Section 504 Plan

What Is a 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.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that every student with diabetes have a Section 504 Plan or other written accommodations plan in place.

Model Section 504 Plans in English and Spanish

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 and treat low and high blood sugar emergencies (hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia) and follow other provisions of the student's Diabetes Medical Management Plan or doctor's orders.

No two Section 504 Plans will be the same, because different students need different things. For example, there is probably no need for a section on self-management for a kindergartener. And a provision allowing the student to test his or her blood glucose before a test may be particulary important for a high school senior.

You can download our sample plan here. It can serve as the basis for a discussion of the 504 Plan team about the contents of the final plan:

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.

Common Provisions in 504 Plans:

  • Multiple staff members are trained to check blood glucose levels and administer insulin and 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.

  • Last Reviewed: February 18, 2015
  • Last Edited: February 19, 2015

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Diabetes Forecast