I have been on and off crying all day and feeling very depressed.
My son is in a half day Kindergarten school. So every day that he gets dropped off is immediately recess time where he and 59 other kids share the playground. During this time, the kids are allowed to have snacks. Today, I drop off Jacob and I see a huddle of about 5 kids around a table eating recess peanut butter cups. During recess, there is only 1 teacher on duty, and she is busy watching the kids on the play structures and oblivious to the fact that kids are eating. I immediately approach the kids and, short of wanting to rip the candy out of the hands and dump them in the garbage, I ask them to wash their hands. I then ask my son's teacher, who was on break, to make sure the kids wash their hands and don't make a mess. Still feeling very insecure, I decide to walk to the principal's office and talk to the principal. The first thing I say to the principal is, "I am feeling very worried right now." Then I describe the situation of 5 kids eating recess cups. Immediately, the principal becomes defensive and argumentative, saying that she cannot ban peanut snacks and that kids are allowed to have snacks and asked me if my son knows to just stay away from them and that there's no 100% guarantee that peanuts will not be brought to school. After defending my position of being concerned for about 5 minutes, she said she'd go check out the situation. When I followed up with her after school to ask her what she saw, she said the kids had all washed their hands after their snack with the "you had nothing to worry about attitude". She said the kids can bring snacks and no one can stop them from bringing peanut snacks. I asked if I can send a letter home to each Kindergartener's parent to ask them to not bring peanuts to school, and she immediately said, "No." Then, she seemed to relent a little bit and said that it's up to the teacher to do that and that she'll give the teacher the option to include a message about not bringing peanut snacks (her tone of voice was like no-promise, but I'll try). My son's teacher agreed to write a note, in her words, so I'm waiting to see what she says. I really hope she will convey the urgency of the matter.
What depresses me is the way the principal is so defensive and makes me feel like I'm battling her and being over-bearing. I can tell I'm on her "difficult parent list." I don't think it's unreasonable to ban peanut snacks during recess when there are 60 kids sharing a playground and only 1 adult watching the kids. Thankfully, my allergist is going to write a letter explaining the severity of my son's allergy.
I'm not looking forward to this uphill battle. I'm so glad I have your support. The biggest problem for me is that this is so emotionally draining for me. I'm not a very confrontational person. PA gets me depressed and gives me trouble accomplishing day-to-day tasks, and the thought of the the special task I have ahead of me - convincing a resistant principal to do more about PA - is overwhelming.
By the way, what happens during lunch is that there are 2 lunch ladies watching 20 kids each. Jacob always has the same lunch lady watching him. The kids eating peanut butter sit on another table and wash their hands. I feel this is reasonable effort by his school to keep him safe.
All you Christians out there, please pray for me. I wonder how many PA parents out there have depression. Every time an allergic incident occurs, I get drained for a couple of days.
On Jan 27, 2006
You are not alone...there are tons of parents in the same boat on this website. What a great resource for information and a source of strength when you feel over-whelmed!
Do you have a 504 plan? I am an adult with MFA, but it seems that this can clearly define the school's responsibility so that everyone is on the "same page."
When dealing with difficult people, I "kill them with kindness." Write the princial and teacher a "thank-you" note (keep a copy for yourself). Spell out what you discussed, and tell them you appreciate their help with this life-threatening matter. You will accomplish 2 points: you will reiterate your discussion in writing, and you will soften their position by asking them to help and thanking them for their efforts. You might even gain an ally, instead of an adversary.
Hang in there, Daisy
On Jan 27, 2006
Originally posted by forJacob: [b]All you Christians out there, please pray for me.[/b]
absolutely. I even pray for non-Christians as well. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
[b]I wonder how many PA parents out there have depression. Every time an allergic incident occurs, I get drained for a couple of days.
I don't know if your child attends a public or private school, but I know one of the most draining moments I had on this road was when my oldest was expelled from our Christian-church-school because he was "too" great a "liability". It came the day after what I thought was a *good* discussion regarding the needs he had as a child with a LTFA among us, the pastor, the principal, and teacher. (A discussion triggered to review what we had mistakenly thought they understood---and on the heels of someone---a student volunteer dishing up lunch items while [i]eating peanut butter cups <<<
I happened to walk in the lunchroom while it was happening---I was comming in to sit with him after lunch for "indoor recess" since I didn't like him going out in 15 degree (F) weather with cold triggered Asthma (and had a physician letter for). (They had insisted I come in on those days, since they *always* sent the children out because they didn't have the staff to watch them *indoors* during recess and the teachers needed their *free-time*.)
So I did. And *that's* what I saw. Despite numerous earlier discussions and explanation.
Anywhooo, when it became apparent to them [i]we took our child's allergy seriously[/i], they literally sent him packing. I mean, they packed his bookbag with *all* his school items, books, etc....in first grade. No explanation to him, a child who to this day, is described as "engaging, polite, cooperative, and bright." And [i]no warning to us[/i]. I mean, *I* would have done it [i]differently[/i], than to send him lugging his bookbag to the car after school. How heartless. How [i]un-Christian[/i]. Didn't turn me off to my faith, just to those who would hide behind it. KWIM? (not saying your turned off to your faith, just somehow got to this point with the peanut butter cups)
But, Yes, I understand the heartbreak.......I completely do. After nearly four years, we still haven't found another church we can trust.
