When I requested the formal 504 meeting for my food allergy son there had already been an anaphylactic reaction on school property. We did not need to prove his disability or his need for a 504 plan – the school was absolutely ready and willing to hold the meeting at my immediate request. Most parents must prove a child qualifies for coverage under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act during the first meeting.
Contacting the School for an Initial 504 Meeting
A 504 meeting does NOT have to be held before the start of the school year. I’ve seen tons of posts and updates about meetings being held in the weeks before school started and, to be honest, my son’s 504 meeting was held before the first day of school, but you can request a meeting at ANY time. You can even request a meeting for review of current 504 accommodations at ANY time – so the timing of the request means nothing.
In my experience, a formal letter written to several people at the school and the Board of Education worked perfectly to request a 504 accommodation’s meeting. The exact list of people who received my letter included:
- School Nurse
- School Principal
- School Counselor
- Board of Education Representative for the Exceptional Children’s Program
- Board of Education Representative for School Nurses
Only one person on my list of recipients did not attend the final meeting and that was only because she worked with children who suffered disabilities that affected schoolwork and the education process. My son is a straight A student with no educational problems – thus, she did not need to attend the meeting.
SAMPLE LETTER REQUESTING 504 MEETING
Here is a sample letter you can copy as needed to request your 504 meeting. All areas that need to be changed on the letter are noted in parenthesis.
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Recipient Name,
This letter requests development of a 504 Plan and Food Allergy Management Plan for our child, (Your Child’s Name), which will be implemented during the (Current School Year) academic school year. (Your Child’s Name) will be a (Your Child’s Grade) grade student at (Your Child’s School) and is diagnosed with Anaphylaxis to (Your Child’s Allergens).
This letter grants our consent for our physician, (Your Doctor’s Name), to consult with the school district’s physician regarding our child’s medical condition at any time prior to the meeting. Letters of consent have been signed with (Your Doctor’s Name)’s office. To ensure our child’s safety at school, the school nurse should also write up an Individual Health Plan (IHP).
As you may know, Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical condition. Given the vigilant nature of food allergy management, and the impact it may represent during the academic day and extracurricular school activities, it is in the mutual best interest to pursue a 504 Plan and Food Allergy Management Plan to ensure (Your Child’s Name) safety, achievement of health goals, and full access to academic and enrichment opportunities at (Your Child’s School). Of significance, (Your Child’s Name) will require special accommodations, per his treating physician’s orders. See attached Section 504/ADA Accommodation Plan. Medical letters will be brought to the 504 Plan meeting.
It is our desire to build an enduring long-term partnership with the school staff given that so much of (Your Child’s Name) time is spent at (Your Child’s School). Therefore, we are requesting that the 504 Team Meeting be scheduled immediately, and that attendees include: all school staff members who are directly responsible for the supervision of (Your Child’s Name) during the school day; the school nursing staff, the school’s 504 On-Site Coordinator, and anyone else relevant to the 504 Plan process. By gathering for this meeting, we can work together in addressing our child’s food allergy management needs at school while creating a smooth and seamless transition each day between home and school life.
We look forward to hearing from you in the next few days so that we may schedule a mutually agreeable meeting time at the earliest convenience.
Add Other Names Here of People Receiving the Letter
Once the letter is received, you will likely receive a call or communication of some sort within a few days. It took just two business days from the time we sent this letter to receive a call setting up our meeting time. You will need to prove your child qualifies for the 504 accommodations at that first meeting.
Piece originally published on September 12, 2012 on MutterNutter.com: