home from 504 meeting...did not go well

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 5:44am
MattsMommy's picture
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Well I'm back and it did not go well. First, the vice-principal that has been so difficult to work with thus far didn't run the meeting at all. The school psych did. It was if she was playing the "bad cop" role. Literally. The vp instead typed notes..literally took the minutes of the meeting while we all discussed issues.

At each request I made the school psych would wrinkle her brow, turn her head to the side and say "welllllll" and then condescendingly explain why this or that wouldn't work.

Things that stand out (and I had no answer for and am begging for some direction from you all) are as follows:
1. RE epi-pen being in his classroom and his teacher and all other adults (specials) being trained to administer the epi (currently store it in nurse's office, teachers not trained)... they stated they can't "make" ANY teacher learn or agree to administer the epi. The classroom teacher has agreed to do so, but what about specials? They will "make some calls but are sure they have to keep it locked up in the nurse's office and cannot force anyone to be trained on it." This was their statement despite a doctor's letter stating otherwise.

2. RE 504 plan itself: School psych (the "bad cop") stated the 504 plan is about "general accommodations" and things such as my request to place a "peanut free zone" sign on the classroom door is "up to the teacher" and something I can discuss with her at a later date. CAll me crazy but I've seen VERY specific 504 plans on here..how do I make THEM see that? Oh and their reason for this is that she so "kindly" explained is because "the 504 is a LEGAL document and that if we were to move mid year or switch schools, the other school is NOT bound by the specific accomodations we list in the 504..would be up to them as to how they accommodate Matthew.

3. In discussing a peanut free kindergarten (vs. peanut free table which is waht I ultimately agreed to) the bad cop stated that they cannot make mandates for other children in MATTHEW'S 504 plan....she explained to me that this plan was for HIM and they can't dictate what other students do. I said "well you've agreed to make each student wash their hands after snack" and she said "well that's not infringing on their rights as that's a common hygenic practice that benefits everyone."

4. I don't know that this matters but: on the 504 form they filled out a chart stating what life system was affected by his disability and why he qualifies. I expected them to check the breathing, and ability to care for oneself. Instead they marked "learning/attendance." Does that matter? Or will his permanent record reflect a "learning disabilty?" Is this just semantics or is it important to change that to what I stated above? BTW I went over theforms with the special ed teacher after the meeting (the others had started their next appointment) and I asked about the "learning" and she tried to tell me that to get 504 protection leraning MUST be affected. I disagreed and told her the difference between IDEA and 504 and that 504 is about ACCESS ot learning due to a disability, is not about a leraning disability per se. She just kept repeating his learning had to be affected or he wasn't eligible. Is that important to address at my next meeting?

I asked that all food being brought in be storebought and labeled...again "We can't MAKE a child bring in something from the store vs something from home."

The ultimate idiotic moment of the day was when field trips were discussed. Again his teacher HAS agreed to carry the epi pen and be trained in how to administer it, but I broached the subject of "what if she chose not to?" I asked "does the Nurse go on the field trip?" (thinking if they said yes I could then ask what happens to kids left at school if nurse is only one trained) and the nurse said "well the epi-pens ALWAYS go with the students on field trips" at which point the bad cop jumped in and said "IF the teacher agrees to carry it and administer it." And then I said "and if the teacher chooses not to?" She replied "well it would then be at your discretion as to whether or not your child attends the field trip....you could keep him home or we could provide other "educational activities" for him to do that day." The teacher jumped in and said "but you said you'd be on the field trips right and if not you already konw I've agreed to carry and administer the epi-pen."

The teacher was very accommodating and really tried to diffuse the situation at times by volunteering to do this or that.

The school psych was very unprofessional but what do you say "quit whispering and giggling please?" Lol I was really at a loss because I was just appalled at her unprofessional behavior.

I feel the epi-pen being with him at all times is something I will NOT budge on and I told them that. They tabled that issue and will "make some calls" whatever that means.

We agreed to meet again this summer although the teacher will not be there. The 9 bullets they have on the 504 plan include things like making the studnets wash after eating, placemats on the tables, washing the tables after snack, sending a letter out REQUESTING parents not send in peanut products prior to school starting, etc...

So I am in heavy research mode. So can they say they don't have to "make" any teacher epi-pen trained?
Can the 504 plan be as specific as I want it to be or can they make it be "between me and the teacher" as to the specifics?
Was she accurate in stating that were we to move the other school can't be bound by this "legal document" and so THAT'S why they don't get specific?
Is the 504 truly limited to things only directly affecting Matthew? Can they side step it by stating they can't make changes that affect the other students (such as making it peanut free classroom)?
They said they can't MAKE everything be store bought and labled...true?

How do I answer those statements? And how do I handle the unprofessional, rude school psychologist? I will not let her behave that way again...any suggestions?

I really feel like I failed Matthew today. You ask me about reasonable accomodations, and Letter to Zirkel, and the AAAAI's position statement on epi-pen storage, and whether or not he's eligible for 504, and, etc...and I can tell you how it is. Tell me something like "we cna't make the teachers epi pen train" and I dind't know what to say. I was unprepared and feel quite inept at this point. I didn't reference my documents, I didn't direct them to the doctor's letter enough...they kinda glossed over much of it and I just didn't handle it well.

Lesson learned. So can you all direct me to references, or give an idea of how to address these issues? We're set to meet again this summer before school starts...in the meantime I might drop off some reading material, or write a letter, or get his doctor more involved, or..etc... anything I can do to help the situation.

Thanks for reading so far. All help is appreciated.

