Help in dealing with mean mother-

Posted on: Tue, 05/06/2003 - 11:55pm
virginia mom's picture
Joined: 03/12/2003 - 09:00

What do you do when you come across another mother who is just as adamant that her daughter have peanut butter in the classroom just as you are fighting against it? I posted this on the "new member" forum, but I hope that I can get some more opinions by posting here too. The other mother's daughter has low blood sugar and her snack of choice is peanut butter because as the mom said "I don't want to have to deal with slicing apples every morning". She is equating low blood sugar with my daughter's PA and is starting to get quite vocal about it - not only with the other parents in the class, but with the school as well. While I understand that the school has to accommodate a vast array of requests from parents, how can I defend my daughter against a mother who is insisting that peanut butter not only be in the school but in the classroom at snacktime?

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 12:52am
BS312's picture
Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

This sounds like a control issue and you may not ever "win". The major goal is to keep your child safe, not necessarily to defeat this inconsiderate mom. Some ideas: Could you have the school nurse suggest some alternatives to peanut butter? Maybe the school nurse could contact the child's pediatrician and have him or her suggest some alternatives, such as soy butter. If they absolutely will not give up PB, maybe you could have the child eat the peanut butter in a different setting, such as the principal's office, with careful clean-up afterwards. If this mom is becoming vocal and stirring up trouble among the other parents, you may be worse off in the long run if you try to fight her. Good luck!

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 1:29am
CatherineofGenoa's picture
Joined: 05/02/2002 - 09:00

I know some schools have peanut safe zones. The only problem with this, imo, is that the PA child must be isolated. Or in the case just described, the peanut-eater must be isolated. Personally, I think both scenarios sound rather.....lonley. But unfortunately, I'm afraid it is the only option barring a peanut butter ban in schools.
The problem with banning peanut butter, is it sets a precedence for other allergies. Some kids have meat allergies; could you imagine if a school had a "no-meat policy?" It is the precedence that concerns me more than anything else. If you ban one food, it could be considered "discrimination" if the school doesn't ban another food a student is allergic to.
I agree that you need to proceed cautiously. I would make every effort to try to explain personally, to the mean mom that peanuts can be FATAL. I'd even go as far as to provide her with alternative food options to demonstrate this isn't a "power issue," but a matter of life and death for your child. She sounds ignorant and perhaps what she needs is someone to gently communicate what is at stake. Good luck.
[This message has been edited by CatherineofGenoa (edited May 07, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 6:27am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

If this child does have medically documented low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), then peanut butter really is a good food for her as it will help stabilize her blood sugar over several hours ([b]not[/b] what you wanted to hear, I'm sure). Perhaps she could have her fix in the nurses office, with the nurse making sure she washes her hands and brushes her teeth afterwards?

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 7:02am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

If the low sugar is indeed a medical condition, and not something the mother is dreaming up, then it's really a catch 22.
Hypoglycemia is also a very serious condition, when left untreated, and yes, it can lead to death when left untreated, although it's rare. Mind you, a peanut allergy reaction that is properly treated rarely leads to death too, the problem is in getting the treatment in time, but who wants to play with fire?

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 8:08am
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

i agree that banning peanuts does cause some to worry that every allergen no matter how serious (or not) could eventually be banned but....peanut butter is very messy. pa people have airborne reactions and there is lots of residue (especially when children and peanut butter are combined). it IS different than meat or milk or soy allergies, imo. we have experienced reactions due to ingestion, residue and inhalation of peanuts. earlier, my kids were also allergic (less seriously) to wheat, soy and egg. they never had a reaction to someone else's wheat, soy or egg but they have had reactions from the peanuts/peanut butter being consumed by someone else.
also...though i do feel for the hypoglycemic child she CAN eat other foods for her condition. she can enjoy a big ole' helping of peanut butter when she gets home from school in the afternoon. she can eat it all weekend long and all through the summer. she CAN eat other two pa daughters CANNOT be subjected to her peanut butter no matter how convenient it is for the mother or how much the child loves it.
she should be saving it for locations other than school or be eating it in a separate location in the school so that there is no chance for the pa child to be exposed to it.
no anger here...sorry if there is a tone. i just have to post when something really reaches out and grabs me and this one did. there is no comparison here...the hypoglycemic child has many choices of snacks to keep her healthy and safe at school. the pa child has only peanut products he/she is asking that family to avoid sending in for their child.
both kids have serious, possibly life/death situations (which is why they should easily be able to empathize with one anoher) but one of them has many, many options to choose from. again, not being insensitive to the hypoglycemic child...honestly....just trying to point out that she can choose from many foods during the school day other than peanut products and can still continue to enjoy her peanut butter when not in that setting.

