FRUSTRATED...Maybe they\'ll get it THIS time?? (Long)

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 10:31am
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I've talked & talked, but now I put it in writing...again & yes, we have a 504 on file) to discuss after they see it on paper...perhaps they'll get it THIS time?? We can only hope! Sorry this is long, but feel free to use any of this letter for your own "battles"!! Stay safe, Fran
******************************************
Dear (Classroom Teacher),

I

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 12:02pm
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Fran-This is a wonderful letter. It breaks my heart for our pa kids to feel this way. I feel so sorry for Jamie, can't this teacher see what it is like to win a piece of candy or a sticker. Every child loves to win the prize. Why would the kids, teacher or parents not want a Valentine's party that every child could look forward to. I'll never understand why people can't or won't get it. My pa son sends Valentine greetings to Jamie.rj

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 12:44pm
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we deal with this too. during parties, for example, i try to make sure that bryce's treat bag is filled with things either as good or better than the other bags all contain. (and the other ones at our school DO contain reeses, snickers, etc...so parties are rarely fun for us. just stressful). it's so frustrating because no matter what lengths i go to, kids at a certain age just want to be "the same as the others." (even if the prize they are getting is better than the ones the rest of the class is getting). they just want to fit in. plus...i find myself running out of creative ideas for keeping up with what the other moms fill the bags with or pass out. i feel like it's always a competition so my little girl doesn't walk aways feeling like she's lost out to PA again. i don't know that getting food removed from activities will ever be possible (or should be) but i do think it takes very little effort on the teacher's part to use say, skittles or something safe instead of m&m's for a counting project. i have even offered to buy the entire amount so all the kids can share whatever bryce is using but no one ever accepts my offer. i even offered to supply treats for the class every single day of the year and was refused. can you believe that? i am very interested in hearing the reply you get from school. maybe you will give me some ideas for getting more aggressive with my daughter's school. joey

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 1:01pm
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Fran, I really like your letter and I hope that it will help make things better at school for Jamie. Good luck! Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 1:21pm
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We have struggled with similar problems in our school. We have been fortunate enough to have several of the same kids in ds class with mom's that have asked a lot of questions about pa. ds is allowed to eat any treats they (there are 4 this year) send in with a note that they are alright (fortunately, it is every treat they make!) We compromised on the food thing and our parties include chips, pretzels, carrotts and 1 or 2 home baked snacks. (it would have been better if the teacher asked which parents could be trusted to bring in "safe snacks") This arrangement has been working out better for ds because he doesn't feel "left out" as much. Hope things get better for you.

Posted on: Thu, 02/06/2003 - 1:26pm
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I want to say that I recently forwarded the info from the mass dept of education to our school. Since that time, it appears they are getting a better handle on it.
either because of who wrote this information or because of how easy it is to understand, I am seeing improvements in our school and they started within days of giving them this information.

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 12:22am
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This makes me think, that not only should staff be given training in recognizing allergic reactions and responding appropriately, but should also be trained in caring for the emotional health of the allergic child as well.

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 12:30am
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Excellent letter - so well worded, non-confrontational and moving. It [b]has[/b] to get through to them.
Amy

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 12:43am
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I just don't understand why it is so difficult to have party items that are not safe for our PA children. In my non PA son's 1st grade class, I am always in charge of the parties. We are doing Valentine bags with notebooks, pens, bookmarks, and small heart suckers that are safe IMO for everyone. When my PA son gets to school I hope we can send out a letter for all of the kids to not bring in any edible items, they just are not needed!!
Good luck, I thought your letter was wonderful, and very much non-confrontational.

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 1:29am
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Great letter Fran -good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 3:44am
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Fran, I think the letter is very well written and precise. I know, I had to write one last week regarding a field trip, it is hard to express feelings regarding your child's life and emotional feelings without sounding as though it is an "attack". I believe you pulled it off! Good job.
I relate to the food thing. I don't understand why Kindergarten students need a snack less than an hour before they go home. Parties are just so hard, too. Fortunately, when the students have a ice cream Honor Roll/Banner Roll party each 6 wks. it is my sister, Jenna's Godmother, who buys the ice cream sandwiches.
BTW, It sounds like Jenna and Jamie handle these things the same. Jenna gets emotional about these things, but she only talks to me about it - not wanting to cause any confrontation.
Rachel
[This message has been edited by Rae (edited February 07, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 4:59am
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Great letter, Fran! I don't think you came across too strong, but then again, I'm in the same boat! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
I hope they finally "get it". Keep us posted!
------------------
Be safe,
~Dawn~