Maddy

[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited May 31, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 7:04am
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Mattsmommy,
There are many here who are very well versed in 504's and I am sure they will help you more than I. However, I do have a few tips after dealing with this with my son this past school year. Check your state's (or in your case D.C.'s) laws about Epipen training. In my state (NY), all certified teachers must be trained in Epipen use. Your "bad cop" may not be aware of a similar law or may not want to admit they haven't been following the law.
As I understand it, they can NOT force others to bring in only labeled, prepackaged foods. However, your son's plan could include some language about an adult checking the children's lunches for allergens and providing an allergen-free area for your son to eat at. There could be very specific language as to how this allergen-free table is to be handled and cleaned. I would also include language that children should be encouraged to bring safe lunches and eat with your son (not really enforcable but anyhting helps).
I know of no reason why a classroom can not be peanut-free especially if the children eat in the cafe.
I believe 504 plans are non-transferable as many of the conditions and terms depend on the physical characteristics of the building, the staff, etc. However, once you have one it provides a good framework to begin another.
Epipens in the classroom HAVE been an issue for us. If you push hard enough they may allow it. Suggest a locked medical box that the teacher has easy access to. That may help alleviate any perceived safety issues on their part. Of course, this all comes back to teacher training.
I don't know what your work situation is, but our agreement with the school is that my wife or I must attend every field trip my son goes on. They actually appreciate it because it gurantees them a chaperone. If we can not attend (has not happened as yet) the school nurse must go in our place and the school has to bring in a sub-nurse for the time she is gone.
My situation has been good. We have the general framework of a 504 but it is not official. That will change next year as there have been a few slips here and there (nothing serious but easily avoidable if they followed our jointly agreed upon action plan to the letter).
These are just a few things that I know are possible. I get the feeling most districts try to avoid these 504's because they know it could cost them if they don't follow it perfectly. Don't give up, let them know how other schools cope - it can be done. When all else fails, don't hesitate to go way over the head of the psych - straight to the district superintendent.
Best of luck and keep your head up! You'll get lots of help here.
Troy
P.S. It is true, 504's are limited to what affects your son. Your son IS affected by other children eating peanuts around him. It affects his breathing, his ability to care for himself, and all of that other legal jargon!
[This message has been edited by choguy (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 7:57am
Momcat's picture
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[b]So can they say they don't have to "make" any teacher epi-pen trained? [/b]
We are in California, and it is in the State Education Code that the teachers can be trained on Epipen, but it is VOLUNTARY. We are in the same boat as you, only my DD's teacher refused the training.
[b]Can the 504 plan be as specific as I want it to be or can they make it be "between me and the teacher" as to the specifics? [/b]
As far as I know, it can be very specific. Certainly posting a sign on the classroom door could be included as an accommodation.
[b]Was she accurate in stating that were we to move the other school can't be bound by this "legal document" and so THAT'S why they don't get specific?[/b]
This is pure BS. Yes, it's a legal document. However, it is not intended to be used word for word if your son changed schools. Changing schools triggers a reevaluation to iron out details like that.
[b]Is the 504 truly limited to things only directly affecting Matthew? Can they side step it by stating they can't make changes that affect the other students (such as making it peanut free classroom)? [/b]
They most certainly can make rules about students' behavior, food, dress code, etc. This is no different. Your son has a right to FAPE. The other students do not have a right to PB.
[b]They said they can't MAKE everything be store bought and labled...true?[/b]
Baloney.
------------------
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 8:01am
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About "learning" being affected: I think they are saying your son's learning would be affected if he could not attend school, which he could not if there were no safety measures in place. So I don't think you necessarily have to get them to change that. If it makes them happy to say "learning" is affected, ok then. That said, you are right. Learning is not the only major life activity.
About field trips: Here in CA a student cannot be excluded from a field trip because of a disability. That means that if you are not able to accompany him on the field trip, the school would have to come up with a trained adult to go along on the trip.
Cathy

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 8:01am
Chicago's picture
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As the poster above said there is lots of good 504 info on this site - I'm not an expert, however I wanted to support you!
IMO, the epi pen should never be locked - in the office or the classroom. What if the classroom teacher is ill, or goes out to lunch and has her car break down, her child get sick etc... and is gone with her keys.
Sometimes the school is afraid of the liablity if the student injects the Epi improperly - like on a dare or in a school yard fight etc... That actually happened at dd's school, a few years before she started there, and they stopped the students, even middle schoolers, from carrying their own meds. Now it is the state law they have to allow it - however you may need to sign something freeing the school of liablity. If you look at the new IL legislation (I know you live somewhere else - but this is typical) the MommaBear recently posted you'll see one example.
Also, I did get my school to show the Dey EpiPen training video to all of the teachers and teaching assistants. It is REALLY short (not 101 about food allergies or anything, just a clinical how to use the pen) and I provided some FAAN publications too for extra info. At first they were relectant to show it to the whole staff, but when they saw how short it was they agreed and even ordered their own copy - Dey sends it to schools for free.
On the positive side, the teacher sounds super!

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 8:19am
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One way to make sure the epipen is always with your son is to have him wear it. I'm not sure about DC, but in CA it is part of the state ed code that students can carry epipen on their person.
Cathy

