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My Child Sits Alone....

8 replies [Last post]
By joeybeth on Fri, 09-14-01, 02:45

I should probably be thankful my child's school is being so careful but... I guess I didn't realize that my kindergarten age PA little girl would be eating alone at a table in an otherwise packed cafeteria every day and that she would be sent out into the hall to sit alone during snack time. Oddly, she has no problems with these arrangements. However, I think it's cruel to segregate her so much from the "normal" kids and make her feel so left out and different. Surely there is some other way the school could handle this matter. I think I may have scared them to death with my approach but now what do I do? Has anyone else dealt with this sort of thing? Any suggestions on how I can help create a happier, more inclusive environment for my child when she is at school? I would think they could find some other food allergic children for her to sit with or just other kids in general who are not carrying peanut containing foods in their lunch, etc.. There must be some better way to handle keeping her safe at school. I can't believe people that work with little children every day don't realize how cruel this seems. Help...again.... Joey

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By Kathy L. on Fri, 09-14-01, 12:54

Joey, we had this problem last week. The first day they had my daughter sit alone. But now they keep a child's desk in the cafeteria and put it at the end of the regular table with my daughter's friends. She's ok with this arrangement. I actually wanted to talk to the nurse and cafeteria staff on the first day, but it was so crazy I forgot until the nurse called me. Maybe your school can do this. I don't think a child should sit alone.

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By Claire on Fri, 09-14-01, 14:36

This is something that i am just throwing around. What if you were to send two snacks with your daughter and allow her to pick someone everyday to share with while she is sitting at snack time. obviously people are not caring enough to consider your daughter so maybe you could ease it this way. I know our school allowed me to do this kind of thing. I always sent Christophers whole class snacks all year just to be safe. I rather spend the money or take a collection and let you do the shopping. Our families were excellent with this.
Maybe you could get a list of different snacks that are safe and let the class pick the snack from that and you purchase it. just a suggestion.... claire

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By julier on Fri, 09-14-01, 19:34

Your child should not ever have to be alone, my daughter is in the 5th grade and the principal refused to let her have someone to eat with until I went to the superindent and he told me my child would never be isolated because of PA and now there are 2 desks in the hallway and if the cafeterial is serving peanut products she is allowed to pick her a friend to eat in the hallway with her. So if the principal tells you no do not stop there our superident was upset because the principal knows she can not do that

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By on Fri, 09-14-01, 21:18

joeybeth, your post was heartbreaking. In discussing my son's "peanut free" classroom, the teacher made a very good point of not wanting to ostracize the children who did happen to bring a peanut product by mistake by making them eat outside of the classroom. I completely understood where she was coming from because I would never want that to happen to my son.

Is it possible for your daughter to get a buddy, someone who could sit safely with her at snack and lunch (i.e., someone who did not carry peanut products in her lunch)? I know that there are some people that do this.

Would you like to ask for a "peanut free" classroom for your daughter?

For me, if I was in this situation (which, thankfully, I'm not), I think I would see if I could find a buddy for my child. This teaches the other child, food allergic or not, empathy and caring for someone other than themselves. And, as they grow older, perhaps still as buddies, that child may be the one to save your daughter should she ever have a reaction.

I'm not clear but FAAN may have some information on their website about the buddy system. I do know one PA parent I'm in contact with off-the-board has a buddy for her little guy and I believe Rilira posting here has also said that her daughter doesn't end up eating alone, that there are other food allergy AWARE children that choose to eat with her daughter and forego the foods that her daughter is allergic to. For me, this is a wonderful way of involving the other children so that they don't grow up with feelings of anger or resentment toward the PA child.

That's why I also strongly encourage the FAAN BE A PAL Program. I have found the 4 and 5 year old children can be greatly empowered by simply being recognized for what they choose not to bring in their lunches.

Please let us know how this works out. I just feel so badly for your daughter. I know that my ex-husband, who was incredibly hyper-active in Catholic school 35+ years ago had to be segregated from his class and put in the hall and it did affect him adversely.

That's why I didn't want children who did bring peanut products into a peanut free classroom ostracized and put out of the classroom. They are asked to sit separately, completely away from Jesse, and a reminder letter does go home with the child asking that they don't bring peanut products again.
But at least they're not removed from the classroom.

I really feel your daughter shouldn't be either. I would try to speak with someone to get this resolved before it goes much further.

This distresses me so. If you would like to contact me off-the-board, I could contact the PA parent who does have a buddy for her little guy and perhaps she could tell you how she got it initiated.

My thoughts are with you and your daughter.

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

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[This message has been edited by Cindy Spowart Cook (edited September 14, 2001).]

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By joeybeth on Sat, 09-15-01, 03:39

Hey guys! Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions. I went to school at lunchtime today to see just what was really going on. My 5 yr old was sitting alone but at the end of a long table (not at a separate table). I was about to complain (gently) to the teacher when a teacher's aide brought a boy with a peanut butter cookie on his lunch tray and two little girls carrying peanut butter sandwiches in their lunchboxes to sit next to my daughter! So.....I decided to let her sit alone for the time being until I can get some kind of plan in place for her. It was nerve wracking to see how many little things could go wrong if an adult wasn't paying close attention. You all had some great suggestions that I am going to present to the teacher Monday morning in hopes of making things a little more normal and yet safe for her. My daughter sits at the very end of a long lunchroom table with no one across from her or beside her for about six seats either way. It's not quite as horrible as being at an entirely separate table but it still looks very awkward for her and very much like she is segregated from the other kids. All the other kids were laughing and talking and having fun and she was just sitting quietly alone eating her lunch. I am glad to hear what you all have done to remedy things for your children. It gives me hope I can create something better for mine. By the time my 2 yr old PA daughter is in school I should be an old pro at all this. Fortunately only two of our four kids have PA. I don't think I could take much more. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It keep you on your toes, doesn't it? Thanks for all the help. This site has been a Godsend to me since I know no one else with children allergic to any food items, much less with life threatening food allergies. Thanks..Joey

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By Sandra Y on Sat, 09-15-01, 15:05

Socializing during lunch and snacktime is an important part of the kindergarten experience. It's just unacceptable to segregate your daughter in this way.

Several parents of kids in my son's kdgtn. class have told me their children ask for peanut free lunches so they can sit at the special peanut-free table. I was amazed and so pleased to hear that!

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By cathlina on Sat, 09-15-01, 15:59

I work in the special education department of a major high school in the Midwest.

It is simply illegal for the school to modify your daughter's day like this and seperate her from her class. This absolutely should never have been permitted without your knowledge.

Do you have a 504 plan? Your daughter qualifies for one. Get the school counselors and school psychologists involved.

In a community I used to live in, the school would not let a student go on field trips because he needed constant supervision. I called the State Department of Education and an investigation was conducted. The school was required to provide a teacher's aide on future field trips.

Another very good source of information is the Federal Department of Education. There are civil rights offices on a regional basis.
Find out where yours is and have them send your all the laws etc. on this issue.

Stand up for your child before any emotional damage occurs!

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By Diane on Wed, 09-19-01, 03:26

cathlina is right. It is against your child's rights to have to sit alone. Please look into the section 504 laws. My daughter has a sec.504 plan. She sits at a table in the cafeteria and any child who wants to sit with her providing they do not have PB in their lunch sits with her. There is an aide in her class who checks their lunch. Here is a link for info on children's rights in school.
[url="http://www.504idea.org/504resources.html"]http://www.504idea.org/504resources.html[/url]

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