Doing Your Homework
Child Has Health Problems,
School Reports Him Truant
by Sue Whitney
|Public schools are required by law to accommodate the health needs of students. The plan to accommodate health needs may be called a health plan or a 504 plan.
child has asthma, and his school continually sends him home. Now they
have reported him truant. Where do I look for help on this matter?
Wrightslaw shows me nothing. HELP!!
the school has sent your child home because they think he is ill,
they can't very well say he left school on his own and is truant.
One situation rules out the other. You need to take steps to document
that your child's absences were due to illness. You also need to prevent
this from happening again. Here is your plan . . .
Use School's Records
Use the school's records to straighten things out. Many people in
the school keep records on children. School nurses keep health records
on students. They also record visits to the nurse's office by students.
1. Ask the nurse for a copy of the notes or forms she filled
out about your child's visits to her office. If the nurse does not
want to give these copies to you, ask your child's pediatrician to
write a letter to the nurse requesting that she send the information
to him/her. Then get the records from the doctor. Depending on how
the school keeps track of these visits, these notes should show that
your child was sent home because he was too ill to attend school.
This is step one.
Develop a Plan
You need to prevent this from happening again.
Public schools are required by law to accommodate the health needs
of students. The plan to accommodate health needs may be called a
health plan or a 504 plan. If there is a plan for your child, it does
not seem to be working, or it is not being followed.
Step 2. The American
Diabetes Association has prepared excellent model 504 plans and
health plans. This format can be modified to cover other medical issues
that arise at school. You will find a Sample
504 Plan (8 pages) and a Medical Management Plan (5 pages).
model plan and revise it so it applies for your child's needs
related to his asthma. Consult with your child's pediatrician to make
sure the plan is complete and covers all your child's health needs.
one copy for your records. Make sure the pediatrician keeps a copy.
Provide copies of the plan to the school nurse and the principal.
(Meet with them in person to answer any questions they may have.)
The plan will give them clear guidelines from the child's medical
doctor about what the child needs from them in order to attend school.
(The school's Section 504 coordinator may request a meeting to develop
a more formal plan and an evaluation.)
When you have taken these steps, you will have documentation that
your child's past absences were not due to truancy. You will also
have a plan in place to reduce future absences.
Research Editor, Wrightslaw
504, 504 Plans & Medical Conditions
504: Summary of Rights l Section
504 on Wrightslaw
Know Your Rights! - People with diabetes -- of all ages -- face discrimination
at times. Children with diabetes often run into discrimination at
school or day care. The American Diabetes Association has compiled
information about rights and responsibilities, discrimination, and
what you can do.
Your Legal Rights! School Discrimination - Three federal laws protect people with disabilities
in the school and day care settings, IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA.
These laws have successfully been used to protect the rights of children
Legal Protections - Safe at School. In spite of federal legal protections, however, children with diabetes sometimes face problems in getting the care they need in schools.
504 Accommodations for Children with Diabetes - Describes protections
under Section 504, what schools are required to provide, and Section
504 Plan and Medical Management Plan from the American Diabetes Association
of Michigan - Schools and Asthma
- A Guide for Schools from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education (2003).
Strategies for Addressing Asthma in Schools from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2017).
To learn how to advocate for your child, read Wrightslaw:
From Emotions to Advocacy the Special Education Survival Guide,
Meet Sue Whitney
Sue Whitney of Manchester, New Hampshire, works with families as a special education advocate and is the research editor for Wrightslaw.
In Doing Your Homework, Suzanne Whitney gives savvy advice about reading, research based instruction, and creative strategies for using education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools.
Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys.
Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that was
published by Harbor House Law Press, Inc.
She also served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC).
Sue Whitney's bio.
Copyright © 2002-2022 by Suzanne Whitney.