Please pardon my tangent. But somehow your post reminded me that even tho I looked for compassion to flow naturally from other [i]Christians[/i], in some situations, I found it from the most unexpected places. I mean, including many Christians, but countless numbers of all God's children [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] as well.
I'm continually amazed at how things proceed. I mean, where God leads (or brings as may be the case) my family, maybe, in order to help me see [i]The Big Picture[/i]. I mean, it's not always where I initially look for it or expect it to be. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[i]So I have faith[/i]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
On Jan 27, 2006
forJacob, I have nothing concrete to offer you at all. My son is in his 7th year of school now. It can still be depressing, overwhelming, and an uphill battle. I honestly don't know if it ever goes away.
Where I live, it has always been the decision of the principal, not the teacher, about the status of the school - whether it is "peanut free", "peanut safe", "reduce the risk", "whatever".
You raise an interesting question for me because at first I was going to say "welcome to the difficult parent list" of which I know I'm one at my children's school and yet, I wonder if that is true for everyone here.
My experience has been that when the principal (no matter what school except for a couple) sees me come in the door, they get this terribly weary look on their face. "Oh no, here she comes again".
I tried to off-set things by doing something totally non-PA related with the school and investing a lot of my time and energy in it (a breakfast program). That just blew up in my face this morning and it's almost like I want to tell people here that since we're doing whatever we're doing to hopefully have our children go to school in relative safety and participate in all activities in relative safety, don't bother doing anything else with the school because if one thing backfires (like this one did with me), perhaps we have even less standing when it comes to the school dealing *properly* with our child's PA. Who knows?
Just please know that you're not alone. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------ "That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."
On Jan 27, 2006
Thanks for all the replies so far. I feel strengthened already!
Short note to MommaBear, I am a Christian and this was at a public school. I guess me asking for all the "Christians" to pray did sound random. Sorry, lots of thoughts going through me head when I typed last night. That is terrible what happened to your family at the Christian school that your son attended. I'm so sorry to hear that! It surely sounded very selfish and unloving of the school. Hugs!
On Jan 27, 2006
I agree that it is a draining experience, but I know that you can do it. I agree with the "kill them with kindness" approach - sometimes when you expect the best in people, it does come through (and will make it clear you are only "difficult" in the sense of protecting your child).
I am also not a very confrontational person, and when I start to feel like I am imposing, I keep an image of myself as a "mother bear" in my mind. Protecting my child is my first job, and nothing will distract me from it.
I hope that this helps!
On Jan 27, 2006
It drives me crazy to hear stories like this. How aggravating and frustrating for you. I think I'd be in tears too.
Luckily, you do have a lot of support on this website. I told my mother that no one can understand what I go through like all of you do.
I know what you mean about feeling drained too. That happened to me just the other day. I took the night off from being online and worrying about stuff. I watched some TV and tried to do absolutely nothing. It helped.
Take some time off to do something for yourself. Then when you feel re-energized, think out what you will do and bounce ideas off other people here. I definitely think the "killing them with kindess" idea sounds good to me.
I'm sorry this happened. Hopefully things will get better soon. Good luck! I'll definitely say a prayer for you.
[This message has been edited by Lori Anne (edited January 27, 2006).]
On Jan 27, 2006
(((((((Prayers and Hugs for you)))))))
------------------ Jill DD, 5, TNA DS, 18 mo. EA, MA
On Jan 29, 2006
I feel your pain. My son also entered Kindergarten this year. Our school system only has full day. I had a somewhat similar experience back in Dec. After meeting w/ the school nurse, teacher, her aid as well as the principle 5 months before school started then again in Sept. I dont think it sank in just HOW deadly food allergies can be. A letter went home explaining the food allergy an that no p/n or t/n snacks would be allowed because they have snack in the classroom. One day I picked my son up and he said he an Adam (another boy in his class w/ p/n) had to eat the hostess cupcakes I left in the class because a childs mother had brought in peanut butter cookies topped w/ peanut M&M's....Ok I was FURIOUS!! Not only that the "snack" parent of the day was so careless, but that the teacher allowed them to even be opened and served!. I too didnt want to be "that parent". I am my son's safety voice, no one else. So I had to. I calmly went to the nurse, whom was shocked, (shes great) she then wrote a note to send home regarding "NO nuts or p/n snacks will be served" explaining the severity of the situation. So basically dont bother sending it in! I then approached the teacher in a calm fashion explaining that this allergy is fatal, and that she shouldnt put herself in a position with all of that to bear. It would be much easier to make the rule and stick to it.There are plenty other snacks in the class that are safe . She agreed. Shes been great ever since. I get the feeling shes on egg shells sometimes when Im around, but Ive volunteered my assistance w/ labels, safe snacks etc. She has accepted! I like the " kill them with kindness" theory, it worked for me. Dont worry about how the other adults see you, the only thing you are guilty of is being a great Parent!! Remember that! Good luck!
On Jan 30, 2006
God chose you to be this childs parent -- He knew about the allergies before your child was born and He chose you because He knew how diligent you would be!!
I will pray for you!
By liseetsa on Feb 9, 2011
These posts are a few years old. Now that peanut allergies are a federal disability, with a 504 and IEP, you are able to insist on peanut free classrooms and no food in libraries, playground, etc...
Food in the classroom, library, playground is a bad idea--not just dangerous. Our librarian would have gone INSANE if she saw food in our library back when?
I hope all of you have leverage now to keep your child safe at school. Even with the law on our side, I do not trust school teachers, nurses, administators, etc... We homeschool.