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Posted on: Sat, 04/17/1999 - 7:32am
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi Jan!
There are lots of free ways to access legal advise! First, check your local yellow pages under "disabilities" and see if you come accross any advocacy groups. If you strike out, you can try some local law schools (many have advocacy groups for children - granted, poor children but they also cover education law). Another source is you State Dept. of Ed. You can inquire if they are aware of any disabilities advocacy groups in your state. Also, check with your state bar association for links to lawyers who handle education law, or lawyers who do free advocacy work (yes, they do exist)! Also, you can try queries on Altavista and dogpile and similar search places like "Where can I find advocacy groups for disabled persons in Colorado"?, etc. You may be surprised at what you turn up. All you need to do is find one advocacy group, and they can link you to many others. Remember, peanut allergy is a disability. You are looking for disability advocates, and people specializing in education law. Good luck!

Posted on: Sun, 04/18/1999 - 3:27pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Jan,
I could not and did not find a lawyer for our daughter. I tried most of the good suggestions which Laura provided and just didn't get anywhere. What we did was contact the State attorney general's office and filed a complaint under the civil rights division.
Not sure anything will come of this - everything is so slow. We are going it alone.
I suppose we will hear soon because the pre-school is supposed to respond to the complaint in, I think, ten days.
I will keep you posted on the progress (I use the term lightly).
Sue

Posted on: Tue, 05/04/1999 - 3:06pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Hi,
I talked to a special ed. advocate today and told her I have not been able to find an attorney to help with our daughter's preschool refusing to keep her epipen on site and the IEP.
The advocate suggested that I look in the yellow pages under Juvenile Law - she then gave me a few names of attorneys under juvenile law that might be able to help. I haven't called anyone of them, yet.
Anyway, I just thought I would pass this info on as I know others have been trying to find attorney's.
Sue in Sunny Arizona

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 10:58am
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

I still don't know how to get a Section 504 for my son. I called the MD in charge of the health dept at our local school board (in Southern CA) about my peanut allergic son. This MD told me she also sits/chairs on the board that decides Section 504s for the school district.
She told me she "..wouldn't ever write one for a peanut allergy..."
She said she had never had any enquiries about peanut allergy (I did suggest that
maybe a lot of kid are being homeschooled) and has no idea how may kids in
the district have peanut allergy. Her tone was a little superior and she was much more concerned with bee allergies. She said this school district is so good
there will be no problems and there is no need for a Section 504. Her best
idea was that perhaps I could
go on a waiting list for a school near the hospital (just in case). At any rate they
wouldn't do anything in advance of registration and there certainly won't
be anything even "written down". So I can't get a Section 504 for him.
I would appreciate any advise on this matter. After 1 month of doors slamming in my face (the private school I had regisistered him for now doesn't seem to want him because of the allergy, they don't answer my calls or letters) I am ready to crawl under the blanket.

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 5:20pm
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Eileen,
My heart goes out to you. I am so feed up with the schools and their lack of common sense, knowledge, and cooperation. I would love to get a class action law suit going for discrimination.
When you make any calls, always ask the person you are talking with what their name is. It is much easier to get their name before they get upset with all of your questions (smile).
First - Please write down everything that uneducated MD said to you. Do I sound tired and mean (smile)? You may need this later.
Second - The MD is in NO position to be making the 504 decision.
Your child is eligible for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - your child has a physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. YES, breathing is a major life activity.
WOW, I get upset - I never seem to just get to the point!
If you don't already have a good letter from the allergist stating that your child has a life threatening allergy, that peanut products must be avoided, and the child needs the EpiPen with him/her at all times, please do it as soon as possible. (of course the letter needs more detail than this).
In the mean time call and find out who the contact is for the school's Section 504 (if you are to contact someone else they will let you know). I would then call them and request a meeting for 504 accommodations.
If after speaking with them, they say your child is not eligible for 504, tell them you want that in writing and you want the name and address where you can appeal this decision.
Then, follow-up this conversation of denial of 504 services with a letter documenting your conversation and repeat the request for the name and address of the appeals department.
Your written section 504 can be the emergency plan and special accommodations: an aide for lunch, an aide for field trips, or an aide on the bus.
I, personally, would not hesitate to contact my senators for some assistance if the school kept denying a 504 meeting.
I know you are frustrated - it's such a long road ahead. It will take a while, but soon you will be able to look back on some progress!!! It comes in baby steps.
Sue in Sunny Arizona
[This message has been edited by Sue (edited May 20, 2001).]

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 5:58pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Here is a crazy one in dealing with my daughter's school and pre-school. LauraP are you still there? Help!!
The background is: Our daughter is eligiable for early intervention through the school district - she's four. The school district doesn't have a preschool, so they contract early intervention with a private preschool.
The preschool kept our daughter's EpiPen on site and I showed the preschool teacher's how to administer it. After a few months I made some waves about peanut products in the classroom - they had told me it was peanut free and I found out it wasn't.
At this point I was told that they could no longer keep or administer the EpiPen because of the states rules on EpiPens and day cares. These are the same rules that were in effect before they decided they couldn't keep the EpiPen. Retaliation - big time!
I then wrote a letter to what I call "God and everyone" about the school district placing our daughter in a preschool that refuses to comply with the ADA and keep the EpiPen on site.
A couple of people sent their copy of this letter to the state department of education and they investigated.
We get a letter from the state department of education saying that the EpiPen at the preschool is not an educational issue so there is nothing that they can do about it.
BUT, the final investigation letter sent to us was a real eye opener. The investigator wrote that the superintendent of the public school states that the EpiPen was removed from the preschool by the state inspector during a routine State daycare inspection.
Wow! How about that, a state daycare inspector goes into the preschool for an inspection and takes my daughter's life saving medication and removes it from the school! For Real. That is what the investigation report stated.
Of course, I was very upset when I read that. The investigation report gave the name of the preschool inspector, so I called the inspector today.
The inspector said that she did not and would never remove the EpiPen or anything else during an inspection. She said her job was to write up violations, not correct them. She said that no such thing happened and that the preschool inspection report was public information and I could come down and review the file and pay for a copy of it if I wanted.
Now, the inspector is upset and wants to know who wrote this report, as no one talked to her about this.
This story goes on and on and on - I think it is about the schools power and they have lost sight of our daughter's life and safety. How dare they put our daughter in danger and then have the nerve to lie about it?
They dare because they know we can't find an attorney and the department of justice doesn't help.
Sue feeling sad in Sunny Arizona

