url="http://www.peanutallergy.com/bbpage.htm."]http://www.peanutallergy.com/bbpage.htm.[/url] It worked for us in getting our 504 Designation and has worked for others on these boards in getting the designation.
Take care,

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 21, 2003).]

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By Cam's Mom on Fri, 02-21-03, 04:58


Rhonda is so right about the wording in the dr's letter. Because they are really going to determine everything by what the dr's say, most especially the allergist.

I'm in limbo now w/Cam's school b/c they weren't willing to even look at the documentation I had with me from his previous allergist. The letter was addressed to his peditrician and stated everything about the allergy and even put on the letter this: "on a scale of 0-4, Cameron clearly shows a pnut sensitivity of greater than 4+, and fits the history of his past reaction being anaphylatic" they had no interest in this letter, they wanted confirmation that the accomadations I was asking for (pf room and table) were considered necessary from his dr. Period, they won't discuss anything else until I have those letters, and I'm now holding my breath of what his allergist is going to say.

I copied Rhonda's letter (THANK YOU RHONDA [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ) and edited it with a few stuff I thought was pertinant to Cameron. Her letter is excellent!

Good luck and I hope things go well for you, I thought by my phone conversation w/our principal that he was going to be real understanding and seem to be one to take it seriously...boy was I shocked when they thought I was a freak, especially the school nurse, she was the most difficult.

I hope your meeting goes better than mine! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Lana [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By Rhonda RS on Fri, 02-21-03, 14:34

Hi Lana,
You are welcome! We are all in this together. I don't know what kind of rapport you have with your docs, but our doc is the best! I asked him to send me the letter first so that I could make sure it stated the "words" that we needed to get the 504 designation. Of course "breathing is affected" by anaphylaxis, but schools new to this do not inherently understand this. The doctor’s letter is powerful because it states the bare truth of the anaphylaxis issue, “breathing is affected,” from the get go. Lana, call your allergist and ask him if he’ll send you the letter first. Perhaps you can explain to him how important the wording is and that you are only asking him to tell them the truth just in every day language (breathing.) Other body systems are affected as well: cardiovascular, skin and digestive. Keep us posted on your progress [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 21, 2003).]

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By lindsey's mom on Sat, 02-22-03, 00:21

Rhonda, and Lana
Thanks for the heads up about the letter from the Doc.
Rhonda, I copied your letter as well today, and will get it my our Allergist ASAP.
What a great help you have been [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]!
I'll let you know how it all comes out.

Love Ya'll


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By Cam's Mom on Sat, 02-22-03, 03:28

Hi Rhonda,

I definately asked them to mail it to me, and I'd distribute it to the school administration at our next meeting. I used your letter/wording almost exactly, and added a paragraph about why it is important for Cameron to have these safegaurds in place for his first few yrs of school, b/c I don't know his view on removing pnut products from classrooms/schools.

Since Cameron has only seen this particular allergist one time, and that was basically an appt. his pedi. wanted so that we could establish an allergist in our area (when we first moved here), anyway, I know that his pedi. is very assertive w/pnut allergies, and have requested a letter from him too. His nurse has already said that he'd back me 100%.

But yes, I definately wanted to view the letter before it went to the school.

Thanks again for your knowledge, and many hugs to you for your help.

Lana [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By k on Sat, 03-01-03, 16:07

Hi Rhonda~

I am very interested in any cases you may know of concerning pn allergy. Any suggestions of how we could find out which ones Reed Martin has won?!



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