Big trouble in our school!

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Hello, I am new to posting here but have been lurking off and on for a while. We have a 4 year old son with PA. His older brother (no PA) is in 1st grade with our good friends' daughter who is also PA. My friend sent a letter home to all of the parents (as she had done last year without incident) explaining about her daughter's PA and to please only bring in nut-free snacks. The school nurse, principal and teacher were all in agreement about the letter. She states in the letter for everyone to please be very careful when reading ingredients and she goes on to list some snacks that are safe (at least for now!). Well 2 parents got VERY upset that they were being asked to do this. One of these parents I know personally and she came to me complaining and stating it was not HER responsibility, knowing about MY son's PA and how careful and worried I am!!! The principal of the school received an e-mail from the other parent stating that her child likes peanut butter and why should she not be able to send what she wants?!

The principal has a grand-daughter with PA. She contacted the district as to what to do next. The pricipal and the school nurse have already set up a Penut/Nut free table in the lunchroom. It had been this way for a while since there are at least 3 other children in the school with PA.

The district replied that we could not force parents to bring in nut-free snacks!! That if we had to, the child with PA could be separated and put in another room to eat snack ALONE!!! I can't even believe I am writing this!

The princpal went ahead and called all of the parents in this class and still one was not willing to back down. She then called all of the parents in another class where that teacher had dealt with a PA child in the past. He even had a reactionin her class, so she is VERY aware of the dangers now! ALL of the parents in that class stated they had NO problem complying with the nut free request. My friend's daughter is now being moved to the other class.

It is not policy that the children have snack. The second grade teachers do not have snack but the third grade has 2 snacks. I don't see why the teachers can't just state what snacks they want and limit it to maybe juat 2 or 3 different ones. Maybe graham crackers and goldfish or something else safe. Or maybe just get rid of snacks, I didn't have snacks when I was in school. OK, so maybe that WAS a while ago! Am I showing my age? LOL! (I have to laugh or I will cry)

There are so many other things that need to be adressed. Right now the school nurse keeps the epi-pens in her office. I'd like to see them with the teachers at all times. I feel my son is too young right now to carry it himself. Also, there is no policy regarding food allergies.

I am not done with the school or the district. My 4yr old will be there next year, and he will NOT be forced to be separated! My goal is to set up a task force to address this and to set up a policy on food allergies. I was doing some reading on this site on section 504 as well as about the death of Nathan Walters. I have copies of artcles to give to the principal. I must keep my child safe! Any advice and/or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you!

On Aug 23, 2001

It is VERY frustrating to read stories such as yours! Here in Canada we have made much progress from the days when kids with PA's were seperated. How unfair is that?! It's bad enough they have to live with this affliction let alone be reminded they are different on a daily basis. I can't believe any parent with even a 1/4 of a brain would not see the problem with this! You are right! I would NEVER stand for this. Also, providing a nut-free table in the lunch room is NOT satisfactory. Too much of the protein is still entering the school to make it as safe an environment as reasonably possible. My suggestion to you is to do what I had done. I joined our school council and they all agreed that I was to write a letter to the board on their behalf stating the NEED for policy regarding anaphylaxis (in particular, peanut allergies) so that all Principals have a guideline to follow and can be consistent from school to school. Half of the reason Principlas do not back up the parents of PA students is because they have nothing in writing from the board giving them a better position of arguing with parents against reducing the risk. From my letter, I was invited to sit on a committee the board decided to create to address this issue. And from that committee, I was asked to create a Resource Document that the board could distribute to all the schools in their district! And the Document was approved as I had created it with only a few minor changes and is now being used by schools going on 2 years! I could not believe it! I never would have thought one letter to the board would have led to such a successful step for parents with PA kids! It's worth a try. I also took a Speaker's Bureau course from the Anaphylaxis Network of Canada and for 3 years now, have been doing presentations to schools and - students, councils, staff, or education evenings for parents, and businesses. That helps you to gain credibility and I have found it has been very helpful. I am more then happy to email you a copy of the letter I wrote to the board, as well as a copy of the Resource Document, if you think that it might be helpful to you in any way. I used very valuable resources when creating it but some may not suit you if you live in the States. But you could feel free to take anything you need out of there. Let me know. And good luck. Michelle [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Aug 23, 2001

