Rights of PA Students in Pennsylvania

Posted on: Fri, 08/31/2001 - 5:02am
Renee111064's picture
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I received this from my School District and hopefully it can help others too to question other schools.

The Rights of Students who have Physical or Health Impairments but do not need Special Education.

Some Children may need special accommodations in school and yet not need formal "special education." These children can include those with epilepsy, asthma, diabetes, muscular dystrophy or other health or physical disabilities. The rights of children with physical or health impairments come from Federal law, known as "Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973" and State regulations, known as Chapter 15."

1. What rights does my child have under Section 504 and Chapter 15? Under most circumstances, the School District must provide the modification, accommodations, and services that a child with a health or other disability needs to participate sucessfully in school. The District must also make sure that the child has equal access to school programs and activities, including extra-curricular clubs or programs,
assemblies, lunch, and field trips.

For example, A district might be required to make changes in a child's schedule to take account of a health need, dispense medication that a child might need during the school day, allow a child who uses a wheelchair to use the staff elevator, provide a desk or other equipment or material that is modified for the child's use, or provide assistance to the child for toileting or for traveling around the school building.

2. How do I get the services my child needs? If you believe your child needs this type of help to participate fully in school, you must "write" to your School District. In your letter explain the type of assistance you believe is needed. If you have evaluations, instructions or prescriptions from a specialist, you should include copies of those with your request.

The School District must respond to you in writing within 25 school days. If the District agrees that the child needs the services you've requested, you and the District then develop a written "Service Agreement" which must state the services that will be provided.
If the School District believes it needs more information to decide whether to provide the requested services, it must ask you for additional information and for permission to further evaluate your child.

3. What if the School District and I don't agree on the type or amount of services needed? If you and the School District disagree on whether your child needs services, or on the type and amount needed, you have several avenues available. You can use any or all of these steps.

YOU CAN request an informal conference with School District officials by sending a written request to the principal or superintendent. Within 10 days of receiving your request, the District must hold an informal conference to try to resolve the disagreement.

YOU CAN request a formal "due process" hearing by sending a written request to your superintendent if the problems are not worked out at the informal conference. These hearings are similar to the ones available to special education students.

YOU CAN file a complaint by sending a letter explaining the situation to the Federal Office of Civil Rights which is in charge of enforcing Section 504. Their address is: OCR, U.S. Dept of Education, 3535 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

YOU CAN file a lawsuit in federal court under certain circumstances. You should check with an attorney before doing this.

4. What if the School District does not comply with the Service Agreement or doesn't follow the required procedures or denies my child equal access to a school activity? In addition to the steps listed in #3 above, you may also send a written letter of complaint to the State Department of Education which will investigate the complaint and issue a ruling usually within 60 calendar days. You may write to the Department at: Division of Compliance, Bureau of Special Education, Department of Education 333 Market Street, Harrisburg. PA 17126-0333.

THE STATE REGULATIONS KNOWN AS CHAPTER 15 BECAME FINAL IN FEBRUARY OF 1991. MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS MAY NOT YET BE FAMILIAR WITH THE LAW'S REQUIREMENTS. IF YOUR CHILD'S PRINCIPAL IS UNAWARE OF THESE PROCEDURES, YOU MAY WISH TO CONTACT YOUR LOCAL SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS.

for more information, contact:

THE EDUCATION LAW CENTER - PA
Suite 610
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 238-6970

I have more information to follow but not the time right now to finish. It regards Procedural Safeguards, Parent/Student Rights in Identification. Evaluation and Placement to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
And what Chapter 15 is in Pennsylvania.

Hope this information will help others.

Best Wishes,

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

[This message has been edited by Renee111064 (edited August 31, 2001).]

Posted on: Fri, 08/31/2001 - 11:37pm
Rhonda RS's picture
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Hi Renee,
Thank you for the information. Do you know where your school district got the "10" and "25" response day rules? I have not seen that anywhere with regard to Section 504. I know that for IDEA there are response time limits. Could you ask them from what official document they obtained the response time rules from? They could very well be following the IDEA guidelines with regard to

Posted on: Sat, 09/01/2001 - 9:41am
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Renee,
This is very timely and useful information to me. I live in the Poconos and am planning for my child to attend kindergarten during the 2002-2003 school year. My work with this stuff is starting to get busy as we head into the registration period in March.
Thanks!

Posted on: Fri, 11/30/2001 - 11:33am
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

re-raising. hope this may help too.

