Does anyone have a sample of a letter their allergist or themselves wrote for their child's 504 meeting?? I have submitted once before and my son was denied in kindergarten. Now in first grade there have been several incidences where I now believe a 504 is neccessary if for anything else to hold them legally accountable in keeping my son safe. I am also thinking about going to the Board of Ed to express my grievances about our new , young principal to the board. In a nut shell (no pun intended), 1) he did not follow my IHP and allow me to attend my son's field trip. He said as long as they had a nurse going I was not needed. 2) a school function a PN child had a reaction due to cross contamination , and I suggested a nut free table for these children and his response was that this would anger parents if there was a table they could not sit at. My response was I sometimes get angry when there are only handicap spots while looking for parking but I don't park there because its the law!!! 3)My son sits at a nut free table however, the aides do not go through the friends lunches who sit with them. Reason being, there is no "probable cause". That was the answer my husband received from this prinicpal. So basically its up to the other six year olds to make sure their lunch is safe.
I am not sure where to start...504, which by the way the principal is the 504 person, nice , right??? Or should I write something up and address the BOE?? I don't want to burn my bridges and never get a 504 for my son, however, if they don't know what this guy is like he will get tenure.
On Dec 27, 2006
This is just my opinion, but you may want to take a step back and look at this objectively. Your goal should be getting a 504 for your child. Period. Going to the BOE may make you feel better, but it is not going to get you a well designed 504. Plus it won't build any goodwill between you and the principal. In fact, it will probably make things more difficult if this is your approach.
I would simply request a 504 eligibility meeting to start. Did you have an eligibility meeting before kindergarten, or did the principal just refuse?
Don't be surprised that the district and/or principal is not familiar with the 504 law. This might be the root cause of your frustration with the school.
This was the case for us - no district policies/procedures, and they argued against a 504 and our recommended accomodations. We spent a lot of time educating them on certain issues, listening to the school's concerns, and eventually they saw that we simply wanted to do what was best for our child. Mutual respect did not happen overnight. The entire process was stressful, and difficult at times, but well worth it.
On Dec 27, 2006
I raised a couple old threads for you to look through...lots of good information. This is the information I used to get the doctor letter.
On Dec 27, 2006
I had to go back and refresh my memory about what you had discussed to date, and found that info here:
There was good discussion and guidance in that thread about the situation you were facing back in Kindergarten.
I don't believe you shared a copy of the allergist letter that you used, but you may recall that it was discussed that the allergist letter is a vital supporting document to your quest for 504 eligibility. In your case, it sounds like you are clearly in "trailblazer" mode (i.e. principal doesn't have experience in using 504's for food allergy), so unfortunately, it raises the bar in terms of the educational work you have to do in "making the case" for 504 eligibility. BTDT, and it really stinks [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
If you're willing to post the allergist letter, I think you'll get some candid feedback about its quality. Could be that it is fine, but hard to say without seeing the content, as well as the correspondence between you and the school.
The crux of the issue discussed last year is that a 504 eligibility meeting was never held, so the school committed a procedural violation under the law. Did you ever contact OCR to discuss this w/them? If so, could you please share what came out of that discussion???
I wish we had continued to discuss your situation here on the boards last fall. Unfortunately, the law only provides you with 180 days after an incident to file a formal complaint w/OCR, so preliminarily, it would appear that you no longer have that opportunity (which would have been one of your strongest weapons last year to prod the school to consider your request seriously).
I don't mean to criticize, but merely to try to help you assess candidly where you are at the present time.
I'm going to also suggest that you consider contacting Rhonda at [url="http://www.foodallergyadvocate.com"]http://www.foodallergyadvocate.com[/url] . She is the Yoda of all things 504. As you share additional details, perhaps there is another line of attack which she can recommend. I would say, though, at a minimum, although you appear to have lost an important OCR "arrow" in your quiver, there are still techniques at your disposal (e.g. re-packaging another 504 request, using an advanced advocacy hardball strategy of going through a discovery process to prove that your school and state is out of compliance with 504 and ADA and therefore you can risk their federal funding) which could be used to get the school's attention to perhaps successfully navigate towards establishing a 504.
I won't kid you, it's going to be [b]a lot of hard work on your part[/b], and you'll have to learn a ton about Section 504, but you may still be able to achieve a breakthrough. I know you've read the Why a 504 thread, so I won't get on my soapbox.
I know that if you decide to take further action, people here will assist as best they can...
