Eating alone at the nut-free table?

Posted on: Mon, 08/22/2011 - 9:24pm
TracyC's picture
Joined: 11/01/2009 - 08:31

My PA/TA son is starting kindergarten in 2 weeks.

I've got the 504 and I feel like medically everything is in place that can be, despite the fact that I get the impression that I am considered a PITA parent. Whatever.

I recently realized that what concerns me the most is the possibility that my son will be set apart. I worry that some day it will be only him sitting at the nut-free table in the cafeteria. In our school the Kindergarteners sit with the 1st graders; the 2nd and 3rd graders sit together etc.

I picture this poor little kid sitting all alone at a big table, looking around at all the other kids laughing and talking.

I worry that he won't be invited to playdates and birthday parties. Actually a 'friend' who has grade-school children (without allergies) told me my son would "definitely" not be invited to certain things because of the nut allergies. And of course I worry about him being bullied later on - I'm assuming kindegarteners don't bully one another yet.

Has anyone had a child go through elementary school who can tell me how it is going to be?

Posted on: Tue, 08/23/2011 - 3:47am
Sue-Ellen Osborne-Ramer's picture
Joined: 08/23/2011 - 10:43

I have a 4 yr old that will be in kindergarten next year and I am worrying about the same things! Good luck :/

Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2011 - 3:10am
cass12404's picture
Joined: 09/12/2011 - 09:28

My PA daughter sits at a peanut free table and I was worried about her being all alone in kindergarten as well. Her school lets her pick 2 friends every day to sit with her at the table. Since her school does not serve peanut butter she has to pick children who are buying lunch from the school (not those bringing lunch from home). This makes her happy because she is not alone. She is in first grade now and she still gets to pick her friends each day.
In kindergarten she was bullied by another kindergartener for her allergy. A child told her she was going to put peanut butter in her bookbag/lunchbox. She came home crying and was scared for the rest of the year over this. So yes kindergarteners do bully each other.

Posted on: Mon, 09/12/2011 - 4:02am
robyn's picture
Joined: 07/15/2008 - 02:54

My son is in 1st grade and was all alone at the peanut free table on the 1st day of school. :( Once I pointed it out to the teacher, she immediately corrected it by allowing a friend to sit with him the next day.
I don't think your son will definitely not be invited to things because of his allergy. A lot of it has to do with personality. I was very shy as a kid and left out of stuff because of that. My son (w/ PA) was invited to more bday parties last year than his best friend (non-PA) because my son is more outgoing.
I totally understand where you are coming from, though, because I've had the same fear but so far I've not had that issue at all.

Posted on: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 8:50pm
TracyC's picture
Joined: 11/01/2009 - 08:31

Thanks Robin and Cass.
Cass - That is disturbing to hear your daughter was bullied in kindergarten. Do you mind me asking what the school did about it, if anything?
Robyn - I'm so sorry for your little guy, sitting all alone that first day :(
To update, the paraprofessional (what the teachers' aids are called here in MA) is in the cafeteria with the kids for lunch. During orientation I asked her/told her my concern and she said a child would never end up sitting alone - that it would never happen.
I believe the para has been selecting a child to sit with my son at the table each day. K and 1st sit together and there are about 5 kids total at the table (I think - trying to get info out of my kindergartner is difficult!)
So far I have been very happy with our school. The teacher is very willing to accommodate our allergy, the other parents I spoke with were very understanding (one even said to me my son doesn't like PB so he can always sit with your son at lunch) and the cafeteria person spoke to me for a 1/2 hour -showed me labels, the RN put everything I wanted on the 504 etc.
We are really lucky here in MA - many of the schools are very progressive in dealing with LTAs and have strong policies in place. I know that the policies won't always be followed, but I feel pretty confident they will keep my son safe. Although I did want to add that I did request a 504, did not let up, spoke with everyone I could and let myself be very known. And I will be be accompanying him on all field trips.

Posted on: Fri, 10/14/2011 - 8:54am
Dasha1128's picture
Joined: 10/14/2011 - 15:36

I am sorry that young children are bullied for peanut allergies. Sadly, it is another thing on the list of things children are being picked on for. However, as the parent of a child who only eats PB (and believe me I've tried adding variety) I resent the fact that one child's medical issues dictate the policy of an entire school. Doesn't my child also have rights to eat what they want?

Posted on: Fri, 10/28/2011 - 11:31am
Freddy's picture
Joined: 10/24/2011 - 21:15

My son is in first grade. On the first day of school in Kindergarten, he sat alone because the lunch staff worried about his allergy. Since then, he sits at a peanut free table and anyone who is not eating pb is welcome to sit at his table. He does not ever eat alone. We did have an issue with exposure this year, however. He became friends with a child who eats pb everyday and he was being exposed by the child touching his face at recess after lunch. I spoke with the staff, and now the kids who eat pb are wiped down/ or wash their hands after they eat. It has been working very well.
Dasha, I don't see in anybody's comments here anything about peanut free policies at their schools. This discussion is about keeping the pn allergic kids safe in a school where there is pn in the cafeteria. A pn/tn free policy is up to the individual school. My son's school serves pn butter in the cafeteria every day. I realize that pn butter is a very economical, picky eater friendly shelf stable option. In my son's case, he was recently hospitalized over peanut exposure, which is why the new wipe down/ hand washing policy is in place. As extreme as it seems, it is the only way he can be safe at school, and every child has a right to be safe in school.

Posted on: Fri, 08/10/2012 - 4:13am
Nutsaboutnuts's picture
Joined: 08/10/2012 - 11:10

I have just heard about turning the tables (so to speak) and instead of having the allergy kids ostracized, have a special table for the kids who bring in peanut/tree nut products for lunch. Genius!!

Posted on: Tue, 09/04/2012 - 7:43am
coldfusion1205's picture
Joined: 02/11/2012 - 10:39

Our PA son was in Kindergarten last year and he sat at a peanut free table with one other PA child. I asked for a 504 plan and was told that a peanut allergy alone does not qualify. My son's epi-pens were stored in the Nurses office and the school serves PB as a lunch choice. Our K program was all day every other day and each one of those days I worried. I worked with the other moms planing the class partys and attended all partys. This year my husband and I decided to try and on-line school so we know our son is safe and he loves it.
To Dasha: I understand that PB is a favorite food for so many kids. I love PB and ate it often until my son became allergic. My son had one bite of PB at the age of 2 and went into anaphylaxis and had to be rushed to the ER. I know PB is a good food for many but it is a poison for our kids and any exposure can kill them. Ask yourself this would you want your kids around anything that could kill them?

Posted on: Sat, 09/15/2012 - 4:25am
Joann's picture
Joined: 09/15/2012 - 11:15

my district also has an elementary school that has decided to make a peanut table vs a peanut free table. If a child chooses to bring in pb&j they sit at a peanut table. Totally fair after all that child has a choice the child with the allergy does not.
Dasha are you opposed now to YOUR child being subjected to sit at a special table or are you ok with that? Hopefully he or she will be able to find someone kind enough to sit with her, or maybe she/he will have to sit alone. I bet that if your child had to sit alone for a few days she might find some other foods to eat besides peanut butter. You do realize most kids with a peanut allergy could die if they ingested peanuts and were not immediately treated. There are alternatives to Peanut butter, sun butter is very similar.

Posted on: Sat, 09/15/2012 - 4:44am
Joann's picture
Joined: 09/15/2012 - 11:15

Also to Dasha
my child's 2nd grade class has 10 children out of 60 with nut allergies. So we are not talking one child but even if we were why should that child sit alone simply because he has a food allergy ?


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