Help - Speak before the Rhode Island Senate

Posted on: Mon, 06/18/2007 - 11:53pm
JennB's picture
Joined: 01/31/2007 - 09:00

On Wednesday June 20, 2007 the Rhode Island Senate Education Committee will consider a bill that will enact the following:
1. The school can not sell peanut products
2. One Classroom per grade will be peanut-free
3. Lunch room will have a peanut-free table and a peanut only table....

I will be going to speak before the Senate. However, I am not sure what to say.....any thoughts?

Thank you

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 1:14am
Sarahfran1's picture
Joined: 12/01/2006 - 09:00

The format used for testimony like this is pretty standard---keep your remarks to around two minutes. Don't ramble--they'll tune you out. You can write out testimony in advance and provide written copies to everyone on the committee.
Introduce yourself, say where you live and what school your child/children attend and that you are there to testify in favor of the proposed legislation.
Tell them *briefly* about the allergy diagnosis--reaction at blah blah age when I gave him something I thought was harmless, something I've always thought of as a childhood staple (or whatever your experience was) and about the changes your family has had to make to keep your child safe. Spend 15 seconds on the challenging transition to school, with so many new opportunities for accidental exposure. Spend about a minute talking about your experiences.
Spend the next minute extolling the common sense, balanced approach of this legislation--it means no one will have to give up a food they love, but also no parent will have to send their child to school unsure if the arrangements they put together will hold and their child will stay safe that day because parents will be able to send their child into a classroom they know is safe and the child can eat at a table they know is safe. Blah, blah, blah. Highlight cost effectiveness, too--implementing these precautions will cost schools next to nothing, and will save schools the hassle of having to make changes on an ad hoc basis as kids enter and leave the schools.
Don't go for shock value ("one bite could KILL my child!"). Even if it's true, you don't want to be dismissed as a loonie. When you are talking about your own experiences, be specific--don't just say "we have to avoid all products containing peanuts or manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts" but instead say "every time I go to the grocery store, I reread the label on the Oreo cookies just in case they've changed their manufacturing practices." It says the same thing, but the second way is more personal and likely to stick in someone's mind.
And don't be nervous--these people are just people. They have jobs and families and arguments with their kids' schools just like we do, so you're more likely to have common ground with them than not.
Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 2:03am
JennB's picture
Joined: 01/31/2007 - 09:00

Thank you Sarah
I have never done this before so i am very nervous

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 2:27am
JennB's picture
Joined: 01/31/2007 - 09:00

do you think i will sound crazy if i say
The very food that sustains childrens lives is the same food that can take her life away.

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 2:58am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by JennB:
[b]do you think i will sound crazy if i say
The very food that sustains childrens lives is the same food that can take her life away.
I think that soumds good, but only as a last statement, with all the facts that back it up coming before.

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 6:06am
Sarahfran1's picture
Joined: 12/01/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by JennB:
[b]do you think i will sound crazy if i say
The very food that sustains childrens lives is the same food that can take her life away.
Personally I'd stay away from a statement like that--why put the idea into their heads that some kids need peanut butter to sustain their lives?

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 6:39am
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

How about something like this...
With many available substitues like Sunbutter or Soynut butter why serve a product in our schools that is deadly to so many children. Thank you in advance for your vote to keep our schools safe.
ok that sounded better in my head...
GOOD LUCK! Practice beforehand and deep breaths while you are waiting to speak.

Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2007 - 10:47pm
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Good luck! Fingers are crossed!!
Will be looking in the ProJo for ya!
[b]* Beyond Obsessed * [/b]

Posted on: Wed, 06/20/2007 - 11:07am
JennB's picture
Joined: 01/31/2007 - 09:00

I wanted to give you an update.
I went to the RI Senate and I spoke about peanut allergies. I am not sure if It did any good, they table the item. If anyone lives in Rhode Island ..Please email me ..I need all the support i can get ...

Posted on: Thu, 06/21/2007 - 9:00am
HaroldsMom's picture
Joined: 11/15/2005 - 09:00

Hi JennB, I tried to email the link in your profile but it wouldn't work. Please forward me your email and I will gladly respond.

Posted on: Thu, 06/21/2007 - 2:22pm
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

I just wanted to encourage you. Yea for you!! Take heart. Courage!


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