504 mtg!!! What are they trying to pull?

Posted on: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 1:17am
janbiv2's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

I requested a 504 eligibility meeting for my son for severe food allergies. The meeting is tomorrow, but I am concerned about a few things. First, the wording of the letter informing me of the meeting. It says:

"Based on your concerns regarding your son XXXXXXXX's school performance, we would like to meet with you on..."

"...to discuss the need to provide programmatic accommodations for your son."

Well, I'm not at all worried about his school performance. In fact my letter specifically requested a meeting regarding severe food allergies. I'm not aware of the teacher having any difficulties with my son's school performance either, and I have spoken with her on a few occasions. He is also doing very well academically. Also I've come to find out the school psychologist is attending the meeting. WHY? Is this typical for food allergies?

Or do you think they plan on focusing on school performance (which I believe is excellent) as a way to deny the 504?

What should I focus on at the meeting? I am already feeling intimidated as the SD will have the 504 coordinator, my son's prinicpal, teacher, school nurse and school psychologist and the SD's doctor in attendance!!

Then there will be me.

Badly need advice and encouragement! :-)


Thanks!

Posted on: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 1:57am
Chris's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/12/1999 - 09:00

We are available here in the office to help with this type of situation if you would like to call.

Posted on: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 9:46am
qdebbie1's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

Sounds like an ignorant form generated letter sent to you....lets hope.
The school psychologist and director of special services attend all of our meetings so that is normal for us.
You are looking only for health concerns, not academic. Steer any conversations about academics back to the health concern and involve the nurse and doctor.
I am hoping you have already obtained a letter from your dr/allergist stating that the allergy is life threatening and affects the major life activity of breathing. The letter should also indicate the need for a safe learning environment without the threat of peanuts.
They should be intimidated by you. You are in control here. Remember that you are fighting for the rights and safety of your child.

Posted on: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 11:40pm
janbiv2's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Originally Posted By: qdebbie1
I am hoping you have already obtained a letter from your dr/allergist stating that the allergy is life threatening and affects the major life activity of breathing. The letter should also indicate the need for a safe learning environment without the threat of peanuts.
They should be intimidated by you. You are in control here. Remember that you are fighting for the rights and safety of your child.
The letter from the allergist does state that my son's allergies are life threatening but does not specifically state that it affects the major life activity of breathing. Also, his letter "recommends" a nut free classroom, so I don't know how much weight this letter really has.
Thank you for the encouragement and thank everyone for your advice. My meeting is in a couple of hours so we will see how it goes.
Thanks, will post later

Posted on: Thu, 11/08/2007 - 11:45pm
debbur's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 06:37

Perhaps it was a form letter so 99% of 504's are for academics.

Posted on: Fri, 11/09/2007 - 12:18am
debbur's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 06:37

I am a school nurse and I have the best intentions of supporting each child. The problem I have is that each child's allergy and reaction are different and allergic reactions aren't predictable. Also, the kids must have equal access to education so accommodations can't be restrictive and can't make them feel different.
Work with your allergist and school nurse and get an epi-pen on campus. Your state department of education should have guidelines regarding severe food allergies. An Allergy Action Plan should result from the 504 meeting and should state the steps to take if there is a reaction. The Health Care Plan tells teachers and others (on a need to know basis, such as playground monitors, etc.) what to do to prevent a reaction. These may be combined into 1 document.
The 504 should be a team meeting to get everyone on the same page. You will need to be the instructor regarding your child and the specifics of their allergy. The allergy testing report maybe helpful because kids who are allergic to 1 thing are generally allergic to other things.
Things to be discussed at 504: location of epi pen, field trips, safe lunch area, management of the allergy in the classroom (science or cooking projects), and classroom parties. The school personnel must worry about traing, CPR cerification and staffing issues (supervision at lunch and field trips, etc.), but that's their problem.
Having a writen document is 1 thing, but teaching a child self-care and self-advocacy is another and that may fall on your shoulders and is ongoing as they develop. Field trips are a challenge when working parents are not able to go with their child. Look at it as an open door to be involved with your child's education until your child refuses to let you on campus in middle school! You are guarnteed a spot on all field trips and classroom parties if you want it. An opportunity to "be a fly on the wall" in these wonderful years with your child. You will be welcome because the last thing ANYONE wants is a bad outcome. Hopefully the epi-pen will never be used.

Posted on: Sat, 12/15/2007 - 1:56pm
bhcassidyjj's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/01/2007 - 09:00

I'm just now reading this post for the first time and I know its been a while, but I'm really curious to hear how the meeting went...

