Exclusion problems

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Let me give a little backgrounder info real quick before I get to the meat of the story.

My son (now 8) is allergic to wheat, oat, barley, rye, peanut, tree nut and eggs. He has thankfully outgrown his milk allergy and he is able to enjoy some cheese and all things dairy now. YAY!! We have known he was allergic to all of these things, and the severity, starting at 6 months when he had a reaction to a biter biscuit and we immediately saw an allergist.

We had him in Mother's Day Out with modifications during lunch time - but all was safe. I had to FIGHT tooth and nail to get a 504 for the school system when he entered kindergarten. The main modifications I am discussing here are lunch room accommodations. All field trip, classroom, epi-pen carrying and such are currently fine.

When we first started (previous principal) there were no allergen free tables and we were comfortable with the accommodations the team setup. He was to enter the lunchroom, a staff member would personally clean a spot at the end of the table and he would sit down. He was (and has always been) well aware of what foods he could have around him and he would ask what the kids that sat next to him and across from him were having. If they had anything peanut related, he asked them to move. He also wore his medipack (timy backpack with 2 epi's and 2 doses of benadryl with wipes) on his back. Again, we were fine with this....

New year, new principal...they decided to implement peanut/tree nut free table as the middle tables. That worked out fine - we still made sure they did the end of the table route because he has so many accompanying allergies.

This year, we have had a large (200+) influx of children into the school so the lunchroom has gotten kind of tight. There was a mother that came and sat with her child at the PN/TN free table and saw a child with a PB&J sandwich sitting there. This caused an uproar with her and so the school decided that as of Feb (with NO notification to any of the parents - is that legal??) to move the PN/TN free table to *THE STAGE* in the cafeteria. They do not allow anybody to sit there UNLESS they have PN/TN food allergies. I found out a few weeks after they had changed it because my son made a comment that he missed his friends (he's in 3rd grade now). They are not allowed to bring any friends up there to sit with them and I am given the "we are under staffed" excuse on why they can't police the food that goes there. Needless to say - I was LIVID. I sent a few emails and as of today - I got a response and they have (her words) fixed the 'on stage' problem and have them now sitting at their own table on the floor - same level as the other kids...but again, PN/TN allergy kids ONLY sit at the table. I was told that if I wanted my child to sit at a regular table, I would have to sign a hold harmless agreement.

So here's my issue - I *KNOW* all of the children with disabilities act and such. I have a child with special needs that I fought the school for a few years (same school sadly) before I decided to simply homeschool him.

What I am looking for - is links and documentation to help me back this up in an email I hope to send Monday. I also need some down home confirmation that my battle is valid. Please, if you think it's not - let me know too. I am open to both sides of the argument. My problem is - they are excluding my child BECAUSE of his allergy. 504 and FAPE are the main things I will be copying her on - but I also need anything extra. Someone had posted a link (it's broken now) about how FAAN had done an article or something about the hold harmless (because of his allergy) being illegal. I have also put in a call to the disability and advocacy group which of course has referred me to ORC. I just hate that my child has been put in this situation. Unfortunately, most of the other parents that have found out about their kids being at this table have signed the agreement and they are now with the reg population. My son now only has 2 other kids that sits there, not from his class or grade either.

So any tangible legal links - quotes and such you can throw at me will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your help gang!

Nikkio

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