The school must provide nursing services under IDEA, section 504


Under IDEA (Disability Education Act) and section 504 (Article 504 of the Rehabilitation Law), children with disabilities have the right to free adapted public education, or FAPE, in the least restrictive environment, or LRE. A disabled child who needs school health services or school nursing services to attend school and receive FAPE, must benefit from these services through his school at no cost to his parents. These services can be described in a child’s IEP (governed by IDEA) or the 504 plan (governed by section 504).

IDEA requires schools to provide special education and related services to students with eligible disabilities. Related services are the transportation and developmental, remedial or other support services that are needed to help a child with a disability receive special education. Related services under IDEA include the school nurse and school health services, which are health services designed to enable a disabled child to receive FAPE. School nursing services should be provided by a qualified school nurse. School health services may be provided by a qualified school nurse or other qualified person.

Under the IDEA, school districts are not required to provide medical services except for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. However, schools are responsible for providing the services necessary to maintain the health and safety of children in school, including services for breathing, nutrition and other bodily functions (for example, aspiration of a child. tracheostomy, urinary catheterization) if these services are not of the type that must be provided by a licensed physician.

Section 504 “aids and related services” is similar to related services under IDEA. Section 504 requires schools to provide children with disabilities with eligible health services, including services provided by a nurse during the school day, if necessary, to enable the child to receive FAPE.

A school’s obligation to provide nursing services includes full-time individual nursing services if that is what is needed to provide a child with FAPE. In addition to the classroom, these services should also be provided during transportation to and from school if required.

When a child’s IEP or 504 plan requires a school nurse to provide services, the child’s school should provide coverage during the nurse’s absence. If a school district contracts with a third party to provide its students with nursing services, this does not change the school’s obligations under IDEA and Section 504 to properly implement the IEP and 504 plan. of every student, including nursing services, and failure to provide a substitute nurse could constitute a denial of FAPE. Asking the child’s parent to come to school and provide the services is an implementation failure and could also constitute a denial of FAPE. If a child has to stay at home because there is no nurse to provide nursing services as outlined in the IEP or 504 plan, the child has been denied FAPE.

If nursing services are provided as part of the IEP or 504 Child Services, the school has the authority to choose the agency or person providing the services. A parent may raise concerns about the qualifications of a staff member or the quality of nursing services their child is receiving; however, they are generally not allowed to obtain their preferred nurse. If a school contracts with several third-party nursing agencies and leaves the choice between agencies to parents, the school still remains ultimately responsible for providing FAPE.

If a child has a medical or health need, a school nurse should ideally be involved in the IEP or 504 plan process from the start. A school nurse can help ensure that all areas of need are assessed including health or nursing needs, explain medical assessment data, determine the negative impact of illness on the patient. upbringing of the child and determining the child’s individual health needs.

Reighlah collins

Reighlah Collins joined DRNC in August 2018 as a lawyer on the teaching team. Collins grew up in Zebulon, North Carolina. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where she interned with the Asheville TEACCH autism program. Prior to obtaining her law degree from UNC School of Law, Collins worked as a direct supports coordinator in a group home for adults with intellectual and / or developmental disabilities. Collins has family members who work in the disability field and his brother suffers from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. These experiences led her to pursue a career in disability law. Outside of work, Collins enjoys reading, baking cookies, having photos of his two cats look at, and spending time with his family.


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