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Against the law to mandate a classroom nut free?

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 21:26

My son started Kindergarten last week and after speaking with the School Director I was told that it's against the law for them to mandate a nut-free classroom. The school is a small charter school in CA. They did say they'd send a letter home with parents requesting that they do not send any nuts or not products to school and we're implementing handwashing routines and etc.

I'm just not sure that it's true that they can't mandate the classroom nut-free. I can't find anything on the net about it.

My child is severely allergic to all nuts. He has Epi Pens and an inhaler. The allergist spoke w/the school admin and they have no problems w/the Epi Pens and the inhaler being with my son at all times.

I've been doing a lot of reading here these past few nights and I'm confused about the 504 thing too. Does the school district approve or disapprove it? What are the reasons I'd want to file for that? I know there's a lot of info but if you could just give it to me in a 'nutshell' (bad choice of words there) I'd appreciate it.

Thank you!

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 21:31

I don't know how to edit but I wanted to add that the school has only once class per grade level and they don't have a cafeteria. The kids eat in their classroom on the same tables that they do their work on. (The school serves no food whatsoever) Per the school admin that's why they can't mandate a nut free classroom.

------------------
Tracy

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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 08-25-06, 21:56

Can't "mandate?" Can't "control?" Or can't "guarantee?" Different things.

Can they mandate a "no weapons" policy at school? Can they enforce a "mandate" about dress code? Can they mandate "standards of behavior?"

Well, then. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I wouldn't send my child to any school that can't control the classroom environment. Would you? In other words, they're saying "can't" when what they mean is "won't."

As for 504 in a "nutshell" the best places to look are probably in one of the threads up on top of the board right now... there is one running from a parent in NJ who is deciding whether to push for one, and there is quite a lengthy thread about "Why not obtaining a 504 is a disservice...." which talks about all of the myths you may hear/think about the process.

A 504 plan is a written document that clearly outlines how to make sure your child is both safe AND included at school. (It might say that your child needs to eat [i]with[/i] his classmates.... and that someone must always be with him who is trained how to use his epipen... things like that.) It is enforced by the Federal Office of Civil Rights, as section 504 is a provision of federal disability legislation. To obtain one, a committee must deem your child "disabled" under the provisions of the law-- otherwise they are ineligible for its protections.

[i]PS-- to edit messages, roll your mouse over the icons at the top of your post. You'll see one that has an edit function... only you can edit your messages.[/i]

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By trishia30 on Fri, 08-25-06, 21:58

I wanted to add also that the office of Civil right gave me some great information to give to my school about peanut free classrooms and the legality. I was assigned to a lawyet when I called and they have been helping me to get any legal information I need to free.

HTH,
Trish

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 22:24

Thank you for your replies. I have been reading a lot of the threads here especially the topics relating to the 504. I will continue to research that.

As far as the school not being able to "mandate" a nut-free classroom they said they spoke with their lawyer and that they can't tell parents what their kids can eat and can't eat at school. My thoughts were somewhat the same about other things they "mandate". On one hand I'm happy they're working with us in requesting that the parents don't send nuts and nut by-products and thus reducing the risk but by not "mandating" a nut free classroom we all have to be on our toes about handwashing and more. (The classroom has no sink so they use buckets of soapy water communal style. (I have told them I'd supply antibacterial wipes for the kids to use for their hands and for washing down the tables. It just doesn't seem like enough in that my son's allergies are so severe.

The School Superintendant in today's meeting told me they can't mandate that "Janie can't have a pb&j sandwich because what if that's all Janie will eat? It's a staple of a little kids diet". *eyeroll* <--- that's me. Anyway, in leaving the meeting I was relieved they're going to train the staff in the use of my son's meds and that they're requesting that the parents don't send nut related foods but the other part of my brain tells me that's still leaving my son in great danger.

I'm a wreck.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 22:36

Here's the letter that went out to parents today:

Dear Kindergarten Parents,

Please be aware that we have a kindergarten student, R D, who has a life-threatening allergy to all nuts and nut by-products. Even a slight exposure to the skin will cause a severe allergic reaction in R, to the extent that he may go into anaphylactic shock and require a dose of Epinephrine and then have to the hospital.

Sice we are a public school, we cannot mandate a nut-free classroom. However, we do ask that you try and respect this student's needs by not sending your child with nuts or any products containing nuts. This includes peanut oil, peanut butter and almond oil (often found in lotions). Please do not send your child with loose raw nuts or trail mix since these can fall to the floor, leave traces of oils that cannot be cleaned, and can then come into contact with R causing him to have an allergic reaction.

In addition, please talk with your child about not sharing their food. R can never partake of any snacks not brought from his home. .

If you have any questions, or would like more information about food products that may be harmful, please contact R's mother, Tracy D, at xxx-xxxx. There is a list of alternative safe snacks attached to this letter.

Thank you so much for your support in keeping all our children safe, happy and healthy.

(signed by School Director)

Would you be happy with that? At first I was so relieve they're actually doing something and trying to help minimize the risk but now after some though I think we're still risking too much.

Any thoughts?

[This message has been edited by ~*Trace*~ (edited August 25, 2006).]

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By Corvallis Mom on Fri, 08-25-06, 23:02

I'd be [i]VERY VERY[/i] unhappy that they are forcing [i]you[/i] into a position of acting as the "food police" by sending home a letter which openly identifies [b]you and your child by name[/b] and [i]advocates other parents calling on you at your home to discuss safe food choices.[/i]

Did you give them permission to do this??

I would definitely argue for different verbiage in this letter-- something to the effect of efforts to keep nuts out of your child's environment being VOLUNTARY, as opposed to them coming right out and saying that they won't do anything about it.
Why won't they even ask other parents to comply??

And by the way-- being a "public school"? This means they can't deny your child access, (assuming he's 504 eligible). Janey who won't eat anything else can have her fix at home. Last time I checked there isn't a federal law protecting her "rights" to do as she pleases... There is no "reasonable" clause in the educational portion of the law. They have to do whatever is [i]necessary[/i] for him to have the [i]same access as his non-disabled peers[/i]. That would include little Janey with the pb+j. Her access to education isn't threatened.

And the communal bucket-o-soapy water in the classroom? Bad idea if there will be nut containing products there at all. You have a long long battle in order to educate these people into understanding just how little it takes and for that matter, into simply understanding the basic notion of invisible traces of anything being transferred from one surface to another. Yikes.

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By Gail W on Fri, 08-25-06, 23:35

Oy. Your administrators are idiots.

Corvallis Mom has given you great advice aned I second it. These aren't "your" policies/practices/procedures, these belong to the school. It is the school who will mandate and enforce what happens in the classroom, not a parent. They are putting you in a very bad position. Don't do it.

Quote:Originally posted by ~*Trace*~:
[b]As far as the school not being able to "mandate" a nut-free classroom they said they spoke with their lawyer and that they can't tell parents what their kids can eat and can't eat at school. [/b]

That's **** . I'd ask them to put that in writing and watch them back down. There are nut-free (and food-free classrooms BTW) all over the country.

Quote:Originally posted by ~*Trace*~:
[b] (The classroom has no sink so they use buckets of soapy water communal style. (I have told them I'd supply antibacterial wipes for the kids to use for their hands and for washing down the tables. It just doesn't seem like enough in that my son's allergies are so severe. [/b]

This is unbelievable! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] You're going to have a mob of angry parents who very justifiably will object to this [i]and blame you[/i] because of the letter where the school clearly (and cleverly) points to YOU as the reason for any changes. This could even be a board of health violation! Do you have a school nurse? Surely she would object to a "community bucket"!

Quote:Originally posted by ~*Trace*~:
[b]The School Superintendant in today's meeting told me they can't mandate that "Janie can't have a pb&j sandwich because what if that's all Janie will eat? It's a staple of a little kids diet". [/b]

Again, **** . Schools all over have made such "mandates". And his schools already have all kinds of mandates already about food . . . such as "snack time". Kids just don't whip out a candy bar in the middle of a teacher's lesson, do they?

Go here: [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]www.allergysupport.org[/url] and read, read, read.

You're dealing with a bunch of idiots and it's no wonder you're a wreck. But take a breath, read Rhonda's site, the School board here. You can do this.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 23:43

Ugh. I did give them permission to use my son's name hoping that maybe if we personalize this the parents would be receptive. I guess I was feeling at a loss of what to do and I was willing to do anything. I did also tell them that parents were free to contact me and ask me questions if they had any. I'm a schmuck and so clueless and desperate to make my baby safe.

As far as the school nurse I guess she's new and they haven't even met her yet *eyeroll*. Also, she will rarely come around (doesn't stay on campus ever). I will be calling her though cuz even my Allergist said that bucket of water thing was nasty even without allergies. Oh, they also have the kids bring cups and set them by the water bottle (big water bottle filled from the tap) so kids can drink water in class. The cups aren't washed all week, blech! I had my son bring little disp. cups!!

