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Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 12:27pm
luvmyboys's picture
Joined: 05/25/2006 - 09:00

I still sent in a box of safe treats even though my ds's class is peanut free and had no food except for 4 celebrations which I helped plan and attended. The teacher gave me a strange look and said 'I don't understand...'.
I'll tell you what I told her...just my reasoning...In the district we had just moved out of there had been 2 prior incidents. 1) A man with a gun in town resulted in a school lockdown until he was caught. 2) A tornado warning as kids were boarding there busses resulted in all children being held at school. If for some reason the school ever had to lockdown for an extended period of time you can be sure they would raid the cafeteria to feed the kids. I never want my kids to have to choose between hunger and the risk of a reaction. So my kids have a little box with 3 safe snacks for unforseen circumstances.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:03pm
PinkPoodle's picture
Joined: 06/12/2007 - 09:00

GVMOM-I'm glad you are not in exile. I didn't know you were---just knew I hadn't seen a post from you in a while...
Now, my DD had a safe container of treats at school (nothing really fabulous as she is egg, peanut, tree nut allergic---not too many prepackaged/long shelf-life options available for egg allergic, but she definitely had treats). There were at least 3 occasions that DD had her regular, old snack while the other children had some baked good (pumpkin bread, brownies, and the final straw was one of the aids brought in her own cake to celebrate her OWN ADULT birthday--no notice provided to us). So DD held it together at school while the other children ate birthday cake or cupcakes..I don't remember. She got into the car and broke out in tears. She was 5 at the time. I don't care what plan you have (or even if you don't have a plan)---how 3 adults (at least 3 were in the room) and the 4th was also aware, could sit there and pig down sweets to celebrate A STAFF MEMBER'S BIRTHDAY with the rest of the class while 2 children ate their crackers...is just absolutely unbelievable. No offer to get her treat bag, no call to me (as I have requested should something like that come up--I would bring DD a treat), no acknowledgment until I brought it up, no real self-accountability from the staff involved. No big deal in their minds.
I'm not providing DD with safe treats in a box at school this coming year. The 504 now states that any food celebrations/sweets are to be prearranged and if one comes in without prearrangement, it is to be distributed outside the classroom as the children are leaving. I will continue to send DD in with her own safe treats for the days that have been arranged. I also put Gaks Snacks or Divvies packaged cookies in her backpack, so that she can go get it and not have to rely on the mercy of staff.
I have tried and will continue to try to impress upon the staff just how risky those baked goods are. I don't think anyone would intentionally lace the treats with peanuts or tree nuts, but it a known risk, they've been made aware. Edited to add, DD only eats food provided by home. No exceptions--this is our rule.
As far as discrimination and exclusion, the school is only obligated to provide a similar experience. So, if your child eats his own treat that is probably an OK substitution as far as legal issues. If the school said he could not bring in his own safe treat (i.e he can either eat like all of the children or not eat at all), that would be discriminatory. For example, schools have field trips that wheel-chair bound children cannot attend. They have to provide an acceptable substitution for that child to experience, but they don't have to cancel the entire field trip.
I've had many conversations with OCR over the past few months and it is interesting which issues pose a legal risk to the school and which ones don't. I can't elaborate; you can email me if you want.
I was hoping your lack of posts re: the school meant things had improved. I guess there are many of us not sharing as much about our difficulties with the school.
I don't think the school or other parents will feel badly at all for your sons. They will deflect that responsibility back at you saying (aloud or to themselves), "Isn't it too bad Mrs. Gvmom doesn't take the time to send her child in a treat". Then they'll go back to stuffing their faces [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/shocked.gif[/img]
I've been quite calm this entire summer, but now I'm starting to worry about what we will encounter this year. Only a couple of more weeks left. DD couldn't be more excited about school starting and getting to eat lunch there!!!
Our school's Wellness Policy now recommends (they can't 'force' the teachers, just "recommend") food-free bday celebrations or once a month bday celebration. It will at least eliminate the many days of treats.
[This message has been edited by PinkPoodle (edited August 12, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 9:29pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by PinkPoodle:
[b]Edited to add, DD only eats food provided by home. No exceptions--this is our rule.
Anything that came in off the "approved list" was only served after I had inspected the labels of each sealed item in it's original packaging. (For individually wrapped single serves, that meant in the box they came in.)
It was really disgusting, particularly on the "birthday day" each month. (Last friday of the month all birthdays for the month were celebrated all at once---you might want to suggest that). This pile of artificially flavored, preservative packed, corn syrup laced, and artificially dyed junk to be distributed with a gleeful smile by the adults in charge. Imagination is a thing of the past.
I always told my child in advance that I'd pay him a dollar for each item he brought home and didn't eat, to be spent as he saw fit. Then I'd toss the stuff with a vengeance.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 11:28pm
ajas_folks's picture
Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
Additionally, I've also mused at what the district's response would be if a request were made for proof of increased liability insurance?
You'd think the 504 coordinator and/or the district's attorney would already be consulting the policy provisions. But then again, never mind. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
No coffee running thru my veins yet, but wanted to say that I would also request the name and contact info for the liability insurance carrier for the district -- though that info is typically public record & available *somehow*. Are the minutes of your school district's board meetings available online? Ever read them to see what is matter of public record in how they intend to deal with special needs such as food allergies?
Ever been to a district meeting? (Some places we've lived, these meetings are televised *live even* on the public access channel.)
Just me. Thinking outloud before coffee. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
PS -- we all needed to be detectives or attorneys in another life. No stone unturned, no clue uninvestigated, no suspect left alone. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
The P.A.M's -- the Peanut Allergy Minds!
[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 11:59pm
BS312's picture
Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. Maybe you are the one feeling "excluded" because the school is not doing what you want them to do.
Not to send him a safe treat sounds like a passive-aggressive attempt to get the school to do what you want ...perhaps at the expense of your child's feelings.

