I am not sending in safe treats......

394 replies [Last post]
By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:12

.... and I'll tell you why.

I got to thinking about this....A LOT. My older son, PA/TNA, is entering 3rd grade. My younger son, EA, is entering kindergarten. I can't go into detail about what is going on with us & our school, but one thing I've been thinking about, and need input on, is the safe treat idea.

Here is what I figure. If I send in safe treats for both my sons, it gives them an out for excluding them. The teacher, the school, the parents..... they all don't have to worry, feel guilty, care, etc., as long as we give them an out. Now, I'm sure I can bribe my boys into not caring about getting some piece of junky sugarness from their classmates, but if the school allows a student to be excluded in their classroom...... FA's aside..... isn't there something illegal about that? Are schools allowed to celebrate Christmas, excluding their classmates that might have other faiths? Why would they be able to exclude a student, through something that isn't even and educational requirement, or necessary to their education in the classroom?

I feel that their teachers should have to look at my children, while they sit there, not being able to partake in what they allow to come through their doors. I also feel that the parents & students who want to bring in unsafe foods should also have to look at my children. They all should know that they are knowingly excluding my children. Sending in a safe treat already sets them apart. They won't be getting the same thing, or be able to be part of the so called sharing that people want to do when they bring in junk food. So why should I make it easier for them?

How many times do my children have to be excluded..... and in an "in your face way".....before their teachers and parents/students care enough to include them?

{PS. -- some of you know that I'm breaking my exile here, and only here, but I need input, opinions, legal thoughts.......}

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By Sarahb on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:30

Interesting.

My first thought is that they will think that you are a mean and bad mom.

My second thought is what is the acceptable solution for you? Not being sure of your comfort zone...for me I can't really come up with an acceptable solution that doesn't include me providing all the snacks for all the kids...but that's just me. Would you want other parents to call manufacturers? Do you trust other parents to feed your kids?

Or would it just be an end to treats/snacks at school?

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By mom of L&C on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:32

You know I have never thought of it that way. By not sending safe treats for your child then the others cannot have treats because my child would then be excluded.

I am so green when it comes to all of this. I have spent the last 6 years with my first child trying to figure what he was allergic to and how to keep him safe. It never occured to me that while I was educating my child about his food allergies, that I should have been trying to figure out a way to keep him safe at school. Preschool was a 2 day a week deal and they became nut free when he started. But the public school system is in the "kid business" so therefore I thought they would watch over my child. Boy was I mistaken.

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#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

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#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

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By mom of L&C on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:43

I forgot to say though, I DO provide safe snacks and treats for my son. I also provide his lunch. I keep an extra stash of safe snacks and treats in his classroom. I do not want my child to feel completely excluded. My son knows what he cannot have, and he thinks what I send him is cool. I do not trust anyone to feed my child either so therefore I provide everything for him!

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#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

__________________

#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:43

[b]My second thought is what is the acceptable solution for you?[/b]

My acceptable solution is the following:

1) Prepackaged, individually wrapped food items, with full ingredient list/allergen warnings.

2) No Peanuts/Treenuts for my one son, No Eggs for the other. No "manufactured in" "made in facility"...etc.

3) My sons still would only be able to eat foods fitting that standard if DH or I had expressly allowed them. But at least they'd be safe for the classrooms, and keep the classrooms safe for my children.

For those that think that limits what is out there..... look next time you are at the store. There are so many individual things out there now, that availability and convenience is a weak argument. My kids just scarfed down little individual bags of apple slices with caramel dip yesterday. They would have fit the criteria too -- for both kids -- and for many Wellness Policies.

And, being thought of as a mean Mom could just be added to the list of what I'm sure they think of me already. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 16:51

[b]Do you trust other parents to feed your kids?[/b]

Forgot to answer this. NOT A CHANCE.

But the first hurdle is to get the parents & teacher to realize providing safe foods (if they MUST bring it in) is essential. If not for safety, than at least to not exclude. The schools might have a hard time justifying excluding a student flat out with something that isn't necessary to their education, than fighting about making a classroom safe based on FA's and not killing a kid. I think flat out exclusion would get their attention. Especially if birthday treats,and the like, could be passed out in the hall, at someone's BIRTHDAY PARTY AT HOME.... or just not in the classroom.

After they figure that excluding a child, in their own school, in their own classroom, is a jerky thing to do, then maybe they'd ask what they could do.... and then you hand them the criteria.

It could be just my school, but the desperation with which some of these Moms need to send in a cupcake is near fever pitch. I think they'd come close to selling the family dog if their child couldn't bring in a birthday treat. And what teacher is worth their salt if they would knowingly let a student of theirs be blantently excluded right under their eyes..... and is that worth something on the legal end of things?

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By April in KC on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:10

Hi gvmom, I can appreciate where you're coming from with this. If you and I shared a school, though, I don't think I could take the same approach with my child's PA and Celiac Disease, which currently requires avoidance of milk and soy as well, per GI's instructions. [And so far, accidental glutenings have been much harder to avoid than accidental peanut exposures.] If I took the same policy in your school, it would probably begin to encroach on the foods your kids could eat, KWIM? Your apples would work for me, but the dip probably would not - many of them contain skim milk or other dairy.

So it depends on whether you're willing to extend the same approach and mindset to other children's allergies, should those children enter your school. Maybe "just fruit and veggies" / no crackers, etc., would work. But maybe that becomes more restrictive than you had in mind.

It might be helpful to think about how you would approach your school if your child also had milk or wheat allergy, in addition to PA and EA? Or MFA?

I'm not trying to kill what might be a great idea for you and your school, but I'm just trying to provide some extra food for thought as you figure out what precedent you want to set for the way food allergies are handled in your school.

Best wishes - April

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:25

[b]So it depends on whether you're willing to extend the same approach and mindset to other children's allergies, should those children enter your school. Maybe "just fruit and veggies" / no crackers, etc., would work. But maybe that becomes more restrictive than you had in mind.[/b]

Me personally, I'm not sending in food for birthdays this year. Last year for my son I sent goody bags, with pencils & such, that had a prepackaged, individually wrapped, with ingredients, Rice Krispie Treat.

Had there been a child who could not have eaten something in those ingredients, that would have made the classroom unsafe for them, I would have eliminated the Rice Krispie Treat entirely. Which, again, I will do this year. But also, let's say another parent hasn't told the other parents about their childs food related issues, and the teacher hasn't said anything, having something that the child could take home because of the packaging, and run past their parent before eating, would be do-able. Also, in the case of FA's, 504's, etc., having the item, with ingredient listing/allergen warnings, lets you know if the school is followiing up on what they are supposed to do, in addition to allowing those students who do read, whose parents do trust them to decide, to be able to read the contents for themselves..... as a second check, so to speak, for food safety.

