advice on what to say to \"nasty\" non pa mom

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 12:52am
momofjen's picture
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Joined: 10/07/2002 - 09:00

My daughter with pa, and tna is in a nut free 1st grade class. The school decided to make all the first grade classes nut free because many of the rooms share bathrooms and get together for activities.
Apparently, there is an irate mother in the classroom ajoining my dd. She feels that it is ridiculous that her child can not have nut containing snacks in her class. She is planning on attending the next school board meeting to discuss this issue.
Now that I know this , I plan on attending.A very good friend of mine is an active member of the board and is anxious to gather some pertinent facts to use at the meeting to basically " shut her up. " What strong points do you recommend?
I forgot to mention, the cafeteria is not peanut free. There is a peanut free area, so her child can eat peanuts at lunch.

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 1:24am
pgrubbs's picture
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Joined: 10/27/2003 - 09:00

Give your friend a copy of the Peanut Allergy Answer Book asap!

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 2:27am
e-mom's picture
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Joined: 04/23/2000 - 09:00

Just ask her if she believes in a child's safety?
Ask her if she's knows that peanut exposure could possibly cause an anaphylactic reaction does she still want her child to be the one to cause this?
Ask her if she cares if a child dies or not?
Pretty bold statements, IMHO. Something to keep in mind: If you come across as a calm, educating, caring parent (no matter how hard you want to wring her neck) you will win over more supporters. If you come across as a irate, my child is special (you all know what I mean) type of a woman, more people will just look the other way.
Sorry you are going through this. Let us know what happens.

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 11:14am
Dawn's picture
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Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

momofjen, I have been very fortunate with my son's school and haven't had to deal with what you are dealing with, but I am so afraid that I will at some point.
My first goal is protecting my son and educating his teachers, as well as anyone else within earshot [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] But I try to make them think that I am just as concerned about their child's right to peanut butter [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]. Well, really (and I do mean this), I don't want them to feel like I am telling them what they should feed their child. Anyway, when I spoke to our school's PTO, on the same day as the furor in Walnut Creek, by the way, so I was a double nervous wreck, worried about the same reaction, I was sure to mention several times that this really is a life threatening allergy. I threw in a bunch of "fatal"s and then tried to make them think that while it was tricky for me to manage pa and educate my son, all they needed to worry about was washing their hands after eating peanut products and when it was possible, to try not to send in peanut products to school. I got an astonished and heartfelt "Oh my G*d" reaction when I spoke about the possibility of a contact reaction becoming an ingestion reaction since little kids always seem to put their hands in their mouths. At that moment, I felt like that mom came over to "my side". She hadn't previously made the connection.
We do not have a ban in place but there a very few pbj's and some of the teachers are even having every child who brings a lunch from home wash their hands.
I completely agree with e-mom about coming across as calm. Stay the course...you are on the right road and the other mom will be perceived as a nut (tee hee).
There is a link somewhere on these boards about a Canadian school board policy. It is a wonderful document. I know that some have said that they couldn't print it, but I was able to print a couple pages of it. I'll try to find the thread.
[url="http://www.cdnsba.org/"]http://www.cdnsba.org/[/url] Try this link, click on "publications" on the left and then scroll down, click on "anaphylaxis". I downloaded the english version and it came up in adobe acrobat.
[This message has been edited by Dawn (edited September 25, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 12:42pm
maggie0303's picture
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Joined: 04/14/2003 - 09:00

We do not have a nut free area or table at our school. But reading through a lot of posts lately about getting the message across to other parents this just came to mind. When kids are in school there is a lot of emphasis on cold and germs,

Posted on: Thu, 09/25/2003 - 9:37pm
samirosenjacken's picture
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Joined: 09/30/2002 - 09:00

I have spoken at PTA meetings before about this issue. I have some things I can email you if you are interested.
Basically, I always do my comparisons.. I compare peanuts to a loaded gun. Everyone has a right to carry a gun and with a permit and license to carry, it's legal. How would you feel if a teacher brought a loaded gun into school? Peanuts have the same effect on my child as a loaded gun. The results are exactly the same ..
I also discuss exactly what can happen to my child if she eats or touches anything contaminated by peanuts. I explain about the symptoms... the need for epi pens .. fast reactions.. all that. I also give many examples of alternatives to peanut food. Basically, I am a firm believer that at least the classroom needs to be free of peanuts and nuts. It's the only room in the school your child spends the majority of her time in and you can control. It's needs to be her "safe place."
A private school in our town just declared itself peanut free. They have asked if I'd come and speak to their Parents about it. I guess some of their parents didn't handle the change too well!

Posted on: Fri, 09/26/2003 - 12:18am
SF's picture
SF
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Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Any info that you find on this site is a great help in educating the public...articles that have been posted recently are especially helpful. Look under "Media" for the Newsweek article on allergies etc. Also check out FAAN for pamphlets and PA fact sheets to copy for your meeting.
I also think that it is best for the info to come from the school and not appear that it is coming from you, the PA parent; it will be better to kind of remove yourself from this situation. This way the peanut free rules are the schools rules and hopefully the difficult non pa parents will take the schools rules and peanut free decisions seriously.
I wish you lots of luck and hope that in educating others we are able to keep our children safe!

Posted on: Fri, 09/26/2003 - 12:28am
SF's picture
SF
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Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Dawn: thanks for that link for the Canada school board publication. It is a great tool for us to use as an example in creating a food allergy guideline for our schools in the US. I might have to order it...

Posted on: Fri, 09/26/2003 - 2:42am
momofjen's picture
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Joined: 10/07/2002 - 09:00

Thanks to everyone for their great replies. These are all things that I know to say when I am having a rational coversation with someone about PA. Sometimes it is hard to remain calm when I hear someone who thinks us PA parents are " nutty " . I loved the analogy about spreading the cold. Everyone can relate to that.
I know it doesn't help to have another PA child in my dd's class whose parents think it is fine to have nut products in the class, as long as her son doesn't eat them. He buys lunch at school everyday and I even saw him at the back to school picnic eating cookies off the "community desert" table. His parents were no where to be found. I consider myself to have a middle of the road comfort level, but I'm not going to play Russian Roulette with my childs life.

Posted on: Fri, 09/26/2003 - 3:10am
kelly01's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

Hi Momofjen:
My main advice on this one is to go in with any open mind. Listen to this parents concerns and try to communicate that 1)you understand that you are asking for a sacrifice and 2) the very necessary reasons that you are asking for them.
Kelly
P.S. Please don't take this the wrong way, but I do want to point out that I am one of the moms that apparently is playing "Russion Roulette" with my child (?!) I have not had peanut free restrictions for ds since preschool. (I alos often bake items for the shared treat table that he knows are safe for him to have.) If you don't want to be judged, please don't just other parents.

Posted on: Fri, 09/26/2003 - 11:26am
momofjen's picture
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Joined: 10/07/2002 - 09:00

Kelly01,
I appologize if I offended you. I certainly did not intend to. Do you get nervous when you have safe treats for your little one on the same table as nut products? I guess I would worry about cross contamination ( PB cookie placed on same tray as your safe cookies and then removed yet residue remains ) . It is not my intention to judge anyone. I spend a lot of time wondering if I go overboard with her allergy. Then I come to these boards and read and it seems that many are way stricter than we are. So, I guess we fall somewhere in the middle.
I am curious as to why you don't have any peanut restrictions in your childs class and as to how old you child is?
Thanks for your imput.

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