Our child\'s Section 504 plan

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 2:00am
Kurt's picture
Joined: 05/19/1999 - 09:00

We spent most of April, May, and June working closely with the staff of our daughter's new elementary school to provide her with safeguards as she enters kindergarten. We were fortunate to receive excellent support and caring from the school nurse and the Section 504 officer for our school district, and also in having a copy of an excellent written policy developed by a Canadian school board. Having the ability to demonstrate what other school systems felt was reasonable and appropriate to provide made me feel stronger and more sure of myself as I went into our own planning sessions, so I thought I'd provide ours in hopes it'll be of some service to others.

Some caveats: I don't consider this to be "finished", and expect it to keep evolving for years. I didn't author it myself, and have some concerns with phrasing and nuance which we'll look to correct. Finally, the last item concerning transportation is not very thorough because we have chosen to avoid busing at this time.

We feel pretty good about what we've gotten agreement on, and hope that what's here will keep our girl safe without making her outcast or provoking other parents and teachers beyond reason...a difficult line to walk, and no doubt anyone reading this will find some points of disagreement. If you do feel we've omitted anything significant, it'll be a great service to us if you'd attach your comments below-- thanks in advance. Thanks also to LauraP and many others using this forum whose thoughts expressed here have been a huge help in developing our own approach.

School System in Central New Jersey

Kindergarten Snack Policy:

1. Letter to go out in August written by Chief School Administrator and school nurse noting:
* child with presence of severe food allergy that is life threatening
* statement that snack in kindergarten is optional
* statement and copy of "new" snack/party food policy
* ask to give teacher a week's notice of food coming into class for party, event, etc.
* list of suggested snack items that are safe for the class
* list of items to avoid including nuts, peanut butter, granolas, chocolate, homemade items
* note that if this revised snack policy is not complied with, then snack in kindergarten will be reconsidered for safety reasons

2. Teacher to reinforce:
* no snack/utensil sharing rule
* students can only sit with student at first snack table serving only if have snack from list
* washing hands
* use of disposable paper towel or napkin as placemats
* snack only eaten at snack table in shifts

3. Student with allergy to go to snack table first during snack time
* aide/teacher to monitor that foods at the table at that time are from the "list"
* foods with obvious peanut content should be confiscated with reminder to parent in writing and a call home about snack policy
* once student is finished, the teacher/aide washes the table with bleach solution and water and repeats this after last group is finished for the day

4. Students are to wash hands after leaving snack area with soap and water.

5. Teacher to notify parent of allergic child of party, event, and of type of food to be present

6. Parent of allergic child to provide alternate "safe snack " for the allergic child. There should be a "back up" safe snack provided by the parent in the classroom.

7. Teacher to have "back up" safe snack provided for a child who has a peanut-content snack which is removed.

Class Food/Party Policy:

1. Foods not on the "safe" list must have a list of ingredients for teacher/nurse/parent review prior to the party.

2. Placemats (napkins or paper towels) are to be used.

3. Obvious peanut containing foods are to be removed from the room.

4. Parties are to be held at the end of the school day with the custodian cleaning the desks with the bleach solution at the conclusion.

5. A designated desk/table area for the allergic child will be set aside for parties. It will be covered when not in use with a sign noting that it is not to be uncovered or used except by that allergic child. This desk will be set apart from eating area of others when in use.

6. Students, upon completion of the party, are to wash their hands.

7. The parent or an additional staff member will be on hand during parties to monitor the allergic child's involvement. This can be determined on a case by case basis.

Cafeteria/Kitchen Responsibilities:

1. No cooking with peanuts or peanut oil directly in kitchen.

2. Obvious peanut-containing foods such as peanut butter, candies or cookies should not be sold by the cafeteria.

3. Peanut/allergen free table established. Decisions as to how this will occur will depend on negotiation with parent. The table may be at a distance from the eating area, adjacent to another table, or comprise a separate desk/table pulled up to another with a distance between students. (NO. We have established that this will be one of the "regular" two lunch tables which are separated from the others. The points below reflect that this decision has already been made.)