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 5:59am
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Thank you ALL for your support...here's back atcha'(((Hugs)))
I am headed for the school to pick up Jamie in a few minutes and am (gulp) looking forward to seeing her teacher! Your thoughts are with me, everybody!!
I'll keep you posted just as soon as I can get back on-line.
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Fri, 02/07/2003 - 9:53am
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Fran - Your diplomatic approach was such a touching read - I'm sure when it was read by staff, it was met with sadness and reflection on their part on how the class events with candy/food have exclusively excluded your daughter, who has only love for her teachers.
Hoping for brighter days in her classroom with more "ribbons, stickers & silly straws" as rewards & incentives, and after reading your letter, who wouldn't want to exercise a change if it meant no one is left out.

Posted on: Wed, 02/12/2003 - 2:10am
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Finally back on-line (I have the craziest schedule!). Thanks to all of you, once again, and to you, Syd's Mom, for your recent reply. Your support means so much, all of you!
Well, I met with Jamie's teacher and she felt just awful about the situation. She said that she never really paid attention to the amount of food-related issues that were going on on a daily basis. She also felt like she dropped the ball and was upset to think she and others may have hurt Jamie's feelings.
I explained to her once again, that this was certainly not to be directed at anyone in particular, and felt that I had no other alternative at this point than to actually put things down on paper for them to get our plight. This, I said, is an accumulation of frustration and "education to deaf ears" from back in the preschool days to the present.
I told her that Jamie is a very happy, upbeat, positive and open child and I had never seen her display such anger, hurt and frustration. Now that Jamie is getting older, she is dealing with her PA in a different manner. I told her that if we did not get to the root of this "being left-out feeling" / "made to feel different all the time" issue, this kid was ready to explode from pent-up daily frustrations! I explained to her what it is that we and our kids go through and how as Jamie gets older she'll be dealing with the possibility of "dares", etc. I drove home the point that THIS is the stuff that causes kids w/ PA to die! I think she really understood when I told her about the "tempting a PA kid w/ yummy-looking goodies" all the time and just how absolutely unfair it is! It's enough that she has to go through life like this without further teasing, etc.
SO, we agreed that other than when a child is celebrating their birthday (since I always send Jamie in w/ a special treat if I know ahead of time -- if not, I keep special treats in the classroom for her "just in case" & Jamie is o.k. w/ this "policy"), from now on I will provide the "edible celebratory treats" for the entire class and the children are to bring non-food fun items only!! Teachers will also be required to use only non-food rewards & incentives. This new "policy" will only be classroom-wide, not school-wide.
We spoke for about an hour and by George, I think they've got it!!! The next day when Jamie went out of the classroom to go to the office, her teacher announced the "newly revised" policy to the class. She presented it as a "challenge for students to bring their most creative, fun, non-food celebration items" (beginning w/ this Friday's Valentine's party). I had the teacher do this when Jamie was not present so she would not feel like "Oh, no this is about me again!" and have all eyes on her! I did tell Jamie about the changes, however and she is JUBILANT!!
I'll keep you posted as to how it goes! Now I need to update our 504 plan for when she enters 4th grade to be a little stricter...if that is possible :-)
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Wed, 02/12/2003 - 8:03am
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Just HAD to tell you guys this. Went to pick up Jamie at school a little while ago and one of her classmates said, "My Mom heard about the new non-food policy for the Valentine's party, but she said she already spent $3.00 on candy that she thinks is safe and doesn't want to waste her money, so I have to bring it in!"
Sound familiar?? She might lose 3 bucks and I might lose my CHILD, but does SHE get it??? NOOOOOOOO!!!!! UGH!!!
I almost offered the woman a refund!!!
Hangin' In There With The Rest Of You,
Fran =)