It is VERY frustrating to read stories such as yours! Here in Canada we have made much progress from the days when kids with PA's were seperated. How unfair is that?! It's bad enough they have to live with this affliction let alone be reminded they are different on a daily basis. I can't believe any parent with even a 1/4 of a brain would not see the problem with this! You are right! I would NEVER stand for this. Also, providing a nut-free table in the lunch room is NOT satisfactory. Too much of the protein is still entering the school to make it as safe an environment as reasonably possible. My suggestion to you is to do what I had done. I joined our school council and they all agreed that I was to write a letter to the board on their behalf stating the NEED for policy regarding anaphylaxis (in particular, peanut allergies) so that all Principals have a guideline to follow and can be consistent from school to school. Half of the reason Principlas do not back up the parents of PA students is because they have nothing in writing from the board giving them a better position of arguing with parents against reducing the risk. From my letter, I was invited to sit on a committee the board decided to create to address this issue. And from that committee, I was asked to create a Resource Document that the board could distribute to all the schools in their district! And the Document was approved as I had created it with only a few minor changes and is now being used by schools going on 2 years! I could not believe it! I never would have thought one letter to the board would have led to such a successful step for parents with PA kids! It's worth a try. I also took a Speaker's Bureau course from the Anaphylaxis Network of Canada and for 3 years now, have been doing presentations to schools and - students, councils, staff, or education evenings for parents, and businesses. That helps you to gain credibility and I have found it has been very helpful. I am more then happy to email you a copy of the letter I wrote to the board, as well as a copy of the Resource Document, if you think that it might be helpful to you in any way. I used very valuable resources when creating it but some may not suit you if you live in the States. But you could feel free to take anything you need out of there. Let me know. And good luck. Michelle [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Aug 23, 2001

Oops! Sorry for the double post! It had said it didn't go through.

I also forgot to mention that here the schools usually send the kids with peanut butter sandwiches or snacks to a designated room and the staff monitor handwashing afterwards. They are usually allowed to bring a friend. The parents of these kids have a choice to have THEIR kids removed from the lunch setting, we don't. And although the schools are not allowed to enforce not bringing peanut products into the school, they ARE allowed to enforce this. There was a court case in Toronto where a mom fought being told she could not send peanut products to school. She thinks she won her case as the judge ruled that she could, but the judge specified that it must be eaten in a designated room at all times away from other students. So in my opinion, we won, as the school can now reinforce the relocation of these students.

On Aug 23, 2001

Hi Michelle,

What a nasty situation this is. I wanted to offer my support and give you a link to an article written about the ADA and peanut pans, well written and might prove helpful.

[url="http://www.law.uh.edu/healthlawperspectives/Disabilities/981015Peanut.html"]http://www.law.uh.edu/healthlawperspectives/Disabilities/981015Peanut.html[/url]

I'm in the middle of a not so nice situation at my son's future school with regard to a peanut ban that is in name only so I can sympathize with you.

Xena offered you some great advice, I am also in Ontario Xena and would love to hear from you, it sounds like you have had some success in implementing safe provisions for your child (and other PA children), I could sure use some advice. Feel free to email me anytime.

Regards,

Katiee (Wade's mom)

On Aug 23, 2001

Hummmmm, "peanut pans" LMAO...you think maybe my kids have been home too long? Mommy needs a break! That should have read "PEANUT BANS"...DOH!

Katiee

On Aug 23, 2001

How frustrating for you!

The school I will be sending my 4 yr. old next year has a peanut ban and they don't have bake sales or allow birthday cakes because there are children with multiple food allergies. However, that's not to say there are parents who actually take PA seriously. When they do catch a child with PB (and they do), they bring him to the office where he eats his sandwich by himself, make him wash his hands thoroughly, and send home a letter to his/her parents.