We wouldn't let our kids eat things without our looking at the foods, but some other parents may let their child who is in 5th grade, or older, do so.

I know that in 1st grade, the only check for food safety that the teacher did was to ask the parent dropping the food off was, "Does it have nuts?" If they said no, that was good enough for her. Would that be good enough for me..... no way.

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:35

[b]If I took the same policy in your school, it would probably begin to encroach on the foods your kids could eat, KWIM? Your apples would work for me, but the dip probably would not - many of them contain skim milk or other dairy.[/b]

I meant to answer this too. Sorry.

If you took the same policy, if your child and mine were in the same class, I'd call you to see what suggestions you had that could be safe. You know why? Because I wouldn't want any child to be excluded. I'd call, if sending food in was that important, because it is supposed to be about sharing right? I'd want all children to be part of it.... including those that had dietary needs.... no matter what they were.

About my example, I know that the little bags of apples also come without the caramel. So, if it were my intent to send apples, I'd omit the bags with caramel.

My thought is that if the teachers/parent/students actually visually see that their actions are excluding a child, maybe they would be more likely to call the parents and find a way to include the child.

By sending in unsafe foods, with a safe treat getting handed to our kids, the fact that they are excluded is glossed over.

Seeing a child, sitting at their desk, empty handed, waiting..... doing nothing... while kids around them eat junk.... well, it may seem just as mean as I am by not sending something in.

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By ajas_folks on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:36

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]
It could be just my school, but the desperation with which some of these Moms need to send in a cupcake is near fever pitch. I think they'd come close to selling the family dog if their child couldn't bring in a birthday treat. And what teacher is worth their salt if they would knowingly let a student of theirs be blantently excluded right under their eyes..... and is that worth something on the legal end of things? [/b]

It's not just your school, it's our school too -- 3000 miles away from yours.

In fact, I wouldn't put it past one parent here to send in a cake decorated with peanuts-in-the-shell & the word [i] Entitled [/i] done in pb icing. I'm really NOT kidding.

Honestly, I think you're on to something here & so far as all food allergies & all kids' bonafide medical needs would be accomodated in a non-exclusionary way, then I see this as a real solution.

And IF there would have to be an exclusion that cannot be successfully, safely, satisfactorily worked around, then NO FOOD PERIOD.

Period.

[b] Period. [/b]

~Elizabeth, my .02-worth.

PS -- Exile-schmexile. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By lilpig99 on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:47

Yes, gvmom, I know exactly what you are saying. I have been thinking about how on earth I am going to manage my DD's classmates 17 birthdays this year along with holiday parties. The 'sure, just send in something safe, a safe snack bag, something OK for her' provides safety, but not inclusion in anyway shape or form

So legally, what does a 504 give us in the way of inclusion? I know it provides equal [i]access[/i] to the same opportunities in the least restrictive way. But I'm not sure about in the least [i]emotionally stressful[/i] way for a child. KWIM? No, I agree with you, as I see my kids constantly being the one to be left out of every blessed thing. I always return my thoughts to a food free classroom ...a place where all kids experience the same food status....NONE. No food, no allergy issue.

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By lilpig99 on Sat, 08-11-07, 17:50

I know there are starting to be some studies about the emotional impact of food allergies on children. I'll have to look for one.

Will the next step be a visit to the child psychologist? Seriously, think about it. We're talking about emotional well being here. I know darn well that my child *must* experience some unpleasant feelings over not getting the same things as all of the rest of her class....being the *only one*, essentially ostracised (sp).

edited to add this article abstract...

[url="http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpsoc/bjhp/pre-prints/266553"]http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpsoc/bjhp/pre-prints/266553[/url]

[i]Can illness perceptions and coping predict psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers?

Author: R. C. Knibb and S. L. Horton
Source: British Journal of Health Psychology
Publisher: British Psychological Society
Abstract:

Objective: The aim of the present study was to measure the extent to which illness perceptions and coping strategies are associated with the levels of psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers.Design and methodOne hundred and fifty-six allergy sufferers (all members of Allergy U.K.) completed a postal survey consisting of the Revised Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ-R) and the COPE. Psychological distress was measured using the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).ResultsMultiple regression analyses indicated that illness perceptions explained between 6 and 26% of variance on measures of psychological distress, coping strategies explained between 12 and 25%. A strong illness identity and emotional representations of the allergy were associated with higher levels of psychological distress, as were less adaptive coping strategies such as focusing on and venting of emotions. Strong personal control beliefs were associated with the lower levels of distress, as were adaptive coping strategies such as positive reinterpretation and growth. Coping partially mediated the link between the illness perceptions and the outcome; however, illness identity, emotional representations and personal control retained an independent significant association with psychological distress. Conclusion: The findings support a role for illness perceptions and coping in explaining levels of psychological distress amongst allergy sufferers.[b]This has implications for targeted health interventions aimed at reducing the strength of illness identity and emotional representations and increasing a sense of control and the use of more adaptive coping strategies.[/b][/i] emphasis mine

I would think that a food free classroom would reduce the strength of illness identity.

[This message has been edited by lilpig99 (edited August 11, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by lilpig99 (edited August 11, 2007).]

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By Lori Jo on Sat, 08-11-07, 18:31

I can seriously see your point, but I don't think I would do it myself for the following reasons.

1. I would not be willing to make my child the pointy end of the spear, as it were. PA dd is starting K this year, and with that age, I know I wouldn't, but then you are not dealing with that age, I know. I think my fairly mature 3rd grader (no FA's BTW, just using my experience with her age level) would resent being made an example like that, regardless of how much I explained the reasoning. It might make perfect sense at home, but her sitting at an empty desk in the middle of a party I think would feel pretty awful, and all your reasoning would be forgotten.

2. I have NO faith in the teachers and ALL the other parents taking enough pity on a child without food to change their actions. I think they will all assume you are the meany, not them, and will happily, in blissful ignorance, continue to send whatever food they deem good for their child.

In a perfect world, yes, I agree with your plan, but I don't think it would actually work and for my kids, I'd worry I was making them be even more excluded.

I think a PN free/gluten free/food free classroom needs to come from the top of the school, and until the principal or higher decides that it's a priority, it's not going to happen.

Our culture is so rooted in food, these are huge hurdles to overcome.

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Lori Jo,

Rose, 7-31-02, PA
Noah, 7-29-05
Beatrice & Georgia, 8-14-99

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By lilpig99 on Sat, 08-11-07, 18:45

[b]The schools might have a hard time justifying excluding a student flat out with something that isn't necessary to their education,[/b]

I am writing this down...this is a good thought gvmom.

you better stick around [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 18:53

[b]but then you are not dealing with that age,[/b]

I actually am. I have two sons. One is 5, and entering kindergarten. The other is 7 1/2, entering 3rd grade. Both have FA's.

