Why schools should OFFER 504 plans to students with LTFAs

Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2006 - 5:45am
Momcat's picture
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I will be making a presentation to our school board in March and I would like to start a list here of reasons that schools should be offering 504 plans to allergic students, rather than being dragged kicking and screaming into compliance with the law.

1. Avoid being sued by complying with the law. This saves money.

2. Discussing accommodations and having a written plan saves time in the long run because parents and teachers don't have to reinvent the wheel every year, or every time there is a change of staff.

3. It's the right thing to do!

Help me brainstorm--any other ideas?

Cathy

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Mom to 6 1/2 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited January 23, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 12:12am
Gail W's picture
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Momcat,
This is a great topic. I'll come back when I have some time to devote to it.
Gail

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 2:15am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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4. Because everyone involved (ie- PARENTS AND THE CHILD TOO) has a clear set of responsibilities in writing. Everyone knows exactly what to expect and who is responsible for doing it. (Schools love the emphasis on what parents "must" do... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] )
Great topic-- filled with useful arguments already!!

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 2:17am
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Because children have an inalienable right to feel safe while at school. If they are constantly worried about having a reaction, due to some of the incredibly stupid things that others do, putting them at risk, they will not feel safe. How can they learn then? And what message does it send to these children if those that they are supposed to trust with their lives, don't care enough to put measures in place to protect them?
How's that? That is what I'd add to the list.
edited for spelling --
[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited January 24, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 3:34am
bandbmom's picture
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Momcat - Thanks for starting this thread. I am in the works of planning this same type of thing myself. This will also help me to have the appropriate backing to present to our school board. I am planning a meeting with mom's of food allergic children in our district to have a group voice instead of my tiny individual voice. This was a great idea! I'll have to think of things I'd like to add and post later!
Thanks,
Tracy

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 5:47am
Momcat's picture
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Good responses so far! I guess we could put our reasons into two categories: why they *morally ought* to be offering 504 and why *it's in their best interest* to offer 504. I'm hoping to come up with an argument that addresses both of these, then how could they disagree?
Cathy
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited January 24, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 9:16am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Since 504 plans put precautions in place, and hopefully decrease chances of reactions, schools should end up spending less time, energy, and resources keeping our kids safe... which in the end could also save money if they equate teachers' time to money.
If they're constantly running around cleaning up pb, they're focus isn't on teaching during that time.
The fire alarms went off at my kids' preschool today. All was fine, but the noise of the alarm and the fire trucks roaring up made most of the kids burst into tears. My kids' preschool teacher uses this argument with other parents: that it's very traumatic for other children to see a child in distress and have the ambulance come roaring in, hence the food restrictions.
When she and I were discussing precautions, she was proposing things stricter than me. Her reason was that it takes a whole lot of energy and time sterilizing a room and causes alot of stress on the teacher's part. She'd rather keep the offending items out, so she can clean normally and reduce the stress level.
Since fire trucks are on my mind today, is this analogy any good? Without a 504 in place, teachers could constantly be running around putting out fires. A 504 is like a sprinkler system and emergency evacuation route, it helps contain the chaos, and hopefully prevent a life threatening situation. And, if one should occur, everyone knows their roles, and the child should be fine.
My thoughts for the day...Meg
[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited January 24, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 2:16am
Momcat's picture
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We should learn from the mistakes of others instead of waiting for a tragedy to happen in our own district.

Posted on: Wed, 01/25/2006 - 4:01am
lilpig99's picture
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

Ok, just mulling this over....could we convince teachers/administration that by having a 504 in place for your child, we are actually creating a stress relieving plan *for the teacher*? I mean , if it is all planned out with no or VERY little room for error and that plan is followed, then the teacher should have total comfort in knowing the PA child is safe. I am trying to think of this from a teachers point of view. Hmmmmm...just a thought.
------------------
Jill
DD, 5, TNA
DS, 18 mo. EA, MA

Posted on: Sun, 02/19/2006 - 2:13am
Momcat's picture
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Raising for Ohio.

Posted on: Mon, 02/20/2006 - 7:49am
Ohio's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2005 - 09:00

Thanks to Momcat for raising this. This has many good ideas/arguments. I am trying to incorporate these ideas into my talking points with the administration. But I keep coming back to this sticking point:
Every argument can be be applied to a properly implemented individual healthcare plan (with no "need" for a 504). This may be a big assumption that it will be properly implemented, but I keep thinking about this from the school's point of view.
What I need is some solid "evidence" why a 504 is better than just an IHP.
We came up with a few:
1. The obvious - we are entitled to it due to the allergy being a hidden disability.
2. Providing accommodations without a 504 is a violation. Source: Question #5 from [url="http://www.504idea.org/evaluation.html."]http://www.504idea.org/evaluation.html.[/url]
3. A 504 has grievance procedures, evaluation and placement standards, and procedural safeguards in place. An IHCP may or may not.
4. District administration cannot overrule 504 or special education evaluation and placement decisions. Source: Question #8 from [url="http://www.504idea.org/procedures.html"]http://www.504idea.org/procedures.html[/url]
5. With a 504, cost cannot be used as a determining factor in deciding special services. This does not apply to an IHCP. Also, the "reasonable accomodations" wording in the law does not apply to the education setting.(Source: OCR Letter to Zirkel).
6. A 504 includes non-academic services and third parties (sports, clubs, field trips), while an IHCP may or may not.
7. Social aspects (bullying/teasing) can be appropriately addressed in the context of discrimination through a 504, rather than through an IHCP.
Any other ideas?

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