Choose school with other PA kids or one with none?

Posted on: Fri, 03/22/2002 - 2:19pm
Gadget's picture
Joined: 10/01/2001 - 09:00

My son will be in Kindergarten starting this August. We have two options: A private Catholic school (we are Methodist) and a public school. The public school has no other children with a peanut allergy, whereas the private school has at least one, and I think another one entering pre-K in August. With my son, that would be a total of 3 kids at the private school with PA. This amazes me, since the enrollment at the public school is ~900 kids, but the private school is only ~300. Now, both schools have pluses and minuses on academic and other issues that make them about equal, but of course, the public school is free. Would you automatically choose a school where you would not be the only family requesting special accomodations for peanut allergy? The public school is very willing to work with us to ensure our son's safety, but I kind of feel it would be nice to be in a school where there are other PA students like my son. What do you think you would do? Thanks for any advice!

Posted on: Fri, 03/22/2002 - 9:40pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

IMO, I think it would be better to "pave the way" and have my child be the first PA student in the school. As a matter of fact, that is going to be the situation for us this Fall. Just because a school has dealt with PA kids before doesn't mean they're handling it the way you would want it to be handled for your child.
Also, with the way PA has been going lately, you can be sure your child won't be "the only one" for very long. Who's to say that there isn't already someone else with PA, but who handles it in a VERY different way than we would (keeping it quiet)?
We don't have the particular option that you do - choosing between schools - at this point, but I think I would probably find out all I could about HOW they're handling the PA students at the Catholic school. I would probably lean toward sending my child to a school where they've already dealt with the PA, but it would come down to the details, and I think being the "first" one (in another school) would help in getting those details worked out in our favor.
Good luck, Gadget!

Posted on: Fri, 03/22/2002 - 10:07pm
DRobbins's picture
Joined: 07/19/2001 - 09:00

Gadget, I would talk with the public schools, and see if they sound receptive to the specific accomodations you are requesting. If so, I'd choose the public school.
While it's nice in many ways to have other PA children in your child's school, the downside is that the parents of the other PA students may be telling school officials things that you disagree with.
Having to argue with a school about how you don't care if Mrs. Smith says her Johnny doesn't need a peanut-free table, you say your child *does* need one is probably harder than coming in to a school that is open-minded and willing to start fresh on making accomodations for PA children.

Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2002 - 1:52am
BS312's picture
Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Gadget- I would choose the school with other PA kids. It is true that the guidelines for your child may vary somewhat from those of other kids and that this may cause some confusion. However, the school should expect to treat each child as an individual, so I wouldn't worry too much about this. Your child may be the first at the public school with PA, but chances are that in the next six years there will be others, and then this distinction between the two schools will disappear. If you choose the school with other PA kids, you may discover incredible support from the other PA parents and kids. This can help a lot! Finally, the more kids with PA, the more likely the school may be to take measures such as becoming peanut-free. Good luck!

Posted on: Sat, 03/23/2002 - 11:49am
aztec765's picture
Joined: 10/16/2001 - 09:00

Does the Catholic school you are considering have a full time nurse on its staff? Does the public school have a full time nurse?
Some Catholic schools don't have f/t nurses.

Posted on: Sun, 03/24/2002 - 12:10am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Tough one.
I would have a serious sit down with both schools to find out just what they are willing to do. One thing to keep in mind is that it is easier to get accomodations with a public school, as they have to honor a 504 (OK, easier in theory at least) while as I understand it a private school that accepts no federal funding does not.
If all other things are truly equal, then I would choose the school that is most accomodating towards PA.
Good luck.

Posted on: Sun, 03/24/2002 - 9:11am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I would probably lean toward the public school because of federal funding. Sometimes having another peanut-allergic child in the same class can be a double-edged sword. Some parents are just so ignorant on the complexities and dangers of dealing with a peanut allergy (I mean those parents with a child that is PA). Others may be more proactive like many of us here in keeping our children safe. I have seen both sides of this issue at our local elementary school and I just posted something about this a couple days ago--another parent didn't have an epipen for her PA daughter and apparently thought it was no big deal, but my friend who has a PA daughter in the same class was worried, as was the teacher.
Another thing, and I'm ready to be raked over the coals on this issue, is my own perception of a Catholic school education is not very good. Keep in mind that I'm Catholic, and went to Catholic schools from 1st to 8th grade in a nice Pennsylvania suburb. My husband went to Catholic school for about 10 years, but spent two years at a public "magnet" school for "brainy" students at the high school level. All of his schooling was in New York City. Both of us feel our Catholic school education was deficient academically in many areas. Our first child was accepted into Catholic school, but we pulled her and registered her for public school and have never regretted our decision. The way we see it, you pretty much get out of public education was you put into it. Don't take offense, anyone. That's just my views (and my husband's too) on this issue.

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