Apart and aside from food allergies though, isn't there something, legally, that would prohibit the exclusion of a child in the classroom?

I mean, it seems that the approach, which centers around parents rights to send in whatever garbage they want, overrules our child's right to life, is a big problem.

If you take a few steps back, and make another point about a larger issue of school sanctioned, teacher sanctioned, exclusion of a student..... isn't there something there that would garner some attention, in a legal sense?

Is it legal for a teacher to knowingly allow exclusion of a child in their classroom..... at all? Is it legal for a school to sanction exclusion of it's students.... at all?

Nothing would prohibit parents from passing out their junk food outside of the classroom, not on my child's time, and not on my tax dollar....... but is it legal to use my child's educational time, my tax dollars, on state property, to exclude him?

I mean, I'm not talking about the illegality of "Separate but Equal".... it is completely separate and excluded. Is that legal? Would it make a Principal or Teacher be more likely to pay attention? Do something?

And, I am glad, lilpig, that you brought up the psychological aspect. Do you think that if those of us brought this in, asked for the school psychologists to evaluate the impact of the school sanctioning exclusion on our children, someone would listen?

I know that personally we are approaching things the way of the 504, but I'd like to add a bigger picture element that transcends the FA's since they seem to be so difficult for these people to get. And if in the mix, there is a larger legal issue that they can't ignore looming over their heads, then so be it.

In fact, I'm gonna have to make a note about the psychologist thing right now.

[b]PS -- Exile-schmexile.[/b]

Well, I like to stick to my word... but I'm on borrowed time right now, and I'm too fried. I thought I could make this one exception since it was schools, and it is important in real life.

edited for spelling

[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited August 11, 2007).]

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By on Sat, 08-11-07, 19:08

gvmom, my son is going into 7th Grade this year, so the treat thing is becoming less and less common, which is a good thing.

He had a "peanut free" classroom, in which he ate, up until Grade 4.

And I must be a mean or bad Mommy as well but here's what I did - maybe even demanded.

If my child could NOT eat the treat (meaning it was unsafe) - it meant it should NOT be in the classroom to begin with so NO CHILD got to eat the treat. If treats were brought in, that were not okay, they had to be given to the other children (still excluding my son kinda) at the end of the day to take home with them.

To me, at that time, NOTHING was going through that door (classroom) if it was not safe for my guy to partake in as well. I did not think about how this would wash with other parents or anything. I never had any repercussions (well Grade 2 and 3 were a bit of a horror show - but an accumulation of stuff, KWIM?) and I don't think my son did either.

I remember him going skating in Grade One with Ron on a field trip and some parent had brought in Tim Horton's Timbits for when the class got back. They were distributed to the kids to take home after.

I don't know if I was really fortunate with Jess in JK, SK, and Grade One, but I had no problem with the teacher (or principal) accepting this.

In Grade 3 (posted about here somewhere no doubt), I checked the food for a Christmas party and there were two things that were "may contain" (at that time I didn't allow "may contains" in the classroom either - although I finally gave up on that due to great advice from members here). I told the teacher that those two treats were not okay to be at the party. She said they were. I said no, they're not and if you allow them to be served, I will pull my son out of school to-day and you will be hearing from the Ontario Human Rights Commission tomorrow.

The substitute (thank heaven it was) principal told her that she had to get the things out of the room. It was in my son's written school plan, at that time, that no "may contains" were allowed in the "peanut free" classroom.

I stayed and used the teachers' kitchen to cut the candy pizza into I don't know how many pieces and whatever the other thing was and bag it all up for the kids to take home.

I know I must sound harsh and horrible, but my stance, at that time, was that if my son couldn't partake, then NO ONE could - and they didn't.

There is no need for the amount of stuff that comes through that classroom door every year - it's this feeling of entitlement or something I've really become aware of (and funny that I've only become aware of it within the last year or so when really, as a PA parent, I *could* have been aware much earlier) - that kids have this big to-do at school on their birthdays and then the big to-do at home as well? I don't get it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img]

I can't explain the "entitlement" thing I'm talking about right now coherently - I know what I want to say, but I don't know how to say it - it has to do with society and this sense of entitlement and what damage I believe it's doing to our children.

After Grade 4, no food was to be eaten in my son's classroom, but, of course, there are parties. In Grade 4, I went in and checked the treats (remembering now that I did allow "may contains"). They were all, for the most part either packaged goods or fruit and veggies.

In Grade 5, I stopped going into the school and physically checking myself. My son is old enough.

Now, there are cupcakes that come into the classroom and I've just basically told Jesse that there are other food choices there - not to have the cupcake; read his labels; whatever.

He has never complained when he couldn't have a cupcake. And that would only have been in the last two years. He's always found enough other junk to fill up on and feel part of the party.

I certainly read here through the years about people sending safe treats in for their children, but NO, I was not going to do that. And I didn't. So, I'm a BAD MOM too. So be it.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Sat, 08-11-07, 19:17

I don't know what the ADA covers. I know when I had to deal with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (in Grade 3, in particular, because the principal didn't even want my kid through the door), anything that I brought to their attention was seen as, not illegal, but a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I would have to think of what things I did bring to their attention.

In Grade 4, with the BENCH situation, I know I dealt with Anaphylaxis Canada (maybe even for Grade 5) and did NOT get the answer I wanted to hear from them at all - they thought the bench was okay if due to limited resources. I can't remember if I contacted the Ontario Human Rights Commission or not and if I did what they had to say. I'd have to check the thread.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Sat, 08-11-07, 19:25

Sorry, trying to brainstorm with a half working brain (only to-day [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] ). I just read the 1st page of one of my bench threads (I think there is more than one) and is this something that could help in any way - ?

DUTY OF CARE

Under Duty of Care, the teacher is acting on behalf of you, the parent. In her/his case they're acting on behalf of say 20 parents. So, as the parent of 20, could they exclude 1 or 2 children and serve 18 other children?

Might be a stretch - I'm not sure.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By gvmom on Sat, 08-11-07, 19:43

I'm kinda working on half a brain too. But you are on the same page as me I think ATM.

The whole notion that isn't there some standard, some legal something, that prohibits exclusion of a child... apart and aside from FA's? Doesn't Duty of Care extend to all children? If there is something that is more of an umbrella protection..... that all children are entitled too... can we tip the scale in our favor. Or at least make them gulp a bit?

By not sending in safe treats, it will make that painfully clear. Yes, I realize there is a cost to my children.... but the remedy is that they be included. And, how do they do that? By following x,y, and z (so to speak). And they do that, not through a debate about FA's, but because it is what they must do for all students.... is that making sense?

