A Virginia mom of three boys with food allergies is terrified to send her boys to school because the Chesterfield School system will not enforce the 504 plans she negotiated with them.
A 504 plan refers to a plan provided for under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that bans discrimination against people with disabilities. It entitles students with disabilities to reasonable accommodations at school. The plan, negotiated between the parent and school, describes those accommodations in a binding document.
The mom, who prefers to remain anonymous says:
Our 504 plans are repeatedly violated in which they are breaking laws. My children are covered under the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] and they fail to comply and follow those rules. There are no clear food safety policies for children with disabilities.
She detailed one example of how the school is failing to meet their obligations under her son’s plan:
During a teacher-led assignment, they were instructed to throw food items in a game, a ‘Think Fast’ game, to talk about nutrition lessons, grains, vegetables, protein, in which containers of peanut butter were being tossed. And unfortunately, one fell, because kids are throwing them, and it exploded.
Her son suffered an anaphylactic reaction and was rushed to the school nurse.
But his mom says the nurse did not administer epinephrine according to the boy’s emergency action plan she had on file with the school for just such an emergency:
They administered liquid medication called Zyrtec and did not administer an epinephrine pen. I was called by phone and I arrived within minutes. Upon my arrival, his eyes were almost completely swollen shut. His face was flushed red. He was sneezing repeatedly and his eyes were watering. And he said that the roof of his mouth felt weird.
The mom demanded the nurse administer his epinephrine auto-injector which she finally did.
Her nightmare is detailed in this WTVR news report.
We are calling on the food allergy community to take action to help this mom hold the school system accountable. Kathryn Haines, the school board representative identified in the news report as refusing to take action, can be reached via the following means:
Please add your message as a concerned member of the food allergy community urging her to take action on behalf of the mom.
Together, we can help one mom get the accommodations her son is legally entitled to.