Please answer some questions about 504\'s!!

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I'm new here and have some questions I hope you can answer for dh and I. I have read several 504's on the board and can see the need for one when pa son starts kindergarten in 2005, but dh has his doubts about it's effectiveness and the true need for one.

His main concern is that we miss something and ds has a reaction- since it wasn't stated in the 504 can we hold the school responsible or will it be seen as our fault because it was not stated? (I hope this makes sense!)

Is the 504 used only to help guide the school in keeping ds safe or do things change with each situation?

Dh is very concerned and aware of the dangers facing ds, but feels that a lot of things stated in the 504's I've printed for him to read are just "too much"- does it depend on what the allergist feels is needed or mainly what we as parent feel is needed?

To give you a little background, ds has only reacted 2x and both times it was when he had a bite of pbj sandwich at age 2. He became very lethargic and threw up about a half hour after eating it and then sneezed continuously until given Benedryl. The ped. at the time said he was just intolerant since he did not have hives, but we avoided all nuts and had him tested (blood test) this year before he started preschool by an allergist. The results- extremely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, also allergic to soy and some legumes including chick peas.

Thank you for any answers you can give me- I really want to understand exactly what and how the 504 is used for so that I can prepare for his kindergarten!

------------------ AnnieM.

On Jun 22, 2004

Yes, you do need one and thank your lucky stars if you get one without a fight. My son was exposed so much this past year, in Kindergarten, that I want to kick myself for not knowing about it before. If you are deligent and keep after them as well as keep the school, nurses, teachers, etc..very well informed, educated, etc.. it should be successful.

The home is the safest place for a PA child and some parents forget that when they start school. They are so used to not having any reactions that we sometimes get lax and misjudge.

It is definitely your choice, but I would do it. Ryan's mom has a great 504 plan, which I say everytime. I used hers and a comb. of my own. I also have a few websites that explain the import. of a 504 and make it easy for anyone to read. My son is deathly allergic to foods and has only broke out in hives once, to medicine. Only a small percentage break out into hives.

Oh, also..don't let the school think that your son is only a little allergic or not life threatening. For them to take it seriously..use the words life threatening.

------------------ Renee athma/EA Quinton: PA/TNA/Soy/EA/Severe Asthma/whole egg/onion/cocoa bean/chicken/turkey/string beans/potato Mykiaja: EA/asthma Taylor: EA/asthma

On Jun 22, 2004

AnnieM,

Welcome to the boards!

Not sure if you saw this previous thread, but it might be helpful.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001204.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001204.html[/url]

I continue to be a very strong advocate of 504 plans. My son just completed Kindergarten and I believe our 504 plan was an integral part of keeping him safe this past year.

In addition to looking at a ton of good threads here on 504's, [i]I also recommend that you spend some time at [url="http://www.allergysupport.org,"]www.allergysupport.org,[/url] which is run by RhondaRS from this board.[/i] It has a wealth of information on this and related topics. I have to admit that I knew almost nothing about 504's before beginning this journey of creating a safe environment for public school. After my experiences, though, I am totally sold on having a 504 plan.

Kudos to you for considering this issue early on, since it does take awhile to get up to speed.

I realize that it is easy for someone to feel that this might be "over the top". Tell your DH that I was there. However, it only took a short period of time to us to realize that the school was going to drag their feet every step of the way, and make quasi-promises that held no weight, until we took control by pushing them through the 504 process.

I'm on vacation right now, but when I get home, I'll post some statistics you may wish to share w/DH that might be relevant to discussions on this subject.

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited June 22, 2004).]

On Jun 23, 2004

There are few things that can be missed if you use RhondaRS's 504 primer as a guide to help you create your own personalized 504, tailored to your district.

The 504 is a legal document. The school district must adhere to it. Most 504's are simply much thorough, explicit planning. As Ryan's first grade teacher explained to his future second grade teacher a few weeks ago, it is hard the first two weeks trying to make sure the plan is being effectively implemented, checking the 504 quite often. Our vice-principal will go through it line-by-line with the teacher after a couple weeks as well to identify any possible weak points or areas which need to be clarified according to the schedule.

After a month, it really becomes second nature, one which is not thought about every second of the day. It becomes a routine.

I don't think any 504 can totally prevent a reaction. To think so would be unrealistic. Rather the goal of the 504, (IMO) should be to drastically reduce the risk of one.

My son's needs are thought about often by many people during the school day. Just recently I had the opportunity to walk in to school when my son was in the hall singing "It's a Small World" with his classmates. They had joined hands and formed a circle, with one of his friends on one side, the vice principal on the other. After the fact, she told me when she went to hold Ryan's hand, he looked a little wary, and she told him, "It's okay, Ryan. I just washed my hands so they're clean." He just smiled at her.

I actually feel he is a safer at school than at my mom and dad's house at times. The school seems to get it 100% of the time, my mom seems to get it about 80%. Funny thing is, I can't imagine how my mom would have ever dealt with one of her own kids having a severe food allergy. Can't imagine her every doing for her own what we do with Ryan. Even though she has seen Ryan's 504, I don't think she can fathom what it entails.

As for the question of possibly not needing a 504, lay that question to rest. A 504 is a management plan with clear instructions on how your child's food allergy needs to be managed in the school setting. Lack of thorough, explicit planning can be disasterous for your child. (Although there are many PA children that get by without one as we all know.)

I get through my day knowing that I have done virtually everything I can for my child to be safe at school.

[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited June 23, 2004).]

