How to Enforce a Section 504 Plan for Food Allergies
Posted Oct 07 2008 6:15pm
So you've gone through the trouble of developing a Section 504 Plan... what happens if there is a violation? It may not be as serious as an actual allergic emergency at school but maybe he/she is suddenly not allowed in the lunchroom although the plan specifically states that he will not be excluded from normal school activities. Or, once the school year starts you find that a nut-free table has not been designated in the cafeteria. Again, Kathy Van Voorhees suggests ascribing the best intentions and approaching the administrators from the point of view that it was an oversight, which it might very well have been. "We agreed that having a separate nut-free table is the most practical solution to ensuring my child's safety during lunch. Will one be there tomorrow?"
If a situation occurred that was not anticipated by either you or the school, use it as an opportunity to revisit the plan. Hmmm... can't think of an example for this one. If you have one, please leave a comment!
Again, expect the best but if the situation goes sour, having the 504 Plan gives you protection. Violations can be reported to your state's Parent Advocacy Center. Terri Mauro, About.com's Special Needs writer has a great article on How to Report a 504 Violation . I know this may seem like being caught between a rock and hard place because the last thing you want is to create an adversarial relationship between you and the people who you are entrusting with your child's protection for most of the day but... when push comes to shove, 504 violations are federal, falling under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Education. The Office of Civil Rights has an online complaint form or you can contact the OCR office serving your state or territory .