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 10:51am
virginia mom's picture
Joined: 03/12/2003 - 09:00

I actually wrote this mother a letter this morning saying that I was sorry that she got so angry for my bringing up the PA to the Girl Scouts. On the other hand, I also pointed out some basic facts about the severity of this allergy and how I sometimes feel that a gun is permanently pointed at my daughter's head, just waiting for someone to pull the trigger. I said that while she was fortunate to be able to control her daughter's low blood sugar with certain foods, my only "control" for my daughter is avoidance, which is not always easy. To be nice, I said that I have always been appreciative and impressed by her efforts as a room mother to keep my daughter's PA in mind during school functions. The unspoken part of the letter is wondering why she gets so unreasonable about PA when we are somewhere other than school - such as Girl Scouts - it's not like the allergy is left at school.

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 11:52am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Ok, I am going to ask a few questions first, so that I can give better advice. I have read both of your posts.
The Girl Scout issue is clear - this woman CANNOT stop your daughter from bridging and they NEED to accomdate her. You can search on these boards and see the threads that talk about that...and the GS Council references. If your local council really approved that seperate meeting idea, I would be amazed and they would not be in accordance with nationals and they could be sued. GS Nationals has a Disablity Office that would give you more info. The leaders are just volunteers and (I hope) do their best but sometimes they get in over their heads. So my questions are: How are they not allowing her to bridge / register for next year? / have you contacted your local GS council / how do they justify this postion as beinging in line with the "Girl Scout Promise"???
OK, now that I got the GS stuff out of the way, my other questions are: Why can this mom not buy soy nut butter or already cut up apples (which you mentioned as an alternative snack that the child would eat) at the grocery store? Why are you involved in fighting this instead of the school? I feel that the school should stand behind it's decisions, not direct complaints to the parent that requested them... Why is this all coming up now at the end of the school year - did some new message to parents go out regarding next year that started something?
Sorry for all the ???. I just didn't get enough info from your 2 posts to really help. And as you probably already gathered the GS thing especially bothers me!
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited May 07, 2003).]

Posted on: Wed, 05/07/2003 - 3:25pm
marina_twinmom's picture
Joined: 09/06/2001 - 09:00

Is the entire school supposed to be nut-free, or is it only your DD's classroom? If it's only the classroom, then maybe the school should transfer one of the students (her DD or yours) into another classroom. That way, one classroom would be peanut-free, and the other would allow her DD to eat peanut butter.

Posted on: Thu, 05/08/2003 - 12:17am
Kim M's picture
Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

I agree with Chicago: the school needs to be fighting this battle, not you. With two parents fighting for their children, it is going to get personal, and you have to deal with this mother in the future, and your child needs to deal with her child. The school has to take the lead and make sure that the needs of each child are addressed. I am biased here, of course, but since peanuts can kill your daughter, and there are other foods that are available for the hypoglycemic child (if her mother weren't too damn lazy to cut up apples each morning--yeesh!), if any child needs to be "isolated", it needs to be the hypoglycemic child. But the most important thing is that the school needs to take the lead on this. Good luck!

Posted on: Thu, 05/08/2003 - 12:22am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm taking the same angle as marina_twinmom.
This issue came up last year when our principal told me he was working out the specifics of all the special-needs kids. The idea being that certain special-needs can be placed together easily, others need to be well thought out, as in the case of someone who uses PB consistently to help maintain proper blood sugar levels, or another child who had a reflux problem and couldn't keep food down. Our principal definitely didn't want to place Ryan in the room with that particular child.
If you're lucky to have a medium to large size school, then maybe next year you could plan with the school nurse and other VIP to help avoid getting involved with the same issue year after year.
I'm sorry this doesn't help much now. If you're finances allow, perhaps you could offer her some samples of soynut, sunbutter, or other acceptable spreads as a PB alternative, or maybe keep a jar or two in the classroom for this child's use.


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