Does Anyone Have a Relatively Easy Time of It With Their PA Child\'s School?

Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2002 - 2:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pI know that a lot of us post about the difficulties that we have dealing with the schools, especially at the beginning of the school year. I know that I'm definitely one of them and have posted again this year about my trials and tribulations./p
pBut I also suspect that a great number of people actually have what they consider would be a relatively easy time of it as far as getting their PA child into school, into class, and having the staff understand and co-operate. /p
pI'd like to hear the stories and I'd also like to hear WHY you think you have an easy time of it (it's okay if you have an easy time [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] )./p
pI guess I wanted to balance the board with some positive stuff about schools as well./p
pMany thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]/p
p------------------/p

Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2002 - 12:10pm
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Cindy,
You know I am very pleased with the way things are going with DS's school.
Why do I think it's going so well... two major things.
1.) We started a year in advance.
2.) The people who work at DS's school are very special people. They have earned their wings and crowns as far as I'm concerned. They are understanding, compassionate, caring folks. Really.
Sounds simple, I guess. Maybe that's the key - just good-hearted people.
THANK YOU, NMES! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2002 - 2:09pm
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I feel we had a easy time with this too. It helps that the principal genuinely cares for the children in her care. I think it also helped that the school went from having no one with a serious allergy to having three at the same time in the same grade. Now they have one fourth grader, FIVE first graders (including ds) and one kinder. They have been really accommodating and concerned. I agree with Lam, these people have earned their wings and halos. Thanks for the "upper", Cindy! Kristi

Posted on: Mon, 09/09/2002 - 10:59pm
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Cindy,
I'm let off easy here with our Public School.
Before I was considering private but I know the different ethnic groups are not well represented and it is in their public school which is great.
My guys were in J.K. last year and their teacher knew about allergies and had used a epipen on a kid before. They have the same teacher this year so I get off easy for another year. The school is peanut/nut-free and this year kids are bringing in their own snacks(instead of parents making or buying one for everyone)which I like better.
I feel so bad for you parents out there who have problems with the schools or staff regarding allergies. I know I am less stressed than a lot of you here because of that.

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 4:31am
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I'm in 7th heaven this year, because we coughed up and switched to private school. It's given my nerves a break from 2 years of public school worries and headaches. Every parent who enrolls their child understands up front that peanuts are banned from the school, so there are no whiners or pb sneakers. It's great to feel like your in a caring community!

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 7:33am
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We have a pretty easy time of it here. I think it is due to:
1) Having started so far in advance, and being definitive about what we wanted from the get go;
2) Having an older child already in the school, so I knew the faculty and how to approach them;
3) Our district superintendant is a wonderful person, and the tone that is set from the top tends to trickle down;
4) Our school district has some REALLY difficult parents, and maybe they were afraid I would turn out to be one of them [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] ;
5) Kevin's own personality. He really doesn't let stuff like this get to him. He's a really confident kid, and nobody ever teases him. Not like his mom, to be sure!
Thought provoking thread as usual Cindy!
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 9:25am
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Joined: 08/25/2002 - 09:00

Our public school administration and staff have readily agreed to all of our requests regarding PA prevention. We have a peanut-free and tree nut-free classroom, a peanut-free area in the cafeteria, the cafeteria only serves PBJ about once a month (because the county gets it free from some government surplus program or something like that)and NEVER serves any other peanuts, nuts or peanut butter items. I will attend both class parties and both field trips. Items contributing to our success:
1. An older child with severe PA (smell sensitive) and asthma already attended the school so there was already a general awareness of PA. I think his parents definitely paved the way for us! THANK YOU to all of you PA pioneers out there!
2. We "did our homework" and prepared an outline (heavy on the narrative so teacher and others can refer back to it during the year - we have no 504)and educated the staff who were not very aware of PA and backed up our statements with articles from FAAN, Amer. Academy of Pediatrics, newspaper articles, etc. We also made it clear that we had thoroughly discussed concerns about the school environment with our allergist and were basing our requests on his specific advice.
3. Through our words and actions, we make it clear to them that we will always do every thing we can to help them in carrying out these procedures. For example, as soon as we discussed Peanut-free classroom, we showed them the prepared signs they could use, gave them a draft of the letter to go home to parents and told them we would send in safe snack box.
4. We also just got really lucky! Our school has a wonderful full-time RN. Some other schools in our county only have a "clinic attendant" who does not have the same level of medical training or experience. Also, my son's teacher developed diabetes when she was pregnant a few years ago and had to give herself 3 shots a day - so she confidently says that she is not at all intimidated by needles or the Epi-Pen!
5. I have become very involved in the PTA which keeps me at school often and "in the know" as to what is going on there and also allows me to interact with the principal, staff and other parents in many conversations that have nothing to do with peanuts. I feel like this keeps me from being known only as "that peanut lady!"
6. We sent a page and a half thank you note to the principal, saying how great everyone has been and recognizing each staff member's contributions (this also served the purpose of documenting what everyone has agreed to do - although I recognize not as formally as a 504 Plan).
Finally, let me say again THANK YOU to all of you who have gone before us and increased awareness of PA both in your schools and communities. It really is helping those of us coming along behind you!
We are also working to do our part for those coming behind us. I had a discussion with my younger, non-PA son's new preschool director on the first day of the school year and gave her copies of some newspaper and magazine articles about PA and its potential severity. Sure enough, I walked out of her office and overheard a parent telling my son's teacher that her child is allergic to peanuts and peaches. I was really glad that I had just had that discussion with the director!