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2007 - 12:24am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b]How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. [/b]
This reminds me. In kindergarten, My younger son was "excluded" on an almost daily basis due to his allergy. (Kindergarten parents can give new meaning to the name "Loo-loo" when it come to food.)
Long story short, I ended up sending in little wrapped items in his treat box for him to have instead of the food items. I wanted to STRONGLY ENCOURAGE how great inexpensive non-food items could be.
The kindergarten teacher (battle axe) did a pretty good job of keeping peanut/nut laden items out of the classroom (but some homebaked goods allowed), but never to the point my child could eat the same food items. (I wasn't counting on her to either)
I filled the "treat box" with little items from the dollar store (most under 2 bucks) and wrapped the items in tissue paper to make up for the specialness of those ginormous cupcakes. In this particular class, it was customary for parents to begin the pecking order by sending in 50-75 dollar platters of bakery goods for occassions not only birthday related.
For instance, bears football games were one "Special" occassion. <<>>
My long story just got longer, my apologies, the treat box not only had the little wrapped items, but a few miscellaneous, incidental safe "candy" items. But I will wrap it up by saying that the kindergarten teacher REFUSED let him choose the little non-food wrapped items (he KNEW they were non-food too, and was my picky eater, not really wanting all the sugary garbage.) edit to add: He may not have eaten it, but he sure would have looked it over and claimed it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
She said it made the events celebrated "more special for him than other students". Apparently, it was okay to exclude him, but it wasn't okay to make up for HIS inconvenience.
[This message has been edited by The #l Mouser! (edited August 12, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2007 - 12:32am
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b]How is your child being excluded if he could have a treat that you've sent in? The bottom line is that he would have a treat (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) and he would not be excluded. Maybe you are the one feeling "excluded" because the school is not doing what you want them to do.
Not to send him a safe treat sounds like a passive-aggressive attempt to get the school to do what you want ...perhaps at the expense of your child's feelings. [/b]
Do you approve of a child continually missing out on having the same treats as the 20 other members of his class...20 times a year for birthdays, plus holiday parties?
It sure is fun to be our little ones, always missing out, over and over. Ostracised in a way.
What does one do to change it?
Kudos to gvmom for thinking out loud, for serving as a catalyst to better our kids school experience. Whether or not you agree, it's does me mighty good to ponder.

