disappointed

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some days this allergy thing just keeps jumping out. today has been one of those. the latest thing is i go a call this afternoon that a bible study that i signed up for with a class for the kids says i cant bring Ben cause he has an epi-pen. the lady that called was obviously not happy to have to tell me that so i was as nice as i could be but it really disappointed me. it was the policy of the organization. whatever.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

On Sep 10, 2006

WHAT?? That's awful. And especially sad coming from a church I think. I guess I'm just super blessed to have a church that's pretty great about it.

On Sep 10, 2006

Don't look to the East either -- Kripalu yoga center has the same thing written on their babysitting letter. No child care for the allergic.

On Sep 10, 2006

Wouldn't be easier for these short-term child care settings to say "No food" than "no allergic children". It would make more sense, but of course, my perspective is obviously a bit different than people's without food allergies constantly affecting their lives.

NicoleinNH

On Sep 10, 2006

my kids would have been there from 9 to 11. i would feed them breakfast before I go. i agree they really dont need a snack. even 2 year old could go 2 hrs without eating.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

On Sep 10, 2006

there most definitely should be a "no food" rule BEFORE there should ever be a "no care for the allergic" rule. that is ridiculous.

i suppose they'd deny you or your child if you were diabetic and carried injectable meds for that? or had migraines and carried injectable meds for that (like i do)?

truly horrible. i would not rest until members of the church and community know that this group chooses to exclude people rather than exclude snacks for the hour or so meetings. that's what i'd do.

if their reasoning is wanting to avoid having epinephrine and other injectable meds present, (as opposed to wanting snacks available for everyone), i still feel they are wrong. i've had epinephrine carried with me for 10 years now (for my children) and i've never once had to use it OR had an accident happen where someone else attempted to use it. it's just there as insurance, imo. carefully watched (as in worn on the adult present), it should pose no problems for anyone.

i think this is discrimination.

On Sep 10, 2006

I think this is discrimination also. Would they not let a child with a seizure disorder attend just in case he has one (but hasn't had one for years)...?? If this happened to me I would fight it. My son's Bible Study teacher invited me to her house so I could show her how to use the epi pen and explain when to use it. I also choose to supply the snacks for his class so I know they are safe and don't have to worry about reading labels once I get there.

I am sorry this happened to you. Andrea

On Sep 10, 2006

She basically said it against their policy not to allow children to attend that have any medication that might be needed during the activity because they can not administer it. I dont know why they cant administer it.. i guess liability. I explained if he isnt given peanuts or around peanuts it isnt a problem. I guess that means they would not allow kids to attend that have other medical problems. This is a national organisation but I dont know if this is a local policy or national. I might write and ask. Truthfully I dont much want to go anymore anyway.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

[This message has been edited by lalow (edited September 11, 2006).]

On Sep 10, 2006

If it's BSF I believe it's their national policy. It's been mentioned here before (several years ago). Perhaps you could work out something privately with the director that since you would be in the building with your child you would be available to administer the medication if necessary?

Rebekah

On Sep 11, 2006

Yes it is BSF and I looked up the old thread.. thanks.

------------------ Lalow James 4 yrs, NKA Ben 3 yrs, PA and MA and SA

On Sep 11, 2006

What do you all think?

Bible Study Fellowship, International 19001 Huebner Rd San Antonio, Texas 78258

To Whom It May Concern,

I was very excited to be signed up for a BSF class in my area. Several friends from around the country highly recommended it and I have a friend in Huntsville that was so excited we would be studying the same thing. I was also looking forward to your Children

On Sep 11, 2006

Awesome letter. I especially like the Bible verse. Very appropriate.

On Sep 11, 2006

Wow. Good letter. I am sorry you're having such trouble. It just isn't right. All you can do is voice your opinion...much better than letting it go with nothing being said. Keep the faith...and hugs, too.

On Sep 2, 2007

Lalow,

I think it's a great letter. I am in the same situation as you with 1 school-age child and 1 pre-schooler, both with EPIpens. We cannot enroll in BSF because of the new policy, and I am very disappointed. I do believe it is discrimination, and if BSF were a public education institution, it would be against the law (see [url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/section_home.cfm?section_id=8&sub_section_id=3)."]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/section_home.cfm?section_id=8&sub_section_id=3).[/url] Another interesting article to read is this:

[url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/uploaded_files/living%20without%20article.pdf"]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/uploaded_files/living%20without%20article.pdf[/url]

It sites examples of situations where children were denied enrollment in either schools or other programs.

