Earth Day celebration....what would you do?

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 7:59am
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

Scenario: Matthew is in full day kinder, per his 504 has peanut free classroom, safe/clean seat in cafeteria that serves no pb at all, hand washing used continually, continued monitoring during lunch, all lessons with food discussed with us ahead of time, etc... those are the basics of the plan.

Earth Day is this Friday at Matthew's school. They have volunteers (base personnel) doing activities, taking the children around in small groups. There are no food "prizes" at all. The nurse will be in a central location watching it all. The regular full-time aide was supposed to be with Matthew's class as they went from station to station. The teacher would be "around" going from small group to small group. The other kindergarten classes would be going through the stations as well.

We met before spring break to ask questions and make sure bases were covered. They will do the activities before lunch (so that any of the hands on activities haven't been done by kids who had pb&j for lunch), all kinder classes will be washing hands before doing the activities, all staff (three kinder teachers plus their assigned full time aide) are already trained on recognizing a reaction and administering the epi-pen. His classroom aide will be with his group as it goes from station to station.

Lunch will be picnic style and will either happen in his classroom (peanut free), or outside and away from other classes.

I thought we had it all sorted out, until I received this email from his teacher this afternoon:

Just wanted to let you know that Mrs. R will not be rotating with our class, she has been asked to teach one of the lessons. So, she will be in our classroom, I will be outside. The other two rooms the students will be in are the other two kindergarten classrooms. All the classrooms will clean the tables before my class arrives and all the aides and teachers have been trained to use the epi-pen. I just wanted to let you know of the change because it seemed to be a concern about who would be aware and present, and I had thought that Mrs. R would be with the kids.

Mrs. C

I replied with this:

I don't think we were aware that the kids would be in the other classrooms at all. It was our understanding that it was all outside, even lunch if possible. Who is rotating with the kids? A volunteer? Or do they just go station to station? Who is in charge of cleaning the tables, the chairs, the supplies before his class arrives (volunteers or a staff member)?

We do not feel it is safe for supervision to be passed from oen adult to another, especially if some of those adults are volunteers. We understand there will be staff members in each classroom but passing him from one to another is an unnecessary risk in our eyes.

Please let us know more details asap.

FWIW, our 504 states that special activity days and field trips will be made safe by the staff (we found ourselves checking the safety of the first field trip this year prior to the 504 being in place). I thought that covered it but.....

Is there a better way to word it? Would you all have a problem with passing him from one classroom to another (none of which are peanut free) and from one staff member to another? Maybe we misunderstood her description the other day or in her email but it doesn't seem like he'll be directly supervised and will definitely be out of his normal environment.

Would you all push to fix this or am I overreacting? Your opinions are valued..thanks in advance.

Maddy
Matthew age 5 pa
Nathan age 14 mos

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 9:07am
ajas_folks's picture
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Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

(With understanding that you may not be able to or wish to post this info here . . . )
I read your post quickly, forgive me if I missed it -- What is your personal involvement in this event & where are you to be during all of event?
If this were my K PA kiddo, I would definitely consider having sticker on him (front & back) with wording like "Life Threatening Peanut Allergy!" And any other short-statement info added.
When we attended special "events" (not school-related as we homeschooled) at previous base, we always had kids with stickers (actually just the red-framed name badges with our handwriting on them) on their shirts front & back.
Can you be there? Shadow child through the event? Where is DH this day? Can he help too?
With understanding,
Elizabeth

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 11:49am
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

Unfortunately my dh had his tonsils out this afternoon. As some of you may know, recovering from a tonsillectomy as an adult can be a real...well, a real pain! lol He'll still be on pain meds on Friday and I can't leave a busy toddler in his care all day.
Also, there is one sitter we use for our youngest child (I'm a sahm and don't need one frequently) but she's out of town all week long.
Shadowing Matthew would be ideal (as far as me knowing he's as safe as I can make him myself), but it just won't happen this week.
And with a 504, and as a child in a public school, he is by law not to be excluded from a school wide event such as this. Keeping it out of the classrooms, using the aide as originally promised...a few simple things could make this safer.
We'll see how it plays out. The teacher doesn't tend to handle being questioned or called out very well. I dread her response but at the same time I feel they aren't complying with his 504. I guess if we aren't happy with her response, we go to the 504 c at the school and call it to their attention?
Just thinking aloud. Thanks ajas folks. As a fellow military family you know how it can be getting/choosing care for your child/ren when no family live anywhere nearby or your dh is tdy or recovering like my dh.
Maddy

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 12:24pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