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 12:07pm
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Can any of you in the U.S. who have good experiences at your schools specify where you are located? River, what kind of private school is it? We are having a big battle at our private school trying to get a peanut-free classroom (kindergartners eat lunch in their rooms). The principal is very concerned about dealing with parent resistance and with "where will we draw the line?" on accomodating everybody's special needs, etc. For example, what about the kids who are vegetarian or lactose-intolerant who rely on peanut butter? Oy! My older non-PA daughter attends there and my 4-year-old PA son is supposed to start next year. I don't know what we'll do if they can't bring themselves to ask parents to not bring PB for lunches.
------------------

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 10:20pm
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Yonit,
We're in the northern panhandle of WV - squished between OH and PA.
My suggestion to you re: your son starting school... find out now what you will actually need to ask of the school. If your son isn't contact sensitive, then your requests won't need to involve all the things necessary to deal with that. Are you following me?
I thought for sure my son wouldn't be able to step foot into the school building. But he has, and he's been fine.
We found out ahead of time whether or not he was airborne sensitive - he's not, so he can eat in the cafeteria with everyone else. He is contact sensitive, though, so they have to be very careful about that.
I really think it's important to find out exactly what your child needs, and start there. JM2cents. Good luck.

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 11:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

As I continue to post about things going on at the school, but not with the school administration to-day per se, it was just SO good to read this thread. I kinda knew it was what a LOT of us needed, especially, surprisingly to some maybe, those of us who do have a difficult time of it with the school.
So far I've seen a few factors that seem to play into whether or not you have an easier time:-
* Having an older child in the school yourself and knowing the school personnel
* Having an older PA child or a lot of PA children in the school
* Working with the school well in advance of your child starting school (for the first time and probably every year thereafter)
* Knowing what your needs are for your child and getting them
There are probably a few more things, but those really struck me as some of the keys.
I really like reading the good stuff. Helps me when I'm having a bummer day like I'm about to again to-day. (:
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 11:57pm
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LAM - I appreciate your advice. Unfortunately, my son is contact-sensitive, so a room full of kindergartners eating PB at the same tables they will be playing and working on will not be safe for him. I'm just plugging away at the process, and will keep you posted. Any response suggestions on the "what about the vegetarians, lactose-intolerant, etc., etc.?"
------------------

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 12:20am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi Yonit,
I'm in Ontario, Canada where I don't think that there is one private school that is not peanut free. It seems to be a much different situation in much of the U.S. where private schools are not educated at all in food allergies.
I'm rather angry that here in Ontario, those who can pay the price can have the most protection. It's really not fair, and very un-Canadian.
I don't know what to recommend to you, as I don't know how extensive the ignorance is in the area where you live. I'd be at least looking around for a more tolerant school.

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 1:41am
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Hi Yonit,
We are in NY on Long Island. It's interesting to me that although private schools technically don't HAVE to made accomodations, many of the schools here in NY who have led the way to go PN free have been private. I'm going blank right now on all of them, but I think Horace Mann, Trevor Day and Spence in NYC are all peanut free.
As for the lactose intolerant, vegetarian stuff, there are still many things they can eat. Remind them that many of our kids have multiple allergies, and whole categories of food are closed to them. Somehow, they manage. Or perhaps they could have a separate area for the PB eaters (who absolutely must eat it [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ), where someone can make sure they wash up adequately afterwards.
Is your child's school a religious school? If so, try reminding them of the principle of tzedukah. Maybe that will ring a bell? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Amy
[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited September 11, 2002).]
[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited September 11, 2002).]