I plan on contacting the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url]) and then BSF headquarters myself via a phone call to discuss the policy with them. I would love to know how many children across the country are affected. I wonder how we could find this out?

To add to your Bible reference, in Mark 10:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them" - he didn't add, 'except for the ones with EPI pens'.

Feel free to contact me personally.

Thanks, Angela Morris

Quote:

Originally posted by lalow: [b]What do you all think?

Bible Study Fellowship, International 19001 Huebner Rd San Antonio, Texas 78258

To Whom It May Concern,

I was very excited to be signed up for a BSF class in my area. Several friends from around the country highly recommended it and I have a friend in Huntsville that was so excited we would be studying the same thing. I was also looking forward to your Children

On Sep 2, 2007

Lalow,

I think it's a great letter. I am in the same situation as you with 1 school-age child and 1 pre-schooler, both with EPIpens. We cannot enroll in BSF because of the new policy, and I am very disappointed. I do believe it is discrimination, and if BSF were a public education institution, it would be against the law (see [url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/section_home.cfm?section_id=8&sub_section_id=3)."]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/section_home.cfm?section_id=8&sub_section_id=3).[/url] Another interesting article to read is this:

[url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/uploaded_files/living%20without%20article.pdf"]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/uploaded_files/living%20without%20article.pdf[/url]

It sites examples of situations where children were denied enrollment in either schools or other programs.

I plan on contacting the Food Allergy and Anaphalaxis Network ([url]http://www.foodallergy.org[/url]) and then BSF headquarters myself via a phone call to discuss the policy with them. I would love to know how many children across the country are affected. I wonder how we could find this out?

To add to your Bible reference, in Mark 10:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them" - he didn't add, 'except for the ones with EPI pens'.

Feel free to contact me personally.

Thanks, Angela Morris

On Sep 2, 2007

its a shame really it is. i am so sorry that this happened to you. but i do wonder how many kids are actually attending those classes that have allergies and the church is unaware because the parents know the (stupid) policy and have kept mum about it? and even more so i thought we were all created by god and accepted for who he created regardless of our disabilites or allergies? i beleived we were all welcome in the eyes of the lord..appparently these people who wrote the policy dont think so...i wonder what god thinks of them?? btw excellent letter...

------------------ in loving memory, pooh-bear. september 3,2006 to september 3,2007. we miss you so much.

On Sep 2, 2007

When I read your post, BSF came to mind right away. The same thing happened to us as well...although I was not told directly. I heard it secondhand from a friend who was now aware that I was not told that was why they would not accept my oldest. I think it was to spare my feelings, I was and am trying to look for the good in the situation but at the time I was very upset. I could see if I was not present but I was right in the building in case of an emergency. I really hope your letter makes them second guess their policy. It is unfortunate that you are being "punished" in this manner when it isn't necessary. I should probably write a letter too!! Did you email yours??

Shelley

On Sep 2, 2007

Wow, sounds like discrimination

Maybe one of you could get an opinion from the Office of Civil Rights? I'd throw the "D" word into your letter or some other effective quote from the link provided above.

If you really want to do it, can you work out a solution like you staying in the building? I do NOT see how they can deny your child attendance if you are THERE supervising.

On Sep 3, 2007

Whoa! I'm glad I read this. I have been considering joining a BSF group in the area. Many of my friends are in it and it sounds great. Not anymore. Wow. I would have never guessed. What a shame.

Good letter. Thanks for your work.

Kara

On Sep 3, 2007

Perhaps another angle to take this from:

My mother attends BSF, and from what I know of it, it is often (or even mostly??) hosted by other churches. Would the host church be aghast that BSF is discriminating and excluding this way? I think many would.

I have to say that before I moved, our church hosted a similar group (kind of saw itself in competition with BSF from my POV), and the minister of that church would have been very upset if he knew a group using the church were discriminating like this.

On Sep 3, 2007

In these types of programs are the parents and kids not in the same building...?

It would seem to me that would lessen the responsibility/liability to the organization.

