hysteria at school

Posted on: Thu, 07/13/2000 - 2:46am
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

I am experiencing a new situation dealing with my daughters school. The rumors about what is necessary for my daughters well being are running around like crazy.The actual administration is very cooperative and supportive. For some reason many teachers have gotten the wrong idea about what happens if Rachel is in their class. They just assigned her first grade teacher and it was basically whoever got the shortest stick was "stuck" with the "nut girl"(another whole seperate issue). I am meeting with her new teacher next week to dispell some myths. One example is if Rachel has to use the restroom the whole class has to go also!
The noon duty aides have also been overheard discussing my daughter at another school. They were talking about the paranoid, irrational Mother and the spineless principal who gives in to her. They also discussed how what a waste it is of their tax dollars to satisfy all of my little whims. I know all these thoughts come from lack of education. We are doing trainings at the school for the whole staff but as many of you know people can be very strongly opinionated on this subject. I just feel like sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back.
There is also a change in the district personnel so we have to go back to our allergist to have him reapprove her 504 ( we just went May 1st) and word his approval to fit the needs of the new personnel. Sometimes I just get so sick of all the hassles people create. I am a fairly easy going adaptable person but i feel like I am reaching my limit!!
I guess I needed to vent a little and now I need to relax awhile. We are off for a fun day at legoland!
Thanks for listening.

Posted on: Thu, 07/13/2000 - 5:17am
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Anonymous (not verified)

rilira, I must say that I was surprised when I saw that it was you who had started this thread because you are, as you said, easy going and adaptable which shows in a lot of your posts. Why does the whole class have to go to the restroom if your daughter goes? That is simply bizarre. I could see NOT wanting the other children to go with her. You know, it's sad to say, but all of us are probably being talked about this way. I know that the week of the FunFair and the commotion I caused by asking for a peanut free bake sale, there were people going on about it all week. I heard this from Jesse's teacher. Things like, How can she expect that? How does she go anywhere with him? They just shouldn't come! It was all very hurtful and exhausting. I'm very fortunate with Jesse's teacher who he will have this coming year too. She did admit to the school bus driver who is a friend of mine at the beginning of this past year that she was "scared to death", but she has used her fear to educate herself extremely well and to keep my son safe in her classroom. I'm sure that other teachers would react the same way the ones are in your school. It's a very sad commentary on people in general, I believe. But, as you know, educate educate educate. I'm just learning this so I'm certainly not an expert, but I want to arm these people with as much information as possible so they recognize the severity of the allergy and that we're not being Crazy Mommy. At any rate, let us know what happens. Does your daughter have a peanut free classroom? Do they eat in their classroom or in a cafeteria? If in a cafeteria, is there a peanut free zone? It's so hard to know because each school everywhere seems to be different. Trust your instinct and aside from educating all of the people that need to be educated to ensure your daughter's safety at school this upcoming year, block out the negative stuff you hear. Return to your usual laid back self. Otherwise, I know, you'll go crazy because the whole thing is, we're never going to please anyone with this "issue" are we?
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Posted on: Thu, 07/13/2000 - 12:48pm
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

Cindy-
My daughter's classroom is peanut/tree nut free. We live in So. California so our "cafeteria" is outdoor picnic tables. Kids usually do eat in the classroom if it rains but Rachel's class will eat in the covered patio area.Rachel's table is peanut/tree nut free.
I guess some people at the school believe my daughter is never to be out of eyesight of an adult. I think they got that idea because she is directly supervised during and immediately following lunch/snack times.
I guess a big part of my year will be in educating people that food allergic kids are "normal". Somewhere I think I posted a letter my daughter wrote to her new classmates. It lets people know she is just a regular kid. I think I will ask the school to post it in the teachers lounge.
I agree with your advice about letting go of the negative. I will do my best and just move on so I do not go crazy!! We had a great time at Legoland and I wish everyone of these bozos could have been there to see what a great kid I have!!
Funny thing I also noticed, I never sign my posts- my name is actually Linda. Rilira is the first two initials of everyone in my family.
Thanks again,
Linda

Posted on: Fri, 07/14/2000 - 3:56am
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Joined: 05/01/2000 - 09:00

All I can say is wow! Linda from an outsider point of view..it seems to me that some affirmative action is needed and things need to be restructured in order for your daughter to not be labeled. If she is getting this kind of labeling and this kind of rumors and such are startig now, it is only going to get passed on to the kids and could cause your daughter some emotional upsets. As I have told Cindy in private e-mail, choose your fights and fight..then choose the ones you can compromise on. I have a meeting with all personnel that will be involved with my chidlren before school starts to inform, answer questions, and to calm fears. Personally... I would address each and every teacher you know about who is talking the way they are and set them straight individually at this point, then as a whole. Good luck...I don't know if my advice helps...but all I can say is my first reaction to this was.."It never should have gotten to this point." Is it possible that the principal presented it in a way that caused this kind of reaction...basically presenting it as a pain in the butt instead of presenting it in a protective, caring manner to keep your child safe?

