My daughter originally did not have a 504 plan for her peanut allergy when she began school. She carried an epipen with her (in her waist pack) and the school required her to have and carry doctor’s orders with her at all times. Eventually, it became apparent that we would need a 504 plan for her. It was needed to prevent peanut items from being consumed in the classroom, on the bus she was riding, or at her cafeteria table. Even though Nina brought her lunch everyday, it was hard for her to find a place to sitduring lunch that someone was not eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or something else with peanuts in it.
Riding the bus was another unsafe place for Nina due to students eating candy with peanuts in it. The 504 plan covered these types of situations and people were now accountable for making sure the area was safe where Nina was.
Halloween parties at school were a difficult time for Nina, but after the 504 plan was instated for her, things changed. Peanuts/peanut items were not allowed. Notes were sent home stating there was a student with a peanut allergy in class and that those items would not be able to be brought in. This made life much easier for Nina and school became more enjoyable.
We still had issues throughout the years, but they were fewer and we had a legal document to fall back on and a 504 Coordinator we could contact about issues. I was very lucky that my daughter was so diligent from a very young age about avoiding peanuts and not eating food from others. She was also very diligent with washing her hands. You never know what you might have touched that could have peanut residue on it.
An informational article regarding 504 plans can be found on the FARE (Food Allergy Research & Educations) website:
This was our family's experience with having a 504 Plan for Nina's allergy. I know opinions differ on the subject. In the end, it was the right decision for us.