I did feel as though they're putting all of this on me though. Yesterday (before today's meeting) the school admin. wanted me to write the letter to the parents and she also wanted me to get her all the info I could on nut allergies. I gave her website after website and my allergists' phone number. (The allergist called me after speaking with the school admin and told me what they discussed)

Ok, I'm going to research more and ask more questions I'm sure so please be patient with me ((( HUGS )))

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By ~*Trace*~ on Fri, 08-25-06, 23:45

Oh yeah, I did tell them lots of schools in the state of CA have nut free classrooms and asked how that could be if it's against the law. I don't believe I got an answer on that one.

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By Daisy on Sat, 08-26-06, 00:04

Quote:[b]I'm happy they're working with us in requesting that the parents don't send nuts and nut by-products and thus reducing the risk but by not "mandating" a nut free classroom we all have to be on our toes about handwashing and more. (The classroom has no sink so they use buckets of soapy water communal style. (I have told them I'd supply antibacterial wipes for the kids to use for their hands and for washing down the tables. [/b]

Ok, I know this is silly, but why can't they just go to the bathroom to wash their hands?

OMG...microbiology nightmare!...a communal soapy bucket for handwashing.
[i]E. coli[/i] 0157 is a known pathogen spread even after communal handwashing at petting farms (can't find the CDC citation right now).

And this would only *increase* the chances of your son getting a contact reaction to peanut if other kids had this on their hands from breakfast/lunch.

I see that you are in California; a state known for regulating almost everything! I know they have a school-handwashing-facility reg. somewhere. Know anybody in construction (contractor/commercial builder)?

FYI: Even small businesses with no running water are required to have adequate handwashing facilities. It usually consists of a big carboy jug with a spigot(faucet) filled with water under which a catch-basin(bucket) is placed. But you *always* wash with [b]running water[/b].

>>Sorry for the rant...I just see visions of flu season/giardia/crypto outbreaks in the headlines coming from your school.<<<

Daisy

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sat, 08-26-06, 00:10

I will look into the laws about that. There is a sink next door (next classroom) where they sometimes send the kids to wash up (for instance if that class isn't in their room or if they're on "free time" or whatever.) Or they send them to the bathroom down the hall. However for convenience they've decided to use the buckets. They have one w/soapy water and one with "clear water". The kids swish their hands in the soapy and rinse in the "clear". Btw, there are no paper towels! The teacher said she also uses those buckets for when the kids do art (paint) so that they can wash their hands. She told me she changes the water 3 times per day. Reece's Allergist already made it clear that my son isn't to use those buckets and he had me buy my son some wipes which I did. However, I did find that my son went and got a sponge and dipped it in the bucket to help clean up the tables today, argh! (They have several sponges in the water buckets for cleaning the tables)

Man, the more I think about it all the more upset I get.

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By Daisy on Sat, 08-26-06, 00:43

I can understand why this makes you sooo upset! It's upsetting to me just from a communicable disease standpoint...not to mention the whole allergy thing. DUH!

Here is a national standard guideline for hand washing in schools.
[url="http://www.nationalguidelines.org/guideline_print.cfm?chapter=physical"]http://www.nationalguidelines.org/guideline_print.cfm?chapter=physical[/url]

[quote} To help prevent disease transmission, health services staff should educate students and staff on the importance of hand washing after nose-wiping, before preparing foods, before eating, and after using the toilet.

Schools should be equipped with adequate facilities and supplies. Adequate facilities for hand washing include warm water, soap, waste receptacles, and posted signs to instruct on hand washing technique. Schools with automatic shutoff water faucets should ensure that water runs for at least 30 seconds to provide adequate time for effective hand washing. Soap dispensers and towel dispensers should be checked daily or more often to be certain they are replenished and functioning.

Waterless hand cleaner should be used when running water is not available, but not to replace soap and water when running water is available. [/quote]

From reading this guideline, it sounds like the practice of a "communal wash bucket" is not allowed.

Try calling your California Public Health Infection Control Nurse. Perhaps they could do an inservice on infection control, and help you out from the allergy angle, too! It never hurts to pull out all the stops when you're trying to get accomodations.

Just sounds like an all-around health hazard!

Daisy

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By Munchkin's Mom on Sat, 08-26-06, 01:45

I just want to throw out something here regarding peanut/nut free classrooms. How many people have been told that it can't be done because (a) it's not fair to the other children or (b) there is no way to enforce it or (c) we don't have the right to tell parents what food to send for their own children?

