Why Develop a Section 504 Plan for Your Child with Food Allergies?
Posted Sep 26 2008 7:04pm
In my opinion, it is not always necessary to develop a 504 plan. It greatly depends on the severity of your child's allergy and your relationship with your child's school administrators and teachers. The school may already have a food allergy management policy in place that meets the needs of your family. So I would ascertain the situation before trying to wade through all the red tape of Section 504.
Technically, a 504 plan doesn't have to be written and the parents don't have to sign off on it but rather it is something the school districts can develop on their own. This makes little sense to me since they are individualized plans for specific students and why a school would do it without the knowledge and consent of a parent... is a mystery to me. Kathy Van Voorhees of Van Voorhees Law advocates for a written plan so that standardized food allergy management protocol can be communicated to all teachers and staff that might be in contact with your child or may be entrusted with the care of your child during the school day. This includes after care arrangements and transportation personnel.
The plan really benefits both the school and the family, because it can facilitate communication between both parties and minimize misunderstandings. If coached appropriately, it can be a process that builds bridges between the administrators and parents, who (in the best cases) are both looking out for the best interest of the children involved.
The plan gives families recourse if an allergic incident were to happen in school. Having a plan in place sends a signal to school personnel regarding the seriousness of the risk.