What would your plan have been if it were to rain that day and it could be outside (as originally thought)?
I know it's not ideal, and you still may not be comfortable with it. And your best option may be for your child to be home with you, but it does seem to me that the school is still being aware of things.
Has peanut butter actually been in this other room even though it's not p-free?
DS is in third grade. When he was in Kinder (full day), they had an exchange program of sorts once a week. I don't remember what it was called (we've since moved), but it was to ensure that kids got to experience different classrooms. His school had a number of children with developmental challenges who were not mainstreamed, but for an hour or two a week, the classes all got mixed up to an extent so all the kids got to be with each other. I valued that.
At first I did not want DS to be in a different, non-peanut free classroom. So he stayed in his class, and others came in.
Then, when it became clear his math needs weren't being met in K, he got to go to a first grade class. It wasn't peanut free like his Kinder class, but they weren't eating snacks in there. And it was important that his math need was met. Well, after that, I did get a bit more relaxed about his traveling to another class for that other activity. It was still a food free room pretty much (the school wasn't big on snacks really).
So I'm wondering if food is really present in the other room--if that's really a preventing factor here.
Because if there really hasn't been PB in there, and a desk and chair can be wiped down with Clorox wipes before he comes in, it might be a workable situation for him, although I don't know his sensitivity. And there would be someone trained to recognize signs of ana and to use the epi, right?
I guess what I'm saying, are there steps that could be taken to make you comfortable? If not, then what does the school need to do? If it's nice outside, is it feasible (and even preferable) to hold it outside, and can you convince them of this? And if not, are you willing to keep him home where you think he's safe--even though it's their job to keep him safe at school?

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 12:36pm
MattsMommy's picture
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Joined: 07/29/2002 - 09:00

I love the feedback and the comments that make you think!
McCobbre: he is contact sensitive and both of the other kindergarten classrooms have snack/drinks every day. His class only has drinks in the afternoon and is peanut/treenut free.
Would I be willing to keep him home? If I feel like it's our only option, yes. Ultimately I want to avoid a reaction if the risk seems too great.
I guess part of it (to be perfectly honest) is that as is typical, we think we have it all worked out (had a meeting specifically about this day)..assured the nurse is nearby, he's with a reg teacher or aide, all outside, etc...all of our concerns are met. Then suddenly it changes and it brings up issues that they haven't really considered (or so it seems), not totally anyway.
I think it being in other classrooms, and being hands on activities, he needs to be with an adult that is a staff member. Someone who is with his group knowing he's part of that group...not watching 60 kindergarteners come through and trying to remember his group and needs.
Again, thinking aloud, but appreciate the replies!

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 12:46pm
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Is there someone else at the school who knows your son well enough for you all to be comfortable with them shadowing him instead of you or your DH?
I understand that ideally this would be his teacher, but is there anyone else? (Thinking school nurse, 504C, even principal or vice principal...)
Someone who could be trained to recognize risks and take appropriate action.
I'm also thinking that if it inconveniences [i]someone higher up the food chain than you or classroom teacher[/i] it may not happen again, if you KWIM.
Good Luck!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2007 - 1:23pm
Peanut Militia's picture
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Joined: 03/06/2007 - 09:00

can they get a sub to shadow him for that day?
or 'one of the troop' that was going to be at the event to shadow him? They should have had chem training and could easily be brought to speed on what to do 'if'.
Maybe one of the Chaplains?? I have known several that would have been happy to help at least part of the day. I would notify them as soon as possible to see if someone could be available.
I have been thinking about this all day and I hope that helps

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 12:41am
camiac's picture
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Joined: 01/24/2007 - 09:00

hi, just a thought to take or leave:
But just as you had thought it was all worked out and covered, the school probably did too. It is a learning experience for all. Unfortunately, it always seems like the 11th hour when we realize that, No, not all bases are covered and we have to tell our child they can't do something. I hate having to cancel out on something at the last minute because it makes me feel like a failure, that I could have done more. Worse, I hate feeling like I can't trust the school. But it sounds like your school at least tries to work with you which is not the NORM as you can see from these boards. I don't mean to discourage you, but I would only fight if I thought they were blatantly NOT trying to accomodate. Again, just my opinion. Good luck.

Posted on: Wed, 04/18/2007 - 5:48am
ajas_folks's picture
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Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by MattsMommy:
[b]
We'll see how it plays out. The teacher doesn't tend to handle being questioned or called out very well. I dread her response but at the same time I feel they aren't complying with his 504. I guess if we aren't happy with her response, we go to the 504 c at the school and call it to their attention?
[/b]
Wondering how this has all played out as you prepare for Earth Day event?
Did you approach teacher? Take it above her?
~Elizabeth
((Hope your DH is feeling better.))
P.S. -- Have you tried finding good, reputable, non-military-related child care through the local colleges/universities -- those that are majoring in child development &/or are going for teaching or nursing degrees seem to be favorites on the childcare list here. You just have to pay them too-well & book them early! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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