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2002 - 1:50am
Renee111064's picture
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re-raising

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2002 - 8:53pm
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Renee,
I think you're on the right track with this. However, I feel I should be receiving this paperwork from my school district clarifying my parental rights, and yesterday it was not forthcoming. I was bumped down to the elementary school principal and school nurse from the 504 Coordinator's office.
It is interesting to note that lately I have been dealing regularly with Chapter 16 and have received several official "Notice of Parental Rights for Gifted Students" for every piece of paperwork that comes home for my girls. My first daughter's GIEP meeting had all the official paperwork I had to sign off on accompanied by the "rights" paper. My other daughter has just been identified as gifted, and I just received a form to set up a hearing for appropriate placement in the gifted program (with the same "rights" notice). You wouldn't believe the number of people that attend these meetings--school psychologist, counselor, reg. ed teacher, gifted support teacher, vice principal, and, last but not least, me. So my point is this. If I'm receiving a whole slew of paperwork with initial and annual GIEP meetings, shouldn't something similar be happening with the 504 (Does this specifically fall under Chapter 15 because I thought I read in one of these threads that it does). If this is definitely Chapter 15 "stuff", then I feel that I am entitled to receiving my "Notice of Parental Rights" in this category as well as an official form to set up a hearing as done in Gifted Education. I am worried that, if not done in a proper format, I'm am absolving the school district of its legal liability to protect my child, as well as setting up a wrong example for other parents in the district who follow after me trying to set up a 504 for their food-allergic child/children.
Any comments, anyone, would be appreciated.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited February 20, 2002).]

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2002 - 10:14pm
Rhonda RS's picture
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Hi Ryan

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2002 - 11:59pm
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Rhonda,
Okay. The principal called me back today and was expecting my call because we had a meeting last August about this. I told him this stuff was coming his way at that meeting and, well,now's the time. The feeling I'm getting is the school is a little unsure about how to proceed but we are proceeding and that's a good thing. The principal said to register him and he'll have the attendance secretary flag my son's application so he can attend the meeting with the school nurse, at which time he'll bring forms for the 504 process. He conceded that they've had 504's for physically-challenged students, but to his knowledge, none for children with food allergies. He has not been resistant to any of this. Quite the contrary, he has been a joy up to this point to work with.
So I'm going to register my son today, and during the meeting I'll hand out all the documents just as you listed with all copies going to the 504 coordinator, should he not attend. I get the feeling the coordinator is not usually involved in nitty-gritty stuff, but I think it's important because this seems to be the first 504 relating to a food allergy in the district.
On other hand, after officially registering him today, perhaps I should send these documents first to the 504 coordinator. I don't know. Maybe they should be sent to the nurse, principal and 504 coordinator a week before to peruse before the meeting. However, sometimes I worry that too much time to check things over will result in them overanalyzing everything without having my input. That's why I think I should wait for the meeting.
You're right, Rhonda. All my meetings/conversations to date have been informal (yet documented). But they've been informal because he hasn't been a registered student. All that changes after today.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited February 20, 2002).]
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited February 20, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2002 - 12:42am
Rhonda RS's picture
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Joined: 02/24/2001 - 09:00

Hi Ryan

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2002 - 2:30am
Renee111064's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

Hello again.
Rhonda, I'm so sorry that I never got back to you about the dates. I did try to contact my 504 coordinator and left a messages last year with his secretary. Then with how hectic my life has been I totally forgot. I will find out in April when I go for my next meeting with our school officials. I will ask him in the meeting in regards to the times available.
I did have my 504 plan written up for the beginning of the school year when I went to the principal. She set up an appointment with immediate school personnel. It was with our guidence counsselor, school nurse, the classroom teacher, the principal and myself. Within one day, I had a phone call from the school to set up the 504 meeting that was held within one week from that time. With my 504 plan I also had pictures of Drew at a party where his skin was ok then after he had eaten watermellon and had a reaction from the juices. Drew has contact allergies as well as the peanut allergy. They could not believe how fast Drew's reaction was to eating the watermellon.
Ryan's Mom if you want I will e-mail you my 504 plan for Drew. I will have to do it tonight though becuase I am at work right now. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] lol.
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.
Best wishes,
Renee

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2002 - 3:18am
Rhonda RS's picture
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Joined: 02/24/2001 - 09:00

Hi Renee & Ryan

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2002 - 10:33pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Rhonda,
I have Version 2, dated 1/2/02, of your 504 Plan Outline. I wanted to print out your revised outline dated 2/14/02, however I didn't see a "Printable" version. Is there one or am I just not looking in the right place.
Renee,
Thank you for the offer. I'm taking you up on it. I emailed you last night so you'll have my email address.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited February 21, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 02/21/2002 - 6:16am
Rhonda RS's picture
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Hi Ryan's Mom,
I don't have a printable version up yet, but I'll try to get one up on allergysupport.org within the next few days. Take Care,
Rhonda
[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 21, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 02/21/2002 - 7:22am
Renee111064's picture
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Ryan's Mom,
I sent you the copy of my 504 and other things that I have provided the school this afternoon.
Renee [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 02/22/2002 - 9:18pm
Rhonda RS's picture
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Hi Ryan's Mom,
The printable versions are up on [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]http://www.allergysupport.org[/url] Just go into whichever article, and click on "Printable Version" at the top of the article.
Take Care,
Rhonda

