What Should We Do About This?

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 9:35am
bandbmom's picture
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There is an after-school basketball clinic going on at PA/DS's elem. school and being run by the phys. ed. teachers on Tues. the 24th from 3:45 to 5:00, which we signed him up for. This is an event sponsored by The Detroit Pistons and the cost was $25. I emailed the asst. princ. and phys. ed. teacher to ask if there would be any food passed out during the event and if the children would be allowed to pull any food or snacks out their backpacks. The asst. princ. called me today to say that there would not be any food given out during the event. However, if any children were to come in at the beginning of the event and ask the phys. ed. teacher if they can have a snack in the gym, they will be allowed to. She said we could either have DS leave the gym when they eat their snacks or have the children eat their snacks on the stage. There are 98 students participating in the event. I told her that my concern with either of those scenarios was the high possibility of there being peanut/nut residue on the children's hands after they ate and they only way to prevent this would be to have them wash or wipe their hands. She commented that they will only have a few minutes to have their snack so, in other words, no to hand wiping or washing. I asked if we could just not let the kids eat a snack and she immediately said no because the parents paid for their children to participate in this event and they can't tell them they can't have a snack. She said they would get tons of phone calls from angry parents. I told her that we can't have a Brandon have a reaction either. She kind of just sat there after that and said nothing. I called our local Dept. of Civil Rights who told me that they do only have to make "reasonable" accommodations for Brandon according to the law in Michigan. The lady I spoke to said it would not be "reasonable" to ask 90 some kids not to eat a snack because of one. I am so upset. I hate to believe that the school doesn't care about my son, but I think I have to start realizing this fact. A friend suggested that I tell the school that I will provide the wipes if they will let the children wipe their hands after they eat their snacks on stage. If they refuse, I don't know what to do beyond that. Can anyone suggest anything? Does anyone out there have a 504 plan in Michigan? We have requested one for Brandon and have our first 504 meeting on Jan. 31st but, now that I know the accommodations have to be considered "reasonable" I think they will refuse anything else we request. I need some guidance and wisdom!

Thanks!
Tracy

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 10:18am
ajas_folks's picture
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Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Just me wondering -- What would the Detroit Pistons think of refusal to REASONABLY protect the life of your child??
Like I said, just me wondering.
~Elizabeth

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 10:37am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Tracy,
I think that "reasonable" accomadations means that they have to allow your son to be able to participate. It's not a matter of what 90+ students have to "give up" that is or isn't "reasonable" it's what accomadations can allow your son to participate or not.
My understanding, mind you this could be wrong, that him being around p-nut containing food would pose a problem for your son being able to participate. End of story...YOU also paid to have your son participate and guess what, he can't participate if it endangers his life - will it endanger THIER lives by NOT eating a freaking snack?
This really boils my blood when they make STUPID and uneducated comments like she did. Snacks are just that, let them eat before they bloody get there - it's not a meal OR better yet, let's just make it known to all those precious paying parents that they can in fact have a snack...as long as it does not contain peanuts!!!!! WOW there is a no brainer.
Sorry for venting in your thread - but come on people. BTW, 504 is Federal law so it doesn't matter which state you live in, it's all the same....another real educated comment by the lady who answered the phone.
Good luck Tracy, I know I didn't do anything but probably make you angrier...if I think of something that might actually help, I'll post back.
Lana [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 10:39am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Maybe snack time could be at the end of the event and you could pick your son up just before snack time. Or could snack time be right before the event and everyone could wipe their hands before playing basketball? Good luck! They do need to accommodate somehow since it is a school event.
Cathy
------------------
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 20, 2006).]
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited January 20, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:06am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I agree they have to accomodate as it is a school event. However, I also was under the impression that the magic phrase was "reasonable accomodation". Unfortunately, their idea of reasonable is often not the same as ours. I feel for you and hope it works out. It is not fair that he should have to miss this just because he is pa and needs accomodations. It isn`t his fault.

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:23am
bandbmom's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

Well, I've been doing some more research on-line and I found this on the Michigan Department of Education site under Office For Civil Rights:
Reasonable accommodation: a term used in the employment context to refer to modifications or adjustments employers make to a job application process, the work environment, the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, or that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment; this term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to related aids and services in the elementary and secondary school context or to refer to academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services in the postsecondary school context.
This was under the 504 Frequently Asked Questions section of their site. It called the Department of Civil Rights Department, not the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. I think that was my mistake. So, my next phone call on Monday will be to the DOE Office of Civil Rights. I also found a great site for someone else that may be able to help. It's [url="http://www.causeonline.org."]www.causeonline.org.[/url] They are Michigan's Citizen's Alliance to Uphold Special Education (CAUSE). I should also give them a call. Their site had some great 504 info on it, too. I'm back to believing the law is on our side. Here's one thing that I read that I think applies to this situation, please tell me if I'm reading this correctly:
104.34 (c) COMPARABILITY
A recipient of federal money who operates a facility that is identifiable, as being for persons with disabilities must insure that the facility, the services and activities provided therein, are comparable to other facilities, services and activities of the recipient.
Example: When non-disabled students are given an opportunity to attend extracurricular activities, students with disabilities must be given this opportunity as well.
An OCR policy summary states that:
the following are distinctions between Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) formerly known as Education of the Handicapped Act. Date: October 1988:

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:47am
SpudBerry's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

