Health Care Needs of Students Attending Public Schools

Fact Sheet

There are three primary options for students with health care needs who need accommodations within the public school. Students may qualify for a health plan, a Section 504 plan, or an Individual Education Program (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This fact sheet will give you basic information about each plan and offer advocacy tips.

Health Plan

A health plan is created by the parent and the school and outlines specific accommodations that the student will receive based on the student’s health
needs. Keep in mind that each health plan should be tailored to suit your student’s individual health needs. This plan:


Section 504 Plan

The second option is a Section 504 plan. This plan is based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 makes it illegal for any group receiving federal money to discriminate against a person with a disability. This includes all public schools in South Carolina. This plan:


Advocacy Tip-The first step that you can take to obtain a Section 504 plan is to write a letter to the school and the school district. Include information from
your child’s doctor about the disability and request a meeting to create a Section 504 plan.

IEP (Individual Education Program)

The final option for parents of a student with health care needs is to seek educational services under IDEA and obtain an IEP. This plan:


Advocacy Tip: The first step to obtaining an IEP is to send a letter to the school and school district requesting that your child be evaluated because you suspect that he/she has a disability. (See P&A’s “Education Evaluation” fact sheet.)

Sources for the information in this fact sheet:
29 U.S.C. § 794 and 34 C.F.R. § 104.1 (et al)
20 U.S.C § 1401 (et al)
S.C. Code Ann. § 59-63-80 (1976)

This publication provides legal information, but is not intended to be legal advice. The information was based on the law at the time it was written. As the law may change, please contact P&A for updates.
This publication is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities). It does not necessarily represent the views of the funding authorities.
P&A does not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, gender, or national origin in the provision of its programs or services. Pete Cantrell is P&A’s designated coordinator for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. October 2005. ED-14

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