Well, our son's teacher is anaphylactic to nuts and peanuts. She reacts to minute traces. She doesn't even bother sending home a letter at the beginning of the school year. She just lays down the rules with the parents and kids on the first day of school. Anyone eating food with any sort of nuts/peanuts in it has to eat in the hallway, and wash thouroghly before reentering the classroom. The kids don't bat an eye, they just comply. I have yet to hear a single parent complain. DS has been there for two years now with absolutely no reactions at all of any kind.

I honestly believe that there haven't been any complaints or problems because the school just lays it down as the "law". It's not open for interpretation or discussion - that's just how it is. And they don't send letters out before school starts. As much as I wish it would be a good thing, it tends to backfire in that there is always some nincompoop who decides the letter is some sort of battle cry. Maybe once school starts they have less time to make war plans.

It is important for the school to take the lead in such matters and not make you responsible in any way. It's not up to you - it is their responsibility.

Oh, and about the communal bucket - EWWWWW!!!

Lori

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By Daisy on Sat, 08-26-06, 01:59

Here is a California reference...they can't say it isn't possible to "mandate" a peanut-free school/classroom.

And it mentions the handwashing issue, too.

________________________________________________________________________________________

In response to kindergartner

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By Gail W on Sat, 08-26-06, 03:00

Quote:Originally posted by Daisy:
[b]Try calling your California Public Health Infection Control Nurse. [/b]

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img] I like.

Surely a 'communal bucket' must violate some health code/law. Like someone said, I could really see this making the local news. How could other parents [i]not [/i]be enraged by this? I'd be furious if my kid was 'cleaning' her hands in someone else's filth. It would be such a shame if this stupid communal bucket idea was in any way linked with food allergies and your child.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sat, 08-26-06, 18:26

Thank you all for your replies, suggestions and links. I am reading them all and copying the articles too.

I will be contacting someone (dept of health) about the water buckets and about the kids' individual water cups sitting on the stand out in the open all week long. That's just nasty.

I have been researching a lot and I believe they're feeding me a line of bs about not being able to make the classroom nut-free. I'm worried about contamination issues and making the class nut-free really reduces those risks, obviously. I mean I already saw a parent roll her eyes when she got the note requesting they don't send nut products. All this note does is ask them but leaves it up to them to decide. Well, that isn't very comforting to me. Anyway, I'm rambling but I do thank you all for your help!

Tracy

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By Greenlady on Sun, 08-27-06, 01:07

I hope this doesn't sound too obnoxious, but I would recommend that your research includes research into other schooling options. I know that some PA members have had good luck winning over initially reluctant school administrations, but frankly these people sound just plain loopy.

You child is owed a safe environment, but there are times when it's not worth the fight. Make sure you know your plan of retreat just in case!

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sun, 08-27-06, 03:45

I called another school district on Friday and asked questions. I was told the school nurse is on campus M-F and that I could call on Monday. (The nurse for my childrens' current school isn't even known yet and she only comes around once in a blue moon). Anyway, I asked what the protocol was for a situation such as this and she said that the school nurse works very closely with the doctor and does what is recommended per the child's health situation.

I am calling Monday for sure. I hate thinking about changing schools but if I have to in order to keep my ds safe I will. My daughter loves the school and is quite shy so I hate thinking about pulling her. But I also hate the idea of them going to different schools, argh!

My son told me this evening that he used someone's water cup!!! ARGH!!! They have all the kids bring in cups from home and they set them on the shelf w/the big water bottle so that the kids can get drinks all week long. Ok, that's just gross (and yes I bought my son paper cups) but my son said "I want to drink from cups like the other kids!". Oy!

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By McCobbre on Sun, 08-27-06, 04:28

Your DS may not like this, but I'd go for a water bottle that is brought from home each day. I'd worry about xcontam from the spiggot.

And I agree with everyone else. No need to be redundant. Glad you're looking into other school options.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sun, 08-27-06, 05:17

Oh wow I didn't even think of that! Thanks!! Yes, I can see that could happen (the spiggot getting contaminated). Wow, thanks! I thought about the bottles but then realized he can't open them. Hmm.. maybe a sports type bottle? Thanks!

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By MommaBear on Sun, 08-27-06, 15:37

what Gail W said. except make mine: "ef'n" ****". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

(Gail said it with way more class, but you know what they say about desperate times. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img])

communal bucket? I'd insist on watching the staff use the same buckets. But hey, that's just me. Sounds like they're down to their last brain cell *and* shred of decency.

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By Christabelle on Mon, 08-28-06, 00:20

What scares me about what you describe --- the community bucket, backwards ideas about mandating things and unclean drinking cups are just what you know about. I'd be very worried about what other brainy things they did that I didn't know about. These ignorant freaks are charged w/ educating your child. I would run, not walk, from this school!