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 9:38am
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Today we went on a Ranch Day Field Trip. I was confronted by one of the parents, whom I have always THOUGHT I had a good relationship with (she & I are school volunteers and she now works in the school office). We have known each other for 4 years and her daughter & my Jamie have been classmates throughout these 4 years...So Jamie's PA is no surprise.
When I said hello to her today, however, she said to me that she wanted to question the new non-food treats, rewards, celebrations classroom policy and the fact that I was going to be the one bringing in the edible goodies for such events. She said to me, "You know Jamie is 8 1/2 years old and has to realize that she is different and be responsible for herself. Why should our kids have to suffer because of one child? I mean baking & bringing in goodies to share is a "tradition" for our kids. What happened when WE were kids and there was no help for other kids w/ asthma? The asthmatic kid had to take care of herself & it was their problem, not ours...they survived! I don't allow our children to have birthday parties and they whine & complain about it, but I still stick to my guns on it. That's just part of growing up. They need to take care of themselves and know that they can't have birthday parties. By the same token, Jamie needs to know that she is not allowed to have the other kids treats. That's life & growing up!"
Wow!! Did I feel hurt & beat up by this one! I almost cried, but remained calm, composed myself and explained that Jamie is very much dealing w/ taking care of herself and is very responsible. I assured her that I was not trying to put Jamie is some kind of plastic bubble and she is not being "overprotected". I also explained that school is not the only setting where Jamie has to feel "different" or left out. I told her about dining in restaurants, etc, etc, etc...and how it is difficult to even go to her Grandparents and have THEM understand. I told her that I certainly respected her traditions w/ her kids, but I also felt that by them getting one less edible treat in the classroom would be better than seeing my child die in front of them. I also told her that her not letting her kids have birthday parties is not a life or death decision, unlike the pa issue at hand. Mostly I was hurt, frustrated & upset because she must have been feeling like this for 4 years and finally found her opportunity to "lash out at me". I told her that we will never get everyone to understand, but at least our choice for non-food treats w/ me providing safe treats for everyone could be respected. I do not feel that we are asking for much! I reminded her that at children's classroom birthdays they could still bring in a non-peanut treat to share & Jamie would still bring her own safe treat. This non-food decision was ONLY meant for all the food rewards, incentives, celebrations & education that is going on much too often. She just turned and walked away shaking her head.
Sorry for rambling, but I knew I could talk to you guys. I feel very sad. Even Jamie was shocked by her reaction today. I know that somewhere along the line you have all been questioned to some degree. Thanks for listening!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 10:28am
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What an utter BIT@#, it's too bad you couldn't have found out a few years ago what she really was. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. People can be such jerks, I know it's hard but try not to let it get to you.
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Cynde

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 10:32am
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Oh Fran, I am so sorry. I can't believe someone would say those things to another parent. All I can say is that she is wrong wrong wrong and I know this absolutely. Even if I didn't have a kid with PA I know I could *never* think that way. I really don't think hers is a majority opinion.
No other child is being deprived of anything!! They will still get their treats and rewards. They will never miss the sugar. The school should include all students in all activities, and this is the only way to do so.
About the home-baked treats, I don't think they should be allowed in school at all. It's a safety issue. Schools should only allow storebought items with an ingredient list. There are people with unclean homes or people who aren't sanitary in the way they prepare food. I don't like my kids (or myself) eating homemade foods when I don't know the person who made it.
I just don't buy that argument that kids have to learn how to deal with the allergy so they have to suffer at school. Adults with PA can avoid situations that include peanuts. They can leave the room. Adults have autonomy and power and can stand up for themselves. Children in school are not allowed to get up and leave when they feel unsafe (well, yes, they should, but it is not easy for a child to do). They can't demand their rights. That's why we have to do it for them.
I can't believe that woman. She is absolutely heartless. In the future, I think if I were you I would just say, "Sorry, but this is a safety issue, it's not really up for debate." or "Sorry, I'm not comfortable discussing my daughter's private health concerns with you," or just "Yes, I can see that you don't understand what's at stake here." Something polite but snotty.
Personally, I'm dying to say something snotty to someone like that. I never think of it until it's too late, though!! Don't let her get to you.

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 10:43am
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I'm really sorry, too, Fran. I feel sick to my stomach just reading your post. I can't even begin to imagine how you must feel. {{{hugs}}} to you, and try to keep your chin up. Hopefully not everyone is as horrid as that woman. I really don't know what else to say now. If this negative attitude keeps up maybe the teacher can help out since she does sound understanding. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 11:32am
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fran: i haven't even read your entire post yet and i'm so mad i have to write to you now. i'll go back and finish it in a minute. i'm sure i'll be madder by then. did you just want to shake this woman???? what's the comment about kids with asthma back when we were kids..???..... did you remind her that there was a time when black kids couldn't attend school with white kids and that people (ignorant people) used to tell those kids.. "that's life...that's part of growing up (for you)....learn to live with it." ??????? i'm sure that is not quite a correct comparison since being black is not a health concern but i hope anyone understands my point. at some point in time, we have to admit that certain situations are wrong and that it is the right thing to do to at least attempt to help others as we would hope them to do for us. especially if it was well within our means to help. this would include non-allergic people helping severely allergic kids during the schoolday. does common sense just completely escape some people?? i know already that compassion and concern escapes them but common sense????? i just can't believe she had the nerve to say what she said to you. the kicker is that if the pa child was HER child...she would be the one having to appeal to your good nature, common sense and decency on behalf of her child. i would bet YOU would not have spoken to her as she did to you. shame on her. i hope she went home and felt like the jerk that she is. i doubt she did though...oh well...we can always hope. joey

Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2003 - 11:53am
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fran: i finished your post. wow. amen sister! i love what you said to that woman! you were much calmer than i would have been. i swear i would have been crying.
knowing my four kids like i do....and from watching all the others in their classes...kids don't care half as much about food and food rewards as grown ups think they do. 3/4 of it ends up in the trash. i bet the kids in your child's classroom will be thrilled with non-food treats. i know my kids would be ecstatic. this woman can continue her "traditions" in the comforts of her own kitchen and they will be all the more special because she will be sharing them with her own kids. she can bake her crabby little %#@ off. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] what kind of person thinks cupcakes (or whatever) are more important than someone elses' child's life??? i really just don't get it. at my daughter's valentines party last week one of the mothers was sitting next to my daughter and i. her daughter said, "mommy, that's the girl who is allergic to peanuts. she can't eat peanut butter." (let's point at the freak in the class....that's what i was thinking to myself, hoping that my daughter wasn't feeling the same thing) the mother said...."oh...how terrible...peanut butter is just our favorite food, isn't it honey?" grrrrr.... i was thinking to myself, "how could you have just said that right in front of my kid?" some people have the IQ of a doorknob, i think. you did a wonderful job! made me proud! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] joey

Posted on: Thu, 02/20/2003 - 3:43am
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Fran, I'm really sorry to hear that. I know you tried very hard to keep

Posted on: Thu, 02/20/2003 - 4:33am
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Wow...You are all such heart-menders! Thank you so much! I woke up all night w/ pains in the pit of my stomach just thinking of the absolute nerve of this woman!
I also forgot to tell you guys something really important ~ She actually baked homemade cookies that she claimed were "safe for Jamie" and not only did she offer them to Jamie in front of me and Jamie politely refused them, she ALSO offered them AGAIN to Jamie when I was not around (again Jamie refused)!!! Can you believe her??? Pressuring & practically forcing my child to take a cookie -- and wanting to risk the liability of hurting or killing a child!!! These people blow me away (excuse my 1/2 Italian and former New Yorker temper that is surfacing! The other 1/2 German/Sweedish & now Arizonan keeps that part of me under control!!!)
You should have heard my husband! He wanted to call her (and he's the calm one in the family!). Actually, Joeybeth, he used your discrimination comparison exactly!
I also wanted to tell you that I DID speak to the teacher about this and you could tell she knew something was up. She said, "Well, yes...I guess the Valentine's Day "change" did not go over well w/ some parents." I also spoke to another Mom that I have known for 4 years (she also knows the #@*chy woman), and she was very supportive & understanding. She said she LOVES the idea of her kid not having so much junkfood any more in school. She was also shocked at this other woman's outrageous remarks and said that she felt that perhaps her husband had said something to stir the pot causing his wife to react?!? AND she had also overheard the #@*chy woman mention to another mom and a teacher that she had "Purposely baked "safe" cookies for Jamie so as to open up a conversation w/ Fran." I told this mom how hurt I was and I know it will eventually get back to her. My husband says I shouldn't waste my breath on the #@*ch anymore and if anything, she owes ME an apology.
Cynde - You're right. What's the expression, "The masses are #@*es"! I always say "The more I know of people, the better I like my pets!"
Sandra Y - I 100% agree w/ your home-baked treats issue. I am very clean & I often think about what other people's kitchens look like, especially when you see some of the pans that they send their treats in on! And, thanks so much for your beautifully put responses...I am memorizing them now since I am ever so sure I'll be able to use them somewhere down the pa road!! I'd love to give you her number so you can get the chance to use your great lines!!!
Miriam (Calif Mom) - Thank you for your hugs & kind words. You reminded me to post the teacher's response above!
Joeybeth - Loved your 2 posts and thank you for being my cheerleader!! You made me laugh so hard as I could literally picture that woman "baking her crabby little %#@ off"!!! And, I cannot believe what that mom said about peanut butter being her favorite food in front of your dear little girl!! Let's hope she eats enough of it that her mouth sticks SHUT the next time!!!
And Rachel (Rae) - Thank you as always ~ Yes, it IS amazing what's more important to these people when it involves a child's life! Now I am wondering what "the buzz" will be and how much influence this #@*chy woman will have in our school office now that she is actually working there. Oh well, guess I just need to be confident in the fact that they all know me and what I stand for at the school...but if I ever hear anything negative....GRRRRRR!!!
(On another note, I wanted to tell you that the cookbook fundraiser is successful so far and the article/allergy-free recipe section I wrote came out great. (I posted this info under Cookbook Fundraiser (Schools) a while back. If anyone wants further info let me know & I'll post it. I'll be volunteering at the PTA booth selling the books & getting the word out during this year's Vail Pride Day here in AZ.)
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Thu, 02/20/2003 - 5:21am
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Only have a few minutes so I haven't read all of the recent postings.
One thing that I forgot in my last post was that the mass info was given to the superintendent. I keep the principle and teachers "in the loop" but address most of my issues, concerns and suggestions to the super or at least cc the super.
It made a world of differnce and we don't have to start at square one each year with a different teacher.