I'm hoping that not that many kids actually bring a snack. It's only an hour & 15 minutes long, and I'm guessing that not many kids are going to want to stop playing long enough to go sit down & eat a snack that their mom's packed for them.
My guys are in a 2 hour basketball program and they don't even stop long enough to have a drink of water! They went last Saturday and they'll go again tomorrow.
I realize that you want to be prepared for the worst, but I'm guessing it won't turn out to be as big of a deal as you are dreading. And hopefully all the snack eating will be before it starts - I might position myself on the stage, act like I run the place, and walk around handing out wipes to all who ate [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
I bet no one would even question you - and that way you wouldn't have to draw any attention to your son and his predicament. I know it stinks to have to do these covert operations, but this one might be worth it in the long run.
------------------
Sherlyn
Mom to 6 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 12:05pm
mcmom's picture
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Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

It always amazes me people think kids can't go an hour without a snack.
I often do what SpudBerry suggested - just walk around with wipes and act like I'm in charge [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 1:09pm
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I think that makes sense that you would want to call the Dept of Education OCR, not the regular OCR. And based on what you read, it does sound like the phrase "reasonable accomodation" does not apply to schools. I guess the hard part now is to convince them of that. It would be so much easier if they would just accomodate a pa child because they want to do the right thing rather than because you convince them that they have to by law.

Posted on: Sat, 01/21/2006 - 2:01am
bandbmom's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

There's a good chance that there won't be much snacking going on. But, I can see them pulling some stunt like announcing that the children may have a snack before starting. I want to be prepared and cover all bases, especially with all that we've gone through already. If they would allow me to bring wipes, this would be the simplest thing to do. When I mentioned the wipes, there was no response. She was probably waiting for me to offer to provide them. She may say no, though, because there will be so many kids participating. Even if they agree to this, I'm just getting tired of giving them an easy out. I'm already providing the wipes for DS's class for after lunch. I was told by the principal the only way the class could wipe their hands after lunch is if I came every day to lunch and provided the wipes. Another mom of a PA little girl and I take turns doing this and have been doing it every day since the beginning of the year. If I agree to provide the wipes and my time once again, I'm taking the responsibility off them. On the other hand, I want Brandon to participate and don't want to make it difficult for him. But, since I'm there almost every day at lunch, I notice a major difference in him this year. He has become clingy and very emotional. I will attend this event if need be to make sure he's safe, but I thought it would be better for him without me there. BTW, he's in first grade.
Tracy

Posted on: Tue, 01/24/2006 - 2:24am
bandbmom's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

I did lots of research this weekend on Section 504 and Brandon rights under it. I came up with the email below to the asst. princ. and she called me this morning to say that they are taking care of things at the basketball clinic for him. She is going to take Brandon under her wing and they will be having the children that are eating snack do so on stage and then wipe their hands after. I have definitely learned that knowledge is power and I believe the law is really on our side!
Here is my email to the asst. princ.
Dear Mrs. W,
I would like to thank you for your phone call on Friday, January 20 to address my questions and concerns regarding the Detroit Pistons basketball clinic that will take place on Tuesday, January 24 after school. You let me know that there will not be any food passed out during the event, however, if children wish to have a snack before getting started, they will be permitted to do so. Since there is not much time to fit in a snack, I don't think this will be much of an issue. In the event there are children wishing to have a quick snack, your suggestion of having those children eat their snack on stage would be best to keep the food away from Brandon. However, if this does happen, it is absolutely imperative for Brandon's safety that the children that will be eating wipe their hands before participating in the clinic. You informed me that there will be many members of the staff there to help out during the event and I am confident that someone will make sure this is done to keep Brandon safe. I am also confident that someone from the staff will keep an extra eye on Brandon to ensure he is safe and free from a reaction, therefore, I do not plan on being there during the clinic. Since we discussed Brandon giving his Epi-Pen pack to Mrs. G to hold while he's participating, maybe she could be the person to watch out for him. This event does not specifically involve food, so I do not feel he will be in any immediate danger of having a reaction if the appropriate measures are taken. Again, I am confident that the staff will be able to monitor any snacks and make the necessary arrangements to ensure Brandon's safety.
My husband and I have done much thinking and research about this over the weekend and it appears that it is Brandon's right to be involved in this event and kept safe under Section 504 and FAPE (Free and Appropriate Pubic Education. I have listed some information below that I have obtained from The Department of Education Office For Civil Rights website along with some information obtained from the CAUSE (Citizens Alliance to Uphold Special Education) website. If you feel my interpretation of this information is incorrect, please let me know by the end of the school day today and I will contact The Department of Education Office For Civil Rights to verify what rights Brandon has under Section 504.
Of final note, we discussed that in the event Brandon has a reaction, the staff would be prepared to administer the Epi-Pen and that I will be contacted by the phone in Mrs. G office.
Thank you for your help in making this event fun and safe for Brandon. He is very much looking forward to it!
Sincerely,
Tracy Gagnon
Free and appropriate public education (FAPE): a term used in the elementary and secondary school context; refers to the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet individual educational needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met and is based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the Section 504 requirements pertaining to educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards
104.1 PURPOSE OF SECTION 504
The purpose of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is to eliminate discrimination on the basis of a disability in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
104.4 DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED
The Commission of Civil Rights has defined this differently than other types of discrimination in that to treat persons with a disability

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