We send our children to school to be EDUCATED, not to have birthday parties or have to worry about having lunch. I think children (and people in general) are the most important thing in this world, and it is very disturbing to me when we value a PB&J sandwich more than them. It is so sad that some parents are so ignorant, but that is when we have to take a deep breath and as calmly as possible give them all the facts and dangers of having a severe food allergy. How can someone feel the same way after hearing what PA can do to a child? Unfortunately, PA is on the rise, so people are going to have to deal with it sooner or later.

Tina

On Aug 23, 2001

I noticed you said you feel you son is too young to send epi-pen. Other people have said that the epi-pen is locked up in the office. I have recently (my son is 5 1/2) been sending his epi-pen in his back pack in a separate compartment with Benadryl. I guess it depends on the child but he is very aware that he does not touch these things only an adult. He can not get the lid off either of these items and I have never had a problem with him wanting to touch or play with them. Do you think this is dangerous or is that personal decision?

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On Aug 24, 2001

Our highly PA daughters are now 12 and 15 so we have been living with this PA situation for a while.

At the beginning of every school year, my wife brings special nonpeanut snacks for the teacher to keep in her desk. Whenever snacks are brought to the classroom without an ingredient list, the teacher gave our child her 'safe' snack. Even though someone said their homemade snacks were peanut safe, we insist on the 'safe' snacks. This is a zero tolerance thing that the teacher well understands out position.

You just can't be too careful.

On Aug 24, 2001

Nervous Nelly, I send my 5 1/2 year old son to school (and everywhere for that matter) with a fanny pack that has 2 shots, benedryl, and his inhaler and spacer for asthma. He does really well with it (other than wanting to show it off [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] ). When he arrives at school he gives it to his teacher who keeps it with her purse and takes it wherever the class goes (snack, lunch, recess etc...). This has worked really well so far. Timmy has bronchitis right now and we spent most of the night Monday night in the ER. He just went back to school today and the principal was giving me a hard time about the teacher using his inhaler on him. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] He wanted me to come to school every time he needed it to administer it! I said, "fine, I'll come back each time he needs it or would you rather me just take him home?" UGH! People can be hard headed sometimes!!!

On Aug 24, 2001

I just went through this last week with my daughters school, she made my daughter sit in the library unsupervised by her self, I went through the roof, anyway we could not work it, she made it perfectly clear she was not going to budge,and neither was I. So I went to the superindent of school, and she was made to budge and he said that no child in any school in his district will ever eat lunch alone because of PA. Anyway I found out there was alot of things she was doing to my child that was unacceptable to him. After I told him what she was doing she was call out of her school and told to come to his office immediately and all 3 of us had a meeting. He was shocked at some of the things I told him. After I left she was with him for about another 30 minutes (I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall) anyway I got everything I wanted. As far as snacks she was trying to exclude sarah from snack time and party's that will not happen either because her room is peanut free and no peanut snacks allowed. I want everyone to know just beacuse the principal says no please do not stop there.

On Aug 25, 2001

Dear Neighborgal,

Wow! It sounds like our children are so similar. Mine has asthma too and the teacher informed me that I would have to teach him to use his inhaler as she was unable to administer meds. Luckily he is quite able to do this so it was a non issue but there is no way he could administer an epi-pen. I will be going to the school next week with my bag of safe snacks (thanks TheDaddy)and my demands for peanut free classroom, lunchroom and whatever it takes to ensure that in the event of an emergency that they must call 911 and administer epi. I have learned so much from people here I really appreciate it. I let you know the results in this thread. Does anyone have a good article on anaphalaxis (spelling??) that I could send to the school regarding recognizing a reaction? My e-mail is [email]jalexma@aol.com[/email]. Thanks again!

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On Aug 25, 2001

If this post looks familiar, sorry, I just posted it under the school forum too.

This is what the law states regarding Sec.504: Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

On Apr 26, 2003

Disney Mom - I saw that you live in Olathe. I would love to meet with you or e-mail you. I live in Olathe too and have a 2 yr old PA daughter.

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