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2007 - 12:59am
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

[b]And, I am glad, lilpig, that you brought up the psychological aspect. Do you think that if those of us brought this in, asked for the school psychologists to evaluate the impact of the school sanctioning exclusion on our children, someone would listen? [/b]
You know, I would bet in the years to come, food allergy research will also include the psychological effects of FA. With so many kids these days having them...we all know what our children go through. It will come in time I'm sure. I think it is definitely worth mentioning this issue at the very least. I would think any reasonable school psychologist could at least admit to a child with FA's having a different realm of experience than non FA children in their school/class...and that experience might very well feel like ostracization....self esteem issues, etc.

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2007 - 1:04am
ajas_folks's picture
Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by BS312:
[b] (who really cares where it came from as long as it is safe?) [/b]
Our child DOES.
The other 17 children in his classroom DO.
The TA in my son's class did (negatively).
Some of the other parents of the kids in my son's classroom seem to be bothered too.
(Last year was 2nd grade for my son.)
Some of the other children exhibited clear resentment and jealousy of our son and his perceived "specialness". It really even torqued them that there were "911" drills that the class practiced as a simulated PA reaction situation for my son.
My son was singled out and picked on due to his PA. He was already the "different" kid due to the fact he was new to the community, new to the school, we are military, and he'd been only homeschooled prior so he was WAY ahead of nearly all the other students.
[i] He desperately just wanted to be one of the other kids. [/i]
Your experiences (and others') may never have been as ours have been. Very fortunate, if that is the case. But please recognize that MANY of us have children who may really struggle emotionally and behavior-ly (not a word) as a direct result of ther "specialness" or ostracism due to PA.
With the peer pressure that begins ever-earlier, many kids just want to fit it, to participate to the exact same degree that all the other classmates do. In EVERYTHING.
Is that asking TOO much? I don't think so.
We use time outs with young children as a means of punishment and behavior modification. Removing the child from the group is often VERY effective, in this regard. But it is PUNISHMENT. Young children are typically not able to discern the subtle difference between being removed from the group or singled out as a bonafide means of punishment vs. as a safety measure.
The emotional well-being of a child is critical, IMHO, and in the opinion of most child-rearing experts.
Not ranting. Just extremely passionate about raising children who are "whole" emotionally.
Mother to 2:
DD age 5, NKA, treated as though PA/TNA
DS age 8, PA, possible TNA, Latex, legumes?
(PA diagnosed & ana reaction 1999)
Member here since 2000
PS -- Edited to add, I'm certainly not advocating the loss of individuality and helping a child find his or her own way.
[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 12, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2007 - 1:07am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Well, since I'm the only one that seems to have actually done it - not had food celebrations (sorry, wrong wording - editing - they had food celebrations, but they were safe for my guy) in the classroom, I'm going to have to sit back to-day and figure out how I got there. KWIM? Without harming my child's psyche. It just didn't happen. It was against his written school plan and I think that the years that it really worked, JK, SK and Grade One (although still continued with it in Grades 2, 3 and 4), it was because the teachers were young and they were scared something would happen to my guy. So, they would rather turn away the Mom with the plate of cupcakes then risk having to use that Epi. Does that make sense? I just know that it DID work for me and it did not harm my child's psyche and he was not left out - but now I have to think about how we actually got to that point - what I did do in those early grades (even though your one son is going into Grade 3) to get it to be a do-able thing.
I can honestly say that also during the time that it did really work for us (again, JK, SK, and Grade 1), I never felt any personal repercussions (I did have a Fun Fair person say some nasty words to me on the phone) even for myself, the adult.
And I'm not going to say that this happened because I'm Canadian.
But why did it happen?
Let me think about it.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.
[This message has been edited by Alternative to Mainstream (edited August 12, 2007).]


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