Could a 504 Plan Protect your Allergic Child at School?
Posted Sep 14 2008 10:15am
The new school year is officially in swing, and one question may be plaguing some parents: how do you keep your child with severe food allergies safe at school? The greatest danger with food allergies is ingestion, but for some children any physical contact or inhalation can pose hazards.
Where to begin?*
A " 504 plan" may help you. Named after section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (providing all students, regardless of disability, with a "free, appropriate public education"), a 504 plan is a plan created by parents, school administrators, and school nurses to address the specific needs of your child. This should give your child more specific, concrete protection than a less formal verbal or written agreement.
At a minimum, I believe it is reasonable to expect that all adults who supervise your food-allergic child in school receive annual training on food allergy safety; that access to epinephrine at all times is secure and swift; and that reasonable steps to reduce the risk of allergen exposure are consistently applied.
A 504 plan may also include a "peanut-free" table in the lunchroom or hiring extra lunchroom aides.