Posted on: Sun, 07/16/2000 - 3:46am
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

mkruby-
I actually know where all the "bad" thoughts originated from at school. In the early part of Kindergarten we had a real problem ( I posted somewhere about it) with an activity the kindergarten scheduled part of which was sorting and cracking nuts. My daughter is also tree nut allergic. Anyway one of the kindergarten teachers who is very well liked by the staff and extremely opinionated and verbal was adamant about not changing the event. She just wanted me to keep my daughter home from school. To make a long story short she eventually "saw the light" and now has a good understanding of the allergy and we get along great. But of course people seem to remember the negative and not the positive things that have gone on this year. We do have many inservices scheduled over the next few weeks. I have purchased videos and have made myself very available to everyone.
I think it is interesting compared to other peoples stories that we have received so much support from the parents and children. I think I am lucky that the kids seem to be getting good messages at home about how to be good friends.
I think there is always a fear of the unknown when you are the first to come along with a new and potential scary situation. I know last year once her teacher met me she felt much better about the situation. Hopefully that will be the case again. Actually Rachel's first grade teacher is neighbors with several of Rachel's kindergarten classmates and all of those parents are great. Maybe she will get some info. from them too. This teacher has been off school since feb. having a baby.I have had to pick and choose my fights and have realized with this situation kindness ( even though they aren't showing it) does go much further. I really feel like it is just a slow and steady climb and I get to sometimes stop and enjoy the view and other times it is just climb, climb, climb.

Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2000 - 1:03pm
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Anonymous (not verified)

Rilira, I just started a thread about my guy being called the "peanut kid". You'll have to check it out if you get a chance. It's wild, people. Anyway, MKRuby has a really positive, empowering attitude towards PA and she probably has the best advice for you out of the two of us. See, she's totally different than I am - I wouldn't confront the people (it's the fight or flight thing). But, I would have the anger or whatever build up inside of me which is really not good. Do what you feel comfortable doing with these people - if you can confront them, it would be great! Also, I'm glad that you found my advice re letting go of the negativity helpful. It's just that if you let it get to you, which I certainly have, and not too long ago, you get so bogged down that you almost feel dead inside. And what good does that do you or your kids? Maybe if PA wasn't involved you wouldn't be being talked about, but then maybe people would just find something else to talk about. It's a very strange world, indeed. Okay, so you have "nut girl" and I have "peanut kid"! LOL!
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Posted on: Tue, 07/18/2000 - 4:38pm
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

Cindy-
Funny, I already replied to your peanut kid thread. I think this is a situation where I can learn from my incredible daughter. One day at school we were in the office and my daughter said something funny and the person responded "oh you are such a nut". Well Rachel said how could I be a nut I'm allergic so then I would be dead. The look on the persons face was so funny I could have died laughing.They literally were speechless. My daughter said this very flippantly like "get a clue ". Since then this person frequently asks me about how is the allergy stuff going. I guess my daughter did more educating in one simple comment then I had all year.
I am definitely more of a fighter than I used to be. I am a subtle fighter. I am very calm when confronted with a situation but I will not back down if I feel it is important.
When we first started dealing with the school, my Mom made the comment that she could see me going all the way to the board and forcing some policy changes. I laughed and said yea, right. Well guess what that is what happened.
I find I am much more to the point than I used to be. I guess I either have my routine down or I just don't walk on tiptoes anymore.

Posted on: Thu, 07/27/2000 - 2:48am
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