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:13am
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Please look up all NUTTERNOMORES posts in this section-
His tips and insights are invaluable-
Just so you know what is possible-
At my dd's school- EVERY single staff member at school is trained with the Epi pen- this is a NO brainer- the school nurse gives a class every year about signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and when and how to administer. I can't believe they would try to say they will not train staff- I would raise more of a stink-
Maybe you need to elevate and go to the Superintendant.
My dd has a fanny pack that has 2 Epi's, Benadryl and her inhaler. It stays IN her classroom and goes with her anywhere she goes on campus-
I would get as knowledgable as you can and decide what are your sticking points and let them know you will accept nothing less.
I beleive you can find several 504 plans posted here.
Let me know if you want any thing specific-
I would like to help any way I can.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:20am
MattsMommy's picture
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Thanks for all the replies. Just a couple of things to clarify.
1. State law in Maryland is they cna only carry it on their person if they can demonstrate the ability to self-inject. He turns 5 in a week...I'm not comfortable leaving it up to him. kwim?
2. The unprofessional behavior from the psychologist..I didn't clarify that. It was so bad I do want to explain. Throughout the meeting, she literally held up a paper (to block my view) and would whisper with the vp as she typed. Occasionally they would giggle, whisper some more, and then ask what they'd missed as they didn't hear. It was as if she was 10. So the 10 yr old ran the meeting...condescendingly telling me why they can't make Mary leave the pb at home and why I can't make the sign on the door part of the 504 plan itself. Why the heck do I have a 504 plan if the teacher and I are just going to iron out details later??
Most of all, thanks for the replies so far. We had a soccer team picnic tonight and we just returned home. Today's meeting is definitely on my mind...I want to shake them. Since I can't, I need to at least formulate a plan and start gathering more info, or go to the district level instead of waiting til Aug for our next meeting. Any thoughts on that are welcome.
Thanks again for the replies...nice to have people understand all this jargon w/o explaining it! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Maddy

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:24am
MattsMommy's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by Gwen 5:
[b]
I beleive you can find several 504 plans posted here.
Let me know if you want any thing specific-
I would like to help any way I can.[/b]
Thanks Gwen! I need all the help I can get. I actually usd Nuttermore's plan he implemented for his son in kindergarten. I got it out and started to pass it around and they told me they didn't need it...had the forms on their cmputer fill out as they went, etc... I guess I'm stuck on how do you make them LOOK at the plan I wanted. kwim? I never anticipated THESE problems...ugh.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:43am
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MattsMommy, Just wanted to say I am so sorry how rough it was. We live in PA and perhaps it is a difference in law, but they most certainly can force all the teachers including specials and subs to be trained here because they do!...both in our new school and where my SIL teaches across town. PA law also does not allow for epipen wearing but leaves it up to the school I believe and DS will be wearing it when he goes to kindergarten next year. It sounds like you need an advocate because this is getting very stressful for you. Try this link...not sure if it will help but maybe you can find some support?
[url="http://www.childadvocate.net/faq.htm"]http://www.childadvocate.net/faq.htm[/url]
Best wishes,
Luvmyboys

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 12:26pm
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
4. I don't know that this matters but: on the 504 form they filled out a chart stating what life system was affected by his disability and why he qualifies. I expected them to check the breathing, and ability to care for oneself. Instead they marked "learning/attendance." [b]Does that matter? [/b]Or will his permanent record reflect a "learning disabilty?" Is this just semantics or is it important to change that to what I stated above? BTW I went over theforms with the special ed teacher after the meeting (the others had started their next appointment) and I asked about the "learning" and she tried to tell me that to get 504 protection leraning MUST be affected. I disagreed and told her the difference between IDEA and 504 and that 504 is about ACCESS ot learning due to a disability, is not about a leraning disability per se. She just kept repeating his learning had to be affected or he wasn't eligible. Is that important to address at my next meeting?
I think it does matter, and yes I think you should address this.
If he qualified by meeting the "learning/attendance" criteria, could they similarly [i]disqualify [/i]him by using the same criteria? What if they unilaterally decide to reevaluate after a year or two? Could they use his report cards and attendance records as part of the 'evaluation data' to reevlaute? If your son's report cards and attendance records are good, could they attempt to disqualify your son?
I don't mean to alarm you, but these administrators obviously don't now what they're doing and you can't rely on them to do this properly. If it were me, I'd want this corrected. Your allergist's letter should have addressed this clearly for them to use 'breathing' and 'caring for self'. I think it would be desirable for 'learning' to be included also, but from w hat I've seen administrators would then evaluate under IDEA.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 1:02pm
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Our school also requires all staff to learn the epi. The middle school dd will be going to requires all staff to learn it as well. We are in California, but I don`t think it is California law, because when our school nurse left and we got a new one, the new one said anyone who did not want to learn did not have to. By then dd was in 4th grade and I went to the principal over this issue. The principal who is ana to bee stings and carries an epi herself took my side. So the nurse definitely can require the whole staff to learn the epi, but maybe that is California specific.
Back to your meeting, though, what was the psychologist doing there? Since he doesn`t have a learning disability, that doesn`t seem right to me. Shouldn`t the nurse be there instead? At our 504 meeting in elementary school, we had the nurse and no psychologist, and for middle school, it will be the same. The psychologist really doesn`t belong there, in my opinion, as this is not a psychological problem, or a learning problem. Maybe that is why she did not take any of it very seriously. A nurse should understand how serious anaphylaxis is, but I would not expect a psychologist to.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 1:02pm
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I'm so sorry to hear how horrible that was!
How unprofessional! Makes you want to ask, "Is there something you'd like to share with the rest of the class?" or some other snide remark! I think if it happened to me, I'd just stop the meeting--completely stop talking--and say that I certainly wouldn't want them to miss anything during the meeting. After all, you are talking about issues that involve your child's safety. How rude of them!
Well, I see a lot of the experts have already offered some advice. I'm still new to this, so I can mostly offer my moral support. I will check in on this thread now and then though. Maybe I'll have advice in the future.
Just remember--it's not over yet, so don't give up hope. I'm sorry things were rough today and I wish you the best of luck in the future.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 1:14pm
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Well, I do see one silver lining in your post - at least it is clear that they agree he qualifies!
I had one thought about when they said they can't MAKE everything be store bought and labled.
Well, it may be true that they can't force families to bring labeled food, but they CAN tell parents that unlabeled treats will not be served in the classroom and instead will be sent home at the end of the day. If they can ban chewing gum from a classroom, then they can ban unsafe food.
Also, for the training question, you can bounce over to "So have you asked them if they would be willing to be trained?" Chances are that even if they can't make them, if asked they would say yes.
As far as the whispering and giggling, if you can pull it off, I would love to go for the sarcastic teacher approach. "Excuse me, Ms. Psycho? Do you have something you would like to share with the rest of us? No? Then please save your conversation for after the meeting."
Unfortunately, that probably wouldn't be very productive. Instead you could just stop talking and stare at them. If someone else tries to keep the meeting going, then politely say something like "Let's wait a moment for Ms. Psycho and Ms. VP. I think it is important they hear this." When the stop talking, you can try the rhetorical "Are we ready to start the meeting back up again?"
Cultivate calm and patience when you do this. You are the adult, they are behaving like children. It will be more effective than being emotional AND as an added bonus will probably annoy them worse.
Best of luck to you!