4. Tables will be cleaned by staff as per usual school policies with allergy free table washed with separate bucket/cloth with bleach solution and covered after use. Clean BEFORE her use each day.

5. Allergic child is not required to being refuse to general trash area. A peer or monitor may do this, or the child may pack up trash to take home.

6. Monitors will be educated by the school nurse as to policies, reaction symptoms, and protocols.

7. Monitor will review lunches at allergen free table and remove child/student from area with any suspicious foods.

Chief School Administrator Responsibilities:

1. Will send letters to ALL parents in the school outlining any "new" food policy and reasons behind it; also request cooperation in eliminating all nut products from lunches and snacks, no sharing food/utensil rule, no eating on bus rule; discuss "peanut/allergen free" table.

2. Will send letter to parents of class with allergic student and the particular response determined for that class/grade noting: the presence of severe food allergy that is life threatening, statement that snack is optional, statement/copy of any "new" food policies, ask to give teacher a week's notice of food coming into class for party, event, etc., list of suggested snack items that are safe for class, list of items to avoid in foods, note that if this revised snack/food policy is not complied with then snack/food in the class/grade will be reconsidered for safety reasons.

3. Will coordinate with nurse the training of school bus driver(s) for that route.

4. Send out periodic reminders in school newsletters.

Teacher Responsibilities:

1. Will prepare sub plans clearly listing protocol to follow for student, alert to poster and memo to review with school nurse prior to entering classroom. She/he will inform Mrs. X (sub finder) of the same since she arranges substitutes and she will remind the subs to see the nurse prior to the start of the school day.

2. Check student daily for wearing of fanny pack.

3. Will have nurse or parent of student attend field trips; will consider location/activity of trip and contact parent if there are any related concerns prior to trip.

4. Assist students in following snack table policy outlined above.

5. Provide education and encouragement to students in support of allergic child and policies in order to minimize effects of segregation and stigmatization and guidance and/or discipline according to school policies to children involved in any taunts or threats concerning the allergy.

6. Carry out the guidelines outlined in the Section 504 plan.

School Nurse Responsibilities:

1. Will designate a "peanut/allergen free" table in the cafeteria and train staff in the cafeteria and kitchen as to how to use this area. Will review and coordinate cafeteria rules and kitchen procedures/foods with kitchen staff to reduce exposure to potential allergens.

2. Will instruct each class on the use of the table.

3. Will inservice the kindergarten class on the signs of reaction and what to do, about the fanny pack, about food/snack time.

4. Will inservice staff the first day of school including drivers, secretaries, aides, kitchen help, all personnel on allergic reactions/signs and protocol to follow for individual students. Determine a code and have all learn the code for this emergency.

5. Will coordinate with the teacher, aide, and parent a brief presentation for the kindergarten students/parents on the first day of school.

6. Will gather video and written material for school library on the topic of food/other allergies.

7. Will prepare and receive consent form and emergency plan agreement for parents.

8. Will develop Emergency Allergy Protocol forms, get photos and post in classroom where student is, in the main office, in the sub plans of that teacher, in the nurse's office, on the bus, and in the kitchen. Include the emergency code on the form.

9. Arrange CPT training for designees and provide instruction on epipen administration to designees.

10. Work with family to determine if student is capable of carrying epipen on his/her person in a secure pack (i.e., fanny pack). If student is capable, the school nurse will work with the family in educating the allergic child how to secure the epipen. If the student is not capable, the nurse will determine secure location(s) for the epipen.

11. Act as primary source of education and training on allergy related issues and a consultant on issues regarding allergy related issues and policies.

12. Educate teachers as to dangers/precautions in art project (this should warn against using peanut/nut materials in any school project or activity altogether).

Parent Responsibilities:

1. Provide photos.

2. Provide medications (ie: Benadryl, Epipens) as per doctor's orders.

3. Provide and teach student the safe storage of Epipen and the use of the fanny pack. Send pack to school daily.

4. Provide school with updated list of "safe" foods as available.

5. Provide all food for child when notified of planned food events (parties, snacks, etc.).

6. Provide written authorization for the administration of the Epipen by the nurse or designee.

7. Provide written orders for medication from the physician.

8. Provide written protocol and emergency treatment plan, signed by physician.

9. Note that permission is effective for the school year for which the prescription/protocol is granted and there will need to be renewal each subsequent school year.

