Kids with peanut allergies and School

I have a seven year old that has a severe peanut allergy. Normally his school has in the past been ok with his allergy. This year I fear that the school is going to be a little less tolerant of his condition. I was wondering if the was any legislation that a public school has to follow for children with allergies? They have been given an Epi-Pen and I have been told that they are competent and use it. My child is very diligent about his allergy and always asks what is in foods. He does want a peanut free area at school because he does get worried about it? Does anyone have any suggestions for us to make sure the school is being careful?

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By faithfamilycoffee on Tue, 09-03-13, 23:19

Our school has bent over backwards to keep my son safe. We feel very blessed and thankful. I researched what was needed before he entered Kindergarten and wrote out my requests. We then sat down with the principal and janitor and came up with a plan to make it work. We have 450 students which is a lot for handwashing, so we all felt it made sense for the kids who are in his room wash. We started with my sons class washing hands as they entered the school and then after they finished lunch. They line up against the wall across from the bathrooms and we send 5 in a t a time. Once they rotate through, they head to class. It gets quicker the more they get used to it. Kids are cleaner all around. Handwashing is a good thing! This year we have three nut free classrooms and all three classrooms are washing hands twice a day.

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By cmarie234 on Tue, 09-03-13, 18:08

My first question is for "faithfamilycoffee". How did you get the school to agree to have all students wash their hands after lunch? I couldn't do it!

For "howie67", here's what I did:

My daughter turns seven in October (1st grade). Her allergist wrote a letter to the school outlining what is required to keep her peanut safe while at school. She wrote:
1) Epi-Pen and an adult trained in its use easily accessible at all times
2) My daughter is not to be given any food to eat that I or the principle (I allowed this b/c the principle has a grandchild with a peanut allergy and is very cautious) have approved.
3) All students must wash their hands after they eat lunch.

Number 3 was the one that caused problems. The school could not MAKE students wash their hands nor was there enough time for them ALL to wash their hands. My compromise was to personally provide basic wipes (no fancy antibacterial potion necessary) to offer any student who had peanut butter and wanted to wipe their hands. (FYI-hand sanitizer does not work to remove peanut protein - google cleaning for peanut allergy to get more info).

So my daughter does not have a 504, but I am going to get her one. First I want to dig up enough research on the prudence of establishing state or county policy requiring all students to wash or use wipes (provided by the county) after lunch, to protect all students with food allergies.

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By AD75 on Wed, 08-21-13, 17:45

As some have mentioned, you should ask for a 504, and so that you know it will cover what is needed to keep your son safe, you should be the primary one to "draft" the 504, meaning have everything spelled out in advance of the meeting as to what you want included on the 504. This will make the process easier because you understand a severe allergy better than a teacher, or principal will. Insist everyone having contact with your son when food is present or who will administer medicine be there (lunch person, teacher, nurse, etc.). Teacher work week is often a good time to do this as staff are usually there but no class yet. A 504 holds the school legally accountable, and schools respect them as they do IEPs. A health plan will also have to be included in the process. I work in a county school system and have attended many 504 and IEP meetings, and most teachers really care about their children and want to keep them safe. However, having a medical background prior to working in schools, I can say that most will not really understand the medical severity/specifics of a severe food allergy, and will need your guidance in the development of the 504. They can be of assistance in helping you understand the school day, and how kids move about a lot and all the places access to food would be. Together, you should be able to come up with a plan. Some people might get by without a 504, but kids come into contact with a lot of different people through out the school day, and I will want a 504 when my son gets to school age, so they are held accountable and I get to have a face to face conversation with all those who will work with my son. Teachers are busy and have a lot going on, it's easy to forget things, but they are required to know and keep copies of their student's IEPs/504s, so it's a good way to keep it "in their face" so to speak, so they don't forget and understand how serious it is. I'm sure some moms have shared their 504 plans on line if you look, that way you can just tweak and not have to reinvent the wheel. Good luck.

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By faithfamilycoffee on Mon, 08-19-13, 01:40

Your son needs to be covered by a 504 plan as others have noted. You sit down with the principal, teacher, school nurse, janitor, lunch lady, etc.. And make sure every aspect is covered. My sons school cleans his seat and classroom every morning. His classroom is nut free. No nut snacks are served or eaten in his classroom and he sits at a nut free table in the lunch room and his friends with safe lunches can join him. All kids in his class wash their hands before school and after lunch to insure a case of cross contamination doesn't happen in class. All staff who comes in contact with him has been trained to use the epi pen and have an emergency action plan posted in their work area. This is a form i typed up with his individual info and his doctor approved. Education is the key.

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By mom1995 on Thu, 08-01-13, 22:31

Americans with Disability Act Section 504 Federal Law protects your child and ensures he has access to the SAME public school education as every other child. What goes into that 504 Plan really is up to you and the doctor. You have the right to request certain things. Do not be affraid to tell them what you want and be impowered. They can and will accomodate they are required to. They receive Federal Funding and therefore must follow the Federal laws. Now as to what you want there is no one answer. What we always did was to sit down with our daughter first at home asd ask her what her concerns were and what would make school feel safer. Surprizing they can come up with things you never thought of. Then when we had our 504 meeting she would also be present. We wanted her to understand the process and for the school understand she knew her rights too.
Yes things will slip threw the cracks and there will be opportunities that arrise but in the long run you all will learn and grow from all of it. Keep asking questions there are great parents on here with great solutions or examples from their learnings.

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By samsmommy99 on Thu, 08-01-13, 03:56

I think I can answer this one....we have something called a 504 plan for Sam.... It protects him under a silent disability act . We live in AZ, and all states are different, but they should all know what a plan like this is.

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