I'm under a different username.
In case you don't know who I am, you guys were helping me with email communication between myself and the new school DS will be starting next year.
I wanted to post what happened at the meeting today...for the most part, it went really well, the 504 part is not great, yet not as bad as it could be.
DH and I met with what seemed like the entire school personnel, ya know how it is in the little bitty room with all those administrators. Anyway, we loved the administration and RN...very receptive and seemed very strict and attentive. The good part is they will implement the plan, we made a few changes concerning some things that needed to be expanded on. I made it very clear in the very beginning when they asked me to start the meeting, that our main objective to meeting with them was to have a 504 eligibility meeting, but it was my understanding that first we were going to go through the current IHP, which I added was fine. After we discussed the entire IHP and how it's been handled at the previous school and it was clear we were done discussing in detail all of that, the 504-C said, OK, what about the 504 and looked at the principal and myself - basically to make a really long story short, they didn't understand WHY I wanted the 504, they think it's just a form...I finally (and some here may disagree with what I did, but circumstance pretty much forced me into it), I had to tell them that because of all the violations on his IHP, I wanted accountability. Then they seem to understand my reasons behind it, they did the song and dance about how they can be different, DH spoke up and said that it was the same thing that the other school had told us....I also told them that it takes the responsibility off of me when asked to do something contradictory to the plan, I can't make that decision on my own, etc. They made a statement sometime into the conversation that the "child study team" would see if they felt he "needed" a 504. I said "needed or not, if he's eligible, he's eligible".
I explained to them that when something is violated, I have gone to the teacher, nothing is done, I have to go to the principal, which in turn creates a friction between myself and the teacher...that alone is enough for me b/c I need to be able to communicate with his teacher easily without conflict. They understood that and appreciated that.
At one point discussing past violations were the pbj sandwiches on sack lunch days and field trips and how maybe they could be ham sandwiches instead of pbj, which is something that no one else has ever suggested in the school.
It was left as the RN going through getting the things added to the plan, getting me a list of soap manufacturers and science animals (food, bedding, etc) for me to check on safe stuff. AND the good part, the principal is going to contact the school attorney to see what we need to do regarding the 504...
Anyway, I have to say all in all, I'm impressed with the administration...the 504 process for PA is new ground and may require some fight and education.
The ESE director for the school did make a comment that it's illegal to be covered under IDEA and 504, do you know where this is in print if it's not true.
I know there is alot I've left out, jumped around etc etc etc., just cause I'm pushed for time as usual and wanted to post what happened at the meeting.
I don't think they debate him being eligible, they don't understand why it's necessary when they are providing accommadations.
I'll keep posting as new events happen, my impression would be soon.
As always, thanks!!
Edited to delete confidential information.
[This message has been edited by nopnutmom (edited April 13, 2006).]
On Apr 12, 2006
On Apr 12, 2006
I think many school use the "why is is necessary" argument just to avoid the 504. They KNOW why it is necessary...it is necessary because in the past there was no accountability for decisions or actions at school that affected your child. If someone doesn't follow an IHP...what happens?? Nothing. You have to complain to the teacher, the principal, etc...to make sure it doesn't happen again. But there is still no accountability. A 504 streamlines the process. You have the 504-C to discuss a situation, and if you choose, you can file a formal complaint with the OCR, which could affect the school funding.
I hate the fact that the schools play this game. They are just seeing if you know yourself WHY you need a 504. In my opinion, a 504 should be offered to every child who is eligible, regardless as to whether their parent understands the elgibility or pushes for it. But of course, the schools are not going to do this because of the expense involved and the paperwork necessary.
I am in the same situation. The school is offering an extensive IHP, but no 504. I am just trying to decide what avenue I want to take. We have not tried a IHP yet, because my son is just going into kindergarten in the fall. The problem is we are moving this summer into the district (not until August) so I am trying to work on this from afar. I have also been given the line "he doesn't need a 504, we give IHP to all the allergy kids." Part of me wants to play their game and say fine we will try your way first, and then push for a 504 if a situation arises. But that worries me, because I want my son to be safe.
Good luck to you and keep me posted, I will be curious to see how all the parties involved handle the process.
On Apr 12, 2006
I have always looked at the 504 as an [i]agreement[/i] between the school and us so that there are no surprises on our side when it comes to her care and on their side for protection. DD doesn't take hot lunch but if she did, for example, I would put in the 504 that there are to be no peanuts nor may contains in the lunches. If I didn't do that, the onus would be on us to make sure the lunches were safe. KWIM?
In that regard, it would be in the best interest of the school to give you the 504. In my case, I feel I can't expect the school to think of things that I don't think of.
Feel free to offer opinions if you think I'm looking at this wrong.
