Safe at School

Section 504 Plan

The term "504 Plan" refers to a plan developed to meet the requirements of a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (commonly referred to as "Section 504"). A 504 Plan sets out the actions the school will take to make sure the student with diabetes is medically safe, has the same access to education as other children, and is treated fairly. It is a tool that can be used to make sure that students, parents/guardians, and school staff understand their responsibilities and to minimize misunderstandings.

Take a look at our sample 504 Plan available below. It lists a broad range of services and modifications that are often needed by students with diabetes, ranging from kindergarteners to high school seniors. All plans should specify that school staff must be trained to recognize hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and to respond in accordance with the child's Diabetes Medical Management Plan.

However, each plan should be individualized to the specific needs, abilities, and medical condition of the individual student. It is important to only include provisions that are relevant to the specific child. For example, a section on self-management probably would not be included in a kindergartener's plan. But the ability to bring in a blood glucose meter during an exam is critical for a high school student.

Some school districts prefer to use their own 504 Plan form. This is perfectly fine as long as it contains language to appropriately meet all of the student's diabetes care needs at school. The content is what matters.

Typical provisions in 504 plans:

  • Multiple staff members are trained to check blood glucose levels and administer insulinand glucagon.
  • All school staff—including teachers, coaches and bus drivers—who interact regularly with the student know how to recognize high and low blood glucose levels and respond appropriately.
  • Capable students are allowed to self-manage anywhere, anytime, and keep their diabetes supplies with them.
  • Needed assistance is provided in the classroom to increase safety and decrease missed class time.
  • Full participation in all sports, extracurricular activities, and field trips, with the necessary diabetes care assistance and/or supervision provided.
  • Permission to eat whenever and wherever necessary, including eating lunch at an appropriate time with enough time to finish eating.
  • Permission to take extra trips to the bathroom or water fountain.
  • Permission for extra absences for medical appointments and sick days without penalty.
  • Alternate arrangements for classroom time missed for medical appointments, because of periods of high or low blood glucose, or illness related to diabetes.