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Posted on: Tue, 06/03/2008 - 11:05pm
janbiv2's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Having no food in the classroom really would help reduce the risk. My child's class has food restrictions, and errors are made constantly! Kids bring in peanut butter snacks, though they are not supposed to. Parent's dropping in constantly with treats your child can't have and may not be safe to be eaten in the classroom. And the holiday parties are the worst! At every party my son was offered unsafe food by both the teacher and the classroom parents because they said they "checked" the ingredients and it was safe!
NOT! Luckily, I was there. But it was also very hard because I had to be the one to tell these parents the food could not be served in the classroom. I think the parents honestly felt bad because they really believed the foods they brought were safe, and I think they were also disappointed that they were not able to contribute.
I felt awful! If we had a no food in the classroom rule, this would not have happened. Believe me, the more food that comes into the classroom, the more difficult it becomes to keep unsafe food out.
BTW, good for you AND your school for doing the right thing!

Posted on: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 1:14am
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

Glad they're doing a 504.
And I want you to know what a huge thing it is to have a school [i]offer[/i] to have your classroom food free. Seriously. I can only wish that one day our school would see this solution as best.
I say take it and be very, very thankful you had it laid in your lap.

Posted on: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 1:31pm
KSLaru's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

So maybe I spoke too soon. This is a bit long, but only you all here will understand and provide suppport. Today was my meeting for summer school. The RN, summer school coordinator, and the 2 Kindergarten teachers were there. I'm a little concerned about a few things.
First, the 504 was explained to all in the room as a method to avoid discrimination based on the life functions listed in the guidelines, and that after the summer session it would be determined if it was going to be necessary. WHAT!? I know the phrase "based on what you've presented, she would be appropriate for 504" was stated and I felt a huge sense of relief. There is no mistaking that feeling, as I assume anyone persuing this would know. For now I am focusing on summer school, but I will be providing copies from the DOE about food allergies and 504 for the fall if they don't want to do it.
There was some balking about all the handwashing due to classroom time constraints. Based on what I've read here, I okayed use of hand wipes at the start of the day and after snacks and lunch.
So much for the food free classroom. It is still supposed to be peanut free, but I'm not really certain. There are morning snacks to be provided by the parents for the whole class. I've agreed to do this for the first day, possibly the week. They also want a "safe" snack list. I will provide them some ideas, but also mention the guidelines that need to be followed and insist that the date be on the list and that it is subject to change. I was told if a snack item enters the room that is unsafe it will be removed and not eaten. Of course there was also a request for DD to have some safe snacks handy....hmmmm, they shouldn't be necessary, right?! As for lunch, initially it will happen in the cafeteria, but that will transition to a trailer outside due to construction. Until the trailer is ready, lunch will be in the classroom. DD will have a "safe" table in the room, but I've been told even though it is requested not to bring in PB, it still happens. If it continues to happen, a call will be made to the parents of said child. I'm not very happy with this. I can kind of understand letting PB slide by in the cafeteria - at least it's not the room she is in all the time. Allowing it in the "PN free classroom" creates more anxiety for teachers, my child and myself. At the least all tables will be cleaned after lunch.
All the specials teachers, paras, her teachers will be trained in epi and recognition of anaphylaxis. I also wanted other teachers who would be at recess trained and informed of DD's allergy since I would expect they would all watch the group as a whole and if DD's teacher was busy with another kid, someone else might pick up on something not right. That wasn't really understood.
I have been asked to do a presentation on the first day of school to explain PN allergy to the class. I'm okay with that, although a bit nervous about it. At least if I am presenting, I will know the information being offered, vs hoping the teacher has accurate knowledge. It will likely be a bit akward for DD since she is used to having 4 PN allergic classmates, but she will be the only one this time.
They asked me if DD should ever be allowed to go to the bathroom without an adult. I told them I didn't think that was necessary unless there was even the slightest thought there could be a reaction, and then an adult should accompany her to the nurse's BR.
Sorry to vent. I'm still trying to remember everything that was discussed. I tried to restate all points clearly so things weren't assumed to be understood, but now I'm finding I didn't take good notes. I feel the school is trying to understand, and the practical application of the precautions is a challenge. But it's not really something that can be compromised too far.