On Jan 1, 2007
Thanks for all your input. Prior to my son attending kindergarten I did request a 504. I included, bloodwork, and a letter from my allergist. I sent this to the Director of Student Services who supposedly sent it to the school's physcian who reviewed the information and agreed my son has a severe allergy however, does not qualify for a 504 at this time. From what I could get from the conversation they asked if he has every experienced a life threatening reaction and Thank God I could say no. I have no idea what that has to do with anything. This year we have a new principal who is young and quite immature. There have been incidences not with my son or food allergies where he has shown his immaturity. That is not here or there, my son's safety is my priority. The reason I was going to go to the BOE was because my current IHP is not being followed but I was not sure if I sure just try again for a 504. It seems the consensus is to go again for a 504 review.Unfortunately, my principal is the 504 coordinator so I doubt that he will be cooperative. I am willing to do what it takes. I appreciate everyone's advice and help on this site.
On Jan 1, 2007
Your principal may be uncooperative, but I don't think he alone can refuse a request for a 504 eligibility meeting. I'm hoping others can give you more details regarding the legality of this.
If it does happen, it simply may be because he does not understand the process/law. At the very least, it would give you the opportunity to file an appeal/complaint with the school or OCR.
On Jan 2, 2007
Found this regarding my previous post...
Question 9: If a parent referral for 504 evaluation is refused by the public school, does the parent have any recourse?
Yes. The refusal to evaluate triggers the parents' rights to (1) request a 504 hearing before an independent hearing officer or (2) file suit in state or federal court or (3) file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
While there is no right to an evaluation on parent demand under Section 504, Letter to Mentink, 19 IDELR 1127 (OCR 1993), districts should carefully consider the refusal to provide an evaluation. If the district believes that the child is not eligible (for example, the child is already receiving educational benefit) providing a 504 evaluation and making that determination properly through a 504 Committee makes the decision virtually bulletproof against an OCR complaint. Remember, since OCR looks at procedural compliance issues, as long as the 504 Committee was properly constituted and asked the right questions based on proper evaluation data, the Committee's decision that the child was not eligible will not be disturbed by OCR. The parent's disagreement with the eligibility decision will not be reviewed by OCR, because that type of complaint is the territory of the independent hearing officer. See for example, Virginia Beach City (VA) Public Schools, 26 IDELR 27 (OCR 1996); Temple (TX) ISD, 25 IDELR 252 (OCR 1996).
On Jan 3, 2007
Not disagreeing with you, but unfortunately, I think the door has already closed on on the OCR complaint, because it wasn't filed within 180 days from the incident (the procedural violation occured back in 2005).
However, after re-reading the post from 2005 when got epi's first presented the problem, I saw that Momcat found a great link applicable to New Jersey:
--------------- got epi's - it is possible that you may still have time to work at the state level to get this situation rectified.
You should consider contacting them ASAP (due to the length of time which has passed). If you are uncomfortable doing so, then I will again urge you to get an advocate like Rhonda to help you accelerate the process...
On Jan 3, 2007
Nutternomore, I was thinking if she would start the process over, requesting a 504 evaluation again (now), that would reset the clock for any complaints.
On Jan 3, 2007
What happened in 2005 was this...I submitted a letter from M's allergist as well as copies of his rast bloodwork showing that his scored a 5 out of 6 for peanuts. I sent this to the Director of Student Services who sent it to the district's physcian. I then received a letter from the Dir. of Student Services saying that they agree that M as a severe allergy but does not qualify for a 504. I never had a formal hearing , was that wrong????
On Jan 3, 2007
I don't know if anything that happened or did not happen would be considered "wrong" but it raises some interesting issues...
If the school did not properly evaluate your child, you may have some legal recourse with the OCR.
Let's assume the school formed a 504 Committee and made the decision that your child did not qualify.
Based on what I posted above, it does not sound like OCR can help... "In that the complainant has essentially alleged a disagreement with the results of an evaluation and not a failure to comply with the appropriate process requirements, OCR will not further investigate this matter."
But you may still be able to appeal the decision through the school district(independent hearing officer).
I just wonder if it would be worthwhile to start the request from scratch and respond in a timely manner.
Keep in mind I am only posting what I have learned from my experience, and how I have interpreted the law.
Your situation sounds quite unique, and I probably don't comprehend the full context and how difficult this has been. I am happy to give advice, and I am truly trying to help, but there are times I am wrong or give bad advice. It is real easy to post a quick yes/no response only to look into it further and realize the original reponse needs to be revised.
This forum is great, but there comes a time when you need to seek outside help with people who are willing and able to advocate for you directly and if necessary, in person. As others have suggested, I also think you should look for an advocate to help you regarding this issue.
On Jan 3, 2007
Originally posted by Ohio: [b]Nutternomore, I was thinking if she would start the process over, requesting a 504 evaluation again (now), that would reset the clock for any complaints.[/b]
Ohio, Perhaps you are right. Interesting idea!