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By MommaBear on Mon, 08-28-06, 00:27

Quote:Originally posted by Christabelle:
[b]These ignorant freaks [/b]

excellent choice of words.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Mon, 08-28-06, 01:12

I am feeling like running but man it's so stressful. My dd who's in 2nd grade is so happy there and she's shy and moving her would be so hard on her. It's a small charter school and there's only one grade level per class and she's so close to her friend, wah! I know I will do it if it's the only way to keep my son safe but still it's hard.

It's funny you all think they're backwards, lol! They think they're "earth mothers" and that they're doing right by nature. When my dd started Kindy there a child spilled water (or something, can't remember) and I asked "Where are the paper towels?" and another mom rolled her eyes at me and said "We don't use paper here!!" and pointed to a sorry pile of yucky rags, ugh! Yes, that was a red light for me, oy!

Anyway *deep sigh* I've got some calls to make tomorrow that's for sure.

Keep the advice and suggestions coming, please ((( HUGS )))

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By MommaBear on Mon, 08-28-06, 01:24

Quote:Originally posted by ~*Trace*~:
[b]I am feeling like running but man it's so stressful. My dd who's in 2nd grade is so happy there and she's shy and moving her would be so hard on her. It's a small charter school and there's only one grade level per class and she's so close to her friend, wah! I know I will do it if it's the only way to keep my son safe but still it's hard.

It's funny you all think they're backwards, lol! They think they're "earth mothers" and that they're doing right by nature. When my dd started Kindy there a child spilled water (or something, can't remember) and I asked "Where are the paper towels?" and another mom rolled her eyes at me and said "We don't use paper here!!" and pointed to a sorry pile of yucky rags, ugh! Yes, that was a red light for me, oy!

[/b]

[i]better living through wood pulp.[/i] I'm trying hard not to think of their bathrooms. . . corn cobbs do not agree with my constitution.

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By ~*Trace*~ on Mon, 08-28-06, 06:27

Well, they do have tp and papertowels in the bathroom, lol! (Amazing, huh?! LOL!)

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By ajas_folks on Mon, 08-28-06, 13:28

OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!

After reading about the shared buckets & the rags, I simply
[i] must go wash my hands [/i]!!!

Red flags are waving all over here, but it's your call.

~Elizabeth

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By ~*Trace*~ on Mon, 08-28-06, 23:40

I called the dept of public health (environmental health here) and I was told that schools basically govern themselves through the school board *shock*. She said that she'd love to do something about the bucket of water and the cups (sitting out all week) but legally she can't unless/until there's a public health outbreak!! She advised me to find a new school, argh!

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By Going Nuts on Tue, 08-29-06, 01:34

Communal water buckets? Pile of festering rags? Ecchhh!!! Sounds completely, totally unsanitary.

PA aside, this sounds like a [b]germfest[/b] waiting to happen.

Amy

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By ~*Trace*~ on Tue, 08-29-06, 05:03

Well, I'm just outraged! When I picked my son up at the school's after school class the aid told me my son was sleeping. She said he was acting weird and when she was washing his hands he cried saying it hurt and was crying for me. She said "He must have a paper cut or something". I asked her if she checked for one and she said no. I asked because for my son that is very unusual behavior. I also asked her if she tried calling my cell and she said no. (wth??)I was thinking maybe he was having an allergic reaction to the soap. Anyway, she said he had been acting weird and then said he was tired so he fell asleep. When I went to wake him his eyes fluttered and then he went back to sleep. When I finally got him awake he said "I don't feel so well, I need to barf!" so I ran him into the bathroom where he vomitted several times. He was also complaining of a bad headache. (Which he never gets or complains about). So, on the way home he kept crying saying his head hurt and that he was going to barf. I got him home and gave him Tylenol and he slept for awhile. He woke up saying he had to barf and that his head hurt. He didn't vomit again but kept saying he felt like he was going to.I was asking him questions like "did you eat someone's food" and etc. and he said no but "I fell at school on the way in to *insert name of after school program here*. Our doctor had me take him to the ER. He has a concussion!
How can I trust these people to react to an allergic reaction if they don't even notice a fall or a concussion? She thought he was acting weird cuz he had a papercut!!

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By Daisy on Tue, 08-29-06, 05:22

Oh, your poor son! Sorry he had such a rotten day. And it must have been some kind of fall to cause a concussion!

Do they not even document this? Good heavens! I used to get a "boo-boo" report for DD in preschool if she did get a papercut. Just a little note if they scraped their knee on the playground.