Posted on: Sat, 02/22/2003 - 12:24am
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Update - My husband if absolutely LIVID! The more it eats at me, the angrier I am, as well. So...we have decided to send a formal letter to the Principal with copies to the US Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights; 3rd Grade Teacher; Superintendent of the School District; and Director of Special Projects/Section 504 at District Office (someone I didn't know until now even existed). We are including copies of the non-food policy update & Jamie's 504 plan. We decided this was absolutely necessary since this woman is not only a fellow parent but, more importantly, an employee of the school!
I don't want to reprint the entire letter here since most of it's contents you already know due to these posts. However, I will include some of the interesting comments at the end of our letter (signed by my husband - they won't feel like they can push him over).
Many thanks to all of you for your input AND special thanks to you, Sandra Y...you'll be pleased to see the quotes you've been dying to say are in full effect here!!!
BTW, I also forgot to tell you that I said to this woman (parent/employee)at the end of our lovely conversation, "Maybe next year your daughter won't be in Jamie's class and you won't have to DEAL with my kid."
Here's the final excerpt from the letter:

Posted on: Sat, 02/22/2003 - 2:02am
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Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love your letter! Very professional. In fact, I'm going back to read it again.
Gail

Posted on: Sat, 02/22/2003 - 2:55am
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I reread the thread and I just wanted to say that I admire the way you handled this, Fran. This employee violated the school's policy... point being that this is THE SCHOOL'S policy, not your policy. You shouldn't be placed in the position to defend your 504 plan... that is the school's job. (And I'm just curious, what did the teacher do when this woman brought cookies into her classroom? Why didn't she intervene and enforce the school's policy?)
I think the problem comes when other parents believe that we parents of PA children get "special privileges" (like it's a real special privledge to provide all the food :rolleyes [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] For example, I had supplied ALL the daily snacks for my DDs 2nd grade class. Yep, every day for 20 kids. But one of two parents complained because they couldn't do it too. Fairness. So the prinicpal ended up saying "no food" at all, from anyone (except for birthdays and the 3 holiday parties). No one was happy with that. Oh well. Fairness won out and we've all adjusted.
Rhonda RS mentioned something to me recently~ she pointed out that schools are like sheep. None of them like to be out on their own too much and they tend to keep in line with one another. I think this is so true. I think you can find many examples of schools with "no food in clasroom" policies to cite. Ours is one, and I'd be happy to provide you with it if you think it would help.
Anyway, great job on your letters. You have clearly demonstrated that you've been patient, willing to work with the school and do your part. I'm so interested in seeing what happens next.
And Jamie sounds like a neat kid. The "being different" really hit my Mariah in second grade too. (Don't you love it when a parent points out to you that your kid IS different?)
Gail

