Texas regulations

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Does anyone know if there are regulations in place in Texas concerning food allergnes in public schools? I know some districts follow a no-peanut policy with their menues, but ours does not. Before I address the PTO about it, I wanted ot see if anyone else in Texas knew of any regualtions or where I could find info.

On Nov 30, 2005

Hello, I live in Austin and in our school district they have taken all peanut products off the cafeteria menu just this year. Children can still bring peanut butter to school, though. My principal sent home a letter at the beginning of the school year informing the student body about peanut allergy, anaphylaxis, and asking for a "peanut-reduction" policy, meaning, be sensitive to these students and try not to bring peanut butter or don't bring as much. My child still sits at a peanut-free table (the last of 3 8' tables for all her class). She is in 1st grade and this has worked fine so far. Good Luck!

On Nov 30, 2005

I too am in Texas..Austin as well, but Round Rock ISD. Carrie, may I ask what ISD you are at? I am having issues with RRISD at the moment and just wondering how our schools differ in policy. Feel free to pm or email me sometime. Thanks!

------------------ Helen Mom to Alyssa (PA, age 5) Mom to Theodore (age 3)

On Dec 5, 2005

Hi, I am also in RRISD. Sent you an e-mail, send me a response if you can.


On Dec 5, 2005

Sorry about the delay Carrie. Just emailed you back. Thank you so much!

------------------ Helen Mom to Alyssa (PA, age 5) Mom to Theodore (age 3)

On Dec 12, 2005

I live in Tomball ISD and wound up having to send my son to private school. The district had no protocols for dealing with anaphylactic children, so I asked for an individual 504 plan for my son. They stalled and stalled until my husband finally went to the school board. They finally gave us a 504 meeting shortly before school started. They had already made up a plan before sitting down with us to hear our specifics. They would not in any way limit what was brought into the Kindergarten classroom. They would not consider selling a pb alternative in the cafeteria. Because my son has a respiratory allergy to peanuts, he cannot sit too close to anyone with it, so their plan was to sit him on the stage in the cafetorium every day (no kidding!). No negotiating their plan. I asked for an appeal. Here's what I learned:

Legal fees to appeal a 504 hearing in Texas start at $4,500. Likelihood you will win when the district selects and pays hearing officer Lucius Bunton is 0%. Advocacy Incorporated says they haven't seen him side with a parent in 11 years. I also learned that if the district denies you a peanut-free classroom and a child opens up their peanut product in class (with 22 Kindergarteners per teacher, this seems probable to me) and causes your child to have anaphylaxis, you have no recourse. They are protected statutorily from lawsuits. Apparently, there was an effort to get the law changed in Texas to allow parents to at least have a say in what hearing officer was chosen for 504 plans(a standard arbitration procedure with unions) but the school districts got their full-time lobbyists in Austin to block it. Please write your state representative. This is a terrible injustice for our children.

On Dec 13, 2005

This is pathetic!! So there is no point in having a 504 in Texas? I will diff. right! This is so sad and very scary!! My dd may in a private school or home schooled before too long...

------------------ Helen Mom to Alyssa (PA, age 5) Mom to Theodore (age 3)

On Dec 14, 2005

OK, we live in far west Texas. We currently homeschool (DS is age 7 & would be in 1st grade if in public schools this year. DD is age 4.)

Prior to Kindergarten, I spoke briefly with principal of school where DS would be going. I told her we would want to have 504 in place prior to school year beginning. Her words were "OH! We don't need to go that far." Her tone sent chills down my spine. We decided to homeschool after that conversation.

Homeschool is not going swimmingly for us this year. I feel DS would be better off in formal school setting for many reasons, as long as they could keep him safe regarding PA. Also, because DH may be on a lengthy deployment (Feb 2006 - Apr 2007), we really feel it would be in the interest of our family to have kids in formal school.

Now I read about the Tomball TX situation & am just sick.

The school where DS would go is "best" public school in area. But their school lunch menu has PBJs on menu every day. I just don't think they could keep him safe. I also think I have a snowball's-chance-in-Del-Rio of getting the school to go PB-free.

I will suggest to DH that we ask base Legal office (Air Force base here) if/how they can help us in a fight for a 504. Yes, a fight. Because I think that's what we're going to face.

[With dripping sarcasm] It sure seems Texas is set up to "leave no child behind" -- right??!!



On Dec 14, 2005

I re-raised a bunch of discussions under "Schools" -- that related to Texas.

Also will link this discussion.


On Dec 18, 2005

We didn't allow our dd's to attend school in Texas during our evacuation from Hurrican Rita, because they said they couldn't carry their epi's with them. They stress, "a nurse is always here". Of course, a two week stay was not worth the fight! Good Luck to all of you! Rachel

On Dec 20, 2005

Info regarding 504 in Texas: [url="http://www.tea.state.tx.us/special.ed/sec504/sec504.pdf"]http://www.tea.state.tx.us/special.ed/sec504/sec504.pdf[/url]

On Dec 21, 2005

Thanks for the information on 504 regulations, but again, Tomball ISD is technically complying by giving a 504 plan that would humiliate my son. They are under no obligation to give a GOOD plan, just a plan. I had a lengthy conversation with the Office of Civil Rights in Dallas. Their representative was kind and sympathetic, but explained that he had no jurisdiction to force them to create a plan I would like. Perhaps if I let them put my son on the stage and be bullied, THEN I could file a federal discrimination suit. I wasn't willing to put my 5 year old through that.