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 3:52am
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Joined: 04/10/2002 - 09:00

This is my pa son's fourth year of school(2 years of preschool, public school kindergarten and now public school 1st grade)and it has always been easy for us. We have never requested peanut-free anything, just that he eat his own food from home, nobody with obvious peanut products sit beside him, and that everyone with obvious peanut lunch or snack wash their hands afterwards. Luckily, the cafeteria doesn't serve peanuts or peanut butter. My son has never been teased or picked on, and is very happy and comfortable with the whole situation. Despite testing over 100 on the Cap RAST and 4++ on the skin test, he has had no reactions since we discovered his allergy over 5 years ago!

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 6:18am
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

We are in a new school this year, for second grade, and I feel that things are going quite well. I think the factors that have helped us are the following: We are not asking for very much in the way of other people making accomodations for Leah. Kids can bring what they want in their own lunches; only the shared party treats, etc. need to be peanut and nut free. (I think preschool and kindergarten are totally different, however, especially when the kids eat in their classroom. Peanut free is the only way to go IMHO.) Also, we came in with a 504 plan and with a positive attitude. We began working with the school last Spring. We have an excellent teacher and principal who are both hands-on and on top of everything. There are other kids in the district with peanut allergies, but none at our school, that I am aware of.
I think we are lucky. We had our bad experiences in kindergarten, due to a very difficult teacher. First grade had some glitches due to a difficult principal! It seems that we finally have it right this year and I am relieved. Nice and caring parents really make a difference, too. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 6:51am
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Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

Cindy,
I can't say enough about my son's school...and the parents. They have been awesome!!
Case in point...Cam was out with strep throat last week. A fellow Para in the cafeteria came up to the Para that attends my son's table during lunch (and my son's Para is also my wonderful neighbor) said "why are you squirting everyone's hands with soap? Cam is not even here today." My neighbor said "because even though he isn't here, the classroom cannot be contaminated with peanut residue so the children who ate peanut butter at lunch still need to be cleaned up." She also said that just because he wasn't at lunch, doesn't mean he might not be coming in late and the children would have peanut butter on their hands and if they touched him, he would have a reaction. Also, the Para said she did not want the children out of their routine of washing their hands before leaving the cafeteria...whether my son was there or not! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Last night at Open House, a mother came up to me in my son's class and asked me if he had said anything about lunch earlier that day. I said no, what happened? She said she had come to have lunch with her daughter and sat down next to my son at his peanut free table...she had *Chick Filet* and my son went into panic mode. He yelled, "this is a peanut free table and you have Chick Filet and Chick Filet can't be at this table." The mother said she jumped up and ran to the other end of the table (non-peanut free side) and she told me how sorry she was and that she didn't know Chick Filet cooked in peanut oil and how impressed she was that he was *on top* of his allergies.
I told her how thankful I was that she did move and for letting me know what happened and I told my son to use some tact when speaking with adults. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I told him how proud I was that he zero'ed in on a *peanut oil* food but that he could have said it nicer. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]
I have had the utmost caring people at his school and again, the parents are phenominal. I can't do it without their support!
------------------
Stay Safe!
Connie
[This message has been edited by Jazz It Up (edited September 11, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 12:48am
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Yes! I just came on here to post an "I love our school" thread!
My DD is 3 1/2 and in a preschool program run by the public school system for children with minor developmental delays (she has a bit of a speech delay). All along, her allergy has been taken very seriously by everyone I've talked to, and they've taken the initiative about things so I don't have to ask!
What brought this up is two experiences I had yesterday: first, my DD takes the bus to and from the babysitter's house, but yesterday the bus arrived really early and the babysitter wasn't there yet, so the bus driver just kept going with her route and took my DD back to school. When the bus arrived back at school, the school receptionist (who I was on the phone with at this time trying to figure out what happened) and her classroom teacher both went out to the bus to check on my DD and make sure she was doing allright (having been on the bus for an hour at this point!), and the classroom teacher at that point reiterated to the bus driver that my DD was to be given no snacks at all because of her allergy. One of my worries during this time was that the driver would forget and help this poor forgotten kid by giving her a snack since it was lunchtime, and the teacher took care of it before I could even ask.
Then when I got home later in the day, I was looking through DD's papers and there was a note from the school that they sent out of their own accord. It went to all of the parents of children in my DD's class, explaining that one of the children in the class has a peanut allergy, explaining the severity of the allergy, explaining that there is a peanut-free table in the lunchroom (not a concern for us since she doesn't go to the lunchroom this year, but it's nice to know that I won't have that battle ahead of me), and telling parents that if they send snacks in for a birthday or class party, they are to be peanut-free. All of the parents have to sign a tear-off strip at the bottom of the letter saying that they read this and understand it and agree to it.
That's just one day's worth of examples. Throughout my experience with the school, I've found them to be more than understanding--they are eager to make sure my DD's needs are met and that she stays safe.
Sarah