On Apr 12, 2006
The problem is that MOST schools do not view a 504 in that manner. From reading this board and talking to others, it seems that many schools view a 504 as a negitive...and it is only to be used in extreme situations. In fact, the school I am dealing with does not want my son to have a 504 and would be very happy to avoid that subject altogether.
They view the IHP as an agreement, in fact it specifically states the responsibilities of each party (student, school, and parents). On the other hand, they view the 504 very differently.
So maybe it just depends on the school and the way they decide to handle allergies. Some "get it" and some are clueless.
On Apr 12, 2006
Thanks Rhonda - I found that on your site after I posted...thank you! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
nonutty - I think you are right, they do play the game. Can you imagine the liability they would have after all that I have pressed for a 504 and them NOT give me one??
Also, I believe I read last night that if they provide accommadations and DON'T designate the 504, they are in non-compliance. I will go back and re-read to make sure I'm quoting something accurate. But I'm almost positive I did.
LaurensMom - I wish they viewed it the same way...but unfortunately they are scared of the 504's, because of it's legalities.
Like I told them in the meeting yesterday, I'm not looking for a suit, I'm looking for the school to be compliant with the plan, plain and simple.
I'll keep everyone posted as they develop.
On Apr 12, 2006
Originally posted by nopnutmom: [b] . . . They made a statement sometime into the conversation that the "child study team" would see if they felt he "needed" a 504. I said "needed or not, if he's eligible, he's eligible". [/b]
Perfect response! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
Originally posted by nopnutmom: . . . the principal is going to contact the school attorney to see what we need to do regarding the 504.[/B]
I'm confused. The 504-C was present, right? Why didn't she clarify the 504 process to everyone then and there? Since the 504-C didn't/couldn't, I guess it's good that the principal is circumventing her and going right to the district attorney?
(let me know if you want me to delete anything)
On Apr 13, 2006
Your post is perfectly fine. Thanks for asking though.
The 504-C doesn't have a clue either - and the funny thing is they KNOW the process, I spelled it out in email to the 504-C, which she stated that they do that process when it's an academic reason but not a health. I think they only do 504's for academic criteria(LD)...and IHP's for health impairments - I told them we could do an IEP if they wanted because he had asthma that did affect his learning but normally it's harder for a child to fall under that designation which is why I was asking for the 504. I wanted them to know I DID know the law, and if I remember correctly, that was one of the last discussions.
They could be playing the game, I wouldn't doubt it - but I just don't understand when a parent pushes for it, how they can't see their liability more so if they DON'T go through the process....baffles me, well more like angers me.
On Apr 18, 2006
On Apr 20, 2006
No response since the meeting - I sent the following email to the school 504C this a.m.:
I hope you and your family had a nice Easter. I just wanted to touch base with you on a couple of the items that we discussed in the meeting last Tuesday.
We had discussed me supplying a list of safe food and bedding materials for animals (hamster and fish, to start). It might be easier if I just check out the type of food/bedding that they now use for any animals that are currently housed rather than getting in touch with manufacturers on certain brands, due to the fact that they are ever changing ingredients. I will do the same for the type of hand soap that XXXX school currently uses, as we discussed as soon as I get the manufacturer name and brand from the custodians. If it makes it easier for everyone involved, I can come up there, if needed.
I am working on a summary list of safe snacks/foods for teachers/parties, etc as requested
On Apr 21, 2006
Recv'd this email from school 504c yesterday a.m.:
I'm not putting you off, but we will be having XXX XXXXXX (currently our middle school asst. principal) as the principal next year and once she starts with us we'll need to meet. Ms. Current Principal talked with XXX XXXXX (504-C for District) and she was going to check with someone, but I haven't heard any more about that either. Let me check on both of these and get back with you. The changes in administration here in no way affect the health plan or the training of those involved or the fact that you will meet with the staff and/or teachers on the first planning day. My response to her above email:
If you could check on that and let me know, I just want to be sure we get this process completed prior to school beginning in the fall. I
On Apr 21, 2006
Is there a deadline from from the time a parent requests a 504 evaluation for their child and the time the evaluation actually occurs?
On Apr 21, 2006
I tell you, what gets me is suppose I go along with the IHP alone....a month after school begins, DS has a severe reaction causing hospitalization or worse...what do you think the schools liability is if they don't do the 504 with all the requests I've made - don't they realize the position they are putting themselves into??
On May 13, 2006
On May 14, 2006
Hi guys - I have been meaning to post some stuff along the way, but the only time I really have is weekends, and lately that hasn't been the case either.
After the above posted emails between myself and the school 504-C I hadn't heard anything from the school - school ends next week.
