First day back at preschool after ANA reaction & teachers eating nut candies in class

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 4:09am
Ethan Mom's picture
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Joined: 03/27/2006 - 09:00

I brought my son into preschool this morning and he was so excited to be back and see his friends and teachers. He has been out of school for the past few days following his first ANA reaction, EPI shot and a stressful day at the ER.

I am in the process of dropping him off and talking to the lead teacher about his reaction and how I used the Epi and called 911. As I am speaking to her, I notice one of the other teachers taking a big box of chocolates out of the supply closet and eating a chocolate out of the box. I peek in the closet on my way out and see it is a big box of nut-filled candies! Relevant background: the preschool has a nut free policy and I have spent HOURS meeting with the teachers to educate them about Ethan's allergy and how to avoid a reaction! He's been there for almost a year and I've always felt he was in good hands and the teachers were allergy aware and careful. The women eating the candy has been his teacher for over one year, so she should have known better.

So I tell the lead teacher about the box of nutty chocolates and she tells me she will get rid of it and talk to the other teachers (but does not do anything as I am standing there). I explain that "if a teacher eats a chocolate with nuts and then gives Ethan his snack or lunch, he could have an allergic reaction from the traces on their hands." She says she'll take care of it - but again -makes no move to do anything. She then tells me one of the other teachers in my son's room actually BROUGHT IN THE BOX to share in the classroom (with teachers, not kids)!

The lead teacher also tells me that many parents have been recently been non-compliant with the nut-free policy, and that they are sending in peanut items as snacks and with lunch. She then tells me that sometimes she does not notice the nut items until the kids are half-way done eating! So, now the teachers are eating nuts around the kids AND letting the nut-free policy with the kids and other parents slide too.

On the way out, I stop at the director's office to ask her to please remove the chocolates and tell her about the parents' lunch and snack non-compliance. Then I get in my car and sit there feeling like my son is not safe and that I should go get him and bring him home. This is a great preschool, and this is the first time I have really felt he's been in danger.

Help - any advice on how to handle this! I feel like obviously they are NOT getting it nd I do not know what else to do. After this week's trip to the ER my nerves are shot - so any tips on how to approach this situtation would be so helpful.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 5:11am
Momcat's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

You have a right to be upset about this. Sometimes you have to get mad to get results!
Cathy

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 5:26am
saknjmom's picture
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Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

Isn't it a horrible feeling when inside you KNOW you should get your kid, but you have to go to work or you try and convince yourself that you're over reacting and he'll be fine??? Been there.
I would ask them to confirm that they have a no nut policy. Then, ask the director to set a routine for checking kid's lunches and snacks BEFORE they begin eating.
I'm not real comfortable with the overall impression I'm getting from this preschool...forgetting to check snacks, eating nutty chocolate? UGH
I am grateful that my DS was only in preschool/daycare for 3 months before going on to Kindergarden.
I would have a heart to heart with the director and ask her to figure out a way to enforce the nut free policy. Another note home to parents, another talk with teachers about food allergies and their responsibilities as teachers (no eating nuts etc.)
Maybe a NO NUTS poster in the lobby as a reminder.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 5:38am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Ethan Mom,
Maybe today isn't the best day to be asking this question--I have already had one disappointment today for myself. But, I would make NO qualms about what is expected and WILL be delivered. This is not an oops I forgot situation---I have been there and done that. That oops, could be a very serious problem(as you know) If the school, no matter how good, does not comply with your needs, then leave immediately. Nothing is worth the risk. Of course, this is my opinion and all 3 of my children are PA/TNA.
I wouldn't get too wild with them, but be very calm and collected, and take info with you again and show them the dangers. If they can't guarentee his safety--then Bye Bye. This kind of situation just enrages me, because my sister is a teacher and she IS in control of her class, and I feel this school is just being lazy about the whole situation. Not noticing what the kids have is totally incompetent.
I hope you have a better day tomorrow, and please know we are all here to help you with whatever you may need.
Take Care,
------------------
Stacie - Mother to:
11 yr. PA
8 yr. TNA
3 yr. PA&TNA