And you know, ATM, one of the problems last year is that we had a teacher who said she'd not let stuff in. If it wasn't safe for DS, then it wasn't supposed to be in the class, and nobody got it. She said she'd enforce that part of our 504 to our faces she said it.... and to the principal. And she still let stuff in. The only way I could have stopped the mess of the last year was to have just sat outside the door of the class all day long, every day. And really, the year before that, how I found out about all the stuff being dropped off and let in, was because I was there everyday, throughout the day, picking up and dropping off my son for lunch (since we didn't have a 504 yet that year).

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By TwokidsNJ on Sat, 08-11-07, 19:59

I appreciate where you are coming from and have 2 comments:

1) I also want to get away from baked goods in the classroom, and the resulting exclusion. I have asked my school to consider packaged treats only. Safer for everyone IMO. I have chosen the safety angle...preventing that ONE mistake. I am just worried a substitute teacher will give my kid the treat that comes in the door on the day the sub is there, etc. To me it's a risk because my kids are young (1st/K) and not assertive.

2) The safe treat box is supposedly kind of cool at our school -- it's unique and the other kids sometimes want one too and say "it's not fair" that they don't get one -- LOL. I haven't personally experienced this yet but maybe someday!

3) I wouldn't want my kid to have nothing just to make an adult point about exclusion. I try to keep my kid out of the firing range as much as possible, keep him happy, and focus on education and accomodations behind the scences.

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By mommyofmatt on Sat, 08-11-07, 20:17

I like your take on this. My main concern would be this: would your kids be tempted at all to eat the food if a child feeling bad for them offered to share it? It might be pretty tough for a child to sit there while everyone else was eating and not eat it.

Based on some of the stuff you've posted in the past, I sadly don't think it would stop stuff from coming in. I guess you could always try it and see how it goes...It would be wonderful if basic human decency actually came in the picture and people did the right thing with stickers or pencils or something other than FOOD!

I hope you don't stay in exile...Meg

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By on Sat, 08-11-07, 20:30

I may have gone insane, but I am fairly sure that for the first 5 years my son was in school, I did stop it from happening or if it did happen, the food was taken home with the children after school.

As I say, starting with Grade 5, it was something I let go of - trusting my son to read labels and to refuse the cupcake (but there were other "safe" treats for him to eat).

I have four girls here right now and a son running around with I don't know how many friends buzzing to get in and as I say, I may have gone insane.

I'll try to get back in here later to explain things better.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By ajas_folks on Sat, 08-11-07, 20:56

Firstly, I hereby second lilpig's comment of "you need to stick around". (Hence my exile comment -- this PA community needs your contributions. Truly.)

Secondly, I think that possibly having the child's pediatrician &/or allergy doc include a brief statement within the health-needs-documentation letter to the effect of "additionally, for this child's _________ (name) emotional and psychological well-being, it is important that all events and activities be fully inclusive, and without ostracism, to include food-related activities, should those occur."

How's that?

Word-smith as you like & need.

I personally would want that stipulation and evaluation coming from our personal docs & NOT from the school-sponsored (& "controlled") doc or health rep. KWIM?

~Eliz

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By ajas_folks on Sat, 08-11-07, 21:02

PS -- [b]ATM[/b], it is GREAT to have you posting & sharing your experiences with those who may not have been around here when you were going thru all of the earlier school years & battles. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

~Eliz

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By on Sat, 08-11-07, 23:33

There was an article in the last edition of Allergic Living Magazine [url="http://www.allergicliving.com"]www.allergicliving.com[/url] about the psychological effects of FA's. It was mostly about adults, but could still perhaps be pertinent. When I saw the cover, which advertised this particular article, I thought, thank heaven, research is finally being done about the psychological effects of FA's. I posted the link under Main Discussion (or Media), I believe, but I'm not sure if the article is still available on-line or not.

So, ajas_folks, I think your suggestion was great.

There is commotion again, so I'll try to get back in and post some more later.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

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By The #L Mouser! on Sat, 08-11-07, 23:59

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]Is it legal for a teacher to knowingly allow exclusion of a child in their classroom..... at all? Is it legal for a school to sanction exclusion of it's students.... at all?

[/b]

One example I can think of is a "suspension". "Systematic exclusion contracts" actually plan for exclusion based on one or more reasons.

So, maybe, it hinges on the basis of the exclusion. IEP's have something called a "manifestation determination" in their behavioral discipline policies.

I know you're not referring to behavior policies or problems, but it's the whole idea of how exclusion is sometimes sanctioned (or guarded against).

You might want to look into what is often termed a "pattern of exclusion".

More importantly, something GailW pointed out once that (in so many words) "Least Restrictive Environment" is not something all students enjoy. Rather, it's a privilege granted to those who have the protection of let's say a 504 or an IEP.

I'm not sure "Least Restrictive Environment" actually guarantees a child with a disability will participate in the exact same way as a non-disabled peer, but just in the "Least Restrictive Environment".

Whether he knew it or not, my principal tried to negotiate a "systematic exclusion contract" based on my child's food allergy through email and over the phone and verbally. He'd also call several times during the week to suggest I manage my child's allergy by having me pick him up from school if certain foods were being served that day, in spite of his IEP dictating the contrary. Keeping him home was always the first option in the school's eyes, despite my child being protected under IDEA.

It was really rather underhanded, since my child was always made aware there was a possibility he could go home before the phone call came. He's a good student, but always rather stay home. Can't say I blame him.

On the subject of treat boxes. In the younger grades, I'd send one, but it was rarely remembered or utiized, so I'm not too sure not sending one would be much different than if you did. In fifth grade, I packed them with blockbuster gift cards, which made sure my child would remember for the teacher. He was always looking for a way to get me to the video store.

Our protection plans never allowed parents to send in treats that weren't safe (but they often showed up anyway) with a heavy influence on not sending food to begin with. Recently, some of the schools in our district adopted "no home baked/made", labels only, within the wellness guidelines policies. It virtually excludes most of the garbage parents like to send in anyway.

I spent the last several school years dealing with hot lunch moms, pto fundraisers, candy sale leaders, and treat day reps. I can totally see why a principal might nearly beg me to keep my child home (and safe) on certain days. (Or when the school nurse was absent and no sub could be found). Many times, I found what slid out of these parents' mouths completely intollerable, selfish dribble. So much so, I often couldn't stomach dealing with them directly, and needed an intermediary like the principal or my child's case worker. I can tell you one thing, it sure gave me more sympathy for my principal.