After two weeks of not hearing anything - I called the school board attorney - I know her b/c my office and her have to occasionally work together with mutual clients. Anyway, I ask her if she had received any calls from anyone at the district or the elem. school regarding the legalities with a 504. She said well I talked with X (District 504-C) regarding another matter but not pertaining to one of your children. So I explained that I had requested a 504 eligibility meeting with the district in early March and they put me with the 504-C at the school, my son has a health related impairment that meets the criteria under the 504. She told me that she has discussed in lengths with the district ESE department about the fact that most of your litigations develop in that department and they have got to be more in tune to what they do. She offered to initiate with the district, I told her that was okay, I just wanted to see if in fact she had been contacted b/c I was told that was what they needed to do. She then asked me what (if I minded saying) health issue did DS have - I told her PA, (knowing she has a child with PA herself), she said OH, it must be severe...whatever, she then asked me if it qualifies - I told her absolutely does - somewhere in the conversation I let her know that I have researched this law for several years and know what can be done and can't, that I'm hopeful that the school will do their on research if they aren't familiar with it themselves. She ended it with "Contact them one more time and if you aren't happy with the results, call me back and I'll shake some bushes"
Well, two days later I got an email from the school 504-C telling me they had selected DS's two teachers and would like me to meet with them, herself and the nurse - I asked her if this was for an eligibility meeting or something different, she stated 504 eligibility. Then in the same email, stated the day and time and that we would be going over the IHP and only one teacher could be present but the other would have her training during pre-planning....so I was like UGHHHHH!!!
Fast forward to the meeting - which was this past Thursday...I got their and the 504-C and nurse were there, they had the eligibility meeting the day before and determined him eligibile based on parent conference and medical file.
They said they couldn't guarantee a pnut free classroom, because they can't require parents not to bring in pnut containing snacks, they can beg and plead, but they can't require it...I told them I didn't agree with that, they can require students to not chew gum for the sake of furniture and carpet, but pnut restricting for the sake of a child was not possible?!? Gum is not a nutrient or meal...long story short, his 504 states "Peanut Free Classroom, as much as possible" among other things, which I will post when it is final. I am waiting on the IHP to be tweaked by the nurse before I sign though - which they were trying to slide by me as well, they attached a few things (very little) to the 504 - and then when that was emailed to me and asked if I saw anything else that needed to be added, I realized it was limited to just the training, classroom as stated above, kids washing hands after snack and lunch (no exceptions) and me supplying cups for him to drink water from and cupcakes for special "surprise" parties - so I asked her to type in that the IHP was attached and part of, which she did. Actually the school he is in now wouldn't do the handwashing, they are insisting on the handwashing.
The only comment that I can say really ticked me off was the nurse stated in the beginning of the meeting "You know once he gets in MS and HS this isn't going to be possible" I know it can but wasn't going to argue the point - I said I'm not concerned right now with that part, we have a ways to go before then BUT when you get up to that age group you don't have 800+ little 8yr old hands in pbutter everyday - they've learned to eat it without playing with it first...
Not saying that he won't need it then, but it was all I could think of to say in the heat of the moment. I really was hot at the comment. But oh well, all in all, I'm pleased.
Now, do you think they just out of the blue decided to do this or do you think the attorney made a phone call...I think the latter - one good thing I can say about small towns, it doesn't take long to get talk back to someone, which is what I had hoped would be the case to begin with.
I have some stuff I want to post on bandbmom's topics, but gotta close for now.
Hope everything is going well for you Gail - I haven't seen any updates on your stuff lately.
Thanks again for all of your inputs - I will need some more help preparing a speech to the entire faculty just before school gets started - that I am NOT looking forward to AT ALL!!!
On May 14, 2006
Originally posted by nopnutmom: Fast forward to the meeting - which was this past Thursday...I got their and the 504-C and nurse were there, they had the eligibility meeting the day before and determined him eligibile based on parent conference and medical file.
They had an eligibility meeting without you? hmmmm?
They said they couldn't guarantee a pnut free classroom, because they can't require parents not to bring in pnut containing snacks, they can beg and plead, but they can't require it...
Yes they can....do not back down on this one.
On May 15, 2006
How much can I push - they are required to have a 504 if he meets the criteria, but where does it say they have to have 'X' guidelines in place. It only states "reasonable accommadations" and that's pretty much up to them to decide whats reasonable and what's not, right?
I don't want to push so hard that they don't want to do any type of pnut free classroom - which I realize it's not pnut free if its still 'voluntary' for the parents - but what if they remove it completely b/c they can't guarantee anything.?.