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 1:16pm
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P.S. Be sure and get a copy of their meeting notes!

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:25am
Gail W's picture
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I've been thinking about your situation and there is so much that needs to be sorted out that I really think you should consider hiring an advocate.
You've got about 2 months to address this and get a decent plan together before school starts. I know how frustrating it is when the school officials who have the job to [i]advise you [/i]regarding your legal rights under 504 are misinformed and abuse you. I really think that it would be best for you to obtain someone who will review everything you've received from the school thus far and develop a strategy to move forward.
Have you seen this? [url="http://www.foodallergyadvocate.com"]www.foodallergyadvocate.com[/url]
Rhonda has helped countless people here, including me. I can't say enough about her ability to untangle screwed up situations and figure out specific strategies to obtain appropriate accommodations. I didn't know how to get out from underneath the layers of a culture and bureaucracy that existed in our SD. I knew that what they were misusing 504, that there was some corruption actually, and I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching these 'professionals' how to correctly apply the 504 law to my daughter.
Rhonda was my Godsend. I can't recommend her enough.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited June 01, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:37am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
[b]I really feel like I failed Matthew today. [/b]
No you didn't. You gained some very valuable information about what you're dealing with. Your SD is the one failing Matthew, and you can address that. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Hang in there. It will be okay.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited June 01, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:26am
selketine's picture
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I sent you an email (I hope! had a bit of trouble with my email program). I'm curious if you're in Maryland near DC - like myself. William starts kindergarten next year but I've been researching local 504 info, etc. and would love to talk to you if we're in the same boat ;-)
I'm in Montgomery County btw. I've pulled up a lot of info specific to our county which might be helpful if you actually live here ;-)
Carol
[This message has been edited by selketine (edited June 01, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:43am
Gail W's picture
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How far is FAAN in Fairfax Virginia from you?

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:59am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Just a suggestion for dealing with this kind of juvenile behavior in meetings with supposedly "professional" people...
CALL THEM ON IT. Treat the behavior the same way you would if you were sitting in a room with a pair of junior high school girls.
"whisper-whisper.... giggle"
(you, loudly)
"I'm sorry-- did you have some comment for the rest of us? Because I don't think everyone heard you." (Accompnay this with a steely glare to the offender until she blushes... and if you do it right, I guarantee you she will...)
I'd complain to the superintendant about her behavior in any event. That is dreadful and shouldn't have been tolerated by anyone else in the meeting either. She certainly didn't represent the school district very well.

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:41am
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Bumping for Gary... Comments?
Jason
------------------
[b]* Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:59pm
normacheng's picture
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Hello I am new to this board and am not very familiar with all the things here. First I just wanted to say that I plan on writing a friendly letter to all the parents in my daughters class next year explaining her allergy. I hope that they take it into consideration.
Does any here know the rule for LAUSD. If she carries her epi in a small back would she be able to keep it with her at all times?
Also what is a 504. What would I have to do to get one. I am meeting with the school nurse next week and would like to collect as much info as possible.
Any help would be great. Thanks
Norma

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:09pm
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MattsMommy,
Sorry you're having a bumpy road. Hope to get back to this post this weekend, but scanning quickly, I'd have to echo comments by Gail W, Momcat, and Greenlady.
Took a quick look back at your allergist letter in a prior post: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html[/url]
Looked pretty good - lack of mentioning life systems affected seems to be a non-issue because they aren't contesting eligibility. But I would have insisted on having them defend remarks about not having epi-pen right there, e.g. "So, you're saying that you don't wish to support the doctor's written orders specifically stating that "...Therefore the Epi-pen Jr must be present with Matthew at all times"?, and that this is also endorsed by the AAAAI in their position statement?" I would have turned to the school nurse at this point and asked her directly...Nurse xxx, does the school make it a habit to ignore specific written doctor's orders? And so on....
Anyway, I have also found Rhonda to be the most knowledgeable 504 expert I have ever come across...she had taught me so much, and her assistance has been invaluable to so many. As an educator, as well as a parent of food allergic kids, she really understands how school "institutions" operate.
Another thought...if you have a significant other who has the ability to contribute, then that person should fully engage in this process. You are being outnumbered, and you need to level the playing field a bit (with a significant other, and/or an advocate possibly) - recall we discussed this in some of your earlier posts...the school has been sending signals from the beginning that they weren't going to be that cooperative...
It sends a strong signal to the school when you're not the only one who shows up for the meeting. Also, in my case, I took lead role most of the time in the early 504's, so as to shield DW a bit - since she would be the one dealing with the teachers and administration on a day-to-day basis and we thought they might resent her less if I was the one who was driving the accommodation discussions...
Fortunately, you have some cards to play...the fact that you haven't been supplied with procedural safeguards in one that comes to mind.
Hang in there...it will be a bit bumpy, but you can get through this...