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 5:55am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Ethan's mom,
Yikes! This was the last thing you needed today. Sounds like the school has gotten complacent and they need a good shake up.
If it were me, I'd put together something in writing, and include some back up materials proving my point. After what you've been through, I think I'd be too emotional and I'd want to think carefully what to say and how to say it.
After they receive your letter, then I'd request a meeting with the director and teachers to hash it out. If that meeting proves unsatisfactory, I think I'd start looking at other schools.
And, if you'd feel better keeping him home a day or two while you sort this out, then I say do it.
What a week you've had. Hugs, and keep us posted. Meg

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 9:52am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I would write a letter and have the allergist write one too. We only had one incident in preschool related to the allergies. The director blew me off until I showed up with a letter from the allergist and then she changed her tune completely.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 7:29pm
Greenlady's picture
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Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

An allergists letter sounds like a great idea to me.
Also, for me, when I've been faced with similar situations, it has helped to bring in my husband to do the talking. Believe me, I hate the idea of playing into stereotypes, but I know I couldn't get through a discussion like that without crying, which only makes things worse. Suddening *you* become the problem, not the school. Plus, schools are used to dealing mostly with moms - when the dads come in, it means it's serious.
Also you and dh (or other advocate) could work out ahead of time exactly what you want. One idea is that (if there is storage for it) families bring in snacks for the week, which you pre-check (I've heard of people using stickers to show that a snack has been approved).
Good luck to you - I know things are incredibly stressful right now, but you will get through it!

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 8:08pm
barb1123's picture
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Joined: 04/08/2000 - 09:00

I can only say one thing and I can't say it loudly enough:
PUT IT IN WRITING!
Document this incident in a letter to the director. In the same letter, outline the agreed upon precautions that the school would take to protect your son. Also state that any violation of these precautions present a significant and serious threat to your son's life. Have it notarized or better yet reviewed and signed by your attorney (if possible).
People hop to it if you put things in writing. Then there is documentation so if your son is put in danger due to his allergies through their neglect you have a legal leg to stand on. This will scare them into action.
Do it today.
Barb

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 9:25pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

What's also really frustrating about the preschool's response is that after an ana reaction, your child is just more sensitive for a little while. So while he may not have been reacting as a result of their laziness in the past (and sheer luck if so), his system is more primed now.
I'm in agreement with everyone else as far as getting things in writing, having a written policy, etc.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 9:57pm
momll70's picture
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Joined: 09/26/2006 - 09:00

When my son was in pre-school I gave them a note typed up which they told me they would keep on their fridge. When I saw the list that they kept on the fridge it was not the one I gave to them. They took everyone's info and created their own list and left out many important things like DS can't have anything like bakery goods, cupcakes brought in from other parents. They just typed no peanuts, tree nuts, sesame and were giving him wrong things. After they blamed me for their mistakes and told me "he's o.k. right, nothing happened to him" I then went to the director who was also the teacher and handed him the document which I had saved and said that this was the info I gave them which clearly stated everything they told me I didn't say. And I was not smiling and being nice anymore I was very firm and serious about it and that changed their attitude. Don't be polite about it be firm - that is what I learned.

Posted on: Wed, 01/17/2007 - 10:02pm
momll70's picture
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Joined: 09/26/2006 - 09:00

I want to add that I also gave them 2 boxes of safe snacks for my son and put a huge label on the boxes with his name on all four sides because one day I noticed that they put their own "unsafe" snack in his box to make room in the cabinet. It was the same type of snack but a different company which usually has a "may contain" stmt on it. I was furious because they may have given these to my son by accident too. Always double check what they are doing and always remind them because some people do forget. Especially if it is a small school or private school.
I hope that after all you and your son went through that the school will do all they can to protect him. I know its frustrating. Good luck!
[This message has been edited by momll70 (edited January 18, 2007).]

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