It seems as though colleges feel as if they may be immune to the American with Disabilities Act, section 504. Celiac Disease is considered a disability under the law. Today, alone, I had two phone calls regarding colleges not accommodating students with celiac disease. These students are relying on the schools to provide nutritious meals that are in tuned with the food restrictions of the student. However, I am hearing that no such provisions are occurring.
Section 504 of the American with Disabilites Act states that if the school accepts federal funding, whether it be in the form of federally funded student loans or otherwise, it must make accommodations and modifications to address the needs of students with disabilities. Per Wright’s Law website, “making accommodations and modifications means changing the way things are usually done in order to take into account a child’s disability-related needs. The regulations implementing these laws require that students with disabilities receive benefits and services comparable to those given their nondisabled peers”. Plain and simple, the schools are required by law to provide an equal meal to the gluten-intolerant portion of the school’s population as the gluten-tolerant portion of the student body is served.
This topic is so important and relevent, that I am addressing it for a second time. If you would like to know more about Section 504, please visit http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/section504.ada.peer.htm. There are many websites explaining the law. I thought this website, in particular, did a very good job of giving a layman’s synopsis.
I find it imperative to become familiar with the law if you have celiac disease. You have been given certain rights under this law that you may enforce should it be necessary. If the school does not comply, there are several attorneys well-versed in the American with Disabilities Act that would be happy to help.
If there are any of you who have fought a school on this front, and won, I would love to hear your story. Please comment back so we can all share in your victory as it is a victory for all of us!