Posted on: Tue, 02/26/2002 - 5:07am
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Thank you, Rhonda and Renee. Your help is VERY much appreciated. Unfortunately I've been bogged down with an intestinal bug that just seems to be taking its time making the rounds with my family. Today was the worst--it hit Ryan, but I won't bother you with the really gross details of what I had to clean up today.
Anyway, today I finally got through to the attendance secretary to register my son. My March 26 meeting will be with the principal, school nurse, and myself because I spoke with them also to verify the time and that their schedules were free. I did feel a little hesitation with the principal about (something along the lines of) accommodations. Like "we'll see what we can do..." In the meanwhile, I'm still trying to find out who the 504 coordinator because I can't get this thing nailed down. Nobody seems to know.
However, I saved a page from the September bus schedule pamphlet which had a full page of information about programs for eligible or protected handicapped students (Chapter 14 and 15) which came in very handy today. I called the Special Ed Supervisor as listed to request "information on the rights of parents and children, provision of services, evaluation and screening (including purpose, time, and location), and rights to due process procedures..." and he was very helpful. Although he is not the 504 coordinator, he fully understood that peanut allergy is covered under Section 504 and basically said the school district has to give you what you want. He said he will call the principal to further explain the process. It was interesting that he mentioned being questioned (I guess by other teachers/administrators) about another child with a peanut allergy. You know, the usual questions like "Do we have to do this," or "Does he really qualify..." to which he responded yes--this is a life threatening condition. Perhaps that was a different elementary school in the same district, but it has me wondering about what grade the child is in.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited February 26, 2002).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/26/2002 - 8:01am
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Well, I didn't want to start a new thread for the 504 meeting, but just continue with what I left off with.
We had the Kindergarten registration today, and I felt wonderful about it. The principal asked the Special Ed director to attend on his own to scrutinize the 504 rough draft. They had no problems with anything, but we will omit items that don't pertain to the Kindergarten curriculum--music, computer lab, gym, and health. A few other items will be edited as they apply to our elementary school in particular.
Our principal even thanked me for the 504 Outline. He looked over it and thought it was a great overview to examine for food allergy management. He appreciated me having my rough drafts (with copies for everyone) prepared and ready for analysis with future teachers, transportation, etc.
One thing, however, that was particularly helpful in our case was having a copy of his CAP Rast test in my hand. Since other students (7 in school) have peanut allergies and the range of comfort levels vary--the principal questioned the term "severe." It was very helpful to show him Ryan's score, which placed him in the "severe" category. My friend and I are on the conservative end, whereas the other parents are moderate or not particularly aware of the dangers of PA from what I understand. This is that old double-edged sword again.
So anyway, thanks Rhonda for your food allergy documents--they were sooo helpful. Thanks Renee, for your 504 copy which I brought with me just in case I got that old, "Well we don't know of any other schools...blah, blah, blah." And of course, thanks to everyone who posted their 504's.

Posted on: Wed, 03/27/2002 - 11:46am
Renee111064's picture
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Ryans mom,
Glad I was able to help. One thing puzzles me though, I am amazed that they do not have music for the kindergarten. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img] Oh well.
Best wishes,
Renee [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 8:19am
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Just an update on the ongoing process...
The Principal, Asst. Principal and Director of Special Ed. met with me again today to finalize the 504 so we have our signed legal copy by August. Since our March 26 meeting, he has met with the Transportation Director, spoken with other administrators (outside of our district also), reviewed the 504 with all prospective kindergarten teachers, discussed issues with the school nurse, etc. He has been so helpful and open, and I feel we have a solid, comprehensive plan in motion for the upcoming kindergarten year. We went through the 504 line by line to discuss how to implement it for kindergarten.
He will meet with me again in mid-July when he has the official teacher assignment. We even discussed teaching styles and he asked for my opinion on what type of teacher would best suit Ryan. I guess we're on the same wavelength because we both felt a teacher with a more structured environment would be suitable for him. We both had the same teachers in mind. At that time I can meet with the teacher and review the 504. That will give us a month and a half to work things out one on one. The principal will also send a letter out in July/early August about the peanut-free classroom, a snack list, how parties will be handled, etc.
Overall, everything went so smoothly. Our elementary principal is such a joy to work with, and it helps to have a person with experience in 504 law (Spec. Ed. Director).
Oh, and I almost forgot. We'll have a meeting in August with the Principal, Asst. Principal, Director of Spec. Ed., the classroom teacher, the bus drivers, school nurse, and other VIP's to discuss/implement the final, signed copy.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited June 20, 2002).]
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited June 20, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 11:43am
Renee111064's picture
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Ryans Mom,
glad to hear that things are going well for you.
Rhonda,
I spoke with our 504 coordinator about the dates. He stated to me they were the state guide lines that they mirrored after.
Hope this helps.
Best wishes,
Renee [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 2:55am
Renee111064's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

re-raising

Posted on: Sat, 11/08/2003 - 3:19am
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Re-raising for Susie

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