504 Plans-Aren\'t they only as good as the people implementing them??

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 5:13am
Gadget's picture
Joined: 10/01/2001 - 09:00

My son will start Kindergarten in August, and we are struggling with the whole 504 issue. My personal feeling is that we need to see if the school can "do their job" of protecting my son without having to resort to the legal protection of a 504. I feel that we are already going to stick out like a sore thumb, and to go to the school requesting a 504 right off the bat without letting them try to handle our situation internally would be a big turn-off to the personnel at the school. Also, really and truly, would a 504 prevent an accident? I just read the thread about the boy who had to refuse a donut from his teacher TWICE! That student did have a 504 plan, so what good did it do? Someone in another thread mentioned Nathan Walters in response to a question I had. I really have to ask, would a 504 plan have made any difference at all in what was packed in Nathan's lunch on that field trip?? I honestly don't think so. Obviously there was a "weak link" in that "chain" and a peanut butter cookie was placed in Nathan's lunch. Would a 504 plan have prevented that specific individual from putting that cookie in there? I just don't see how a 504 plan offers any real protection if the "players" (teachers, principal, etc.) can still make mistakes. Can someone please tell me how a 504 plan could actually prevent an accident? I would think that most food allergy accidents result from human error, and a 504 plan is not going to prevent that. So what exactly is the benefit of a 504 plan? If we need one, I certainly want one, but I need to "see the light" before I go down that road. Any advice?? Thanks, Gadget

Posted on: Tue, 03/05/2002 - 5:46am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

We do have a 504 plan for my first grade daughter, Leah, and I am very glad that we do. I agree that the plan by itself can not prevent accidents, but it gives me great peace of mind in other ways. Just knowing that everyone at school realizes that Leah has civil rights which deserve protection is very important to me. We had several unpleasant experiences last year, before we decided to go ahead and have a plan. The most egregious of these was when I was called to pick up my daughter early from school because there was a Chinese New Year celebration (totally unknown to me in advance) which included foods that some parents had prepared at home and/or purchased from restaurants; some which probably contained peanuts. I was both heart broken and livid that my daughter was treated this way. Now we have safeguards in her 504 plan that should prevent such an event (for example) from happening without my knowledge and input in advance.
If you can work with the school without any problems, that is great. However, you never know what issues may come up later. It may be enough to just let the school know that you are aware that your child is protected under section 504. However, I really feel better having an actual plan.
Best of luck! Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2002 - 4:22am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Call it a 504, call it a care plan or call it whatever you want, but I believe it is absolutely essential that a PN allergic child have a plan in place that will minimize the risk of exposure and lets everyone at the school know what to do in an emergency. Sure, there will be some mistakes made, but by educating your child's teachers and other caregivers, you greatly reduce the chances of this happening. I would not let my child start school without having such a plan in place.

Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2002 - 11:58am
JackieC's picture
Joined: 08/27/2001 - 09:00

My PA son is in first grade in a public school and does not have a formal 504 plan. I can completely understand how you are feeling as that has been my approach. I presented the health concern to the school in the Spring before he started kindergarten and together we put a plan in place that satisfied both of our needs. This has led to a very good relationship between us. His allergies are taken seriously - all school staff trained, peanut-free classroom, peanut free table at lunch, kids hand washing after lunch, etc... Nothing would be different if we had a formal 504. We both know that I am entitled to have a 504 for my son, and I would do so if things were not handled so wonderfully there. I think we have a better relationship due to the fact that I didn't walk in the door with "guns loaded". I am an educator and have sat on the other end when a parent walks in with an advocate or touting law before the school even has a chance to "show its colors". Believe me, those parents are not well received. It shows a lack of trust in the school even though it is done with complete care and advocacy for your child. Again, I would have a 504 if I had trouble getting the school to respond appropriately to my son's needs, but they did not. He is just as safe with our written plan and our relationship with the school is wonderful. It has worked for our situation.

Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2002 - 5:01am
rilira's picture
Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

Prior to my daughter starting kindergarten, I went in to discuss the allergy issues with the school. We brain stromed over the necessary accomadations needed. We wrote them up and were ready to go. Then the school contacted me and said essentially what we had done was a 504. The legal department had gotten wind of the plan and demanded we put it down on the legal paperwork.
I don't view having a 504 as a result of the school not showing their colors or not handling the situation correctly, it is an insurance policy against misinterpreation, misunderstanding, misdiagnosis, and misinformation.
504's don't prevent accidents- nothing will prevent a true accident, it can be another tool to help limit the probability of accidents just by the documentation of the accomadations. A 504 can give your child the legal right not to be discriminated against in any way.This can be anything from being asked to leave school to a donut being served in a classroom. It gives you a written documentation of your rights and your child's rights.
I strongly recommend a 504 or some kind of written plan signed by a principal or district official.

Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2002 - 10:24pm
Rhonda RS's picture
Joined: 02/24/2001 - 09:00

I second that Linda!

Posted on: Thu, 03/14/2002 - 7:52am
busymom's picture
Joined: 12/04/2001 - 09:00

I agree w/California Mom and Rilira. The 504 is documentation to present what needs to be done for the safety of your child. I would recommend that Jackie C get a 504 with people who are good to her child. This document will not only be good at this school but the next school or if you move. Just because the administration and teachers are great at one school doesn't mean they will be at the next one. Take it from someone with experience. Get a 504 while the getting is good.

Posted on: Mon, 08/19/2002 - 5:53am
JackieC's picture
Joined: 08/27/2001 - 09:00

Bringing this up for you, Tucker's mom. My feelings/thoughts on a 504 are expressed in my post above. My PA son is entering 2nd grade this year. We still have an excellent relationship with the school. I met with his new 2nd grade teacher for the first time last May to let her know what to plan for this fall. Just received a call from the school nurse today. She and the 2nd grade teacher want to meet with me once more before school starts. They have become the proactive ones. I am just there as an information source and guide at this point. At my original meeting with the 2nd gr teacher, my son's 1st grade teacher spoke and gave more info than I had to. It was wonderful to sit back and let them take care of his needs. It took a lot of work to get to this point (and outstanding staff and a very independent and dependable son) but I arrived without a 504. It is not necessary for all cases.

Posted on: Tue, 04/29/2003 - 2:52pm
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00


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