Posted on: Sat, 02/22/2003 - 2:59am
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Hi Fran,
I’m jumping in here per your request via e-mail.
In your note to me, it was not clear that this parent is a staff member & parent. I believe the principal and superintendent have a great deal of power in correcting this situation. My comments from my e-mail last night still stand.
Your letter conveys that you and your husband are very angry about the situation, and rightfully so. If you are trying to make a case that this staff member / parent has discriminated against your child, there is a format of information that the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes which lays the groundwork to prove discrimination has occurred and the district's indifference to the discrimination (should they refuse to take action against this staff member / parent). The district’s lawyer should “recognize” this format if he/she has done his homework. This will put the district on notice that you are indeed serious about taking action.
504/ADA/IDEA Education Civil Rights Lawyer is Reed Martin, J.D. discusses on his manual, "10 steps in making a successful complaint, as described in ...Supreme Court Cases." In the Letter of Understanding, write 10 averaged sized paragraphs in the format below. Be as specific as you can with dates and people’s names.
1. Discuss how you have notified the school about the problem.
2. Indicate that that the school district receives federal financial assistance from the federal government.
3. Discuss that the principal has the authority to investigate and correct the wrong.
4. State what the discriminatory activity against your child was and is still continuing.
5. State that the school district exercises control over the site (name the site) where the discrimination occurred and is still occurring. State that the school district exercises control over the personnel (name the person) who committed the discriminatory acts
6. State that the discrimination was not a single act but was severe and pervasive.
7. Show that the discrimination excluded (child’s name) from continuing her participation in school, and denied her benefits of what the other students in the school have access to (a safe learning environment).
8. Discuss what you would like the school to stop doing and what you would like the school to start doing right to end this harm and to remediate its effects on (Child’s name).
9. Indicate that the school district does not have the required grievance procedures available to you under Section 504 that would allow you the prompt and equitable resolution of your complaint, with the result that the discrimination continues to harm (child’s name) by putting her life in danger.
10. State that if the Superintendent does not investigate, that you are entitled to claim that it shows deliberate indifference to the discrimination; or that if the Superintendent does investigate but takes no corrective action based on his findings, or takes action that is ineffective in ending the discrimination, that you are entitled to claim that it shows deliberate indifference to the discrimination.
Cite: Section 504? How You Can Use It To Get Your Child What They Need, Reed Martin , J.D. [url="http://www.reedmartin.com"]http://www.reedmartin.com[/url]
I agree about including all the other folks you listed in your post except for OCR and U.S. Dept. of Education. Just one question…What to you hope to accomplish by copying in the Office for Civil Rights and U.S. Department of ED?
I personally would give the principal, superintendent and Section 504 Compliance Officer within the district a chance to rectify the situation first before I involved OCR. First, you need to provide information to the someone who can correct the wrong doing in the district (principal / superintendent), then you need to demonstrate they have treated you with deference (should they not correct the situation), then you would contact OCR. Everyone here knows how pro-parents I am. Having said that, and this is just my opinion, but if you don’t give the district administrators a chance to rectify the situation, it sends a message to them that you have no confidence in their ability to control their staff. And this may create a situation that is not conducive to cooperation with the administrators in the future. I am confident that they have the ability to sit this parent / staff member down and set her straight. It sounds as if the teacher and the district have been good to you thus far (apart from food in the classroom which will be corrected next week I hope in a 504 Meeting).
Take care,
Rhonda
ps. Hi Gail! I'm off to spend the day with my family [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by Rhonda RS (edited February 22, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/22/2003 - 9:29am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Gail - Thanks for the kudos! The cookies the woman brought were not into the classroom, but rather at a ranch during a field trip. Also, thanks for the "no food in classroom policies offer" -- I'll be updating my 504 again soon and will be sure to enforce/change this. I know better now! As far as people pointing out kids like Jamie & Mariah ~ don't you know it happened again (!) the other day when Jamie & I went to our company's office to meet one of our new employees...she took one look at Jamie after the introduction and said, "Is THIS the one w/ the peanut allergy?" I said, "Yup, she's THE ONE" all right and I hope you can understand that her allergy can kill her and that's why we do not allow any peanuts around our office since Jamie comes in here quite often." COULDN'T SHE HAVE JUST SAID, "NICE TO MEET YOU, JAMIE"??????!!!! I felt so bad for her again, but she knows how it goes w/ some people!
and now, Rhonda...Thanks again for your (I still say) EXPERT opinion/info! My family IS very angry since this situation just represents years of this type of discriminatory abuse our kids take. However, please know that we are only wanting the situation to be resolved and no further harassment, gossip and negativity to continue about Jamie's allergy.
I took your advice (especially since I am calmer today!) and removed the cc to the Office for Civil Rights, US Dept. of Ed. You are absolutely right, it WILL send the wrong message. All we want is courtesy, respect and above all a safe environment for our child at school. Our kids have to deal w/ this 24/7...it's hard enough. I am well-liked at the school and known by everyone, staff & parents included. I want to be assured that my good standing continues to be respected and my child, whom I bring up w/ good values, gets the same. Amen!!
Now, go enjoy your day w/ your wonderful family!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Sun, 02/23/2003 - 1:34am
Rhonda RS's picture
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Hi Fran,
Please keep us updated as to what the principal says and does, and how your meeting goes.
About being angry…I sure do understand. I brought up the tone not to criticize you, (I would be angry too) but to just assist you in reflecting.
Stay safe,
Rhonda