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:31pm
MattsMommy's picture
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Hi all,
It's late (the little one is up and now I can't go back to sleep) and I just read all of the most recent replies. We flew from MD today to Colorado to visit some friends and have been out of pocket most of the day.
First of all...THANK YOU! I will come back and answer some questions tomorrow, but wanted to say I can't thank you enough..heck, just for your kindness, not to mention all of your valuable advice.
I've been replaying the "tape" of the meeting in my head and I wish I got to have a "re-do." Can't I call a mulligan? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Will be back tomorrow. Thank you to everyone. I appreciate it!

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 9:46pm
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I agree w/ Corvallis...I would definitely call the school superintendent on the school psychologist...as a former special ed teacher who has sat in on many meetings, that behavior is completely unprofessional and unacceptable and to be honest, the higher ups may never know about the behavior if someone doesn't tell them. Set up a meeting, be professional about it, and as that they report back to you what action they take...I had to do this once against a principal who was quite honestly insane and completely unprofessional...I called a meeting w/ the super and 2 other direct supervisors...very uncomfortable and scary, but action was taken, the point was made, and while it took another year, that person is no longer a principal.
Sorry to rant about this, it just makes me furious when people who are supposed to be there for our children's well being cannot put their immaturity aside for long enough to conduct a professional meeting.
Melissa

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:14pm
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Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
[b])... they stated they can't "make" ANY teacher learn or agree to administer the epi. The classroom teacher has agreed to do so, but what about specials? They will "make some calls but are sure they have to keep it locked up in the nurse's office and cannot force anyone to be trained on it." This was their statement despite a doctor's letter stating otherwise.[/b]
I was re-reading your original post this morning and wanted to respond to this point. My son William, besides the PA is also a type 1 diabetic so we need someone on-site at his school at all times who can give an emergency glucagon shot -as well as the epi-pen. I think them saying that they cannot force anyone to be trained is really quite beside the point. It is true they cannot force someone to be trained but I believe they have to have a trained person available at all times. If, for example, no staff are willing to train and your school nurse/health tech is not there, then the school has to provide someone there who can give the shot - like another health tech. I think what you really want is someone around ALL THE TIME who can give the epi and has access to it. I think the official school board policy is that if they can't provide someone at the school full-time they have to offer you access to another school (and pay transport costs) where there is a full-time health person. I have to go up to the Co. offices and get this "health handbook" that the schools have to follow to see what the official word is.
I know it is the policy of Mont. Co. schools to keep the epi locked up but the person who can give the shot HAS to have access to it. I haven't been able to find out more info on younger kids carrying the epi - who are too young to give it themselves.
Carol G.

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:40pm
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Normacheng, I am in LAUSD. Your child can carry her epi if papers are signed by you and the doctor. I don`t know if she needs to be able to self administer in order to carry it. By the time the law got passed here for the child to carry his own epi, my dd was already old enough to self administer. The law in CA is that any school personnel can be trained to use the epi. I was not willing to send my dd to a school with only a few people trained. You can get an intradistrict permit to go to a different school if your local school is not allergy aware enough for you to feel comfortable sending your child there. That is what I had to do. Dd is graduating elementary school in three weeks, and I never would have sent her to our local school. It was not a good school academically anyhow, so that is the other advantage of a permit. We are in West L.A., a little far from you. Otherwise I would suggest trying to get a permit to send your dd to our school. You can email me off board if you want [email]elyssa95@comcast.net[/email]

Posted on: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:59pm
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Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b]Fortunately, you have some cards to play...the fact that you haven't been supplied with procedural safeguards in one that comes to mind.[/b]
I missed that. Can you clarify, MattsMommy? Did you ever request/receive the SD's materials related to Section 504? (e.g. all forms, manual)

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:18am
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Quote:Originally posted by Carefulmom:
[b]Back to your meeting, though, what was the psychologist doing there?[/b]
This was my first thought. Well at least to "running" the meeting. So I scanned through the thread (first time visiting) to see if anyone else commented. Thank you, Carefulmom.
Quote:[b]Since he doesn`t have a learning disability, that doesn`t seem right to me. Shouldn`t the nurse be there instead? At our 504 meeting in elementary school, we had the nurse and no psychologist, and for middle school, it will be the same. The psychologist really doesn`t belong there, in my opinion, as this is not a psychological problem, or a learning problem. Maybe that is why she did not take any of it very seriously.[/b]
No advice, but my thoughts as well. She should also know when she's out of her league. [i]What qualifications does she have to "run" this type of a meeting[/i]. Or [i]substitute[/i] for a licensed RN? I mean, she's not licensed as such, right?
Quote:[b]
A nurse should understand how serious anaphylaxis is,[/b]
a [i]good[/i] one, yes. I mean, but every nurse *should*. It's just part and parcel of the profession, but I'm aware lapses exist.......
Quote:[b] but I would not expect a psychologist to.[/b]
should I hesitate to say, "especially this one."?
Anywhoo, [i]I audio tape[/i] *most* of my meetings because of **** just like this.
Seriously? I'm considering buying a audio/visual setup.............In my situation, I have the *right* to tape, just not sure if I can add the *visual* component, but I'm certainly checking into it. It's been something I've been meaning to do. Can you imagine? The cameraman (or remote tripod) panning over and zooming in on the psychologist hiding behind a sheet of paper [i]giggling[/i]. SUBTITLES PLEASE!!!!
Even tho this last year has been nearly idyllic, including the meetings. Good business practice, I mean.
But hey, no advice, just personally. IMMV.

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:25am
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Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b] I missed that. Can you clarify, MattsMommy? Did you ever request/receive the SD's materials related to Section 504? (e.g. all forms, manual)
[/b]
would it be a procedural safeguard violation no to have an "RN" present at the meeting??