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By Sarahb on Sun, 08-12-07, 00:06

Ok....first...please know that *I* wasn't calling any of you bad moms! Not at all! I am humbled by your Goodmomness! he he [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

gvmom - I really strugle with what you are suggesting and I would so far agree with Lori Jo. Our kids have so much to handle aleady why make it worse - but I am not against being the pointy part of a stick myself and what you are saying does make sense to me.

What of the child whose religion does not celibrate birthdays? Are they not excluded at every celebration? Just a thought.

I think the really hard part of this is that the current labeling laws are not good enough to make this easy or even doable for other parents. If they were I think it would be a no-brainer.

I don't understand why birthdays need to be celebrated in school anyway? I would be all for no-food celebrations and no birthdays. (I'm the mean one! grrr)

My son is currently on a very restricted diet. I think the only packaged foods I can think of that would be ok for him are Enjoy Life Products, dum dums, smarties and Fritos. Perhaps some potato chips too. I don't let him eat fruit prepared by others either and unless those apples were labeled that they weren't processed in a facility with nuts they would be a no-go unless I called. I don't like calling on things that other people buy. It puts me in a weird position so I don't it.

I hope I am making sense....got up at 5am and just had a 3 hour nap...circulation is not at full capacity at the moment.

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 00:09

Oh, I forgot to mention, the "treat" boxes were not meant for what the parents sent in, (they were supposed to send in safe treats off an approved list--which always approved a non-food item) but were used for individual impromptu treats the related service personel (like speech therapy, OT, social work, etc....) would want to give him, especially when working with him one to one.

It was kept in his homeroom, and although not intended for use as a substitute for stuff that shouldn't have been there anyway, was frequently used as one.

It was really weird how we needed to remind the people who *should* have been using it to use it, and tell the people who shouldn't have to fix the problem.

[This message has been edited by The #l Mouser! (edited August 11, 2007).]

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By gvmom on Sun, 08-12-07, 00:25

[b]I'm not sure "Least Restrictive Environment" actually guarantees a child with a disability will participate in the exact same way as a non-disabled peer, but just in the "Least Restrictive Environment".[/b]

True. And I would guess they could argue that LRE isn't guaranteed for 504, that it is IDEA/IEP specific. Have to check the language.

But what about the idea of Duty of Care, or "Prudent Person Standard of Care" idea. Hope I can word this right..... low on sleep too.

If, you take it out of the Disability Law specific speak, and say that you've informed the school about the harm that will come to your child based on specific actions, ie exposure to Peanuts/Treenuts, and they knowingly expose your child to them, have they violated the standard of care? They can find many ways to wiggle around, but if you have "informed" them.... can you have a legal basis, or an additional one, to make your case, should a reaction occur?

The only way to not violate a right to a safe learning environment, based on the idea that exposing a PA/TNA child to their allergen could kill them, is to maintain a PA/TNA free environment, no?

If the measure is what a reasonable person, or a prudent person, would do, in the given situation.... wouldn't that (minus the obnoxious parents) mean that a reasonable person, who is the stand in for the parent, exercising reasonable judgement, not allow the harmful substance to be in the child's learning environment? Or at least given to the child it could harm? And if you can't give what is in the classroom to the child, then wouldn't it have to be excluded?

Additionally, I've also mused at what the district's response would be if a request were made for proof of increased liability insurance?

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 00:59

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]But what about the idea of Duty of Care, or "Prudent Person Standard of Care" idea. Hope I can word this right..... low on sleep too.

If, you take it out of the Disability Law specific speak, and say that you've informed the school about the harm that will come to your child based on specific actions, ie exposure to Peanuts/Treenuts, and they knowingly expose your child to them, have they violated the standard of care?
[/b]

I've often fantasized about this too, unexpectedly arriving at the conclusion that if I'd risk leaving my child in that type of environment, then that's the defineable "Duty of Care", with all it's limitations.

Rhonda once pointed out the Tatro case. It might have been in the context of "Standard of Care". (Seems like it should have been)

I think a Standard of Care is dependent on more than just the Standard itself. Case in point. I worked two jobs once. One with a much less stringent Standard of Care and one with a very demanding one that required a lot of independent thinking. Even tho the Standard of Care was not as rigorous at the one job, and time did not permit many things I knew would be of benefit, I felt that somehow, if push came to shove, I would be held accountable for the higher Standard of Care, since I was skilled at it and it was routine for me. So I quit the job with the lesser standard of care. I just didn't feel that with my experience, I would ever be able to justify the lesser Standard of Care. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that while my physician may direct my school to do something, I'm not sure if they are obligated to follow it, unless somewhere in their chain of command, they have someone (or a team of people as the case may require), capable of delivering that Standard of care. I'm not sure if my physician can delegate to just anyone. This is where I think the Tatro case might be of value. I don't know if remember this right or not (or if LRE was even mentioned in the Tatro case), but if I do, the school was required to find a way (license, skilled personel, whatever) to provide the level of care a child needed to access school in the Least Restrictive Environment. I don't know, people might see this differently.

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By TwokidsNJ on Sun, 08-12-07, 02:15

You may want to push for Non-food celebrations. My district just wrote a food allergy policy and in it is:

"No unplanned celebrations allowed. Non-food celebrations will be encouraged. Examples could be planning a fun activity for the class, reading a book, or donating a board game. Your teacher may have additional suggestions".

Now, the sticky part is that they CAN still bring in cupcakes/food, with notice. Even bakery stuff, which I am very uncomfortable with. I am advocating for packaged food treats such as pkgd Rice Krispie Treats or Popsicles. But the Admin and PTO presidents feel strongly that moms have a "right" to bring in cupcakes on their child's bday and we can only change the culture slowly, because it's an All-American tradition.

I am just hoping the teacher will *strongly* encourage the non-food celebrations. I think the policy is a good start.

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By luvmyboys on Sun, 08-12-07, 02:27

I still sent in a box of safe treats even though my ds's class is peanut free and had no food except for 4 celebrations which I helped plan and attended. The teacher gave me a strange look and said 'I don't understand...'.

I'll tell you what I told her...just my reasoning...In the district we had just moved out of there had been 2 prior incidents. 1) A man with a gun in town resulted in a school lockdown until he was caught. 2) A tornado warning as kids were boarding there busses resulted in all children being held at school. If for some reason the school ever had to lockdown for an extended period of time you can be sure they would raid the cafeteria to feed the kids. I never want my kids to have to choose between hunger and the risk of a reaction. So my kids have a little box with 3 safe snacks for unforseen circumstances.

Luvmyboys

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By PinkPoodle on Sun, 08-12-07, 04:03

GVMOM-I'm glad you are not in exile. I didn't know you were---just knew I hadn't seen a post from you in a while...

