How to obtain a Section 504 plan

Ideally, start the process a year in advance of when your child will be entering school.  Often, key school staff are not available during the summer months.  Staff must be trained and other accommodations must be in place well before your child enters the building on the first day of school.  Starting the process early gives the school employees ample time to prepare for and implement the accommodations, and it gives the 504 planning team sufficient time to discuss the plan details.  It is not unusual for the entire process to take 6-8 months or longer.

 

1.      Prepare a letter describing the nature and severity of your child’s condition and ask your allergist to sign it.  It can be important to have them certify that your child’s condition substantially limits a life function, such as breathing.  See the files for an example letter.
 
2.  Obtain a copy of your school’s 504 policies and procedures from the district’s special education office.   Ask for the names and titles of the Section 504 Coordinator for the district  (In Worthington, the Director of Special Education)and the 504 Compliance Officer (usually the principal) for your child’s school.  Obtain a copy of the district’s food allergy policy, if one exists, and other related policies such as administration of emergency medication, treatment of anaphylaxis, etc.   Here is a link to Worthington's food allergy policy: http://www.worthington.k12.oh.us/uploads/2/File/documents/food_allergy.pdf  Note that your 504 plan will not be limited to the accommodations that may already exist in school FA policy.  The purpose of a 504 plan is to provide access to educational services, and school policy can be modified by a 504 plan to meet your child’s needs.
 
3.  Write a letter requesting a 504 eligibility determination for your child, and suggest several dates and times for an eligibility meeting.  See the files for an example letter.  Send a copy of this letter along with the signed letter from your allergist, and, at your discretion, copies of relevant test results by certified mail to the 504 Compliance Officer and the 504 Coordinator.  After receipt of your request, the district should provide you with the district’s grievance (due process) procedures and a statement of parents’ rights. 

 

Remember to keep a hard copy of everything that you mail to the district from now on.  It can also be helpful to document issues that were raised at meetings or informally discussed by writing letters of understanding and forwarding copies of such letters to the appropriate parties.
 
4.  Review other existing 504 FA plans and create a draft plan that would be suitable for your child’s situation/needs. 

504 Plan Outline:

 
            5.  At the 504 eligibility meeting, all members of the evaluation team should sign a form and give you a copy. Use this time to
            schedule a 504 planning meeting, and request that the planning team consist of the building principal, a classroom teacher and
            the school nurse. Sometimes a planning session can occur on the same day as the eligibility determination.

 

            6.  Meet with the 504 planning team to discuss the plan accommodations.  It is not unusual for the planning team to require
            multiple meetings to work out details of the accommodation plan.

 

            7.  Try to finalize the 504 plan (signed plan by all members of the planning team) before summer vacation.  Often,
            accommodations (such as staff training) will need to be put in place before the new school year begins.  Do not sign a 504 plan
            that you are not comfortable with.

 

            8.  Review the 504 plan at the end of each school year to prepare for the coming school year.