Posted on: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 7:46am
janbiv2's picture
Offline
Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Sorry I haven't been around to update...been crazy busy as I'm sure everyone is this time of year.
Anyway, the meeting was tough and quite long. He did receive disability status under 504. I had the majority of the members on my side 1/2 way through the meeting, but the nurse and the 504 coordinator were huge obstacles. In the end, I got them to agree that if a child inadvertently brought in peanut products for snack, the child would have to eat the snack in the office. (NOT really what I was asking for. I offered to provide safe snacks for any child who brought in an unsafe one, and the nurse totally balked at this idea saying I might bring in something that would make another child sick! Ridiculous!! Even the SCHOOL'S doctor was getting annoyed with her.)
In the end though, all the time we spent coming to an agreement meant nothing because they never wrote it into the 504 plan. They gave me the IHP that the nurse put together, and basically told me that was it; those are the accommodations and that is it!
I had originally written a letter after the meeting outlining what we had agreed to because I knew they weren't going to add it to the plan. They never responded. Then, after I received the plan and the accommodation wasn't in it, I wrote another letter requesting the plan be changed to include the agreed upon accommodation and instead got a call from the principal telling me all the reasons they could not put it in writing, with LIABILITY being the major reason.
I know this all came from the 504 coordinator. The principal can't do anything without his okay. However, the principal told me they will still follow the accommodation we agreed upon at the meeting, but that the 504 coor will not put it in writing and I could request another meeting if I wished.
So, I have put things aside for just a bit. The actual IHP, which is attached to the 504, actually says "No food or drink allowed in class." I believe this is in error, but have been debating on using this to file a complaint with OCR.
The only thing holding me back is I know this will obviously damage my relationship with both the teacher and the principal. On the other hand, the principal and teacher's word really mean little in the grand scheme of things.
Today was proof of this when they had their holiday party. The teacher told me in the beginning of the year, no baked goods would be allowed in and only foods with listed ingredients that she would carefully check and have me recheck before the party. Well, today's party included Munchkins, home baked brownies, etc. Also, someone brought in some packaged gingerbread cookies. I have some at home that my son can eat, so when he saw these he asked if he could have one.
The teacher says yes, she checked the ingredients herself and they were safe. When I told her I felt better double checking and I looked at the package, and what do you know, IN BIG BOLD LETTERS it said handled on equipment with peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. I mean, you couldn't miss it!!! It was in bold and set off from the rest of the ingredients!
Soooooo, I am just gathering my nerve up to call OCR. And I haven't pointed out to them that their plan says no food or drink allowed in class because someone told me they would probably just change it, which I believe they would.
Very frustrating!

Posted on: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 8:20am
bhcassidyjj's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/01/2007 - 09:00

You may want to print this out and give it to the nurse-
[url="http://www.foodallergyproject.org/Nurses-Study.pdf"]http://www.foodallergyproject.org/Nurses-Study.pdf[/url]
It's a study about the impact of food allergies in schools from data supplied by nurses. Probably won't help but I thought it was interesting.
You may also want to give a copy to your child's teacher since they are not taking it very seriously either. If I remember correctly, there's a statement in there that says 79% of reactions occured in the classroom, while only 12% occured in the lunchroom.

Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2008 - 2:03pm
Krusty Krab's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

[b]The teacher says yes, she checked the ingredients herself and they were safe. When I told her I felt better double checking and I looked at the package, and what do you know, IN BIG BOLD LETTERS it said handled on equipment with peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. I mean, you couldn't miss it!!! It was in bold and set off from the rest of the ingredients![/b]
Ah, yes...yet another teacher who claims she will be veeeerrrrry careful, misreads a label. I'd be tempted to tell you to never trust a teacher, they're too busy and while most mean well, they're just like the rest of the world who doesn't get it.
I'm not one to let others feed my kid, especially a little one. Have seen too many mistakes and near misses. Now you have too. Invaluable insight.
Glad to see you got the 504.
[b]Soooooo, I am just gathering my nerve up to call OCR. And I haven't pointed out to them that their plan says no food or drink allowed in class because someone told me they would probably just change it, which I believe they would.[/b]
Do you have a copy of the 504? It should be signed by all as well. IMO you'll do more harm than good in keeping quiet about the food. They don't want or expect you to make them stick to that 504. Seems like they were only trying to give you what you wanted and hope you'll now be quiet. Surely they don't think you actually [i]mean[/i] for them to abide by this 504 you've just won for your child.
I think now more than ever is the time to show them that [i]you[/i] take this seriously. Get your copy of the 504.
Why would you file a complaint with the OCR, when you have not tried to fix it first? I would think you ought to point out the err of their way, give them the opportunity to come into compliance. A call to the OCR might afford you some advice, whether you're on the right track. It's helpful to have your requests to the school documented [i]**requests made in writing, documented[/i]. You must lay that paper trail. I would also find ways to get the other accomodations not listed in the 504 into some sort of document (email, letters). Paper trail.
[b]The only thing holding me back is I know this will obviously damage my relationship with both the teacher and the principal.[/b]
And why do you care? Your personal relationship with the teacher ought not to be the basis for keeping your child safe at school. It's your child's right to expect safety, to expect not to die at school. I've gotten over that feeling, but I understand it, I've been there.

Posted on: Mon, 01/21/2008 - 10:05pm
saknjmom's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

I am sorry you are having trouble. Regarding the cupcake mixup. It is probably better to not allow your child to eat any foods at school that are not from home without your written approval. I would limit those foods to prepackaged foods with a label. It can be risky to allow your child to eat foods (especially baked foods) that are made in homes that are not pn free. You can encounter a cross contamination problem.
When birthday treats come into my son's room, I am given 3 days notice and I send him a similar treat.

Pages

Forum

Click on one of the categories below to see all forum topics.

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

Anxious food allergic kids, understandably concerned about avoiding allergens, can become so restrictive in their food choices that weight loss...

Peanuts are classified as legumes, as are chickpeas. Does this mean a child with a peanut allergy needs to avoid eating chickpeas? As with many...

A young food allergic child is unlikely to say, “My throat is swelling and I’m having difficulty swallowing - I think I’m having an allergic...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

So many wonderful recipes call for peanut butter. These recipes can still be enjoyed by experimenting with peanut butter replacements.

...