Tara P

On Sep 3, 2007

Wow! I'm sorry to hear about this. BSF is such a wonderful Bible study. My PA DS was in the Children's program for two years with no problems. They were really good about having peanut-free snacks and seemed glad that I checked them each week. Since we were in the same building, they knew they could quickly get me if he needed Benedryl or the epi-pen (he never did). Maybe they just can't administer the epi-pen but if you are willing to keep it with you, it would be OK.

On Sep 4, 2007

"Perhaps another angle to take this from:

My mother attends BSF, and from what I know of it, it is often (or even mostly??) hosted by other churches. Would the host church be aghast that BSF is discriminating and excluding this way? I think many would.

I have to say that before I moved, our church hosted a similar group (kind of saw itself in competition with BSF from my POV), and the minister of that church would have been very upset if he knew a group using the church were discriminating like this."

Hi, I just got "The Call" last week. I was very dissapointed and the person who called me was very apologetic. However, their reasoning is that since they do rely on facilities that they do not control 6 days of the week, if that particular church allowed peanut butter or it was brought in and contaminated the room, the BSF staff would not know and therefore the enviroment would not be safe. They also do not pay medical staff to be on call if a reaction occured requiring an epipen. OF course I was discouraged, but, I would rather the honesty than to take a chance with ds. Even if I was in a classroom next door, if he needed an epipen I would not want the delay of locating me.

On Sep 4, 2007

Quote:

Originally posted by runmom: [b] Hi, I just got "The Call" last week. I was very dissapointed and the person who called me was very apologetic. However, their reasoning is that since they do rely on facilities that they do not control 6 days of the week, if that particular church allowed peanut butter or it was brought in and contaminated the room, the BSF staff would not know and therefore the enviroment would not be safe. They also do not pay medical staff to be on call if a reaction occured requiring an epipen. OF course I was discouraged, but, I would rather the honesty than to take a chance with ds. Even if I was in a classroom next door, if he needed an epipen I would not want the delay of locating me.[/b]

Well, of course they can't control what the other church has, but they can offer to wipe down the table with Clorox wipes before class and make sure your child washes hands before eating any snack you provide (or even if there is no snack, agree to wash their hands before taking your child and wiping down the tables). This doesn't mean toys might not be contaminated, and if it's in your comfort zone to avoid a place like that, I completely understand.

However, it seems to me they are not [i]trying[/i]. They are discriminating. It doesn't matter that they haven't hired medical staff--anyone can administer the Epi. That's why it comes in autoinjector form.

Their excuses are lame--and exclusive. They can try.

I agree with you--it's not a safe environment if they have to come get you in order to administer the Epi.

[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited September 04, 2007).]

On Sep 4, 2007

McCobbre, You are absolutely right, but I know how uninformed people are about this so it really does not surprise me. What I should have said is that by taking that stance(ignoring the problem) they are really putting themselves at greater risk, there are lots of little ones that are highly allergic and have not yet been diagnosed. She did offer that I could find another child care provider for him. However, I have decided any organization(school or church etc.) that discriminates against Matthew because of his pa is not the place for me. Karen

[This message has been edited by runmom (edited September 04, 2007).]

On Sep 4, 2007

Runmom,

I just saw you were from Houston. I just moved from a Houston suburb, and if you are near it, you may find this useful. In the Houston area, Community Bible Study dealt with the peanut issue well at one church (adhered to the host church's policy of no peanut in the children's rooms). Please email me offline if you want to know more.

Also, St. Paul's UMC has a great Bible study program, the Disciple Bible Study, and they are just starting another year. That church is so incredibly inclusive, I imagine they would be understanding. We attended there for some time but did not go to Sunday School or anything other than worship, so I don't know how they handle it specifically. But I know they work at being very inclusive.

On Sep 5, 2007

Ok, ladies. I made some phone calls and discovered that BSF, as a non-profit incorporated entity, has to follow the ADA. They are not a 'religious group' as defined by the Department of Justice (DOJ). They are in violation with this policy. I spoke to an individual at the DOJ who informed me if they don't change the policy, a formal complaint can be filed against them. I have already called BSF HQ to discuss changing the policy, but their offices are closed until tomorrow morning (interesting....). I still left them a courteous but direct message. I would encourage you to do the same. Their phone number is (210) 492-4676.

On Sep 7, 2007

Now that is interesting...I will give them a call tomorrow. I never did officially file a complaint. Old wounds were opened when they called to say it was starting next week and then this thread...I think it's time to step up.

