Let’s suppose your district has a policy that calls for any type of medical equipment, any medication, and anything that might be a safety hazard to be kept in the nurse’s office. Let’s suppose you have a student whose Individual Health Plan calls for him to have a glucose testing kit, including sharp objects, readily available to him in the classroom. How do you suppose this is going to come out?
North East ISD got embroiled in an OCR complaint over this issue and three others. On the other three issues, OCR found in favor of the district. The district had a plan to deal with the student’s diabetes, even when the nurse was absent. The district had a good plan in place for field trips. And the district did provide the parents with notice of their rights.
But with regard to the glucose testing kit, OCR found the district at fault:
The NEISD’s practice to not permit diabetic testing materials to be maintained in students’ classrooms appears rule-like, and in this case, adherence to the practice seemingly substituted for or circumvented the requirement that a team of persons make the determinations based on the individual needs of the Student.
“Rule-like.” Hmmm. School districts are large organizations that need to operate as per rules, procedures and protocols. Being “rule-like” is normally a good thing. But not when it comes to one of our laws that require a determination based on individual need.
When you find yourself about to say: “Our policy does not permit that” you should pause, and say instead: “Our policy does not normally permit that. But we will ask the 504 Team [or ARD Committee] to see if we need to make an exception due to the needs of your child.”
As Scripture would put it, that puts you on solid rock as opposed to shifting sand.
The OCR report on the North East ISD case was issued on November 22, 2016 and we found it at 69 IDELR 256.
DAWG BONE: IF IT’S A 504 OR SPECIAL EDUCATION ISSUE, INDIVIDUAL NEEDS ARE LIKELY TO OUTWEIGH DISTRICT POLICY AND PRACTICE