Now, my DD had a safe container of treats at school (nothing really fabulous as she is egg, peanut, tree nut allergic---not too many prepackaged/long shelf-life options available for egg allergic, but she definitely had treats). There were at least 3 occasions that DD had her regular, old snack while the other children had some baked good (pumpkin bread, brownies, and the final straw was one of the aids brought in her own cake to celebrate her OWN ADULT birthday--no notice provided to us). So DD held it together at school while the other children ate birthday cake or cupcakes..I don't remember. She got into the car and broke out in tears. She was 5 at the time. I don't care what plan you have (or even if you don't have a plan)---how 3 adults (at least 3 were in the room) and the 4th was also aware, could sit there and pig down sweets to celebrate A STAFF MEMBER'S BIRTHDAY with the rest of the class while 2 children ate their crackers...is just absolutely unbelievable. No offer to get her treat bag, no call to me (as I have requested should something like that come up--I would bring DD a treat), no acknowledgment until I brought it up, no real self-accountability from the staff involved. No big deal in their minds.

I'm not providing DD with safe treats in a box at school this coming year. The 504 now states that any food celebrations/sweets are to be prearranged and if one comes in without prearrangement, it is to be distributed outside the classroom as the children are leaving. I will continue to send DD in with her own safe treats for the days that have been arranged. I also put Gaks Snacks or Divvies packaged cookies in her backpack, so that she can go get it and not have to rely on the mercy of staff.

I have tried and will continue to try to impress upon the staff just how risky those baked goods are. I don't think anyone would intentionally lace the treats with peanuts or tree nuts, but it a known risk, they've been made aware. Edited to add, DD only eats food provided by home. No exceptions--this is our rule.

As far as discrimination and exclusion, the school is only obligated to provide a similar experience. So, if your child eats his own treat that is probably an OK substitution as far as legal issues. If the school said he could not bring in his own safe treat (i.e he can either eat like all of the children or not eat at all), that would be discriminatory. For example, schools have field trips that wheel-chair bound children cannot attend. They have to provide an acceptable substitution for that child to experience, but they don't have to cancel the entire field trip.

I've had many conversations with OCR over the past few months and it is interesting which issues pose a legal risk to the school and which ones don't. I can't elaborate; you can email me if you want.

I was hoping your lack of posts re: the school meant things had improved. I guess there are many of us not sharing as much about our difficulties with the school.

I don't think the school or other parents will feel badly at all for your sons. They will deflect that responsibility back at you saying (aloud or to themselves), "Isn't it too bad Mrs. Gvmom doesn't take the time to send her child in a treat". Then they'll go back to stuffing their faces [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif[/img]

I've been quite calm this entire summer, but now I'm starting to worry about what we will encounter this year. Only a couple of more weeks left. DD couldn't be more excited about school starting and getting to eat lunch there!!!

Our school's Wellness Policy now recommends (they can't 'force' the teachers, just "recommend") food-free bday celebrations or once a month bday celebration. It will at least eliminate the many days of treats.

GOOD LUCK!!!
Nicole

[This message has been edited by PinkPoodle (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 11:29

Quote:Originally posted by PinkPoodle:
[b]Edited to add, DD only eats food provided by home. No exceptions--this is our rule.

[/b]

Anything that came in off the "approved list" was only served after I had inspected the labels of each sealed item in it's original packaging. (For individually wrapped single serves, that meant in the box they came in.)

It was really disgusting, particularly on the "birthday day" each month. (Last friday of the month all birthdays for the month were celebrated all at once---you might want to suggest that). This pile of artificially flavored, preservative packed, corn syrup laced, and artificially dyed junk to be distributed with a gleeful smile by the adults in charge. Imagination is a thing of the past.

I always told my child in advance that I'd pay him a dollar for each item he brought home and didn't eat, to be spent as he saw fit. Then I'd toss the stuff with a vengeance.

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By ajas_folks on Sun, 08-12-07, 13:28

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]

Additionally, I've also mused at what the district's response would be if a request were made for proof of increased liability insurance?

[/b]

You'd think the 504 coordinator and/or the district's attorney would already be consulting the policy provisions. But then again, never mind. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]

No coffee running thru my veins yet, but wanted to say that I would also request the name and contact info for the liability insurance carrier for the district -- though that info is typically public record & available *somehow*. Are the minutes of your school district's board meetings available online? Ever read them to see what is matter of public record in how they intend to deal with special needs such as food allergies?

Ever been to a district meeting? (Some places we've lived, these meetings are televised *live even* on the public access channel.)

Just me. Thinking outloud before coffee. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

~Eliz

PS -- we all needed to be detectives or attorneys in another life. No stone unturned, no clue uninvestigated, no suspect left alone. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

The P.A.M's -- the Peanut Allergy Minds!

[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By BS312 on Sun, 08-12-07, 13:59

How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. Maybe you are the one feeling "excluded" because the school is not doing what you want them to do.

Not to send him a safe treat sounds like a passive-aggressive attempt to get the school to do what you want ...perhaps at the expense of your child's feelings.

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 14:24

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b]How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. [/b]

This reminds me. In kindergarten, My younger son was "excluded" on an almost daily basis due to his allergy. (Kindergarten parents can give new meaning to the name "Loo-loo" when it come to food.)

Long story short, I ended up sending in little wrapped items in his treat box for him to have instead of the food items. I wanted to STRONGLY ENCOURAGE how great inexpensive non-food items could be.

The kindergarten teacher (battle axe) did a pretty good job of keeping peanut/nut laden items out of the classroom (but some homebaked goods allowed), but never to the point my child could eat the same food items. (I wasn't counting on her to either)

I filled the "treat box" with little items from the dollar store (most under 2 bucks) and wrapped the items in tissue paper to make up for the specialness of those ginormous cupcakes. In this particular class, it was customary for parents to begin the pecking order by sending in 50-75 dollar platters of bakery goods for occassions not only birthday related.

For instance, bears football games were one "Special" occassion. <<>>

My long story just got longer, my apologies, the treat box not only had the little wrapped items, but a few miscellaneous, incidental safe "candy" items. But I will wrap it up by saying that the kindergarten teacher REFUSED let him choose the little non-food wrapped items (he KNEW they were non-food too, and was my picky eater, not really wanting all the sugary garbage.) edit to add: He may not have eaten it, but he sure would have looked it over and claimed it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

She said it made the events celebrated "more special for him than other students". Apparently, it was okay to exclude him, but it wasn't okay to make up for HIS inconvenience.

[This message has been edited by The #l Mouser! (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By lilpig99 on Sun, 08-12-07, 14:32

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b]How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. Maybe you are the one feeling "excluded" because the school is not doing what you want them to do.

