Cafeteria or Lunch in Classroom

Posted on: Thu, 04/19/2007 - 12:53pm
PA-Mom's picture
Joined: 09/18/2006 - 09:00

I may have asked this before but would like to readdress the question because we need to make some decisions about where our child will be for the next school year.

If given the option, do you think a child with SEVERE Multiple Food allergies would be best off at :

School #1: eating lunch in a classroom that would be free of obvious peanut/nut sources (but still have other allergens, like egg, seeds/mustard, mayo). This issue is controversial at the school because some parents get angry and send peanut butter anyway, these children then go somewhere else to eat. This also spotlights the allergic child because "others cannot bring peanut butter because of ____ allergies"


School #2 a cafeteria at a peanut free table. The school does not serve peanut butter, but may have a peanut butter cookie on the menu (on that day I could pick up my child for lunch)

I guess I'm concerned about eating in the classroom because of eating at desks and cross contamination of other allergens. In the past I've seen Nutter Butter bars in what was saposed to be a peanut free room, so I don't know if all products are noticed.

In the cafeteria option, kids can bring PB if they choose but obviously the room is a lot bigger and it would not be near my child. I hope there would be no problem with smells (child is airborne reactive).

What do you think?

Posted on: Fri, 04/20/2007 - 12:35am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by PA-Mom:
[BWhat do you think? [/B]
I'm sorry that I can't offer much input because neither option as you've described would be acceptable to me. It's like asking, [i]"Which hurtful/illegal discrimination should I choose for my child?"[/i]
In general, I would think it might be easier to address accommodations that have a cafeteria.

Posted on: Fri, 04/20/2007 - 12:42am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

Much prefer a cafeteria with peanut free zone and precautions taken with cleaning tables, etc.

Posted on: Fri, 04/20/2007 - 1:08am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I agree with Gail w...they both are bad, honestly. If the school doesn't serve pb on it's menu, then why the pb cookie?? Get it out too....then have the kids bringing cold lunch wash after eating(ours goes a step further and they all sit together, keepign the pb contained to one area, then they all wash hands) my son also has a peanut free table...far away from the cold lunchers.
I am trying to get food(snacks, parties etc..) out of the classroom currently, so if they ate lunch inthere, I wouldn't send him in until they stopped.
My opinion, the school with the lunchroom is a better option, but it's not the safer option(they both are very unsafe from what you described). I'd be getting a 504 to accommodate at either school
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Fri, 04/20/2007 - 7:47am
mommyofmatt's picture
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Well...I'm struggling with similar concerns with a MFA child. I'm leaning towards picking the school that shows more concern for my child and believes in trying to prevent allergic reactions, not just treat them. With that school, they currently eat in the classroom.
A cafeteria to a MFA child could be a minefield (as I've learned lately) depending upon the allergies and severity of them.
If we're talking Kindergarten here, wouldn't there be a snack in the classroom too? So, couldn't the allergic child be "singled" out anyway in the school with the cafeteria? Granted it's not pb & j...but still. With MFA, (again depending on what they are) it's pretty unlikely that all allergens could be eliminated from allergic child's environment.
Gail W: question for you: what exactly do you see as illegal in the scenarios that PA-mom presented? Is it FAPE/safe learning environment you're thinking of? Just curious to see if I'm missing something that I could use in my decision making/negotiating. And, hopefully this question will help you too PA-mom [img][/img] Meg

Posted on: Sun, 04/22/2007 - 1:51am
PA-Mom's picture
Joined: 09/18/2006 - 09:00

Gail W...I would love to be able to go to the schools and explain to them what they are offering me is illegal. Can you expand on this? Appreciate your input. Thank you.

Posted on: Sun, 04/22/2007 - 12:36pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Sorry I didn't see this the first time mommyofmatt asked.
Quote:Originally posted by PA-Mom:
[b] This also spotlights the allergic child because "others cannot bring peanut butter because of ____ allergies" [/b]
I think I may have originally misread this. I read this to say that they were stating the child's name, not the word "peanut" in the blank. But now on a second look, I think it is probably that the type of food allergy, not the child's name, would be given. Stating the child's name would certainly be a violation of privacy/confidentiality rights.
School #2 a cafeteria at a peanut free table. The school does not serve peanut butter, but may have a peanut butter cookie on the menu (on that day I could pick up my child for lunch)[/b]
Why would you pick your child up for lunch? If it is because it is unsafe for your child to be there, then they are being denied access to FAPE.
I also, personally speaking, tend to object to the concept of "peanut free" tables. It's segregation. I understand that it may be at your (the parent's) request, but it's segregation nonetheless. We requested one for Mariah, were refused, so then got a letter from our allergist stating it was necessary. Then 2 years later when she was older, she felt isolated and segregated because the PF table had developed a stigma. We asked for her to sit at the "regular" table and the school refused saying that Mariah was [i]required [/i]to sit at the "peanut free table" per physican orders. Oy. Be careful what you wish for! We eventually went back to the allergist, and did additional testing (including a modified 'contact challenge') and Mariah sat at the "regular table".
I tend to believe that "peanut free " tables are maybe appropriate for only something like K and first grades. . . if that. But I would personally prefer that a cafeteria aide would monitor the child so that they may sit at the "regular" table with the class so they may participate in the "least restrictive environment".
Does that explain my statements? Feel free to keep asking me questions if I'm not explaining my thoughts well....
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited April 22, 2007).]

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