Hope you get some sleep tonight,
Daisy

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By Momcat on Tue, 08-29-06, 05:58

Incredible! I would start looking for another place for him as soon as possible. Trust your instincts! These people are not watching out for your son.

Cathy

------------------
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 1/2 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

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By Lam on Tue, 08-29-06, 12:09

I'd have to agree with Momcat. I'd be looking to get out of there ASAP.

I'd think your DD would understand the importance of keeping your DS safe. You'd do the same for her.

How's your son feeling today? I'm so sorry he had to go through all that - and you, too!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

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By Gail W on Tue, 08-29-06, 12:32

How frightening! I'm sure you're just beside yourself in anger and frustration.

How is your DS today?

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By Corvallis Mom on Tue, 08-29-06, 16:48

How awful!!! Is your son going to be okay?

Wow. I cannot fathom that they didn't even call you. Even if they don't know what is wrong, such behavior in a young child is a HUGE red flag that there is a major medical problem, you know?? (DD had sudden similar symptoms with pneumonia once.... and you can bet that we were called pronto and they had someone sitting with her one-on-one until we got there 20 minutes later...)

Completely aside from the allergy issues, this really doesn't sound like a safe environment for ANY child. I hope that you will report this to someone who has oversight over the school. (Before something worse happens-- to anyone's child.)

PS-- If you like the instructional elements of the program, have you checked into Montessori or Waldorf options in your area?

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By that'smetrying on Tue, 08-29-06, 22:05

They had an unconscious child and didn't call 911??? Was the after school program seperate from the school? You need to call the superintendent of the district and maybe a lawyer too. This is so scary...I hope your son is ok.

What school is this? I ask because I am in CA. In our district if a kid sneezes they send him to the nurse and a note is sent home at the very least!

------------------
mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (9), mild excema

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By ~*Trace*~ on Wed, 08-30-06, 04:27

He never lost consciousness (sp) but he did "act funny". I talked to another aid today who also told me she thought he was "acting funny" and said he came in and sat in the tent and didn't want to talk or anyone near him [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

My son was able to show me what happened today. (I took him with me to pick up my dd). He was able to tell me and show me whereas yesterday he wasn't.

Anyway, he was walking in the door behind the teacher and the other kids and the door closed on him when he was partway in and it hit him on the head and knocked him down [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] The door is super heavy.

Soon after that they washed his hands and that's when he started crying for me so the one aid went upstairs to see if I was still there. (No, they didn't call, grrr! Even though I told them to call for ANYTHING). Anyway, they washed his hands and he was "still acting funny" but they thought he was just tired. He then acted sleepy and kept saying he was tired so they got him settled on the little bed. The teacher asked him if he wanted a story or his lovey and he said no. So, he slept till I picked him up. When I woke him his eyes fluttered and he went back to sleep and then I woke him up again and he said he wasn't feeling well and that he had to barf. He vomitted several times and then complained that his head hurt. Walking out to the car he said his leg hurt too. (His Kindy teacher was outside and saw him and asked "what is wrong with him??" she could tell he looked totally unlike himself. In the car he kept saying he had to barf and that his head hurt and he kept trying to fall asleep. I got him home and gave him Tylenol and he fell asleep. WHen he woke up he said he felt like he had to barf and that his head hurt. Once I got him settled again I asked him if he touched anyone's food or anything and he said no that "the only thing that happened was that I fell at school and hit my head". He said he didn't tell the teacher [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] So, I called his doctor who had me take him to the ER where he had a scan (ct/cat? same thing? anyway he went in that circle thing but not a tube). He has a concussion. He stayed home today and did pretty well but he's still not acting totally himself. He tires easily and isn't eating much at all.

I did have a LONG talk with the school director and she in fact was there when my ds and I were when my ds was telling me exactly what happened.

The director spoke with the afterschool teachers and told them that they messed up by not calling me and she instructed them to call me NO MATTER WHAT.

I told her I was worried that he could be perceived as "acting funny" by 3 different people but not one called me. What if he were having an allergic reaction??

In speaking w/the afterschool care teachers I can sort of understand what happened and the sequence of events, I guess. They just thought he was wiped out from school and they had no idea he bumped his head. He didn't vomit till I woke him up.

I have been assured that I will be called for anything and everything and the school director has been having meetings with the entire staff about Reece's special medical needs and etc.

I am feeling more confident about some things but still ...... my dh and I are talking about looking into another school. We have a school right across the street from us actually. (Right now the kids go to a charter school up the road).

I'm really torn because I do see that they are doing a lot and supporting us and watching out for Reece but in the same sense I wonder if it's enough.