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:29am
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Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
[b]The ultimate idiotic moment of the day was when field trips were discussed. Again his teacher HAS agreed to carry the epi pen and be trained in how to administer it, but I broached the subject of "what if she chose not to?" I asked "does the Nurse go on the field trip?" (thinking if they said yes I could then ask what happens to kids left at school if nurse is only one trained) and the nurse said "well the epi-pens ALWAYS go with the students on field trips" at which point the bad cop jumped in and said "IF the teacher agrees to carry it and administer it."[/b]
whoops! I missed this. [i]why was this RN not leading[/i] this 504 meeting???
[b]shame shame shame[/b]

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:57am
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Matt's mommy,
Yes, you can definitely have a mulligan [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]And, no, you didn't fail your son in ANY way. This process seems incredibly difficult for many of us, and little did any of us know we all should have gotten our law degree to navigate the 504 minefield...
While it sounds like they handled the meeting horribly, I sort of see a positive. It seems like they've put alot of their cards on the table already, now you know what to expect. You can expect the worst and be ready.
They may think they can manipulate you, but I bet their horrendous behavior only made you furious. Haven't school administrators learned yet that a furious mother defending her child's life is NOT someone they want to contend with?!?! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
It seems like you've gotten great advice here...I can't add anything I'm just an avid reader on this stuff so far. Just wanted to offer moral support. Meg (another mom of a Matt [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:41am
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Personally, I wouldn't have a problem with the School Psychologist being present. Any added dimension is welcomed, IMO. The SD's 504-C ran our meeting, which I thought was appropriate. But regardless, the School Nurse should have been present. Carefulmom and MommaBear are exactly right. The absence of the School Nurse is key. Do you think this was deliberate?
Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b] would it be a procedural safeguard violation no to have an "RN" present at the meeting??[/b]
I would argue that the school RN is a "knowledgeable individual". The SD should have included her. So yes, IMO, one could argue that the input of this key, knowledgeable individual was denied.
From here: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html[/url]
Quote:Originally quoted by Gail W:
[b]Do you know who will be at your meeting? If not, ask the 504-C for a list of those she's appointed. You might want to request additions the committee.[/b]
Did you know in advance who was attending?
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited June 02, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:07am
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Gail,
is it just me or is it really unethical to discuss "accommodations" at an "eligibility" meeting? I mean, they have no place in the discussion, yes? I mean, they are irrelevant to whether the individual is "eligible"..........
When are schools going to understand this? (Or at least respect it, and reel their lines in.)

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:26am
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I'll try to answer some questions and will edit and add to it as I go. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
1. No I wasn't supplied with the Procedural Safeguards. Is a long story but in a nutshell they gave me the "Parent's Guide to 504". In it, it states you should receive the Procedural Safeguards Handbook. I asked for it by name, in writing, 3 times total I believe. I was told first there was no such thing, then I was told the Parent's Guide to 504 had everything I needed. Finally, I found the Procedural Safeguard Book on the SD website and spoke with the district level 504C. She told me the Procedural Safeguard Handbook wasn't "about 504" and didn't apply. Despite the fact I was albe to show her in the Parent's Handbook where it states we should receive the Procedural Safeguards, I never did. Oh, and I did read over the PS since I found them on the website and 504 is literally not mentioned once. Should I have gotten them? Does the Parent Handbook fulfill that obligation on the SD's part? I don't know.
2. The school Nurse was in attendance. Sort of. The reg Nurse quit and I actually met her in April on her last day. On another occasion I dropped off the doctor's letter and met up with a substitute nurse. Then a third nurse was in the meeting. She was quiet as a mouse. This school only has a nurse present on Fridays. And on each Friday, it's a different substitute. The vice principal told me they "hope" to have a permanent one hired by fall. The rest of the week, the health assistant runs the nurse's office and is epi-pen trained. My concerns with her are that she does got to lunch for an hour every day. Or she could be tied up with another child in her office or be attending to another emergency, etc...One person trained on the epi is just NOT in my comfort zone!
So as to the meeting, it was a nurse I'd never met, is not a "regular" part of that school, and had little to no input throughout the meeting.
3. Not onmly did I have the original doctor's letter which dx his allergy, his history, etc... but the 504c asked me via email for a list of recommendations from our allergist about what accommodations should be made. He wrote a fantastic letter (is at home and I don't have it on this computer to share). He started by empahsizing that PA has no cure or treatment, just management. And that it can be fatal and the only way to manage it is with STRICT avoidance. He then listed 5 recommendations (he did not use the word "recommend" ..must go bakc and read that terminology). They were 1. a strict no sharing food rule. 2. handwashing upon arrival and after snack. 3. NO food in classroom but if that's unavoidable, no peanut products. 4. Epi pen must be kept with him at all times so that it can be administered immediately if needed. I'm blank for what number 5 was...ugh.
So he had specific accommodations listed...accommodations they ASKED him to recommend and all they did was use the letter as a list of things to discuss. And with each point they would either agree, or tell me it "can't" happen.
4. I have already contacted FAAN. I put in a call after the meeting asking for info and help. They called me back yesterday before our trip. She said there is not set "law" or rule in Maryland about the teachers or caregivers being trained. She said technically they DON'T "have" to be trained. I also asked her abnout parent advocates. She actually agreed to research that and will call me when we return in a week. And I will also nominate the school for the FAAN school packet hoping that will reiterate at least some of the issues.
5. And to clear up confusion. We actually LIVE in Maryland..Anne Arundel county to be exact. FAAN is on the other side of the beltway from us in Virginia. Certainly not out of the question to go there if need be.
6. Just to be clear, although the doctor recommended a peanut free classroom, I didn't truly expect it. It was one of those things I wanted to use as a bargaining chip....already planned on "giving in" on that issue in the hopes they'd give a little on the epi pen being locked up in the nurse's office. I did ultimately agree to just a peanut free table (along with handwashing, etc...). But didn't get any "give" on their part after that. The doctor and I agreed on this issue..he'd put it in the letter in the hopes they'd agree (as, it would be NICE if they could do that), or at least give me something to negotiate with at the meeting.
7. No I did not receive a list of attendees beforehand. I did ask in writing twice...I was flippantly told "oh the nurse, myself, the special ed teacher....and a few others will be there." I asked for names and positions...never got it.
8. Finally, Carol I did not receive your email. Maybe you could send again?
In general I'm just disturbed by the fact that they are so unwilling to disturb other's rights. That's what it comes down to...cna't dictate what those kids bring for snack, can't dictate what teachers are asked to do, can't make other kinder classes wash hands after eating, etc... How in the world do people in their positions (school pscyh, special ed teacher, school nurse, etc....) have that mindset? That's so counterintuitive to me.
One final side note. AT one point we were discussing hand washing upon arrival. They had only discussed and agreed on washing after snack so I brought up breakfast. They were debating on whether it was necessary (the school psych was thinking out loud is more accurate), and wehther or not they "could" do that. The special ed teacher spoke up (was brainstorming) and suggested they mention in the letter home to parents that they refrain from serving pb for breakfast as well (not something I felt was appropriate btw). The 504c laughed out loud, put her face in her hands and jokingly said "no way..we can't ask them to do that...my daughter would have DIED if she couldn't have pb toast for breakfast."
Oh the irony huh? Again, a missed opportunity by me to make a point. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I was too busy being appalled I guess.
[This message has been edited by MattsMommy (edited June 02, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:34am
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Who (within your SD) supervises the School Nurses? Was that person at the meeting?
(In our SD, it is the same administrator who is the 504-C.)

