accepted then rejected by pre-school

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 4:30am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pAfter much searching and finding what we felt was the perfect place, Tucker was accepted to a Montessori program in March. We met with the director today to discuss accommodating his allergy, and she says she cannot be responsible, that she couldn't keep him safe, and that she would not administer an injection./p
pI know that everything she said is illegal. I left her with a copy of the question and answers about ADA and preschools, to let her know she was acting illegally. But my question is, what do I do next? File a complaint? Sue her?/p
pPlease give me some action to take. I am so upset that unless I can act I might just fall apart./p

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 5:09am
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

I would ask for a letter of rejection in writing. I would tape this phone call because you will get her on tape saying that he is not allowed to attend because of his allergies and saying that she won't send a written notice of rejection.
I would then contact your State attorney generals office of Civil Rights and tell them you want to file a civil rights violation complaint (I did this).
If you want to "talk" to me off the board, you can e-mail me. I would be happy let you know about our civil rights complaint and the out come. Also, if you do a search under schools on this board you will find that I posted a lot of the information - these people need to be set straight. They cannot reject a child in a wheel chair and they cannot reject a child with food allergies. They also MUST administer the EpiPen.
I really hope you follow thru even if you decide to select a different preschool.
Sue in Sunny Arizona

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 7:41am
PattyR's picture
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Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

Is this a public school setting? Our school district has some Montessori programs. If it is public, I would call the superintendent's office and file a complaint.
I would be careful about taping a phone conversation. It is illegal in some states unless both parties are aware that they are being taped.
Sorry this is happening to you. It is wrong for sure but better for you to find out now.

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 9:39am
Marla H's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2002 - 09:00

If this is a private Montessori, I bet there isn't much you can do. Ten years ago we had a bad experience in Cambridge, MA with a preschool Montessori (although we kept my son there despite their refusal to take the epipen--I don't think I'd do it again but I was returning to grad school, had no family, etc. and was just grateful to find a place for my son). You may feel similarly desperate. I can say we managed but it helped make me cynical about the Montessori's supposedly child-centered philosophy.

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 10:20am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

That's really too bad. My DS has only been in two preschools and they were both private Montessori schools. Both were absolutely WONDERFUL about working with us and I've been very, very pleased with both. I think you might be able to push back though, because I thought that even private schools have to comply if they accept federal funds. I know that Kindercare and La Petite Academie (both private day cares) were sued in the past and had to change their ways to accept children with food allergies. The information was on the DOJ website but I don't remember exactly where...I bet a link is somewhere in this thread if you do a search for it.
Good luck!
Lori

Posted on: Thu, 06/20/2002 - 11:40am
momjd's picture
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Joined: 02/24/2002 - 09:00

Here's a link:
[url="http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/childq%26a.htm"]http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/childq%26a.htm[/url]

Posted on: Fri, 06/21/2002 - 5:43am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks to all for you interest and support.
I had read all about that private preschools must comply with ADA and the La Petite Academy suit, so I knew going in that it would be illegal for her to refuse to administer the Epi-Pen and refuse to accept him.
But she did it anyway. She did something completely illegal. Yet I feel I can't do anything about it.
So what is my next step? Look for a lawyer? Call the State Dept of Education? The Civil Rights office? Let it drop? I just don't know.

Posted on: Fri, 06/21/2002 - 6:04am
Gadget's picture
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Joined: 10/01/2001 - 09:00

First, I know you must be absolutely crushed! I am so sorry this is happening to you. If it were me (and I have sort of been in that position--I'll explain at the end) I would go back to the director, with your child's father if possible, to talk in depth about the allergy. My first statement would be "Would you administer CPR to a child who had stopped breathing?" Most likely she will say "yes". Then I would say "The Epi-Pen is the SAME THING for my child!! It is a LIFE-SAVING measure, nothing more!!!" I would tell her that she takes risks every single day that she has children in her care. Any one of them could choke, stop breathing, etc, but she still accpets them into the program. Your son is NO DIFFERENT, he just has an additional risk factor. People are so skittish about this allergy and the Epi-Pen, they never stop to think that ANY child could have a life-threatening problem at any time. If you work with kids, you have to accept that risk! Anyway, back to your meeting with the director. I would then suggest that she meet with your allergist to further discuss the issue. If you, along with your allergist, cannot get her to see "the light" on this issue, then you need to look somewhere else. Even if you pursued legal action against this school, it would not be a good place for your son. First, I could never send my child to a school that I was suing. I would fear retalitaion of some sort. Second, if she doesn't "get it" about the PA, a lawsuit won't change that. You just don't want your son to be in an environment where no one "gets it". As to my personal situation, my son attended preschool for a full year and a half before they got skittish about the Epi-pen. Right before Christmas of his second year there, the director called me into her office and said they would no longer be administering Epi-pens, that they would be calling 911. I broke down in hysterics, crying, the whole bit (very unusual for me). After I calmed down, I talked to her about it, and she was willing to meet with our allergist. Our Dr. (who deserves some sort of medal but will have to settle for the Outback Steakhouse gift cert. we gave him--LOL!) came and did a "workshop" at the preschool for a full HOUR. He talked to the entire staff, "trained" them on the Epi-Pen (that always makes me laugh that people think they need "training" on something so simple) and answered all their questions. He did this ON HIS OWN TIME (including an hour drive time). Can you tell I could just kiss this guy?? LOL! The result--the preschool agreed to administer the Epi-pen if needed!!! My son finished out the year without incident. In fact, in the 2 years he was there, he only had one incident where his eyes mysteriously started swelling. We think it was due to the class on the day before his day had a peanut snack. That was his first year. His second year, his teacher kept the room peanut-free, which included notifying the Sunday school classes that they could not use peanuts in the room. All in all it was a great experience, and I hope the next child that comes to that preschool with a peanut allergy will benefit from what we had to do. We certainly educated a bunch of people with that one meeting with the allergist. I wish you luck--don't give up until you have fully explained everything and attempted to get her to meet with your doctor. I hope it all works out. I totally understand your devestation, since I nearly had the rug pulled out from under me in the middle of my son's school year!! Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 06/28/2002 - 4:03am
Riss's picture
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Joined: 05/21/2002 - 09:00

My children also attend a Montessori school (one with peanut allergy and one with a milk and egg allergy). They were really good about working with us. I thought part of the ideals of the Montessori schools was to be non-discriminatory? You may want to check that out.
Our son too was rejected from a preschool (not Montessori - attached to a church but with no religious affiliation) because of his PA, we were hurt and angry to begin with but in the end we were happy to find a great caring community for him.
Most certified Montessori schools belong to a Montessori association of some sort (such as the American Montessori Society). Maybe you could report your problems to them? (Just a thought). If you look at the AMS website under their code of ethics item 3 states "shall protect the health and safety of students".
[This message has been edited by Riss (edited June 28, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 07/10/2002 - 12:53pm
Gadget's picture
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Joined: 10/01/2001 - 09:00

Is there an update to this? Did the school decide to accept your son? I hope you get a desirable outcome!

Posted on: Wed, 07/10/2002 - 9:15pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

We are pursuing a formal complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The way the director acted, we do not feel that he would be safe there, if she has to be forced to accept him. However, we would like to pursue the complaint so maybe she will stop discriminating against others.
The main thing that gets me about all this is I went in knowing I had the law on my side. What she did was completely illegal, but what are the consequences? We are the ones who are hurt, we are the ones who have the burden to pursue a complaint against her, and he will not be going to what I thought was the best school in town.
So, here we are, back to shopping around for another pre-school.
Thanks for your interest!

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