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 10:04am
Yonit's picture
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Joined: 06/24/2002 - 09:00

Amy -
Are any of the three schools you mentioned Jewish schools? Believe me - we've tried "tzedakah" along with tikkun olam and derech eretz! Not to mention, teaching our children how to be mentsches!
I think the response about the vegetarian/lactose intolerant, etc. is a good one; that is, if those children have medically sound reasons (documented) that they MUST eat peanut butter for lunch, perhaps they should be asked to do so in a separate, defined area which could be cleaned well. As we know, there are certainly many alternatives for them to eat, and if other schools have done this - they must have dealt with these issues as well.
------------------
[This message has been edited by Yonit (edited September 12, 2002).]

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 7:59am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

i am having a great time with my school in hamilton ontario the are doing everything what i have ask them for and with the help from cindy how hat given us all the information we needet to have """Thanks Again Cindy""" My son has a peanutfree classromm and they told the parents in a letter that every lunch will be checkt to keep the room 100% peanutfree do to his allergy they even put me in the schoolcouncel so i can help with peanutfree fundraiser and so on ,We are being very happy and i wish that cindy hat a better time ,so stay safe everyone and god Bless thomas

Posted on: Sun, 09/15/2002 - 5:18am
Shawn's picture
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We love our kindergarten! When we first enrolled DS, I discussed his peanut allergy with the director and his teachers: touch sensitivity, Epi-pens, etc. They agreed to keep his medicine in the classroom and make his classroom peanut-free. The next day, they called me back. With no prompting from me, they said the director had decided to ban peanuts from the entire school. They also asked for information on cross-contamination and common foods that had "hidden" peanuts. I made a list; they sent home a copy to all the parents, asking them to not bring peanut products or any foods on the list they couldn't be sure didn't have peanuts. They asked me to demonstrate his Epi-pens. I brought in expired ones and all four teachers/aides in his classroom practice on oranges. They made a poster listing anapylaxis symptoms and the phone numbers for the ambulance service, local ER, and my home and cell phone, and posted it in the classroom on the door of the cabinet where they keep two epi-pens and benadryl. They also asked for a bag of safe snacks/treats in case some of the kids bring in chocolate candies or treats they aren't sure are safe to share. The teachers and even some of the parents of kids in his class have called me to check about things they want to have for birthday treats or during their Tuesday morning class breakfasts. I dread next year when we move and he has to change schools!
By the way, Yonit - we are vegetarians and get by just fine with protein from beans, whole grains and occassional dairy products. Even Vegans or those intolerant of eggs/milk should have no problems with non-peanut sources of protein. Unless they're being asked to eliminate all nuts, dairy, and soy products, there's no reason there should be a problem - especially if we're only talking about one meal a day. They can get their protein at home during breakfast and dinner.

Posted on: Sun, 09/15/2002 - 7:33am
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Yonit,
The schools I mentioned are secular, prep-type schools.
Isn't it a shame how many on this board have had disappointing experiences with religious schools?
Amy

Posted on: Sun, 09/15/2002 - 11:19am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thomas, no need to thank me (although it was nice to read) because I didn't do anything for you that wasn't done for me by other members of PA.com. Seriously. We're all in this together and some of us were doing the school thing before others and helped other people. Remember, the school plan that I'm using for Jesse was written by PeanutTrace for her PA daughter and she re-wrote it for me, for Jesse. So, I didn't do anything special. I just got your school board policy, took a quick read of it (you have an excellent policy by the way) and got it to you along with the Shopper's Drug Mart pamphlet in the mail and then some other information that I had on the computer.
I have many people that help me out with school things and that's why I was able to help you.
I am SO pleased to hear that things are going well for you though because I do know that you and your wife were very nervous about your son going to school.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Sun, 09/15/2002 - 10:37pm
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