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By CVB in CA on Wed, 08-30-06, 04:36

Charter schools in California are not exempt from 504. They are exempt from some school regulations, but not as many as this one seems to think. The parents and staff at this school are not exhibiting good judgement about basic sanitation, cannot recognize when a parent should be contacted, and let a potentially serious injury go untreated. I know there are not a lot of options up where you live, but run, do not walk, away from this school for your PA child. And think hard about the other child.
This could be very difficult with a tight group in a small town type area. These folks are already predisposed to feel they are doing not only the right thing, but the better thing. So just do the best you can and don't burn any of those small town bridges behind you as you walk out the door.

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By Daisy on Wed, 08-30-06, 23:28

Trace,

So sorry to hear about this incident. Is your dear son ok today?

Take care,
Daisy

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By ~*Trace*~ on Thu, 08-31-06, 06:33

Thank you for asking ((( HUGS ))) Yes, he's ok. He went to school today and had a great day. He told me his day was "GREAT"!~

I did get a call from the school though because my first grade got some hay in her eye. They helped her and by the time I got there she was fine and in art class.

Things are looking up!!

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By mcmom on Sat, 09-02-06, 05:32

Quote:I'm really torn because I do see that they are doing a lot and supporting us and watching out for Reece

I have to be honest, I don't see that from what you have told us at all. I don't mean to sound harsh, but what you have posted about the school scares the **** out of me. I would pull my kid out of that school immediately.

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By ryan's mom on Sat, 09-02-06, 12:12

I am guilty of not reading the entire thread and am only responding to the title.

If an administrator told me that a peanut-free classroom is "illegal" and trampling the rights of others (or something to that effect), the my request (make that a "militant" demand LOL) would be to make the classroom a food-free one. Eating can be done elsewhere, no ifs, ands, or buts. That would be my second alternative.

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By Gail W on Sat, 09-02-06, 13:05

Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]. . . . (make that a "militant" demand LOL) . . .[/b]

[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sat, 09-02-06, 18:00

I haven't been posting updates to everything so I can understand your perception.

I did make calls and did find out it indeed is against the law to mandate the room nut free. The school is a small charter school with no cafeteria and thus the problems. HOWEVER, the classroom is "nut free". We posted signs and let the parents of the other Kindergarteners know. Also, just for safety my ds has his own desk for snack time (again with a poster on it deaming it "nut free") which is pushed up to the one of the classes tables so he's not eating alone. The teacher sits at that table and makes absolutely sure there are no nuts of any form at that table. Plus, the kids have been being taught about nuts and etc.

Also, we are having the kids wash their hands first thing in the morning and after snack too and I bought stuff for the teacher to wash down all the tables with.

As far as allowing them to use my ds' name I did allow that. This is a very small school within a very tight community. I wanted to make sure all the kids and teachers knew not to have nuts around my ds.

Oh, the school director went through all the classrooms (one class per grade level) and spoke with all the teachers and aids and removed the nuts from the classrooms and from the teacher's kitchen. Also, all the teachers and aids are in training regarding nut allergies and epi pen use and etc.

The buckets of soapy water are gone now too [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

My son's medical bag (epi pens, inhaler and benadryl) go everywhere with him.

Oh believe me, I have been militant [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

They ALL know who I am and I'm a very strong presence [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By Momcat on Sat, 09-02-06, 19:07

Tracy,

It's sounds like you're really whipping them into shape [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Just curious, who told you it's illegal to ban nuts from the classroom?

Cathy

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By ~*Trace*~ on Sat, 09-02-06, 19:57

I was told they could ask (in a foceful way) but they couldn't lawfully mandate it. I was told this by the school director, the school admin for the district, the other school district's health nurse and the dept. of environmental health here in CA. The fact the school has no cafeteria seems to be the sicky point.

Basically the classroom is nut free though. I am getting things in order to file the 504 though [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By stephi13339 on Thu, 09-14-06, 15:20

I was doing some research and came across this on The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website. I remembered this thread, hope it helps you.

[url="http://www.aaaai.org/AADMC/ate/foodallergy.html"]http://www.aaaai.org/AADMC/ate/foodallergy.html[/url]

Quote:10/6/05 re: Prevention of transfer of peanut allergen
Q: I am a pediatric emergency medicine physician. My children's elementary school has a few severely peanut allergic children. As a result, the school has banned all peanut products, and is now requiring all 1st and 2nd grade children to dip their hands in a bucket of warm soapy water between snack/lunch and going out onto the playground, in an effort to be sure no peanut residue will be on playground equipment. The children are not actually washing their hands - they are merely dipping them into a bucket. Since only 2 buckets are prepared for 200 children, I am concerned about the hygiene involved, and the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Do you know of any scientific evidence to show that dipping your hands into soapy water (and air drying, not wiping them off with a towel) effectively removes peanut allergen? If a child ate some contraband peanuts and did not dip his/her hands, what is the likelihood of sufficient peanut residue to cause an anaphylactic reaction in a severely allergic child being transmitted via playground equipment? Are there any studies that address these issues?