Posted on: Sun, 02/23/2003 - 3:39am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

My Dear Rhonda! I hope you didn't think I thought you were criticizing me!!! Heaven knows that you are in our best interest and are only helping, as you put it, me to reflect. I know that you, too, are in the same boat and want you to know how very much I appreciate you!!! I never once thought anything but how wonderful and informed you are! I will keep you posted, and again, thanks to all of you who shared your thoughts & feelings...don't know what I'd do w/o you!!!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Wed, 02/26/2003 - 2:37am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Bumping up for teacher & Rhonda RS
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Wed, 02/26/2003 - 6:57am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Wow! Fran and Rhonda: you guys are awesome!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 5:09am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Wanted to give you the latest update. On Monday afternoon, I spoke at length w/ the Principal after everyone had received their letters (she called me). Here is what she had to offer (it was a positive conversation; also, please know that she & I have always been on good/friendly terms & she really is an awesome principal. However, also know that she is very close/friendly w/ the staff member/parent who made the disgraceful comments!)~
1. Principal said that she is "behind us 100% on this one".
2. She apologized for the staff member/parent's inappropriate remarks and "did not want to speak for her", but said that she would put an end to her discussions on this topic. (Note - No word from the staff member/parent as of yet...)I told her that I only wanted courtesy, respect & safety for our child. I told her that I was not the kind of person to hold a grudge, but demanded that negative gossip cease immediately.
3. Principal will be certain that no staff member will give Jamie food from now on. Realizes that our 504 plan has not been fully complied with and will reinforce this.
4. Agrees w/ the non-food policy and asked me to be a "Room Mom" for parties in the future as a volunteer. I told her that for the most part I already was, but would be willing to partake in activities as needed, as I have always been. Also stressed that there should not be a need for this IF the policy is complied with.
5. Principal says that the staff member/parent that made the insensitive remarks IS a very caring parent and that she (the Principal) needs to "remind staff to keep their STAFF hats on and remove their PARENT hats when addressing such issues". I told her that I totally DISAGREED w/ this one, since parents need to show the same courtesy & respect as staff towards the children, staff and parents!!
6. The Principal feels that there is TOO MUCH food/candy in this particular classroom anyway and wants to put a stop to this.
7. I discussed the above fact on "too much food/candy" and told her that this is the message not being conveyed to parents and thus resulting in our current problem/situation. I asked that she get the word out to parents on this. She stated that she would work on a letter, so as not to implement Jamie, stating the non-food policy.
8. Discussed the 504 Team...wanted to know if I had excluded anyone (i.e. the gentleman who's name I discovered as the Director of Special Projects/Section 504 who works at the District Office. She said that I have been handling the 504 correctly and those in contact w/ Jamie daily along w/Principal & Teacher were needed to be there (as we had been doing.) I think I will invite this Special Projects/Section 504 person anyway! My husband agreed to join me in future meetings, as well as Jamie (who has only been present at one of our past meetings. Now that she is older & able to speak up, I think it is absolutely critical for them to hear from her...that is IF she doesn't get too shy, poor little one!! The experience & just seeing her there and having her present to address her & show they care, I think is vital. When I told her, she agreed!)
9. The principal mentioned again that Jamie is "getting older & the temptations are there" and that she (the principal) would "not want to go through what we went through the time Jamie was in 1st grade and took a piece of fudge offered her by a classmate at an Art class party". I again stressed, that "Yes! This is the very reason for the NON-FOOD POLICY!"....(And, yes! Putting treats constantly under a kid's nose will break them down sooner or later!!! BTW, Jamie was fortunate enough not to have had a reaction to the fudge that time and it taught her an invaluable lesson! It was very stressful, however, since the Art Teacher was too late in stopping Jamie from putting the fudge into her mouth and got the principal/school nurse/parent of the child who made the fudge and me involved--we do have a smoother protocol, but after speaking to Jamie on the phone & hearing she was o.k., I instructed the school nurse to give her Benadryl anyway & keep her in her care, and not to hesitate w/the EpiPen/911 Call as I drove 80 mph to the school! I took the opportunity to speak to the class again that day and since have been exclusively providing the treats for Art Class Parties!)
10. The Principal thanked me for "the world of education that I have given to the staff & parents over the years" (btw, she is a former nurse). I told her I would OBVIOUSLY continue to do so!!!
So, thanks again, everyone for listening & your input!!! I'll let you know how things go and what the "letter to parents" from the principal is about when I get it. Also, once again I had a great meeting w/ the Teacher who is very supportive!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran
PS - Thanks, Calif Mom-Miriam :-)
[This message has been edited by Fran (edited February 27, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 5:32am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