On Sep 16, 2007

[url="http://www.star-telegram.com/metro_news/story/237135.html"]http://www.star-telegram.com/metro_news/story/237135.html[/url] [b]Girl turned away because of allergy[/b] By Dave Lieber Star-Telegram Staff Writer Allison Fitzgerald wanted to attend a Bible study program with her young daughter.

But she was turned away because 4-year-old Reagan suffers from a peanut allergy.

Officials with the San Antonio-based program that sponsors the classes say that their volunteers aren't trained to react if something goes wrong, and that they don't want to risk the girl's safety.

Fitzgerald believes that her daughter, who would have attended a children's Bible study while her mom was in an adult class, is being discriminated against.

"Thank goodness my daughter is too young to understand why she can't go back to the program," she tells me.

The mother appealed to The Watchdog for help, but it appears that nothing except a greater public awareness of food allergies and their effects can help in the long run. That's because religious organizations are exempt from federal laws governing accommodations for those with disabilities.

It's possible that if snacks are served or someone brings food, Reagan could be exposed to peanuts, or any food with peanut products in it. That can create serious problems for her.

Her symptoms: achy stomach, breathing difficulties and hives.

Her mother says she told program officials that she would quickly come to Reagan's classroom to administer an antidote to the allergy if there ever were a problem. Fitzgerald says the treatment is simple: She gives Reagan a quick injection from a device such as an EpiPen, which contains epinephrine.

But that didn't matter to officials at Bible Study Fellowship International.

Rick Mazur, the organization's chief financial officer, says the decision was not made lightly.

The program is staffed by volunteers, he told me. They are not trained to administer EpiPen treatments to afflicted children.

"We're just not willing to risk a child's health," he says. "We're very concerned about health risks that might result in a death."

Any delay in administering the treatment could be harmful, and program officials say they don't know how to get around that.

"We just reasoned it's not worth the risk to any one child," Mazur tells me.

Fitzgerald says: "It makes me very angry. I think they have a wonderful program, but they are very misinformed."

For families such as hers, there is no recourse under federal law. In public places such as restaurants and stores and in programs that receive federal funds such as schools, children and adults who suffer from food allergies cannot be discriminated against.

But "religious organizations are not covered under these federal laws," says Anne Munoz-Furlong, founder of The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a nonprofit dedicated to educating people about food allergies.

"But there is no reason why any child with a food allergy couldn't participate in all activities like other children, as long as there is training, whether it's Bible study, Cub Scouts or a field trip in school."

She adds, "Adults should be prepared to help or get help for that child without saying, 'We don't want anybody but perfect children coming to our group.'"

Religious organizations do have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when it comes to making accommodations for employees with maladies such as food allergies.

Even though some organizations worry about liability, laws protect them in the event of a crisis, even one that results in a death.

The federal Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 provides some protection from liability for volunteers involved in charity work.

Two state laws apply, too.

The Texas Charitable Immunity and Liability Act of 1987 is designed to encourage volunteer activity by reducing liability exposure in the event of death, damage or injury if a volunteer is acting within the scope of his or her duties.

The Texas Good Samaritan Law limits liability for people who administer urgently needed care at the scene of an emergency.

Program administrators should educate their volunteers and employees, Munoz-Furlong says.

"Look at it like a fire drill," she says. "You practice and hope there never is a fire. But you are prepared."

Fitzgerald says she no longer worries about the Bible study program: "I'm just done with them." Instead of attending Bible study, her daughter is taking a science class.

The mother says she wants to learn as much about peanut allergies as she can:

"This has opened a whole new world for me and how I need to be on my toes all the time about this."

I think they have a wonderful program, but they are very misinformed.

Food allergies

About 12 million Americans suffer from food allergies.

Symptoms include a tingling sensation in the mouth, swelling of the tongue, difficulty breathing, hives, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness. Death is possible.

Read food product labels for ingredients. If in doubt, call the manufacturer and ask questions.

There is no known cure for most food allergies.

Several Web sites provide more information: [url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org,"]www.foodallergyinitiative.org,[/url] [url="http://www.aafa.org,"]www.aafa.org,[/url] peanutallergy.com and [url="http://www.foodallergy.org."]www.foodallergy.org.[/url]

Source: The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network

------------------ Jana

[url="http://www.seattlefoodallergy.org"]www.seattlefoodallergy.org[/url]

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