504 Stand still - Would you give the school a 2nd chance?

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 12:57am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We have had our 504 meeting, and I think for the most part it went okay. However, there is one issue that neither side is willing to budge on...peanut products on the school tray.

Their side: They will not take them off. Peanut butter is served three times each month and a trail mix is served once a month.

Our side: Last year, we tried Drew going to school with peanut products being served and even with the safeguards in place, he had a reaction. Granted, it was about the 7th or 8th time of them being served - so the safeguards did work part of the time (or we were extremely lucky). What was done differently on the day of the reaction? Don't know. (That's part of what makes this allergy so scary....there are so many unknowns.) But we have tried their way, and we feel it is just too dangerous to put him in that situation again. So, Drew will miss school about 4 times per month (averages once a week) because of the peanuts served.

We really are trying to be reasonable. We want to work with the school and not against them. I suggested maybe coordinating the breakfast and lunch schedules, so peanuts are served twice on the same day, and he would only miss twice a month...but "that's not healthy for the other kids to have that much peanut butter in one day." We are talking about pb on toast and then a no-bake cookie!! It is not like they are going to have only pb to eat.

How would you guys feel about this? Children have had reactions at school. Do you give the school a second chance and hope that it was just a fluke? Are we being unreasonable? Whether you agree with me or not, give me your honest opinions.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 4:13am
mcmom's picture
Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

The school is being unreasonable. For your son to miss one day a week from school is unacceptable! How can that be legal? They are denying him an equal education to the non allergic children.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 4:16am
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

When you discuss this food issue, do you discuss this with the principle or with the food service coordinator. In my school, I was not requesting that they do not serve peanut/nut relating foods, just that my child was allowed to be absent without penalty if this was the case.
The principle suggested I meet with the food service co. He said..that is final, we will no longer have pb items on the menu. Now, I did find out that they had a cookie and some ice cream, but I only needed to check on cross contamination issues with that. They did have a trail mix last year during field week and I had to take him out of school during that fun day. The food serv. co. said that they would NOT have that this year.
He said that he had cases of peanut butter that he really needed to get rid of and he was hoping that he could use them this year but said he wouldn't dare. He said they won't let him trash them, he can't sell them or return them, and he can't give them away so he said he has to figure something out.
I am in the process of checking out their ice cream. So, if you have one, they usually work in an administration building, then I would suggest checking with them if you haven't already. Mine was really easier than I thought. (my son does not eat school lunch and he does not attend breakfast, which would pose a slight risk)

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 8:01am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We feel they are denying him of an equal education, too. However, they aren't budging on the issue...and at this point, neither are we. I don't think they see it as denying him an equal education because WE are the ones saying that he will not go to school those days (we wanted them to suggest that, but of course they wouldn't) because it is too dangerous for him. They come back with "peanuts are everywhere, blah, blah, blah..."
The Director of Food Services was one of the people in the meeting yesterday (she was the one that felt like pb twice a day was too much for the other students), so we aren't getting much help there.
Like your child, Drew will always have a lunch from home - NEVER the school tray, and eats breakfast at home.
Thanks for your input. I don't feel like we are being unreasonable, but just wanted to know what other parents would do (and have done).

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 8:09am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I had to add (just for the stupidity of it all)....
They made sure to mention that they have included as an accommodation in his 504 plan that cracking nuts is not allowed in the school building. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] THANKS!!! Like his reaction was caused from the nut cracking party! Good grief!!!!
I guess we should be thankful that they are willing to make that accommodation for Drew (really knocking themselves out, huh!?!). Like anyone cracks nuts at school!! Even the principal was a little puzzled by that when the 504 Coordinator listed that.
Those are the kind of accommodations they are willing to make for Drew.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 10:56am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Drew's Mom,
What do you think the reasoning is for not budging on this issue?
Is it because they think people will complain? Or is it that food service doesn't feel they will have necessary food options for the kids.
What do they say (if it has been mentioned) about other schools that have reduced or eliminated PB?