10. Assist with educational initiatives concerning the allergy directed to students or parents as requested by the school

11. Work with the school prior to each field trip to ensure that a parent or nurse is attending on a case by case basis.

Child Responsibilities:

1. Be aware, on an appropriate level, of the details of the allergy (causes, symptoms, avoidance, rules) and the dangers/consequences of not following instructions to manage allergy.

2. Carry medication daily and not permit others to access it unless there is a need. No students are to access the medication.

3. Inform teacher/adult of symptom development promptly.

4. Inform teacher/adult promptly of concern about safety of food or acvtivity noted in the area of the child.

5. Inform teacher/adult promptly of any taunts or threats in relation to allergic condition.

Transportation Coordinator:

1. If there will be a substitute driver on that student's route, call parents to bring child to school.

2. Provide driver with protocol and options for contacting emergency personnel.

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 3:19am
Kurt's picture
Joined: 05/19/1999 - 09:00

pOnly an hour later and I have to post an update...happily. We were very apprehensive about the birthday party scenario as we were anticipating about 15 of them this year, and parents were frequently sending homemade goods, etc. Just got a call from the 504 coordinator...the new Chief School Admin has decided to have 1 group birthday celebration per month, at which parents could send in NON-FOOD favors, and for which $5 will be collected from each family so that the school can provide cupcakes which we will be able to state a safe variety of. /p
pSometimes life is GOOD. We've been awfully lucky./p

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 3:42am
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

pHello Kurt,/p
pI want to applaud you for posting your plan.br /
I have spoken to many who have plans or are in the process of writing one etc. Hopefully this will encourage others to post their plans as well so we can all learn and benefit from them. /p
pI read through your plan only once so far and am wondering: Is there medication at school also in case the medication is not sent with the child by mistake or to act as a backup in case something goes wrong or more is needed etc./p
p------------------br /
Stay Safe/p
p [email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]/p

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 4:27am
carrie's picture
Joined: 05/15/1999 - 09:00

pHi Kurt,br /
You've worked very hard--Your daughter is blessed to have such great parents!br /
I have a few questions:br /
1. Is your daughter the only one with the allergy in your school? District?br /
2. Was the school peanut-free before?br /
3. Are you fearful of having your daughter be the target of some strong negatve feelings?br /
4. What did you offer to those whose debate was that a peanut-free school would offer a false sense of security?br /
5. Is this a mandatory ban or a choice to not send in peanut products for those children not in your child's class?br /
Thanks, Kurt, and pat yourself on the back!br /

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 4:56am
Kurt's picture
Joined: 05/19/1999 - 09:00

pChris: We will also station 2 units in the nurse's office and the school maintains its own small supply as well. The nurse will also be supplied with Benadryl elixir./p
pCarrie:br /
1. We were the first to approach the school with this issue, but already we've been told there's a child a couple of years younger that will be on the way with the same issues.br /
2. The school was not dealing with food allergies of this seriousness before, and is the only elementary school in our township.br /
3. Certainly we have fears, but...br /
4. They'd be much greater fears if we'd asked for a BAN on all peanut products...which we have not. We have drawn the distinction between a classroom, where we feel our child has the right to be as safe as we can make her, and the cafeteria, which is a designated eating area. While the school has risen to support us by refraining from selling PB, children can bring peanut products from home for consumption in the cafeteria ONLY. Once we're past the first two or three grades, food in the classroom will be a smaller issue both for us and other parents. If someone bitterly resents having to pack their kids' own PB sandwich in the morning, I really have nothing to say to that person.br /
5. False security: a) again, I must stress there's no BAN per se, b) a five-year-old is entitled to some degree to believe the world is a little safer than it really is. I don't let her watch the evening news either!,br /
c) I don't think eliminating dangers from the educational rooms really sends such a message, and d) the special provisions in the cafeteria are reflective of the fact that the "customers" are almost exclusively small children, who consume a wildly disproportionate amount of the most dangerous substance we can be dealing with...which in itself is not a "real world" scenario. She's a helluva lot safer in an Italian restaurant. Hope this helps you with forming your own arguments..../p
pMany thanks to both of you for your kind words...hope to live up to them...there's a long haul ahead and we've never been school parents before.../p