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 3:20am
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Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b]Who (within your SD) supervises the School Nurses? Was that person at the meeting?
(In our SD, it is the same administrator who is the 504-C.) [/b]
There is a Nurse Supervisor and no she was not there. The nurse in attendance gave me the supervisor's name and number in case I had "concerns" about epi-pen storage. Gee, we've just discussed it for the past 30 min, and we don't agree.
So yes I can contact her directly, but I haven't thougth that far ahead just yet. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 4:42am
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I just wanted to say that I'm sorry your SD was so ignorant and rude. I'm sure you were in disbelief that it was actually happening. What idiots.

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 4:46am
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I resent my email. I have an electronic copy of the MD State School Health Services Guideline for Emergency Management of Students in Schools With Known History of Anaphylaxis or Severe Allergy Reactions. I'm not sure if you have it. I used the email that is in your profile. If you didn't get my follow-up let me know.
For Montgomery Co. there are documents on the School Board website of policies for emergency treatment of allergies by the local school system. The state guideline to me seems to assume that someone at the school is trained and there at all times. It does not address what happens if no one is there to give emergency treatment but it does stress that it has to be given quickly.
This is the only policy on AA schools that I could find: [url="http://www.aacps.org/aacps/boe/board/newpolicy/Sections/section_900/adminreg904.03.pdf"]http://www.aacps.org/aacps/boe/board/newpolicy/Sections/section_900/adminreg904.03.pdf[/url]
There is much more in the Mont. Co. school board policies on administration/management of emergency medications than there is in the AA schools. Of course it is the elephant in the room of what the policy is if no one is available at the school to give the emergency medication. They seem to avoid discussing it in their policy.
I've been told that if the dr. recommends that someone has to be on-site at all times to give the epi then it would be difficult for the nurse to argue that the dr's orders are not correct. And this turns into providing your child equal access to education.
I know a case in Howard Co. where a judge ruled that a daycare run by the county had to provide someone onsite at all times to give emergency care ([url]http://www.sniderlaw.com/articles/McDavid-Press-Release.pdf[/url]).
At my local elem. school they do not have a nurse at all but a health tech and she is not there during the entire day. I think we also face the issue that they haven't had many diabetic or allergic kids and the ones they've had seem to not have done 504's or IEP's etc. I think the parents were accepting of the status quo there. In fact the school secretary told me point blank I didn't need a 504 because they would work it all out -LOL! That sounds great but I'd like it in writing if you know what I mean ;-)
I think the meeting was...well BAD...but at least some things are out there as others said and you can address those issues. The behaviour of the folks in charge was unbelieveable and unexpected I'm sure.
Let me know if you want me to send you that State Health document assuming you ever get my email!
Carol

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:00am
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[b]The special ed teacher spoke up (was brainstorming) and suggested they mention in the letter home to parents that they refrain from serving pb for breakfast as well (not something I felt was appropriate btw). The 504c laughed out loud, put her face in her hands and jokingly said "no way..we can't ask them to do that...my daughter would have DIED if she couldn't have pb toast for breakfast." [/b]
OMG! I would have been floored too...and I probably would have been too floored to say anything, and I would have gone home and thought of all the things I could have said. I'm not good at thinking on my feet...I'm so sorry this happened to you, keep us updated. Meg

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 8:06am
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Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
[b] 3. Not only did I have the original doctor's letter which dx his allergy, his history, etc... but the 504c asked me via email for a list of recommendations from our allergist about what accommodations should be made. He wrote a fantastic letter (is at home and I don't have it on this computer to share). He started by empahsizing that PA has no cure or treatment, just management. And that it can be fatal and the only way to manage it is with STRICT avoidance. He then listed 5 recommendations (he did not use the word "recommend" ..must go bakc and read that terminology). They were 1. a strict no sharing food rule. 2. handwashing upon arrival and after snack. 3. NO food in classroom but if that's unavoidable, no peanut products. 4. Epi pen must be kept with him at all times so that it can be administered immediately if needed. I'm blank for what number 5 was...ugh.
So he had specific accommodations listed...accommodations they ASKED him to recommend and all they did was use the letter as a list of things to discuss. And with each point they would either agree, or tell me it "can't" happen.
[/b]
When you have time, it would be great if you could post your doc's letter in full, since it sounds like a great template for us to use as we approach our docs for similar letters!
Thanks & keep up the good fight!
I won't say what I really wanted to say about the totally juvenile woman who "ran" your meeting. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
~Elizabeth