We have an "easy" time now with our school, tho it didn't start out that way 4 years ago. Our dd was the first at our school, and although there were other older children with PA in our district, we were the first to ask for any accommodations. It was certainly an evolution and we are at a point that feels very comfortable: a written IHP that is signed by our allergist, the principal, teacher, school nurse, counselor, and us. It basically states that no food (any kind)is allowed in the classroom and that we will provide any food for our dd.
The IHP came about after a good K year, but bad 1st grade experience. Second grade went well, but we realized that our experience would be dependent on the willingness of the teacher. So we pursued a written agreement and settled on the IHP option that went into effect in 2nd grade. This year (3rd) has been very smooth.
I advocate having plans clearly stated in writing that are signed. It has made a big difference for us.
Gail

Posted on: Sun, 09/15/2002 - 10:55pm
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

O.K. Shawn, your school wins, hands down, in my opinion. I'm satisfied with our school but it is nothing compared to yours. I'm really happy for you and your son. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Mon, 03/03/2003 - 9:43am
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Joined: 08/14/2002 - 09:00

So far so good. I am lucky that my daughter's teacher has been very approachable. I have had no problems so far.
I do forsee giving an inservice to all the teachers before my daughter enters Grade 1. Going to school everyday will be the new challenge we will face.

Posted on: Mon, 03/03/2003 - 10:20am
Batman's picture
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Joined: 08/11/2000 - 09:00

We have been very lucky with my PA son's school - he is in grade 1 now and I have no reservations about him going. The teachers have all been great, and they have all been trained in the use of Epi-pens and understand what the symptoms are. They keep pictures of all the PA kids on the wall in the office so all the teachers can see them. They are a peanut free school and they go so far as sending stuff home if it contains peanuts. His current teacher has been trained in CPR and has an allergy to chocolate so she understands about allergies. If there is ever an event at school, I am always called to see if my son can have the food, and if not, then they go out of their way to provide something for him that can be eaten. I am on the parent council and that has been a way to ensure all council events are kept peanut free (like BBQs, family masses...). They are all wonderful people and I count my lucky stars daily that we were graced with this school. I just hope it doesn't change.
Rita

Posted on: Mon, 03/03/2003 - 11:52am
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Rae
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Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, I'm glad you asked. I don't know about others, but I usually feel guilty about having it easy when I read all the heart breaking stories some of you deal with every day.
My PA girls school is the same small school(K-12:about 400 students total) that my dh and I attended from K-12th grade. I know most of the parents of the kids in their classes, the teachers, etc. The best part is my sister is the Asst. Prin., another sister teaches Middle School there, one SIL teaches 3rd grade (Jenna is in her class), and another SIL is the P.E. teacher. We personally know most of the cafeteria staff, etc. It is very comforting. I get calls all the time from parents - just to check with me before they bring something in to school for one of the girl's class.
The only "worries" I would say we have is parties and field trips, but the teachers have been wonderful keeping them safe. We have never requested anything special for these occasions, but only because up to this point we have not felt the need.
Rachel

Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2007 - 2:58am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Simply re-raising, 5 years later.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Thu, 08/23/2007 - 3:25am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Did.
Don't now.
Don't think I was fully appreciative back then.

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What is a peanut allergy? It is a reaction that occurs in the body after eating peanuts or peanut...

For those with severe food allergies, flying can be a stressful process. Here are...

Approximately one out of 13 children under age 18 are allergic to at least one food, though many of them will outgrow their allergy by the age of...

Fact 1: Over a third of food allergy reactions happen after the first known oral...

The reason why some people are affected by allergies while others are not begins in their genes. Allergies are passed down from generation to...

Here’s a tip that might someday save your life, or that of a loved one: two to four times a year, review the proper way to use your epinephrine...

Lactose intolerance is the inability to process lactose, a sugar found in milk, caused by the lack of a needed enzyme. Those with lactose...

Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA)

An important part of peanut allergy awareness was enacted on January 1, 2006...

Tomato allergies are very rare. They are a "type 1 allergy," which means a contact allergy. When a person with this type of allergy touches a...

Milk allergies are becoming more common, especially in babies and small children. There is some confusion about what is an allergic reaction and...

Recognizing food allergy in babies or toddlers is not always easy, but there are specific risk factors and signs that parents and other caregivers...

Burlap bags are often used to store and ship coffee beans, potatoes, rice, seeds, nuts, and peanuts. They can be one of the disguised...

People with pollen allergies need to stay away from some foods. If you have allergic rhinitis in the spring or fall, you may not realize that you...

Of course, everyone knows that if you have a peanut allergy that you should avoid peanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter cookies and foods that...

Eating at a nut-free lunch table in school is a safety precaution that causes some students to feel isolated from their peers. Unfortunately,...