Not to send him a safe treat sounds like a passive-aggressive attempt to get the school to do what you want ...perhaps at the expense of your child's feelings. [/b]

Do you approve of a child continually missing out on having the same treats as the 20 other members of his class...20 times a year for birthdays, plus holiday parties?

It sure is fun to be our little ones, always missing out, over and over. Ostracised in a way.

What does one do to change it?

Kudos to gvmom for thinking out loud, for serving as a catalyst to better our kids school experience. Whether or not you agree, it's does me mighty good to ponder.

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By lilpig99 on Sun, 08-12-07, 14:59

[b]And, I am glad, lilpig, that you brought up the psychological aspect. Do you think that if those of us brought this in, asked for the school psychologists to evaluate the impact of the school sanctioning exclusion on our children, someone would listen? [/b]

You know, I would bet in the years to come, food allergy research will also include the psychological effects of FA. With so many kids these days having them...we all know what our children go through. It will come in time I'm sure. I think it is definitely worth mentioning this issue at the very least. I would think any reasonable school psychologist could at least admit to a child with FA's having a different realm of experience than non FA children in their school/class...and that experience might very well feel like ostracization....self esteem issues, etc.

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By ajas_folks on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:04

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b] (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) [/b]

Our child DOES.

The other 17 children in his classroom DO.

The TA in my son's class did (negatively).

Some of the other parents of the kids in my son's classroom seem to be bothered too.

(Last year was 2nd grade for my son.)

Some of the other children exhibited clear resentment and jealousy of our son and his perceived "specialness". It really even torqued them that there were "911" drills that the class practiced as a simulated PA reaction situation for my son.

My son was singled out and picked on due to his PA. He was already the "different" kid due to the fact he was new to the community, new to the school, we are military, and he'd been only homeschooled prior so he was WAY ahead of nearly all the other students.

[i] He desperately just wanted to be one of the other kids. [/i]

Your experiences (and others') may never have been as ours have been. Very fortunate, if that is the case. But please recognize that MANY of us have children who may really struggle emotionally and behavior-ly (not a word) as a direct result of ther "specialness" or ostracism due to PA.

With the peer pressure that begins ever-earlier, many kids just want to fit it, to participate to the exact same degree that all the other classmates do. In EVERYTHING.

Is that asking TOO much? I don't think so.

We use time outs with young children as a means of punishment and behavior modification. Removing the child from the group is often VERY effective, in this regard. But it is PUNISHMENT. Young children are typically not able to discern the subtle difference between being removed from the group or singled out as a bonafide means of punishment vs. as a safety measure.

The emotional well-being of a child is critical, IMHO, and in the opinion of most child-rearing experts.

Not ranting. Just extremely passionate about raising children who are "whole" emotionally.

------------------
~Eli[b]Z[/b]abeth,
Mother to 2:
DD age 5, NKA, treated as though PA/TNA
DS age 8, PA, possible TNA, Latex, legumes?
(PA diagnosed & ana reaction 1999)
Member here since 2000

PS -- Edited to add, I'm certainly not advocating the loss of individuality and helping a child find his or her own way.

[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:07

Well, since I'm the only one that seems to have actually done it - not had food celebrations (sorry, wrong wording - editing - they had food celebrations, but they were safe for my guy) in the classroom, I'm going to have to sit back to-day and figure out how I got there. KWIM? Without harming my child's psyche. It just didn't happen. It was against his written school plan and I think that the years that it really worked, JK, SK and Grade One (although still continued with it in Grades 2, 3 and 4), it was because the teachers were young and they were scared something would happen to my guy. So, they would rather turn away the Mom with the plate of cupcakes then risk having to use that Epi. Does that make sense? I just know that it DID work for me and it did not harm my child's psyche and he was not left out - but now I have to think about how we actually got to that point - what I did do in those early grades (even though your one son is going into Grade 3) to get it to be a do-able thing.

I can honestly say that also during the time that it did really work for us (again, JK, SK, and Grade 1), I never felt any personal repercussions (I did have a Fun Fair person say some nasty words to me on the phone) even for myself, the adult.

And I'm not going to say that this happened because I'm Canadian.

But why did it happen?

Let me think about it.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

[This message has been edited by Alternative to Mainstream (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By ajas_folks on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:07

Oops. Dbl post buffoonery.

[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:24

Quote:Originally posted by lilpig99:
[b] It sure is fun to be our little ones, always missing out, over and over. Ostracised in a way.

What does one do to change it?

[/b]

I don't know what to tell you, besides love your children unconditionally, be strong for them, and show them they are special to YOU. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] People can't take that away or eat it in front of you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] I'm 39 and not much has changed. When your family unit is what's special, not much else matters in the long run. You get through. At least I did.

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By ajas_folks on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:37

Just wanted to note in this thread (have talked about it[i] ad nauseum[/i] elsewhere on boards) -- I believe food has ZERO place in the classroom unless it is truly being used as a teaching tool -- i.e. cultural study of different culture or peoples. There should be NO treat jars (food treats) given by teacher nor should there be ANY birthday celebrations for individual persons. Those belong at home/elsewhere with individual families & those they choose to invite, not in the classroom on the classroom's time, the taxpayer's dime, or on exorbitant tuition paid for private school.

Food-free classroom is my dream classroom for our son.

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~Eli[b]Z[/b]abeth,
Mother to 2:
DD age 5, NKA, treated as though PA/TNA
DS age 8, PA, possible TNA, Latex, legumes?
(PA diagnosed & ana reaction 1999)
Member here since 2000

[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By on Sun, 08-12-07, 15:59

ajas_folks, I totally agree with you about food in the classroom. It ties in my *entitlement* thinking that I still can't clarify (and doesn't need clarification for this thread anyway).

I didn't have PA.com when Jesse started school, so I didn't know what other parents did. I wouldn't even have thought about a safe treat box for my son. I also didn't have Jesse's written school plan for JK either - it was another member of PA.com that wrote that.

So, it started working in JK, but how? We had a letter sent out saying that there was a PA child in the classroom and that all food being sent in for snacks and lunch had to be peanut free, including no may contains.

Jesse's teacher, at that time, admitted to me that she was scared to death to have a PA child in her class (he was the only *known* PA child at the school at this time).

So, I think it was the "peanut free" classroom (the posters wouldn't even have come until later because again, no PA.com) and the teacher's diligence (out of fear?) that kept stuff out of the classroom.

Way back when, when I still believed in homemade treats going into the classroom, I would actually make a batch of carrot muffins and take them in for no reason at all. My ideas about my children (PA or not) eating homemade food have changed considerably since then, believe me.