Well, I had another meeting at the school yesturday. This was with my daughter's new teacher. She had some concerns over the 504 plan and wanted some changes. She was very nervous to have my daughter in her class. This is where the story gets revolting.
There are 3 first grade teachers in my daughters track. The one she is assigned to has been on maternity leave for 6 months. Well the others did not want my daughter in their class. They went so far as to rally support at the school amongst other teachers and contacted the teachers union to block them "having" to teach my daughter.They based their case on the infringement of their personal rights. They have the right to teach what they want, eat what they want, wear (colgone,lotion wise)what they want and my daughter took away their rights by being placed in their classroom. The union even contacted an attorney. Evidently, the teachers feel my daughter does not belong in the public school system and she should be homeschooled!!Of course the attorney informed them they were legally obligated to honor the 504 plan and had to teach my daughter. The next tactic was that they said they couldn't be forced to give the epi-pen therefore my daughter would have to be excluded from their class. Well come to find out in the state of California a teacher is legally obligated to administer life saving medication. To say I was disgusted to hear these things is an understatement. These are teachers for gods sake. People who one assumes are kind, loving ,compassionate people. Guess again.i am very lucky that I have the complete support of the administration at the school to counterattack these idiots.
So , the first major issue is the breach of confidentiality. These teachers discussed my daughters medical history without my consent. The head of the union called our school nurse and spoke of my daughter by name. The nurse hit the roof to put it mildly. (my husband wants to sue).Secondly, none of these people know my daughter or any of the details involved in her care. They also contacted the teacher on maternity leave and got her all freaked out.She came to this meeting with such wacked out notions of what had to occur. She actually was very upfront and honest and told me that she had also contacted the union. She said she wanted to know what her legal responsibilities were and her liability(husband just finished law school). I appreciated her honesty. She had a lot of good questions and said she felt much better after the meeting. She realized this was not as huge of a deal as had been implied to her.
So the year has not gotten off to a good start. Unfortunately, the people who are pushing the negativity are a few choice influential people. Interestingly enough one of the main teachers involved used to be one of my teachers in high school. So my goal for the next year is to educate one by one these *&%#$!
My first gut instict is to go to the school, the media everywhere and raise bloody hell. Unfortunately that won't help solve the problem. This is one of those circumstances where i have to tread carefully. Of course that gets to me because I have done nothing wrong but it is the right way to handle it. I am going to make some points to the principal and such. The way i look at it is if these stories are getting back to me how long until my daughter hears them?
I did get to see the class list and there are some great kids in her class with very supportive parents.
I just needed to vent a little.
Linda

Posted on: Thu, 07/27/2000 - 3:33am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Rilia, I am so sorry the teachers are putting you through this. I have so much respect for you, your forthrightness, and your unwavering task to keep your daughter safe. I literally have tears in my eyes reading your post.
If there is just one thing I can say to make you feel a tiny bit better about this whole ugly situation is that you are paving the way for the rest of us parents whose children are not yet in the school system. I can go back, read all of your posts, and then plan my stragedy when the time comes.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, it means more than you will ever know.
Sincerely,
Jennifer

Posted on: Thu, 07/27/2000 - 4:18am
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Joined: 06/09/2000 - 09:00

you know, my first reaction would be the media as well. But perhaps you could give some sort of presentation at the first PTA meeting to inform all the parents? Next, contact the superintendent of your school district and report this stuff ASAP!!
This is horrifying and totally illogical!
But you know, the last poster is right, you ARE paving the way and unfortunately there are going to be a lot more kids in your daughters school with the same allergy soon. Its increasing all the time.
Work on getting the support from other parents/kids, school staff! I hate to say this but the quality of public school educators today is a abysmal, probably a lot to do with the salaries they are willing to pay and the corruption that is so widespread in the U.S. public school systems in so many states. The really good ones are just chased away, leaving the majority remaining either on the edge of retirement (and therefore unwilling to rock the boat), brand new out of school or just plane terrible.
I know this will upset a few people but that is how it is here in NYC and from what I have heard that is how it is in many parts of California as well.

Posted on: Fri, 07/28/2000 - 3:19pm
rilira's picture
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Joined: 11/11/1999 - 09:00

Thank you everyone for your supportive responses. I have always bragged about what a great school my daughter goes too and how much they "get"it. Well maybe I was in a fog or.. actually just isolated in kindergarten. The staff at my daughters school is very young for the most part and I think easily influenced by some of the old timers. I am lucky that they are several people who are supportive of us and that is how I get much of my "insider" information.I am continually amazed at the pure cruelty and the incredible kindness this allergy tends to bring out in people. We have truly made some wonderful friends and that is where my focus needs to be.
In the next couple of weeks there is a staff meeting at my daughters school. All staff will be shown a video and be trained on the epi-pen and recognizing allergic reactions. Also at the meeting will be a district representative to inform the teachers that they are legally obligated to honor and uphold everything in my daughters plan. It is a balancing act for me because many teachers feel I have too much "power" at the school so I am trying to stay out of the limelight. I will be at back to school night to answer any questions. I think I may have an in with the PTA also. A parent from our brownie troop just got elected to the board. It is funny our school has 90% enrollment in PTA but fewer than 20 people on average attend the meeting.
I am still very, very angry and sad about all the things that have went on but actually the knuckleheads at the school don't realize who they are messing with. I will not sit back and let this slide by. I will let my opinions be known in no uncertain terms.School starts on Tuesday Aug 1st; so, I guess the circus begins........
Linda

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