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/1999 - 8:51pm
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi Sue!
I'm still here. I don't know how much help I can be here. Your child has an IEP in place. Granted, the school has farmed her out to the private daycare, but still, the Public School is required by LAW to comply with the terms and provisions laid out in the IEP. What does the IEP provide for, with respect to your daughter's allergies? If the private daycare is disregarding or violating those provisions pertaining to allergy, I'd be inclined to think the Public School should assist you in your efforts have the daycare comply. If your child's IEP doesn't contain anything pertaining to her allergies, it's time to write to the school again, and tell them you want to have another meeting a.s.a.p. to revise your child's IEP, as current provisions are not adequate in handling her special needs. I'd state in the letter that the daycare is placing your child in danger, and not providing an adequate environment to address her needs under IDEA. Don't let them tell you peanut allergy provisions can't be included in an IEP. That's just not true. If the school gives you a problem on this, I'd contact the State Department of Education again, and inform them of this situation. THE SCHOOL MUST COMPLY WITH THE IEP.
Here's another thought. I'm not exactly sure how this works in each state (districts are funded differently) and each state may have different rules. I know in my town, a parent was actually able to compel the public school to open a preschool for children with special needs. You might want to consider hiring a lawyer. Some things are worth paying for.

Posted on: Wed, 06/02/1999 - 5:02pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Hi,
I want to share a bright note on school, for a change. Our daughter will be going to a different school next year. This year has been the year from hell.
I went to a meeting at the new school last week to work on her IEP for this fall (ADHD and allergies). I went to the meeting ready to continue the fight for her safety at school and on the bus.
I was not looking forward to the same old battle, so prior to this meeting with the school, I went to talk with an attorney and asked her if she thought she would like to help us with the school problems for the next 12 years. I told her that we were so tired of fighting the school that we desperately needed help. She was willing to help us. Now we had something to fall back on if the meeting with the new school's team members was as bad as I thought it might be.
Well, I couldn't have been more surprised. The team had prepared a flip chart with about four pages of suggestions on how to keep our daughter safe while at school and on the bus. I really wanted to hug everyone there. The IEP isn't finalized yet, but it is really helping me feel so much better about our daughter's safety at school. I can't help but believe that I may really be part of a TEAM!
Some of the things that they suggested were:
* Riding the small bus - pick her up last and drop her off first
* The school would buy a cell phone for the bus driver
* No peanut products in the classroom
* Walkie talkies for the teacher and nurse
* A NEW table in the cafeteria that will be kept peanut "free"
* An aide to go with our daughter to lunch and on field trips
There is more, but I think you get the idea. This new school is in the same school district as the other school that I had to fight tooth and nail to get them to accept that she did have an allergy.
I think this is an example of one school principle caring about children and one principle not caring and not wanting to be bothered with saving a life. Sounds harsh, but what else is there?
Anyway, I think this is going to be the beginning of a much better year [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] .
Time will tell, but I now have hope and a team to help me keep our daughter safe.
Hope I am still singing this happy song come this fall when school starts,
Sue "feeling Sunny" in Sunny Arizona
[This message has been edited by Sue (edited May 20, 2001).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/04/1999 - 1:36pm
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Joined: 02/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi LauraP, I sat with you at the FAN network lunch in Ct. and remembered that you often spent time on this board and I have a question for you..My daughter will be starting School in Sept. and I have my ppt meeting June 10th and everything is already set as far as the school and the teachers. I'v been pretty lucky with the support BUT my question is about the School Bus??? If a child is covered under 504 shouldn't that child get transportation to and from school with the epi-pen? Can an aide be assigned to her bus? If so, How can I get that done?? the School told me way back in Febuary when I first made contact with them whatever I felt neccessary just have her doctor write a specific letter stating what I want done and they would accomodate..Should i ask the doctor to suggest that? I was told the Bus company has nothing to do with the School systems. If you have any ideas please let me know. I'm in Wolcott Ct. thanks for all your input its very useful..Shirley in connecticut

Posted on: Sat, 06/05/1999 - 1:46am
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi Shirley!
I remember you! You're in luck. There was another woman sitting with us at lunch (blonde hair). Her child was in the Wolcott CT school district (the Tyrrell School), AND her child has a monitor on the bus! Are you in the same school? If so, getting a monitor shouldn't be a problem. Even if you are in a different school, you can use this school as a model re: how to handle the busing situation.
There is alot of talk on the busing issue on another thread on this Schools board - I think the thread is called Transportation, or something similiar. I would most certainly have your allergist include in the letter a statement that the adrenaline is required to be available for your child 24 hours a day, including on the bus ride (you know that in CT not all ambulances carry adrenaline).
If you have any additional questions, e-mail me!
Laura

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