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 11:16am
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

Ryan's Mom
I think that is a good idea. Maybe you could tell them that other schools have completely eliminated these products for the safety of their students. Also it is against the law for them to not accommodate him so that he may have a safe education. I wonder if they would accept letters from other schools stating what they have done with their extra product that they are not going to serve. How easy it was to accommodate the no PB request.
They make everything so much harder than necessary...you could also get doctor's and nurse's involved..allergist..explaining the dangers of serving peanut butter to children in general, not just around your child.
Sorry, I am just throwing out ideas that come to my head. My school was very accommodating and extremely easy to solve this problem, but they also knew that if they didn't that I was going to homeschool. For some reason this threatened them and they were VERY willing to work with me.
I hope you get everything worked out and soon.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 12:08pm
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

Drew's mom, Well one concern I have, is he is obviously reacting from either contact or smell. So if he goes back to school the day after they serve it, is it going to be cleaned up enough? Or is there a chance he will still react? Do they have any guidelines in place for cleaning?
My main concern though, is basically what this school is saying to you is "We are sorry your child is having reactions that could be life threatening, but, WE DON'T CARE, we are serving pb anyways." That scares me.
I would not be happy to have my child miss 4 days of school a month either.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 12:23pm
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Drew's mom:
[b]We feel they are denying him of an equal education, too. However, they aren't budging on the issue...and at this point, neither are we. I don't think they see it as denying him an equal education because WE are the ones saying that he will not go to school those days (we wanted them to suggest that, but of course they wouldn't) because it is too dangerous for him. [/b]
How does your physician feel about this? I mean the school refusing to remove certain items served in gross amounts during the school day? Has the school mentioned "homebound" as an option for potential days missed due to the reasons you discuss? Not even sure what constitutes "homebound", still wonder about it myself.

Posted on: Tue, 08/17/2004 - 9:39pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Good point on homebound instruction, MB. One that I would bring up, Drew's mom. There were always a handful of girls that were homebound when I was teaching. Why? Well they had to spend four to six weeks recovering from child birth!
A number of teacher enjoyed doing this because of the extra pay (at the school's (thus taxpayers) expense.
One would think the school would balk at the idea of homebound instruction, but you never know.

Posted on: Wed, 08/18/2004 - 7:51am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks for your feedback. I will try to answer your questions...
The administration has told us a couple of different reasons why they won't stop serving pb. One, peanut butter is a govt. commodity. Two, peanuts have not been banned by the federal govt., and until they are, the school district does not feel the need to implement a policy to do that. (I'm pretty sure that was word for word, but I don't have my file with me right now to verify that as a quote from SI). He went on to say that he didn't want to implement a policy that may be violated (due to human error) because the courts see that as inexcusable. (I think that is why they were fighting us on the 504 - Didn't want ANYTHING in writing!))
We did mention a specific school district in our state that does not serve peanuts, but does allow peanut products from home (which is exactly what we are asking). Their response to that was, "We can't compete with them. They get $x/per child and we get $y/child."
Drew's doctor has written to them about the severity of his allergy. And I think that has helped it click with the school itself. When we left the 504 mtg. DH said that he thought we really accomplished one thing, and that was putting the fear of a child dying in their school in them.
I was at school all day today (1st day back) and the principal seems very concerned and really trying to keep him safe. She called me last night and invited me to come "hang out" all week and try to see any problems that need to be worked out because as Drew's mom, I see things differently. I appreciate her willingness to help. However, it is the MAJOR concerns that we have (pb on trays, washing hands after lunch) that they balk on. They are bending over backwards in many areas, but not where we need them to. (However, they are taking orders from above on what is on the school trays.)
I did receive a breakfast menu today, and it appears they have removed pb on toast from the menu (at least for September, and I think the menu is on a rotation, so it shouldn't be an issue later). So, we may be down to three absences per month....we are headed the right direction, but that is still a lot. That is assuming the Honey Nut Cheerios won't be a problem (he hasn't been around them before). They contain almonds and Drew is allergic to nuts, but we don't know of specific contact reactions due to nuts (just one airborne to pecans). They are on the menu every Monday, so if they are a problem, we (and the school) have a big problem.
Peanut residue (after being on the lunch trays) remaining all over the school does concern us, and we are searching for the timeframe it stays around. (I know I have read it somewhere, I just haven't done a search for it yet)
Homebound...we haven't talked to them about it. We thought they were going to suggest it (instead of coming to school at all), but so far no one has mentioned it.
I do feel somewhat better being at the school today.....MUCH more willing to work with us than last year. We are just going to continue pushing for it.


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