504 plans


can anyone give me some feedback about implimenting a 504 plan for a nut and peanut allergic child? are they helpful? are they needed? are there other alternative agreements? do you recomend them? -p.busker austin, texas

On Jul 18, 2004

IMO, you absolutely need one.

This legal document protects your child as well as the school. It can specifically state how a child's PA is managed in the school setting. It also protects you in case of change of "management" so to speak. If everything is going fine, and you decide to move or the administration changes at your school, having a 504 already in place sets precedence and helps your child in the long run.

Having worked as a teacher and being a parent of a PA child, I simply couldn't imagine my child going to school without one.

When everything is specifically spelled out, it helps eliminate confusion, bad feelings, and arguments with teachers/administrators.

On Jul 18, 2004

are the plans generally embraced and welcomed by school administrators and teachers? -pbusker

On Jul 18, 2004

Often they are not. More administration for the school, and if they had their druthers, it's easier for them if there isn't a legal document around that articulates their accountability, KWIM??? Additionally, the acommodations that are agreed to in a 504 plan are not funded through the government (unlike accommodations made through IEP's [IDEA]), so that's another reason these plans aren't so popular with school administrators.

Anyway, I also support the use of 504 plans. BTW, if no one mentioned it, they are called 504 plans since they arise out of Section 504 of the Rehab Act of 1973. To learn tons more about 504 plans (besides searching tons of posts here in the School thread), you can also check out the Schools section of [url="http://www.allergysupport.org,"]www.allergysupport.org,[/url] which is run by a parent who is a member here.

On Jul 21, 2004

I know this is not a popular opinion, but I believe in using 504 plans for children with disabilities, not food allergies. My son is 12, going into 7th grade with a known life threatening peanut allergy. We have always used an Individualized Health Plan for him. In fact, about 5 years ago, another parent in the school district and I wrote the protocol for life threatening food allergies for the entire district. So I know the plans and policies they have in place work, because we put them together for the district. There have been some modifications made over the years as things arose, but even the letter that is sent home to the classmates' parents is one that my husband wrote many years ago. This is a district wide policy that works. It is not a ban, but classroom and lunchroom accomodations are made for children with food allergies. We have not received any flack whatsoever from any parents, teachers, staff, bus drivers etc. And most importantly the kids with food allergies can go to school and know they are safe. By the way, another unpopular topic on these boards, but the protocol was based on FAAN's school policies. Feel free to email me at [email]mkbee@sbcglobal.net[/email] if you have any questions. I can provide you with the generic health plan that we have used over the years. It has been modified quite extensively over the years as he has gotten older. He has taken on most of the responsibility for checking ingredients for what he eats. His plan is now more of an information to teachers and staff as to who he is, what a reaction looks like and what to do in case of accidental ingestion. Oh and this plan has also worked for summer camps, band, sports, etc. that the school district offers. Good luck. You can send your child to school safely.

------------------ Mary Kay

[This message has been edited by Mary Kay (edited July 25, 2004).]

On Jul 22, 2004

My take is very different.

I consider a PA (if it is classified as "life-threatening") by a doctor to definitely be a disability. When a doctor writes a letter confirming PA as life-threatening and matching it to the OCR doc to state the major body systems it affects, IMO there is no doubt that PA is a disability guaranteeing a child certain rights under the law.

Personally, I want my child to have those guaranteed rights and be protectd under the law. A huge problem is that school districts vary widely in how PA is handled. I'll use MaryKay as an example because she seems very happy in a district without using a 504 for her son. However, if a person transfers out of the district to another school, the same precautions may not be in place. What if there is a complete change in administration? Will new administrators be as proactive as previous ones. School policy looks great on paper but is only as good as the people who implement it.

A 504 carries weight, "clout" so to speak. If your child can qualify for a 504, then you have "protected handicapped status." It may mean nothing to one child, but to a child in a "problem" school, this designation can be extremely helpful. It may not solve all problems, but giving up my son's rights under the law would be very scary to me. I say this being a former educator and parent.

Back to another question to be answered. IMO, it seems that about 30 to 35% of 504's seem to be well accepted by school districts just by looking at what I read here at PA.com. The remaining seem to have uphill battles in implementing good ones.

On Jul 23, 2004

I agree with Ryan's mom.

My response to the question is:

Who cares what the school district thinks or wants. Those who have worked in public education (as Ryan's Mom and & I have) know that most administrators of SD's are concerned with preserving the institution - as flawed as it is - and not with the rights of individuals - and certainly not the rights of children with disabilities, like food allergy. Regardless of what the school district thinks or wants you must be committed to what you know your child needs to be safe and work toward that goal.

Keep up all your hard work Ryan's mom! Your posts are great.

Take care, Rhonda [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]http://www.allergysupport.org[/url]

[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited July 25, 2004).]

On Jul 24, 2004

Mary Kay, I understand why you feel you don't need a 504. However, if all of our schools had a district wide policy that we had helped create and knew it worked, we probably would agree. My son was the first pa child in the district. This was all new to everyone. No one has given us a hard time with accomodations, but there are some who just don't "get it".

I believe we have a better chance of staff following his plan, with 504 protection. It also guarantee's these accomodations if for some reason our principal or nurse or special ed director leaves. What happens if we didn't have a plan in place and a new principal comes in and thinks the whole pa thing is a bunch of garbage, and so on?

Obviously the best option would be that every school district had to have a food allergy policy in place, so that each parent doesn't have to do what I and so many others have had to do to keep our kids safe.

Can I ask what specifically you feel is negative about giving an allergic student a 504?