On Jun 23, 2004

I'm very in favor of a 504. Our 504 is not as comprehensive as many, but has all the safe guards that I feel are necessary to both help keep our dd safe and prevent her from being excluded from anything at school.

As for whether or not you can "hold the school responsible"; I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that? The 504 is a working document and can be changed at any time you request. Accidents may happen, but hopefully they can be minimized with the 504.

One great thing about having a 504 is that you never know what type of attitude your child's teacher will have from one year to the next. For that matter, it has happened twice to us, at two different schools, that the principal has left in the middle of the year and we have had an interim principal replace her. In our current situation our new principal (no longer interim, unfortunately [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ) is dreadfully inferior to the previous one. It is so great that we already had the 504 in place.

So, even if you find the administration and teacher wonderful to work with - great. Still insist, nicely - if possible, on a 504.

Good luck!

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

On Jun 23, 2004

Thanks so much for your responses! We have an appointment scheduled next week with the school principal and I will be asking lots of questions along with showing dh a copy of your responses!

I am so glad I found this board!

------------------ AnnieM.

On Jun 25, 2004

AnnieM,

Here are some links to our work from last year. Our PA son entered Kindergarten last fall. Due to foot dragging by the school district (as you will read), we had to work hard to play "catch-up" through the entire summer and right up to the weekend prior to start of school in order to complete 504 planning.

I am a strong advocate of being as aggressive as necessary to ensure that sufficient time exists to conduct the 504 planning effort in plenty of time (several months) before the end of the current school year.

Anyway, hope you find these links helpful. We used RhondaRS's [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]www.allergysupport.org[/url] site, several other excellent 504 plans posted by other PA.com members, and our own research in order to craft our materials.

1) Here's a link to the letter we wrote to our doctor, and the doctor letter we got back. Wasn't perfect (he didn't make the explicit link to the major life system(s) affected), but we didn't have any trouble getting buy-in that DS was 504-eligible.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html[/url]

2) This link recaps the progression of events that led to our proposed 504 plan and final outcome. We were succcessful in getting our entire Kindergarten (all 3 classes) to be peanut and tree nut free).

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001118.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001118.html[/url]

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited June 26, 2004).]

On Jun 26, 2004

Annie, I'm Canadian, so can't help you as far as 504 Plans.

However, am trying to clarify the one question you asked, that California Mom was also unclear about so that perhaps you can get an answer.

Are you asking if you have a 504 Plan in place and your child still has a reaction, do you have the right to sue the school?

Or, are you saying, if you forget to put a point in that you want to ensure the relative safety of your child and it is because of that forgotten point that your child has a reaction (i.e., say you didn't say that you wanted things wiped down, you do want them wiped down, and your child has a reaction because they weren't wiped down), do you still have the right to sue the school should your child have a reaction?

I haven't read 504 Plans for quite some time, as I just posted in Jodi2boys' current thread, but when I was reading them, I found rilira's and vic's quite helpful. I do have a written school plan for my PA son here in Ontario, Canada, but it is only considered a "guideline". It is not a legally binding document like a 504 Plan is. A lot of the points that are covered in my written school plan (which was written by another PA.com member) are similar to those in a 504 Plan, but I understand the 504 Plan also has specific instructions re medication administration, etc. that I would not have in a written school plan because the school gives us the forms to fill out re meds at the beginning of each school year.

So, basically, are you asking, should your child have a reaction, is it better to have a 504 Plan in place or not have one, if you felt the need to sue?

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On Jun 28, 2004

Now, I'm not what you would consider a "sue-happy" person, and I'm not insinutating that anyone here is.

But, thinking about this from a logical point of view (certainly not legal as I'm not a lawyer), a child without a 504 has the same rights and protections as any other child. Can a district be sued for negligence (thinking of the food-allergic child) if there is no 504? I mean, if a parent does not state how the child is to be protected, and that certainly is their right, then I would presume that the school district would follow the standard district guidelines for any "normal" student. What would the parents sue for? Would they even have a case without a 504? Unless extreme negligence could be proved, from my own viewpoint, I wouldn't think so.

Seeing so many PA children without a 504, should districts sue parents for not providing planning on how their child's food allergy should be managed in the classroom setting according to a (competent [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]) doctor? Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it, yet it does provide some food for thought. A 504 serves to protect the district, as well as the child. It spells out the responsibilities, whether there be few and broad guidelines, or many restrictive ones.

Just my own thoughts on this, and not meant to be legal advice in any way, shape, or form. Points to ponder, IMO.

On Jun 28, 2004

Ben will be going to preschool this fall with 5 other PA kids. NONE of them have a emergency action plan. I was talking to one of the mom's of one of these kids (he has had hives and facial swelling after touching peanut butter but has never tasted it. He has never seen a doctor for his allergy, has no Epi, they just wait for it to pass, never even use benedryl). I told her that I think all kids who have food allergies should have a doctor signed emergency plan because what I expect to happen in a reaction might not be the same as what other parents want to happen. So since my plan says call 911 no matter what the reaction is with known contact unless she wants her kid at the ER she should have a plan too. Hopefully her ped will tell her that she needs an epi and how to keep her child safe. So, I think there is logic in saying that each child with food allergies should have some kind of plan in place that has been signed by that child's physician.

On Jun 28, 2004

There is absolutely no way you can cover everything that could cause a PA reaction in a 504 but you could get the most likely things to cause a reaction in a plan.

As far as wanting to change something in the plan later....put something in your plan like this "School adminstration and staff will cooperate with any further reasonable accommodations that will protect the safety of the student per a verbal request."

It would be hard to sue the school unless someone acted recklessly, maliciously or just refused to comply with the 504.

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