update & opinions/advice sought on demand by sd

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 12:13am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Hi again everyone,

We finally got a response from our school district regarding a my daughter and her accomodations for next year. Had I not sent a formal written request for a 504 Plan via certified mail I doubt I would have heard anything at all.

In their written response back to me, everything we had verbally discussed was taken out of context or simply incorrect. Even the things the Special Education Director claims she said are false. Needless to say, I'm more than a little worried about our upcoming meeting with her, the principal and the school nurse.

The meeting is to discuss whether or not my daughter who is anaphylactic to peanuts, almonds and sesame, and has asthma, even qualifies for a 504 - I know she does. They are pushing for a sole medical plan. In our opinion that is not good enough and does not hold them accountable enough. I have completed a 504 Plan outline, the one supplied by the allergysupport.com site, and will be submitting it to the appropriate individuals prior to our meeting.

My husband and I are thinking of hiring a transcriptionist to take notes at the meeting. Does anyone know if this is within our rights? Is the school district obligated to pay for this either in its entirity partially? If the fees for this are outrageous, we may consider bringing our own tape recorder in and transcribing the notes ourselves. I know we can record this if the parties involved are informed, but I'm not sure if they have the right to refuse us recording the meeting. I know public meetings can be recorded, but I don't think this qualifies as such.

This is an act of desperation. I'm tired of being told they said something when I know with certainty it was never said.

I'm also wondering about the liability of the school district's demand for us to supply them with a doctor's note - which I have done, a letter stating the accomodations my daughter's preschool made for her - also done, and educational materials to train the staff. The educational materials raises concern - does that make me partially liable should an employee not be properly trained. I'm a journalist by profession, not an educator I do not want to be bound by the materials I send. I intend on stating the articles and recommended reading is for informative purposes only - is this enough?

I'm sorry to keep bogging down the discussion group with different threads of the same topic, I'm just at such a loss.

Thanks in advance!!!!

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 12:43am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

I think that the laws about tape recording vary from state to state in the US.
I know my SIL tried to tape record a meeting with your son's school district (not regarding food allergies) since her husband could not attend the meeting and they would not let her do it and changed the meeting time so that both parents could attend (something that they had said they could not do before the taping of the meeting came up).

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 4:22am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Your daughter is very fortunate to have you for her mom! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It is terrible that the school district is putting you in the position they have. However, you are handling this with a very clear head. Everything you said makes sense to me.
I ran into a situation this year where my dd's third grade teacher said one thing in a meeting early in the year and then did a 100% turn around in describing the situation to the school psychologist later in the year. I was extremely frusturated that there were no notes from our meeting.
I wonder if someone at the meeting could be designated as the "note taker" - maybe the school secretary? Then everyone could be given a copy to initial. However, you may still need to have a recording of the meeting in case there were any discrepancies.
I wonder if there is someone at the district level that you could simply ask for clarification regarding this sort of matter, without getting into the specifics of who you are or what your issue is. I have called our (previous) school district annonymously just to find out the protocol for a certain situation, before deciding whether or not to pursue anything further.
As you know, your daughter is most definitely entitled to a 504 plan based on a potentially life threatening medical condition.
I do think that your recommending reading materials "for educational purposes" should cover any liability on your part. I wonder if FAAN is still giving out their "school food allergy program" to interested schools? It is actually very good and does have a section on section 504.
Best of luck; please let us know how it goes.
Miriam

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 4:37am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Chicago,
Thank you for sharing your SIL's story with me.
I'm so hairied these days, I totally forgot that each state would have their own set of legalities regarding this issue. Thank you for the much needed reminder!!

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 4:40am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Miriam,
Thank you for the compliment. I needed to hear it. I've been feeling like a second-rate mom lately since I've been spending so much time on this issue.
I am going to take your suggestion to heart and anonymously call the board of education office Monday and find out if there is a policy in place regarding recording meetings.
Again, it has not occurred to me to do such a thing.
Thank you so much for suggesting it. Just when you think you have all your bases covered....
This site has been such a help and a wonderful resource. I would be lost without the help of all of you.
Take care & I will keep you updated.

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 12:28pm
Kay B's picture
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Joined: 12/30/2002 - 09:00

meadow,
Take a look at Wrightslaw.com -- it deals with 504's extensively. I have their books and it also talks about tape recording meetings. (They highly reccommend it.) Yes, it is legal. If they say they will not allow it, ask for the specific reference in law that says they can refuse it. (Of course, you are speaking into the tape recorder at the time.)
Their books are gold. But there is a wealth of information at their website for free. Some of it is just knowing what kind of stuff school districts pull in order to harrass you -- and what to do about it!
Kay

Posted on: Sun, 06/20/2004 - 10:31am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Hi Kay,
Thanks so much for referring me to the wrightslaw website. What a wealth of information.
This is a must-see for all of us here advocating for our children. I just purchased "From Emotions to Advocacy."

Posted on: Sun, 06/20/2004 - 11:54am
margaret's picture
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Joined: 11/01/2000 - 09:00

Meadow,
I am trying to figure out if you are my former college roommate - Shepard Hall at Gordon? My real name is not Margaret (trying to remain anonymous for protection from freaky web lurkers). Email me off of the boards if this is you.
[This message has been edited by margaret (edited June 20, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 06/20/2004 - 2:19pm
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

How (potentially [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] ) exciting! I can't wait to find out...
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Sun, 06/20/2004 - 5:13pm
travelplus's picture
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Joined: 04/18/2004 - 09:00

I think that you can tape record with getting permission or you destroy the tape within 30 days. I know for a fact for the IEP meetings this can be done. You have every right to take notes. And if the plan is not to your liking just sign it and write under your signature that you do not agree to this plan. You can change the plan as often as you would like. Be sure you read and reread everything. It is always good to have a friend,husband or lawyer with you to help you make the decisions. Sometimes emotions impair our dedcision making when it is regarding your child. Be sure to state the severity of the allergy. Some ill informed people sometimes don't take the 504 seriously. Also if the child is old enough he/she should attend the meeting. I would loook up student-led IEPs as the same applies to 504s. The more involved your child is, the better controll he/she will have. Eventhough I don't have any PA or other food allergies,I want to go into the field of Special Education and this is why I am joining this board. I happen to be allergic to dust,mold ,cats and dogs. Good luck to you.

Posted on: Mon, 06/21/2004 - 3:05am
synthia's picture
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Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

travelplus,
I can't thank you enough for (educating your self on allergies).
Could we talk? E-Mail?
Love this site
Synthia

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