Severely allergic son sent home with granola bar

Posted on: Mon, 09/14/2009 - 3:23am
nickmom's picture
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Joined: 06/22/2009 - 07:18

Title says it all. On Friday my son came off the bus, and I went through his backpack. Somehow another smaller bag was put inside his bag, and in it was a granola bar that contained peanuts, pecans, etc. My son is contact sensitive , and his caprast levels are off the charts. He has his own aide in class who carries his meds, and accompanies him on the bus.

The worst part of the whole thing is usually my son comes home and the first thing he does is goes through his backpack to finish any leftover snack that he brought from home. He is autistic and does not understnad his allergies. He will eat anything.

I called the school administrator, who told me to call the principle of the school. I did that before 9 this morning, and was told I would get a call back in 15 minutes- but NO call has come.

I told the administrator I am not looking for anyone to get into trouble, but I am very concerned about my son's ACCESS to peanuts. This should not have happened. She said simply that the aide should check his backpack before he leaves for the day. NO! Not the answer! The fact that no one has called me back screams to me that they don't see this as an important issue.

Not sure what to do. Any feedback appreciated. Thanks.

Posted on: Mon, 09/14/2009 - 6:57am
mudowenko's picture
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Joined: 09/14/2009 - 13:08

No feedback but I just wanted to say sorry that this has happened! Good luck!

Posted on: Wed, 09/16/2009 - 6:50am
BeyondAPeanut's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2009 - 13:28

Nick Mom, I am sorry to hear about your story and that you have not received a call back. It is hard to comment without fully understanding your schools food policies, or what you may have in your IHP or 504 plan. Can his aide provide any insight?

Posted on: Wed, 09/16/2009 - 7:20am
DefeatPA's picture
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Joined: 09/16/2009 - 13:55

The principal is probably consulting with their lawyers to make sure what he/she says is not incriminating. (Sorry to be so pessimistic but my son has a PA and an IEP so I have some experience with this.) Hopefully the school will call you back with a sound resolution.
In addition to speaking with the principal, I would directly contact his teacher and his aide, if anything, to reiterate the severity of this incident, and ask what they plan to do so it does not happen, again. It probably already does but make sure his (school) Health Plan addresses this type of situation, i.e. school snacks.
Also, in a positive allergy teaching excercise the students in my son's preschool were made aware of my son's PA. This was comforting to know that they were kind of looking out for him which is good when kids can innocently offer someone who is allergic a snack containing an allergen.
I hope the school provides you with a good resolution. Best Wishes!

Posted on: Wed, 09/16/2009 - 10:17am
nickmom's picture
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Joined: 06/22/2009 - 07:18

Thank you both- I hadn't heard from the principle for 2 days- after a back to school night last night I talked with the teacher & my son's social worker. I am sure the principle only called because I complained to the social worker that I was being blown off by him. To my surprise- the teacher is very mad at me, and kept asking why didn't I tell her before, however I did call the principle immediately. I was concerned if I dealt with only the teacher this would get blown off. Supposedly no one knows how it got in the backpack- and the school's only solution is to check his backpack before he leaves for the day.
I am very upset, it was another eye opener that you can't let your guard down- ever. Had my son eaten that bar when he came home, and I didn't know it, I can't imagine what would have happened . I don't know how long it would have taken me to relize, OH- that's why he won't stop coughing. Most of the times my son will have hives along with a reaction, but not always. In fact the last time he actually ingested a peanut product without our knowing , I didn't know what had happened until I looked at him and saw his lower lip was grossly enlarged & swollen. By that point he was losing his voice, and trying to 'clear' his throat.
He does have an IEP, he has an aide who follows him everywhere, even on the bus. He doesn't eat in the cafeteria with the other kids. Yet this still happened, and while it may not be a big deal to the school, I am really shaken by this. I don't know how else to keep him safe.
Sorry for the complaining. I am thankful to have this board to cry to , because you all understand!

Posted on: Fri, 09/25/2009 - 3:03am
barbfeick's picture
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Joined: 04/18/2009 - 05:48

When a School Refuses to Protect a Child with Life-threatening Allergies …06/12/08, by Pam Wright
http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=58#comments
Gloucester County Public Schools is fortunate that OCR intervened. If this child, or another child, had a fatal allergic reaction after the school team refused to accommodate her well-documented allergic condition, they would be in very hot water. Consider the probability that a fatal allergic reaction would be witnessed by her classmates.
If you have a child with a peanut and tree allergy (PTA), you may need to educate your school district about the severity and unpredictable nature of these allergies. This OCR Resolution letter should help your district understand their legal responsibilities under Section 504. Learn more about Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Comment:...It is critical that school districts across the USA *quickly* come to the realization and acceptance that students with LTFA (LIFE THREATENING food allergies) absolutely qualify under Section 504 for accommodations. Nothing less. An IHP or IHCP is NOT “good enough”.

Posted on: Fri, 09/25/2009 - 6:33am
gg's picture
gg
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Joined: 09/24/2009 - 17:43

Sounds like the school is not watching carefully enough. The eyes should be focused on your child and not the other children.

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