I went forward with no legal representation, trusting them to do the right thing and was shocked by how they are treating disabled kids. Advocacy Incorporated told me that in Texas, if they refuse you a peanut-free classroom and someone brings in something that kills your child, you have NO LEGAL RECOURSE. The districts have statutory protection.

My son is very happy in his private school, but if I had it to do again, I would arrive with a tough attorney and never deal directly with the district. Here are a couple of names that were recommended by a trusted attorney friend: Jose' Martin' (512) 918-0051 Jay Brim (512) 328-0048 Apparently, these attorneys specialize in school law. Currrently, your only option in Texas is to threaten a tort for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the pricipal if she refuses your child a safe classroom and/or sets him up for bullying they way Tomball ISD does. Best wishes to all of you!

On Dec 21, 2005

My personal thanks to all those with Texas-related experience -- PLEASE keep up all the great posts regarding your personal experiences -- it helps ALL of us (even the non-Texas residents)!!

Over the next 2 weeks DH & I are going to spend as much time as we can find sorting through all the info here & formulating a plan of attack.

As an aside -- as some of you may know, DH *may* soon be leaving for extended period of time (military, deploying overseas). We currently homeschool, but want very much to have DS in formal school, somehow. I need to get as much of the preparations and meetings handled that I can ASAP.

FWIW, we are in Del Rio, Val Verde county, Texas. (San Felipe Independent School District.)

Thanks again for all the postings & info here & on Schools section -- I know I'm not the only one benefitting from them.

My e-mail address is in my profile, please feel free to e-mail if you don't feel comfortable enough to post!

Thanks from far-west Texas, ~Elizabeth

On Dec 29, 2005


Have you contacted your Human Rights Commission? Give them a call. 504 is a Federal law. They have a lot of info on discrimination/ADA/ Rehabilitation Act, etc Call them. OCR seems to give schools an incredible amount of rope...I guess until a school hangs themselves OCR doesn't do much. Call the Human Rights Commission!! Good Luck!!

Best~ K

On Dec 29, 2005

Hey Ya'll,

This is a Texan who doesn't live in Texas now but I hear ya! After I last posted I remembered I had some stuff here about Texas schools and food allergy. Now this is from 2-3 years ago so I don't know what might have changed. Unfortunately too, I only know what it's called I don't have a web address. I think you can probably find it easy enough though.


The section I have is Chapter 9. It starts under a section called Emergency Procedures: Allergic Reaction on page 497. It continues on with The Schools Role right down to accommodations and following applicable laws including ADA, IDEA, Section 504 and any state laws or district policies that apply. I like this one...

* Include food-allergic students in school activities. Students should not be excluded from school activites solely based on their food allergy....well, I think that includes lunch. Ha. (page 504)

Ok I can't help it....ONE MORE!

*Assure that all staff who interact with the student on a regular basis understand food allergy, can recognize symptoms, knows what to do in an emergency, and work with other school staff to eliminate the use of food allergens in the allergic student's meals, educational tools, arts and crafts projects, or incentives.

Ok how I could go on. But ya'll get the picture!! I found this online, I do remember that. Start at the Texas Dept of Education. I bet it's there!

Go Gettum!!!

Best~ k

On Mar 29, 2006

My dad is a principal in a Texas school district. He has been finding out the laws and the ways to go about taking action. Let me know what you need and I will try and help. If you already have done what is needed, let me know how you approached it. That way my dad and I can get something done in this school district.

------------------ Francey Westinghouse No more Nuts allowed!

On Mar 29, 2006

I would like to take this to the state. I think every school district should be peanut/nut free. The problem is- even if you win with your school districts- what if in the years to come you have to move? Then you have to go through it all over again. My son cannot be in the same room as a peanut or he will get hives and his throat swells. I think all schools should be peanut free.

------------------ Francey Westinghouse No more Nuts allowed!

On Apr 7, 2006

I would like to join in on taking it to the state. Please let me know what I need to do! I think we need a standard throughout Texas schools not just "it varies in districts". I really want to help out just dont know where to start!

------------------ Helen Mom to Alyssa (PA, age 5) Mom to Theodore (age 3)

On Apr 7, 2006

There is a new Texas support group (Food Allergy Support Team of Texas) that is trying to address some of these issues -- I encourage everyone in Texas to join and get involved with changing some of these Texas laws and policies. Go to [url="http://www.fastoftexas.org"]www.fastoftexas.org[/url] and click the link to your city...or if there's not one, contact the president of the group and find out how to start a group in your area.