So happy to hear your good news, Fran! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
(Sometime I'd love to get your thoughts about what factors you think have helped you develop a successful realtionship with your school. Would you be up for that? Like you, I've worked hard to cultivate a good relationship and feel very fortunate that we have been able to get the accommodations and environment we'd hoped for. When you've got some time, would you please contact me?)
Gail

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 6:02am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Gail, your reply is "in the mail"!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 6:12am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Sorry, double post!
[This message has been edited by Fran (edited February 27, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 6:15am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b]
...I'd love to get your thoughts about what factors you think have helped you develop a successful realtionship with your school...
Gail[/b]
I was just thinking, Gail, that this is a good thread to start since it may help other members. So, everyone, "coming soon to the PA.Com Schools board near you", check out our new topic to reply to!
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 7:14am
Jazz It Up's picture
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Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

[b]Good for you, Fran![/b] I would have jumped in here sooner but I rarely come in the *Schools* thread because my son's school is phenominal when it comes to his peanut allergy.
I guess this goes to show I need to *expand my thinking* because just because *we* have a good thing going, others need support who are having difficulties with their schools/parents.
What I wonder about is the parents who smile to your face and nod their heads regarding food allergies and then turn around and talk about you behind your back!
Good for you for being so diplomatic with this parent...can you imagine [b]her[/b] having a peanut allergic child? I cringe at the thought...
My quote for the day..."diplomacy is the ability to tell a person to go to h*ll in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip!" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Please keep us updated with your situation. You have some wonderful support here!
------------------
Stay Safe!
Connie

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 7:32am
Fran's picture
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Joined: 08/09/1999 - 09:00

Thanks, Connie and loved your quote...might I add, "and may their trip be a "one way" ticket!"
No, I cannot imagine this woman dealing w/ pa or a similar situation. Not if she can speak like this. And yes, it always baffles me how people can literally "stick the knife in" -- the way some people act, buds one minute and the next, well watch out! I know nobody's perfect, but boy, if only people would think before they speak -- especially when it comes to children...
Unfortunately, that's what often goes wrong in society, right? Better stop here, this is a whole other topic!!!!!!!!
On another note, however, with 1 in 30 children now having pa, the schools are bound to have to deal w/ more than just the current few w/ pa. Hopefully in numbers we will be heard (wish there weren't those "numbers" happening, though).
------------------
Stay Safe,
Fran

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 10:45am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Fran, this woman, (I use the term loosely), sounds like one nasty control freak, but you and your husband handled it like pros. Kudos kudos and kudos again! I love happy endings!

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 11:25am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Hadn't had time to read this before - sounds like you are doing an awesome job of cooperating with folks to work this out! Three cheers for you!
Please let us know how (if it works out) your dd responds to being included in the discussions with the school. I brought my PA/TNA dd to the staff meeting I had before school started up again - but that was due to illness of the babysitter, not my planning. However, I thought it was good that she was there and actually if I had known/thought about it before, I could have given her a part of the "presentation". My dd is the same age as yours, I think and I would like to involve her in these types of things so she can continue to take age appropraite ownership.

Posted on: Thu, 02/27/2003 - 11:35am
Jazz It Up's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

Hey Fran,
I *love* the addendum to the quote...I'll have to remember that! LOL!
Seriously, I wish you all the best in this endeavor and please keep us posted as to what is going on and how well it's going...keep on keepin' on! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Most importantly, Fran, stand your ground!
------------------
Stay Safe!
Connie

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