Huge Controversary in the school this...please advise!

Posted on: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 4:08am
justlearning's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2010 - 10:56

Hello I am glad I found this forum! I am mother of three kids and they all attend a very small private school that takes no federal money so it is free to make it's own policy. As of this new school year we have a child with a very severe allergy to peanuts. The mother approached the principal about enrolling him, we will call him Bob to protect his right to privacy ofcourse. Our principal felt that all children should be welcomed and that Bob is a child of God like all the others. I agree completely. I am the head of the of parents and teachers team for this school year. When school started this year a note was sent home explaning school was going peanut free and that no peanuts, pbandjs or pb cups would be allowed in school. That if that was sent to school it was to be sent back home and that the student would have their sandwich replaced with a cheese sandwhich. This created a huge stir, parents complaining loudly and both sides got very personal and very nasty quickly! Now is where the problems are coming in ofcourse! Neither side will have any empathy for the other and the staff and I are trying to unify the school and work through the conflicts....is there any advice you can offer me? I am going to be speaking about this next week. The school should be a safe place for all students, no one should be afraid to send their child for any reason, but family of allergic child as I feel at times went about things in a way that heated people up and seemed to threaten some of the familie's rights. A pbandj sandwhich is not a right do not misundersand me, but there were other things that were hurtful on both sides. I just want everyone to be kind to eachother and stop the fighting let's welcome this boy and his family and be role models for the kids! Please help me to help both sides understand eachother! I think if anything can help us its understanding but how do I get us there? Thank you all have a good day!

Posted on: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:29am
cervonil's picture
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Joined: 04/28/2010 - 12:30

I can't stop thinking about this difficult situation. I'm so sorry for all involved - especially the small child!

Posted on: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:24pm
zeena2's picture
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Joined: 09/01/2010 - 18:55

It is always a tough situation for a school to go "peanut free". As a parent of a child with a severe peanut allergy, I sometimes wish her school was peanut free. But in reality, I don't believe anything truly is completely peanut free because of the amount of products that are manufactured in the same facility as peanuts is so enormous that it would be very difficult to monitor all of the children in the school and all of the items in their lunch. Just the other day, I noticed on a box of baking soda that it stated "may contain peanuts". Who would've thought baking soda could be unsafe. I think it is a wonderful thing the school is trying to do to become "peanut free" though. What to tell the parents of the non-allergic children is a very hard question. For many families, PBJ sandwiches are a childhood favorite and many people don't understand the severity of a peanut allergy. When met with adversity, we have always explained what could happen to my daughter if she were to have a reaction to peanuts. Also, how would they feel if this was their child? Wouldn't they want their child to be safe at school. Certainly no one would want their child to walk into traffic for the fear of being hit by a car. Well for a child with a peanut allergy, peanuts are the "traffic". It is just as dangerous. They could die from a reaction. The thing we found to be most effective was having my daughter explain to the individuals (non-allergic adults, students, etc) what her allergy means and what could happen to her. Imagine a kindergartener explaining to a "room parent" why those cookies could kill her. They certainly never brought peanut butter cookies in again. I hope all the best for you and your situation.

Posted on: Sat, 11/13/2010 - 11:12am
momoffrank's picture
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Joined: 10/19/2010 - 15:10

If you are strictly private put it your schoos by laws that parents have to sign when they pay If they dont agree too bad then they can send their child to public school that is why you can make your own rules

Posted on: Fri, 01/07/2011 - 10:27pm
lulrich's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2011 - 09:29

Offer sun butter as an alternative to pb... Have teachers or room parents provide snacks to eliminate contamination... Have room parents or staff check lunches daily... Inform families of the fact that a reaction could happen with contact not just ingestion... Really inform them on what could happen to any child with an allergy, any allergy... Don't make it about one child, make it about kindness to a community of friends... Keep the child anonymous, a nut allergy can be used as a weapon. My child was chased around the cafeteria with a handful of peanut butter because the other child knew it would get someones attention. I applaud your kind and positive approach and wish my child could come to your school!

Posted on: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 11:54am
allergymama's picture
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Joined: 09/30/2009 - 11:41

Go check out the FAAN website. They just helped pass a bill to help schools incorporate food allergic children into their school. That may be a big help for ideas. Plus they have PAL program that helps educate the rest of the kids at school about the top ten food allergies.
Also, it's the schools job to set the policies that protect the children that have food allergies and the children who have all kinds of other health needs. That's a pretty complex list of special issues to incorporate.
As a parent of nut allergic children I need to clearly explain exactly what issues are a problem throughout the school day for each child and what i need the school to have in place to protect my kids. So what issues come up in the classroom, lunch room, specials, field trips, etc.
So maybe the school needs to reevaluate the food allergy policy and have a better way to explain the changes to all of the parents.

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