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Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met. A child with a potentially life threatening food allergy meets the definition of a disability under Section 504.
Section 504 requires recipients to provide to students with disabilities appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been given administrative authority to enforce Section 504. Section 504 is a Federal statute that may be enforced through the Department's administrative process or through the Federal court system. In addition, a person may at any time file a private lawsuit against a school district. The Section 504 regulations do not contain a requirement that a person file a complaint with OCR and exhaust his or her administrative remedies before filing a private lawsuit.
To begin the 504 process, you need to contact the school’s 504 Coordinator. This could be someone who works at the school, or it could be someone who works for your school district.
The 504 Coordinator will help assemble a 504 Team that will determine if your child qualifies for protection under Section 504. Typically, a 504 Team includes key members of the school staff such as the school nurse, teachers, food service personnel, coaches, counselors, and others.
In making their determination, the 504 Team will rely on medical information. As a result, you may be asked to obtain specific medical information or medical recommendations from your child’s allergist and/or pediatrician for the Team to review.
Once the 504 Team finds your child eligible, the Team will create an accommodation plan (or 504 Plan), which may include a number of components such as an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP) and a Food Allergy Action Plan.
Written management plans such as 504 Plans have become increasingly more common over the past decade, especially for children with food allergy. These written plans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from a one-page, handwritten form to a 20-page plan made up of multiple components (IHP, Food Allergy Action Plan, Cafeteria Procedures, a Transportation Plan, and a Staff Education Plan).
If you experience difficulty with your school concerning a 504 Plan, contact FAAN or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
Discrimination: Section 504 and ADA
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA AA)
Creative Ideas For Your Allergic Child's Custom 504 Plan
Section 504 Plan Outline for Children with Severe Food Allergies
Students with disabilities who qualify for special education services are entitled to a formal plan that describes how the school will support your child’s educational needs. Learn how these statements, called the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan, are developed and monitored.
Does a Child Need an IEP AND a 504 Plan? There is nothing in the law that says a child with a disability should have an IEP for some needs and a 504 plan for others. It’s confusing, it’s more work, and it’s unnecessary.
What is an IEP?
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)-1
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)- 2
What You Need to Know Before Filing a Complaint