So, for SK, I'd have to check dates - I'm not clear if I had the computer for the beginning of SK or not. Same "peanut free" classroom with no "may contains". This was the year where I was adamant that *inclusion* meant ANY and EVERY school event, including after school events (or before school programs even) and that's when I worked to have a "peanut free" Fun Fair (with a LOT of help from people here).
I obviously had the teacher's co-operation, and more importantly, the principal's. We even had "safe" ice cream.

It was at that point that the principal began talking about having a "reduce the risk" school for the next year (Grade 1 for Jess). He did go to that school for two months before we moved from that small town to a larger small town.

Oh, sorry, in SK, we also had a newspaper article done in the local newspaper educating people about PA and about my son specifically (with his permission).

I also gave the teacher in SK, any newsletters I got from FAAN and when she was finished with them, they went into the school library.

At the end of SK, that was when I did the BE A PAL certificate, sticker, and Alexander the Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts colouring book at the end of the school year.

Sorry, also, for SK I would have provided the Safe Snack and Lunch List and I am not clear if that was available to me for JK as well (since it was not from PA.com that I got it).

How do I explain that people just "got it"?
Not that there weren't little rough patches along the way (everything has been posted here), but they did.

Okay, Grade One - totally different school district. "Peanut free" classroom again also with no "may contains". Safe Snack and Lunch List sent home along with a letter about the "peanut free" classroom. Again, a young teacher - and she did turn away anything unsafe at the door.

Oh, sorry, for JK, SK, and Grade One, all food going into the classroom (since the class was "peanut free") was checked by an E.A. (educational aide) to make sure that it was safe to go into the classroom.

For special occasions (not birthdays), I would go in and physically check everything myself.

Okay, so that's the years that it was really do-able. Two different school districts. More information certainly presented to the community in the second year Jess was in school, but no, they just "got it".

I'll come back in later with the other grades (less successful, more hair tearing out kinda).

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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There but for the Grace of God, go I.

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By Sarahb on Sun, 08-12-07, 17:02

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b]How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. Maybe you are the one feeling "excluded" because the school is not doing what you want them to do.

Not to send him a safe treat sounds like a passive-aggressive attempt to get the school to do what you want ...perhaps at the expense of your child's feelings. [/b]

I kind of agree...even though I think the discussion is totally valid and interesting.

I don't know...I'm pretty new at this...but I think much of what our kids feel about this comes from us and what we teach them and how WE feel about it. And I think sometimes from what I have read and the people (moms) that I have talked to we seem kind of schizophrenic about it. We downplay food celebrations and then make a stink if our kid has something different. If we really think that food celebrations should be or need to be downplayed for our sanity and more importantly to show our children how to navigate in life without always focusing on food - which for them will result in a lot of exclusion way past the point (age range) of 504's - so we say to them...hey you can't have this...but you can have that...and we make "that" as good as we can...and sometimes it wont be as good and sometimes it will be better and then we move on.

My son got a chocolate coin and a childrens show yesterday. What in the world could I substitue a for coin that came out of a treasure chest? Nothing will be as good as that coin. Oh well.

But then at bedtime...DH decided to tell DS that the tooth fairy would probably want that coin - so he came up with some story and this morning there were 4 quarters in place of the coin. Ds hasn't found them yet. It should be fun.

I'm all for bans...I'm all for fighting for our rights. But I think we have to be careful not to do our children a disservice in the meantime. And we need to teach them that they are different and that's ok.

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By Sarahb on Sun, 08-12-07, 17:14

ajas_folks - I just read your post. My post sounds like a direct repsonse to yours - and it wasn't. I hadn't read the whole thread.

I'm sorry about your situation. PA just sucks and we are all trying to get through it safe and whole. I just didn't want you to think that I was responding to you post in what may have sounded very cold.

I think a lot of what comes into play that none of us can control is how our community responds. I think that even though I have a pig headed teacher or two the majority of our community is very supportive and educated.

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By on Sun, 08-12-07, 17:23

Sarah, I once did my son a GREAT disservice by not filing a complaint with The Ontario Human Rights Commission for a YEAR of torture we went through at his school in Grade Three. I even told him that. I told him that what had happened to him that year was NOT okay and that I was very sorry but due to circumstances at the time, I was not in a position to follow through and file the complaint.

I don't think asking for inclusion of your child with regard to food (especially since everyone seems so food obsessed and I'm not clear why), is doing your child a disservice.

I think the thing that is irritating to me (there was something else similar on the board once, but I can't remember what it was) is that I have seen it done and done successfully and without repercussion.

I don't think what gvmom is presenting is not do-able (or I wouldn't spend time in the thread telling her how I found it to be do-able), and that's it again. I know it is do-able. Without harming my child's psyche. Perhaps even showing my child that yes, I am willing to fight for this because exclusion is wrong. Exclusion is not okay.

Perhaps I'm not getting something. I don't know. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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There but for the Grace of God, go I.

[This message has been edited by Alternative to Mainstream (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By gvmom on Sun, 08-12-07, 17:24

Going back to address a bunch of stuff (and this is long

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By gvmom on Sun, 08-12-07, 17:33

[b]I don't think what gvmom is presenting is not do-able (or I wouldn't spend time in the thread telling her how I found it to be do-able), and that's it again. I know it is do-able. Without harming my child's psyche. Perhaps even showing my child that yes, I am willing to fight for this because exclusion is wrong. Exclusion is not okay.[/b]

Yes!

The problem is that the means of exclusion for our children is through food. If our children were in wheel chairs, or had a other health impairment that didn't involve ingesting food, would we gloss over the exclusion in the same manner?

Do you teach your children that exclusion is okay by sanctioning it for them, or trying to make it not as harsh by providing safe treats?

Honestly, my kids have gone to other birthday parties outside of school. They have gone with safe cupcakes in tow... and they don't end up eating them. Not because they are embarassed, or feel bad. It is because they are busy playing and don't really care about food as much as other kids. But they are also among their peers who might pass by the party food too because the venue allows them to not feel like food is the essential part of the activity. It is only part. Not the whole. So big deal.

In school, stuck at your desk, with allocated time, that food becomes the focus. The primary activity. EVERYONE is expected to partake.

There is a big difference.

Edited to add, that it also is important for me, personally, to show my sons that standing up for what you believe in is important. Who you are, what you believe in, and if you live your life according to those things, is all you really have. When you look into a mirror, what do you think about that person looking back at you?

[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited August 12, 2007).]

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By The #L Mouser! on Sun, 08-12-07, 18:01

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]My children are learning lots of things there.[/b]

I don't doubt it. I've always said there were some lessons I'd never be able to teach them, nor provide the environment they occur in, myself. Especially a lot of those that have to do with human nature.

Quote:[b]And if this year I add passive-aggressive to my list of things I must employ

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