If the school insists on this policy, a group of parent/health professionals planned to suggest individual wipes (although this will be expensive and create a lot of trash each day). I know from the Johns Hopkins study that running water alone or alcohol based antibacterial rubs don't seem to remove allergen.

A: To respond to your questions, I referred them to Dr. Scott Sicherer of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York . Dr. Sicherer is one of the leading experts in food allergy in the world, with a particular interest and experience in peanut allergy. His very rapid, detailed and thoughtful response is enclosed below.

"The scenario and questions posed by Dr. Young raise a variety of questions about how best to manage food allergy in the school setting. The issue at hand, no pun intended, is about hand cleaning. Dr. Young is aware of a study from Johns Hopkins (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004 May;113(5):973-6.) that assessed the presence of peanut allergen in school settings and also evaluated various methods of hand washing and table cleaning in regard to removal of peanut allergen. Indeed, dipping hands in a bucket of water was not tested. Although the study identified a variety of useful means to clean hands purposely contaminated with a teaspoon of peanut butter (e.g., washing with soap and water or commercial wipes worked but water alone or hand sanitizer did not) it should be appreciated that this was a study of adult volunteers, not schoolchildren. Without performing an actual study, it is difficult to comment on the efficiency of dipping hands in a bucket; again, no one has studied the efficiency of hand washing in the usual way for young children. For that matter, we do not know how efficient small children are at cleaning hands by any means. I would share Dr. Young's concern that the untested modality suggested, a dip bucket, would likely pose additional concerns. Aside from the issue of having 200 children dip hands in a bucket leading to spreading bacteria (without towels I can envision children licking the water from their hands!), has the school considered that they already banned peanut and it may be likely that the egg, milk, soy, fish and wheat allergens on the children's hands would now be in the bucket and find their way to children who may have those allergies?

The original question and my counter-example of an allergen-contaminated bucket of water must also be considered in the context of what is needed in a particular school, for a particular child or children. There are many solutions and procedures to providing a safe school environment and some actions may vary depending upon the children's ages and behaviors, type of supervision at a school, types of allergies, child's temperament, etc.

The additional question is about food being transferred on playground equipment and causing anaphylaxis. I am not aware of specific studies on this subject (and it is not likely that any study could 100% rule out the possibility). However, we took 30 highly peanut allergic children and had them sniff peanut butter for 10 minutes and rubbed a pea sized amount of peanut butter on their skin (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Jul;112(1):180-2). None reacted to sniffing peanut (an oily substance-the story would likely be different for peanut flour) and only a third had localized skin symptoms, at the touch site only, during the peanut touch. These data, combined with the general experiences of allergist who perform allergy skin tested to peanut and do not routinely cause anaphylaxis from that procedure, would argue that casual skin exposure to peanut butter (excluding intimate kissing), is not likely to cause a severe reaction (again, it is hard for a study to provide a 100% guarantee that this is not an issue for someone). However, it is fairly clear that even a small amount ingested can induce a severe reaction so the question becomes: will the food be transferred into the mouth? Thus, emphasis in schools has been for strict no food sharing (also no utensil sharing or straws, etc) and age-appropriate additional avoidance measures (allergen free-tables, routine cleaning, etc as deemed appropriate). Perhaps cleaning a young, peanut-allergic child's hands and encouraging the child not to lick fingers is another solution (also not studied).

In regard to expected symptoms from touching the food, my bias is that it depends upon the intactness of the skin (e.g., atopic dermatitis) and amount of exposure. For example, small exposures to the eye may lead to significant eye swelling (in our study mentioned above we rubbed intact skin with peanut butter, not the eye). In this regard, food allergens other than peanut, milk for example, may be more likely to splash and cause problems. I would suppose that pollen allergens significantly outweigh food allergens as an issue of concern in regard to casual exposures causing allergic symptoms in a playground setting. In the pollen season I advise my patients who are playing outside to keep their hands out of their eyes and face and wash upon arrival at home.

There are many suggestions available for managing food allergy at school, child care, camps etc, in programs from the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url]). Avoidance is only one component of a complete food allergy care plan. I may also suggest a book that was just released

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