On May 15, 2006
Originally posted by nopnutmom: They said they couldn't guarantee a pnut free classroom, [b]because they can't require parents not to bring in pnut containing snacks, they can beg and plead, but they can't require it...[/b]I told them I didn't agree with that, they can require students to not chew gum for the sake of furniture and carpet, but pnut restricting for the sake of a child was not possible?!? Gum is not a nutrient or meal...long story short, his 504 states "Peanut Free Classroom, as much as possible" among other things, which I will post when it is final.
Don't you love how they play the shell game? shifting accountability when convenient?
Technically, they're right. . . they can't "guarantee" what parents [i]send [/i]to the school. But that's not the point, is it? The school [b]can[/b] control what they will allow (and what they will not allow) into the classroom and, as nopnutmom pointed out to them, they already do that routinely. The accountability needs to be placed back where it belongs: on to the school staff who have the authority to control the school environment. The school can "guarantee" what procedures staff will follow.
Are you going to hold them accountable to that? Maybe shift the focus away from the words "peanut free" to detailing out what procedures [i]will [/i]occur to monitor food.
I know I'm not saying anything here you don't already know. . . The whole premise of an IHP/504 is to state how (when, and by whom), exactly, these safeguards/procedures will be implemented. If it were me, I'd agree with them that they can't control what parents send in with their kids . . . exactly. . . .and then fight very hard to get them specifically state in your 504 plan the exact procedures that staff will follow. Don't focus on the behavior of other parents; focus on the procedures (hence, focusing on the behavior of [i]staff[/i]).
I'd do that now, before stepping foot into the new school. I'd fight hard now, before all the personal relationships start entering into the picture. All business, and mostly business that is addressed with administrators. After the hard fight, and after you've entered the school community, you can foster personal relationships with parents and teacher (if you wish).
Question: what would you, nopnutmom, lose by fighting hard now? What's the risk, as you see it from your perspective? Can you clarify what the downside is for me? It's hard for me to see sitting so far away, and I'm sure you have reasons.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited May 15, 2006).]
On May 19, 2006
Originally posted by Gail W: Question: what would you, nopnutmom, lose by fighting hard now? What's the risk, as you see it from your perspective? Can you clarify what the downside is for me? It's hard for me to see sitting so far away, and I'm sure you have reasons.
Gail - I know this sounds all so stupid, but I feel like if I push them to hard they will remove the pnut free classroom (as much as possible) altogether (as much as possible is what they have in the 504). They say they can't require parents NOT to send in pnut containing snacks because it is a nutrient, unlike gum, which was my argument. Simply because they decide what is reasonable and not, is why I feel that I have nothing to stand on to push for more than "as much as possible".
And to be honest, I have had what was called a "pnut free classroom" the last three years in his IHP, but it was the same way, if a student brought it in, it was allowed to be eaten, they weren't allowed to eat in the classroom they either ate snack outside or in the "project room" which was pretty much a connecting room that they seldom go into.
Originally posted by Gail W: Maybe shift the focus away from the words "peanut free" to detailing out what procedures will occur to monitor food.
What they did say was that if a student did bring a pnut containing snack, that they would seperate the kids that brought pnut containing snacks on one side and the non-pnut containing snacks on 'this' side...As I'm typing all of this, (which I've come back and edited this, so all below is before this thinking) I really think I need to go back, there will be nothing pnut free about the class, it will be please don't bring pnut containing snacks....period.
I am waiting to see the "tweaked" IHP from the nurse before I sign the 504, which I've asked them to add that it be made a part of, which they 'neglected' to put that part on until I requested it.
I had an incident yesterday (the last day of school) at his school. When I dropped him off I noticed that his teacher avoided me like the plaque, I even told one of my employees when I got to work, I bet you anything something is going on at the school that she didn't want me to know about, but at the same time thought I was just being paranoid (we'd had his end of year party the day before, so I had that covered) Sure enough, Cameron asked me when I picked him up from his after school program if Mrs. X called me, I said about what, he said whether or not I could eat the popcorn. We were having popcorn and I asked her if she had called you and she said she would either call or email me - never happened - she gave it to him. Now he did his part by asking her and she went ahead and fed him without my prior approval, which is completely against his IHP. Even though he will not be going to that school anymore, I'm going to speak to the principal Monday about it. I'm going to let him know that the administration has been excellent these last three years but if he doesn't do something different with IHP's and teacher accountability that the school is going to end up in some kind of trouble.
They are so scared of 504's but what they don't realize is the liability they are out even without them and an IHP. If the student qualifies for a 504 designation and they are giving accommadations to that child and something happens they will be in for a lawsuit based on that alone (IMHO)...I truly believe they set themselves up trying to cover up.
Gotta run for now, but will post more later.
[This message has been edited by nopnutmom (edited May 19, 2006).]
[This message has been edited by nopnutmom (edited May 19, 2006).]