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 5:03am
Kurt's picture
Joined: 05/19/1999 - 09:00

pCarrie: Oops...missed one./p
p5. My understanding is that the school will strongly request that no peanut products enter ANY classroom, although realistically, I'd assume vigilance will be less in the grades she's not in. That's just human nature. /p
pOne word of, I hope, good advice if you are entering into these kind of discussions at school...leave the word BAN at home, even if what you're asking for comes close to being one. That word is an emotional trigger for a lot of people and could negatively polarizebr /
folks you will need on your side./p

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 3:16pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pYour posting was very timely Kurt. I logged on tonight to try to gather some last minute resources and encouragment before tomorrow when we have our yearly 'meeting' with the school. My daughter will be going to the elementary campus this year which is somewhat larger than the campus she has been at. The meeting tomorrow will actually be a class put on by our local EMS to educate the teachers staff about anaphylaxis. There will also be a Q A where the teachers can ask questions, and discuss my daughter's situation in detail. Though we have been talking to them for months, and they have been most cooperative, I am still trying to make sure that all the issues have been addressed. Your plan lined them out nicely, and I will print it out and take with me as a sort of checklist for our discussions. Thanks!/p

Posted on: Tue, 08/10/1999 - 9:42pm
carrie's picture
Joined: 05/15/1999 - 09:00

pJust a thought, Kurt--as a teacher and as I am putting together a nursery school care plan for my son, you might want to think about the following things which are done often in early childhood classrooms:br /
1. Sensorimotor play--sand play, playdough, even shaving cream and beans in bins for dumping and pouring. Its all about tactile stimulation. I am asking Ben's teacher to inform me of each sensorimotor activity so that I can decide of Ben will participate.br /
2. Music--will they be sharing any instruments, more specifically horns/mouth instruments?br /
3. Kitchen/dramatic play area--do they have a pretend kitchen area. You might want to check that out.br /
4. Any food project(for example, gluing animal crackers on a picture of a circus train, etc..)should be discouraged or discussed with parents every time./p
pHope this helps and I will continue to think.br /
Also, I hope to post our nursery care plan, also.br /
Thanks, Carrie/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/11/1999 - 1:01pm
cindy johnson's picture
Joined: 08/11/1999 - 09:00

pKurt:br /
Thanks so much for the 504 plan you posted. As a school nurse, I will have 2 students entering our school with peanut allergies. This is a first for our school. Your plan was very complete and addressed many areas and issues that I would have probably omitted. Knowing which topics need to be addressed and who is responsible for what will make the transition much smoother. Thanks again for your help!/p

Posted on: Wed, 08/11/1999 - 1:26pm
ElizabethsMom's picture
Joined: 04/17/1999 - 09:00

pKudos to you Kurt!/p
pThis seems to be a very thorough plan and I thank you for posting it. I meet with my daughter's daycare provider next week to discuss plans for her fall class and will incorporate several items from your 504 into our strategy. I especially like the once-a-month birthday parties with non-food treats. So simple and sensible! Let us know how your plan is received. Good luck and stay safe!/p
p------------------br /

Posted on: Sun, 08/15/1999 - 3:27pm
Sue's picture
Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

pYou mention cleaning with bleach. I would appreciate it if you could tell me how it was decided that bleach would be used for cleaning. /p
pI keep wondering about the process of cleaning the peanut product off furniture, tables, etc. Because peanut has an oily residue I would assume that washing with soap and water is better. Bleach is a disinfectant. When I use it at home it doesn't really remove dirt, oil or grease./p
pHow can bleach remove the peanut product and the oily residue?/p
pI really feel stupid asking this question about bleach - so if you could tell me why bleach was selected instead of soap and water I could pass the info on to my daughter's school. /p
pThanks so much for all the info,/p
pSue in Sunny Arizona/p



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