On Jul 25, 2004

to: Momma2boys I won't go into great detail here on the boards about why I don't believe in 504s for allergies. You can email me at [email]mkbee@sbcglobal.net[/email] for that, but the short version is I am on the Illinois State Advisory Council for the Education of Children with Disabilities (I was selected by the Governor for this position). I was selected to be on this council because I have a daughter with cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus and porencephaly. This is not my child with the food allergies. I have met many families over the years with children with true disabilities. I don't believe food allergies are a disability, but I do believe accommodations have to be made for children with food allergies. I know I have been lucky to be able to write the district policy for my son's district. But I also feel that this is something any parent could do if they dealt with the schools/district in a rational manner and did not demand bans. Just my opinion of course.

------------------ Mary Kay

On Jul 25, 2004

Ah...that word rational. Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if everyone were rational. Seriously.

This is the inherent problem here as well as the vast range of how children/people react given food allergy (contact, inhalation, ingestion).

Mary Kay, do not take this the wrong way. I do not mean to be insulting or accusatory. However, some type of ban may be necessary given a child that will react by smell and/or touch. Personally I have never asked for a school-wide ban. I just know if is basically unenforceable in such a huge school. An extremely strict classroom ban CAN work with virtually no complaints or problems (assuming there is a cafteria for lunch). I know, ours does.

I've seen violent, vitually instant reactions. My son is one of those that could die within 5 minutes. This is a disability, IMO. Just like diabetes, severe asthma, etc. A thrust of a PB&J or Reese's in his face could be his doom. For that, he needs that 504. He needs protected handicapped status and he needs those rights under 504 law.

In some ways this reminds of a letter in an advice column I read recently. Seems that two friends were pulling into a parking spot at a grocery store. One commented that "...people should only use the handicapped spots if they need it..." ignoring the fact that her friend had MS and merely across the entire parking lot would exhaust her for the entire day. MS can vary widely in its symptoms, yet it is definitely classified as a disability. Just because she "looks" fine, doesn't mean she is.

[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited July 25, 2004).]

On Jul 25, 2004

Oh, and Rhonda, GREAT to see you are posting more often. Your frequent posts have been missed! I always learn so much from them.

Congratulations on your little bundle. What a joy!

And keep posting!!!

On Aug 8, 2004

thanks to all who have posted info about 504 and IHP. This is a great forum of help. Tomorrow I go to the school for the first time to meet with the nurse and the principal. I first contacted them at the end of last school years requesting a pre-start of school meeting. I again contacted them on july 15th. htey called me this past Friday to tell me that tey have everything under control and to just drop off my daughters Epipen at the nurses office. That's it! So of course I again requested a meeting and it should be interesting. I am hoping they are more together than it seems. Last year we enrolled out daughter in a highly recommended pre-school. The night before the first day of school, the director called me to ask that I not bring our daughter in the morning. She also asked me to attend a meeting with the school board of directors the following monday. Which meant my daughter would miss the first three days of school and seemingly the rest. Sure enough, I attended the meeting and was met by the school attorney who proceeded to tell me that that were denying enrollment of my daughter ecuase the school was "not adequately equipt to handle a medical emergency". WOW was I suprised! A school who has 170 student every day was telling me that mt neighbors and freinds children who attend the school were in serious danger is they had a medical emergency. Of course I knew that this excuse was bull. The truth is they they were not willing to make reasonable accomodations and changes to their established program. This was I first experience with a school (and adults) and boy it wasn't very fun. So Wish me luck tomorrow!

On Aug 8, 2004


Good Luck Tomorrow!

I am also from Austin and was wondering what school district you were in? I am working with my school at this time and they discourage the 504 for kids with food allergies in the school setting. We are puting an in-depth IHP into place, but I am still uneasy about not having a 504, but for many reasons we are not pushing it. Send me an e-mail at [email]family1000@sbcglobal.net[/email] and let me know your SD if you want to, and I hope your meeting goes well. Carrie

On Aug 9, 2004


I'm very happy that things seem to be going well.

However...trust and verify. "Having things under control" is a very elusive response to me open to a great deal of interpretation. Make sure you ask a LOT of questions. Give them hypothetical situations on how things would be handled in the school.

I must say I'm a little skeptical, but that is my nature. No one would buy a house on someone's word without a written contract. Be very wary about sending your PA child to school without a written "contract" as well.

I do hope that everything works out the way you want it to for your child.

On Aug 9, 2004

Please read these threads carefully:



[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited August 09, 2004).]

On Aug 9, 2004

turns out we desperately need a section 504 plan.... without getting into the long details. there had been virtually no communication or planning between the staff about my daughters allergic condition. we showed up for orientation today and peanut butter cookies were served by the school as a snack. after which they had all the children go to the play ground while the parents went to the classrooms for Q and A sessions. needless to say I was a bit upset... there was another nut allergic childs parent that I met who was equally as unnerved. togeher we are working on getting the schools administration to cooperate and put a complete and documented procedural 504 plan in place for our children. thanks to all who have helped me figure it all out...the good news is that the school is now seemingly attentive and at least communicating that they are hoping our plan will benefit all food allergic, seasonal allergic and insect allergic children. here's to a safe and equally enjoyable school year for all children!

[This message has been edited by pbusker (edited August 10, 2004).]

On Aug 10, 2004


I highly recommend you giving the school district sample 504's you like. Don't leave it up to them to construct one on their own. Be VERY proactive because it you rely on the school, you may be disappointed.

On Dec 14, 2005

Re-raising for Texas folks. EB