article re: third grader is dead /school and the teacher knew he was allergic

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2001 - 8:43pm
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

particle re: third grader is dead /school and the teacher knew he was allergicbr /
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Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 2:36am
yarnwoman's picture
Joined: 10/09/2000 - 09:00

I responded under the main topic on this story and what concerns me most is why schools insist on using this type of lunch for field trips? We lived in San Diego for 7 rs and that was what the san diego unified school district used. Now we are in seaside CA next door to Monterey and this school district uses the same. I wonder how many school districts in both the US and Canada use this. Is there anyway to change this policy? Their must be other ways to provide a sack lunch where there is no peanutbutter involved at least for children like ours so Nathan's story isn't repeated. Maybe we could do something so his death isn't in vain.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 3:29am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi Yarnwoman,
I am so saddened by this tragedy. How little thought and concern all these 'grown-ups' have shown is astounding. These children are their charges for them to care for and protect. Not a single one of them, in my opinion, took their job seriously and look what has happened.
This somewhat reminds me of my niece who is a teacher in San Diego. While I was back there in January I asked her if her school was peanut free. She stated - ready for this - "I think it is peanut free, they just give peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to kids who forget their lunches".
Teachers don't get it. Parents of non-allergic children don't get it. We need to continue advocating for educating our educators.
In the back of my mind I have to ask why that child didn't have his own lunch provided by his parents. They are the ones that should be providing his food or approving his choices. Someone somewhere dropped the ball and didn't check out the food for this trip. Who was in charge? I hope the family sues that school district and all the individuals responsible for this travesty. Not that this will bring back their child - but maybe, just maybe it will send a major message to those who just don't get it.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 5:23am
yarnwoman's picture
Joined: 10/09/2000 - 09:00

Hello Phillip's mom,
I too thought that same thing "In the back of my mind I have to ask why that child didn't have his own lunch provided by his parents. They are the ones that should be providing his food or approving his choices. Someone somewhere dropped the ball and didn't check out the food for this trip."
But then thought maybe they had checked and were told the same thing I was told once that they would try to make one safe for Axel. The school couldn't and therefore(sp?) I made his lunch to be sure it was safe. But I agree teacher's (and I am one though not currently) are lax about this Axel had a student teacher in 1st grade that ate peanutbutter toast on the way to school, ate it at recess and then again at lunch and wasn't always careful to wash afterwards. this caused great problems as Axel is touch sensitive. The student teacher got so upset when she was approached that she dropped out of education because she couldn't bear the thought of hurting a child. Nothing major happened with Axel but it made me very worried that something could happen like it happened to Nathan in Spokane. The only thing is how do we change a society that feels peanuts are the cheapest way to provide protien to our children? I think that is the number one question.

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 11:38am
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

I did read this article and print it. I cried so bad and thought about an incident that we had one time. Christopher was accused of faking one time and thank god was treated sooner than later. My God what kind of people would send a child back to the bus knowing he should have medical treatment. I was thinking about this the entire day. I did tell Christopher about the story. He was very upset and angry because I told him. he said now he would be even more scared to eat things. Now that he is older though I feel he could be heard.God Bless those family members.If we are saddened just imagine how they are doing. This gives me chills so bad... Bless our children. claire

Posted on: Mon, 05/21/2001 - 12:12pm
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

This links to an on-line discussion of the tragedy
and this to a more detailed report
Having chaperoned on many school trips for my older son (when my younger pa son was in a pn-free room I felt I could do this), I determined that I would never let my pa guy on a trip without one of his parents until he can carry and self-administer the EpiPen. It appears a parent chaperone was left to look after Nathan and how could he/she have known that the little boy was experiencing anaphylaxis?
[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited May 22, 2001).]

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 7:02am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

My daughter has severe allergies to both peanut and egg. She is otherwise a normal bubbly preschooler. My mother was a public elementary school teacher in the Spokane area for over ten of her thirty years in teaching. She has always been a rather militant supporter of public education, even for "special" kids like ours. She is changing her tune this week. We don't know about home schooling, but there is no way that our daughter will ever be placed in a similar situation while I draw breath.
I am so horrified by little Nathan's death that I feel cold all over. Even with all of the changes that we have made to our lives as a result of my little girl's allergies, this still could have been her. What does it take to make other people understand that mistakes are simply not acceptable when it comes to a severe allergy?? I cry to think that because of the selfishness and wanton ignorance of school officials and other parents a child is dead. They all seem to refuse to acknowledge that peanuts are simply not safe to include in a school lunch program when a PA student is present!! Yes, other foods can cause anaphylaxis, but peanuts ARE special due to their oiliness, persistance on surfaces, and resistance to heat degradation, as well as the protein concentration which leads to potency as an allergen. Peanuts are not an especially healthy component of the American diet... this is worse than the assertion that ketchup counts as a vegetable, yet it seems that our voices just aren't heard.
Why should I as a parent and taxpayer have to spend the equivalent of a part-time job educating and cajoling teachers and staff just to have my daughter in a public school?
It seems only logical that more than double the national average of severely allergic children are home-schooled.
Some additional information from my "inside" source in the Spokane school district:
Nathan was in a very low-income area (75% of students receive free lunches) and was parented by a single father. My source suspects that this child was not carrying a lunch because he may have been on the lunch program instead. He was left alone on the school bus while the rest of the classes finished the tour. He was only transported to the fire station after nearly two hours had elapsed. He probably did not know that he had consumed peanuts, since some of the students reported that "it looked like a sugar cookie," and he had given away the trail mix and the pb+j. The onset of anaphylaxis was relatively slow, since he was able to walk back to the bus without much trouble, but did seem a bit disoriented. The ER doctors who saw him said (off the record) that he had obviously passed the point of no return when they saw him hours later. He was in full blown anaphylaxis by the time he reached the EMTs at the fire station. How could any adult not know how serious the situation was becoming? I know what anaphylaxis looks like, and I cannot in my worst nightmares imagine not helping someone who is experiencing it. For that matter, I cannot imagine anyone with the common sense of a gerbil not knowing that this was a medical emergency!

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 9:24am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

To answer the question of why this sort of lunch is provided on trips - probably because it is pretty non-perishable, requiring no refrigeration. Not an excuse of course, but an possible explanation.
I have to been too sick over this to respond in any other way to these threads.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 3:36pm
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Updates, it's seems no special lunch was ordered for Nathan. Both his teacher and a parent chaperone (who was a nurse) did not give Nathan the EpiPen for over 90 minutes after he started to react and after they failed to find any in a fire station to do it as they were driving Nathan home-not to the hospital. No-one called 911.

Posted on: Tue, 05/22/2001 - 11:39pm
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Oh My God! As more details emerge (thanks for those links, Eileen) I am beginning to feel that Nathan's teacher is guilty of manslaughter. That won't bring Nathan back, of course - but this teacher has his death on her hands. I am sick. Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 05/23/2001 - 12:32am
Tina123's picture
Joined: 04/13/2001 - 09:00

Here's another follow-up to Nathan's story.
I have posted this in the main discussion forum already, thought I'd post it here as well.
You will be outraged!


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