Posted on: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:43pm
janbiv2's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

You should write a letter of understanding stating what you understand the accommodations to be. Use your notes and memory for this. You can also state the accommodations that you feel are not acceptable, mainly allowing peanut butter to be eaten in the classroom, along with your reasons. Also, you should state at the end of the letter that if you have misunderstood any part of what was agreed upon at the meeting that you expect they will contact you in writing if you did in fact misunderstand something. Give them 5 to 10 business days to reply.
I am sorry I am in a hurry, so don't have time to be more specific, but here is a sample letter of understanding:
[url="http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1580/letters.html"]http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1580/letters.html[/url]
It is not specific to food allergy, but it is a great start.

Posted on: Wed, 06/04/2008 - 10:57pm
Krusty Krab's picture
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Joined: 04/20/2007 - 09:00

[b]There was some balking about all the handwashing due to classroom time constraints. Based on what I've read here, I okayed use of hand wipes at the start of the day and after snacks and lunch.[/b]
I think this is good.
[b]They also want a "safe" snack list.[/b]
I'm usually against these lists. Manufacturers can change things at any time. We read labels every time, assume nothing, ever.
[b] DD will have a "safe" table in the room, but I've been told even though it is requested not to bring in PB, it still happens.[/b]
No, it doesn't just [i]happen[/i]. Otherwise there is no need for a 504. A 504[i] makes[/i] it NOT happen. Demand a PB free classroom. Them letting this allergen into her classroom is a great liability for them.
[b]I have been asked to do a presentation on the first day of school to explain PN allergy to the class.[/b]
I think this is good.
Have you written out the plan yet??

Posted on: Mon, 06/09/2008 - 1:10am
KSLaru's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2008 - 10:08

The more I think about it, I'm going to voice my extreme concern about allowing PB for lunch while in the classroom. I feel it starts a slippery slope - they let it in for that, why not otherwise?
I'm still working on the presentation. I've ordered the PALS stickers and pencils. I started another post since I read about someone else doing this, but I can't seem to find that particular post. I'm worried it may be a tougher crowd than adults! :)
As for the safe snack list, I am insisting other info about how things may change and the labels need to be read every time be on the list as well. I don't like the idea of the list either, but at least it's a starting point, maybe to not make it seem so overwhelming for the other parents who think it's huge restriction to go peanut free.
Thanks Krusty for all your help. Your input is always appreciated!

Posted on: Fri, 06/13/2008 - 2:37am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

If you are pursuing a 504, then there's something you should know about going into it.
There is a really important OCR eligibility case for the LTFA community--for our children.This is a landmark moment for us in that OCR investigated a complaint against a school district because the SD said the a child with LFFAs (PA & TNA) was not diabled and did not qualify for a 504. The child had two letters from a doctor and reaction history. [b]OCR ruled that the SD discriminated against the student.[/b]
This link is to a blog entry about the case. There's a link to the Resolution letter in it--and no doubt a link to the main page at wrightslaw.com that mentions the case. But the blog is a great place to start.
[url="http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=58"]When a School Refuses to Protect a Child w/ LFTAs--OCR Ruling on 504 Ineligibility[/url]
This link provides a more general account. Scroll down to the fourth paragraph when you see Peanut Allergy.
[url="http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.index.htm"]http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.index.htm[/url]
And here's a link to the Closure/Resolution Letter:
[url="http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/504/OCR.va.peanut.pdf"]http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/504/OCR.va.peanut.pdf[/url]
BTW--the wrightslaw.com blog entry has a place for responses. It might be good for them to see how grateful we are for having these resources on their site. I know I've really used wrightslaw.com in the past two months preparing for our 504 meeting.
I am going to cross post this. I came here for the express (only) purpose of posting this important information.

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