Districts should evaluate students with peanut allergies for possible accommodations under Section 504.
Virginia Beach (VA) City Public Schools, 59 IDELR 54 (OCR 2012): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed a school district that it must evaluate students with peanut and/or tree nut allergies under Section 504. The district regularly provided its students with nut allergies “Life-threatening Allergy Management Plans” (LAMPs), but did not routinely evaluate each of them to determine their need for special education or related services. OCR noted that districts must take steps to ensure the school environment is as safe for students with disabilities as it is for students without disabilities. In addition, districts cannot simply wait for parents of students with nut allergies to ask for an evaluation under Section 504. Rather, districts have an affirmative “child-find” duty to locate students with disabilities. Since the LAMPs were not typically specific to each individual child with a nut allergy, they could not address the individual needs of such students in their various school environments. Accordingly, the district agreed to evaluate students with LAMPs under Section 504.
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