Posted on: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:09pm
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From my prior post:
Took a quick look back at your allergist letter in a prior post: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/002305.html[/url]

Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 2:56am
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MattsMommy,
Did your allergist write two letters? The one describing PA (in the thread Nutternomore posted), and also a second letter that specifically addressed accommodations? If so, I think ajas_folks is asking for you to post the 'accommodation' letter.
Gail
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited June 03, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 11:25am
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Yes Gail there are two letters. We're out of town visiting friends and I don't have that letter on this computer.
It's pretty much exactly what I posted in an earlier reply..but I plan on scanning it in (for my files) and will also copy it here for others to see. It's a great letter...least I thought so. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Maddy

Posted on: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 12:00am
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I understand totally. I too am starting this process for my daughter starting school next year. They look at me like I am a psycho Mom. Anyway, where do you find this nuttermores plan you are speaking of. I need to know the normal content of a 504 as my principal is trying to minimize mine to about 5 lines.

Posted on: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 12:05pm
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MattsMommy,
I feel your pain....See my messages posted... I am "Overwhelmed"! I just can't stop thinking about this whole thing and how I am being treated. And these people are early childhood educators? Should they not be the children's advocate???? Afterall, this is their "self-chosen" profession.....? Where is the empathy? Boy, I wish I had an answer on how to make them more understanding.

Posted on: Thu, 07/13/2006 - 7:13am
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Wondering how MattsMommy is doing . . .

Posted on: Wed, 07/19/2006 - 4:14am
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I think somewhere she posted she was moving out of the area (to North Carolina?) so the whole point is now moot. At least she doesn't have to deal with this school system and the one she is moving to is much more accomodating.

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 7:04am
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Mattsmommy,
There are many here who are very well versed in 504's and I am sure they will help you more than I. However, I do have a few tips after dealing with this with my son this past school year. Check your state's (or in your case D.C.'s) laws about Epipen training. In my state (NY), all certified teachers must be trained in Epipen use. Your "bad cop" may not be aware of a similar law or may not want to admit they haven't been following the law.
As I understand it, they can NOT force others to bring in only labeled, prepackaged foods. However, your son's plan could include some language about an adult checking the children's lunches for allergens and providing an allergen-free area for your son to eat at. There could be very specific language as to how this allergen-free table is to be handled and cleaned. I would also include language that children should be encouraged to bring safe lunches and eat with your son (not really enforcable but anyhting helps).
I know of no reason why a classroom can not be peanut-free especially if the children eat in the cafe.
I believe 504 plans are non-transferable as many of the conditions and terms depend on the physical characteristics of the building, the staff, etc. However, once you have one it provides a good framework to begin another.
Epipens in the classroom HAVE been an issue for us. If you push hard enough they may allow it. Suggest a locked medical box that the teacher has easy access to. That may help alleviate any perceived safety issues on their part. Of course, this all comes back to teacher training.
I don't know what your work situation is, but our agreement with the school is that my wife or I must attend every field trip my son goes on. They actually appreciate it because it gurantees them a chaperone. If we can not attend (has not happened as yet) the school nurse must go in our place and the school has to bring in a sub-nurse for the time she is gone.
My situation has been good. We have the general framework of a 504 but it is not official. That will change next year as there have been a few slips here and there (nothing serious but easily avoidable if they followed our jointly agreed upon action plan to the letter).
These are just a few things that I know are possible. I get the feeling most districts try to avoid these 504's because they know it could cost them if they don't follow it perfectly. Don't give up, let them know how other schools cope - it can be done. When all else fails, don't hesitate to go way over the head of the psych - straight to the district superintendent.
Best of luck and keep your head up! You'll get lots of help here.
Troy
P.S. It is true, 504's are limited to what affects your son. Your son IS affected by other children eating peanuts around him. It affects his breathing, his ability to care for himself, and all of that other legal jargon!
[This message has been edited by choguy (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 7:57am
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[b]So can they say they don't have to "make" any teacher epi-pen trained? [/b]
We are in California, and it is in the State Education Code that the teachers can be trained on Epipen, but it is VOLUNTARY. We are in the same boat as you, only my DD's teacher refused the training.
[b]Can the 504 plan be as specific as I want it to be or can they make it be "between me and the teacher" as to the specifics? [/b]
As far as I know, it can be very specific. Certainly posting a sign on the classroom door could be included as an accommodation.
[b]Was she accurate in stating that were we to move the other school can't be bound by this "legal document" and so THAT'S why they don't get specific?[/b]
This is pure BS. Yes, it's a legal document. However, it is not intended to be used word for word if your son changed schools. Changing schools triggers a reevaluation to iron out details like that.
[b]Is the 504 truly limited to things only directly affecting Matthew? Can they side step it by stating they can't make changes that affect the other students (such as making it peanut free classroom)? [/b]
They most certainly can make rules about students' behavior, food, dress code, etc. This is no different. Your son has a right to FAPE. The other students do not have a right to PB.
[b]They said they can't MAKE everything be store bought and labled...true?[/b]
Baloney.
------------------
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited May 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 8:01am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

About "learning" being affected: I think they are saying your son's learning would be affected if he could not attend school, which he could not if there were no safety measures in place. So I don't think you necessarily have to get them to change that. If it makes them happy to say "learning" is affected, ok then. That said, you are right. Learning is not the only major life activity.
About field trips: Here in CA a student cannot be excluded from a field trip because of a disability. That means that if you are not able to accompany him on the field trip, the school would have to come up with a trained adult to go along on the trip.
Cathy

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