Middle School Lunch Safety Concerns

What can I do to keep my son safe and not exclude him at lunchtime in middle school, when he has problems keeping himself safe?

My son is in eighth grade and has some mental and behavioral health difficulties which contribute to him seeming more like a 4th 0r 5th grader in maturity and self-management, including ADHD. We have an IEP that includes a pretty comprehensive allergy management plan, including lunchroom procedures. Until this year, he sat at one of 2 large tables that were appropriately cleaned just prior to his lunch period, where anyone could sit with him if they so chose. However, there are about 20 lunch tables, and many times no friends would sit with him, sometimes random kids would sit there, or no one. Some of the other kids his age with food allergies are sitting with everyone else at the other unclean tables, which is an increased risk, but these kids are much more conscientious and careful and willing and able to remember to take a few measures to lessen the risk to themselves, such as cleaning, using a barrier between them and the table surface, etc. My son is often unwilling to, and also would not remember most of the time if he tried, as he is extremely impulsive and forgetful, and also thinks nothing bad will happen as many 13-year-olds do.

I do wish my son could sit anywhere, I am sure he would feel he fits in more, and would probably make some more friends, etc., but right now it is not safe. The school nurse keeps telling me I am being too protective, and is acting like he can do this, but anyone who has worked with my son for any length of time knows otherwise, and his issues are well-documented. For example, even with being on medication for ADHD, along with incentives to do otherwise, my son forgets/loses his EpiPens frequently, along with many other items. Is it too much to ask that the school have a lunch monitor just clean the area he wants to sit at that day before he sits there? I cannot see any other way to do this safely.

Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? Thanks!

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