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Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 8:25am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b] (remember, this is only a wish list) [/b]
Nope. I only wish.
But wouldn't that be awesome to have to show your school?

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 9:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Had to go and rest for awhile and think.
The "all inclusive" Fun Fair at my son's first school. Would the WHOLE school community have had to "bend over backwards" if there was not some legal basis for them to do so and the principal recognized that?
It's not like she was an easy woman to get along with. It's not like she did it out of the goodness of her heart.
But I told her, very clearly, that my expectation of my son's school experience was that he would/should be included in ANY and ALL school events, including those before and after school.
Thus, the Fun Fair.
Thus, the two breakfast programs in other schools.
If it's a human rights' thing (again, my English [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/redface.gif[/img] ), then is it not a legal thing as well?
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 10:13am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]If it's a human rights' thing (again, my English ), then is it not a legal thing as well?[/b]
Worth repeating. Again.
Also worth mentioning. In addition to that nice day when I showed up and the teacher had no idea what my son had eaten of all the food that was completely not allowed by his 504........ a safe goodie for my son.
See, nice woman that she was, who didn't call me when the teacher asked, not that that should have been the way it worked... anyway, nice woman *dripping with sarcasm*, brought my son, and the other child who was allergic to chocolate, a little plastic toy. Know why? Cause she was passing out, as an added little bonus gift, bags of chocolate coins with a "contains nuts" warning.
All of the kids had them, in fact my eyes probably got the size of saucers when I walked in the door as one little girl dropped the entire contents of her little bag on the floor in front of me.
Point is. The woman who has come before me at this school, whose son is PA, has also done a safe treat box. Provides a safe snack list. Volunteers and makes and bakes until her eyeballs budge. Forget about the fact that nobody knew what epinephrine was before we got there, she really accommodated everyone. And her stance has really screwed us. BIG TIME.
Aren't you going to give us a safe snack box like "X"?
Well "X" had a safe snack box and it worked fine. He got that while "whatever" was passed out.
"X" wrote up this safe snack list.... that isn't okay to give to your son? "X" ate it last year and was okay.
And again, I could go on... having heard it for 3 years now... and had to fight it....
It is true many of you are having a great time with your school. You have great teachers.... great principals.... a snack box just lets them be safe... have something while the other kids do.
But, if you allow for a safe exception, sometimes people will bring that along with the not so safe alternative for the other kids. "Huh? It's okay... see.... I brought them a toy while the other kids eat something that could kill your child. What's the problem? I thought of them -- it is safe. Isn't that good enough?"
If you allow for safe exceptions, create lists, let them out of what is their duty, legally, ethically and morally, you are setting precedent that can end up screwing the next person.... and even yourself if you end up with a not-so-great teacher next year..... or your principal retires.... or district personnel changes.......

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 10:38am
lakeswimr's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

I'm not sure how having a safe treat box will have a neg impact on anyone else. Our son's class is going to be free of all his allergens. All eating will be in the cafeteria. People will be free to send in whatever they like for snack and lunch. Bday snacks are supposed to be free of DS's allergens but he is only going to eat food from home because i'm not going to turn over responsibility to check snacks to anyone else. I don't see this as a problem for anyone following me. I think I paved the way and that people before me paved it, too. Plus I got super lucky having a great school.
I think it is a shame your plan wasn't followed.

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 11:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Oh, Mother X, there's one at my son's school. Her son was okay with the BENCH. Her son was okay with whatever happened. The one thing this Mother X did was train the staff on the Epi-Pen.
I do provide a Safe Snack and Lunch List to make things easier for non-PA parents.
However, as I re-read in one of my old threads the other night, I remember when my daughter brought home the Safe Snack and Lunch List another PA parent had given the school (the school I had problems with immensely) and what I saw on that list made my head explode (perhaps my brain has not recovered [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] ).
Now, as I have told you in this thread, I am ASHAMED of myself and ASHAMED of what my son might be thinking of me for not doing the *right* thing - not making that Fun Fair "safe" at his school; especially when I had done it before. Because he is older, what am I expecting? That he'll be okay going to the Fun Fair and not eating certain things? You know what? I'm not thinking anymore. I am truly a wimp.
Because I KNOW it CAN be done! It HAS been done.
So, for me, this thread has taken a more personal tone - what the heck happened to me and what I believe in and what I believe in for my son? Well, I know what happened, but that doesn't need repeating here.
What's even more a kick in the a$$ about it is that I won't be moving again until he finishes this particular school, so it would have been SO easy to start right from the beginning and if I had, we would be attending a "safe" Fun Fair this Fall.
I've tried the thing where you join Parent Council (or whatever it's called) and that didn't work for me, personally, but I know that it did help some other parents here.
I guess that's why I feel so much need to post to you, gvmom, because I sense that you may have that passion; in fact, I know you've got it. I so much want to see you use it. I know it's use-able. I know it's all do-able. It's something that makes you proud and I believe makes your children proud of you (like that thing that happened with my daughter a month ago, now removed from the board, but how I just grabbed my keys and ran and she was like wow, aren't you scared Mommy?).
Even should things happen in life where that passion withers and dies and you end up like me (which isn't as bad as some on here would like to believe [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] ), at least you know that you did do it once.
Also, I believe, and please correct me, but if you're able to do this this year, with the 504 (legal), that should last your children 'til middle school?
Not saying that you don't have to stay on top of things. Not that things will be consistent through the years or that the Cupcake Queens will die, but.....
I have so much hope for you because I know what that passion feels like and I think you would get it done a lot more eloquently than I would have even.
Run with it gvmom. You've got it sorted in your head (your position) and hopefully it gets sorted in the 504's.
My ? would have to be - but perhaps it's rude - why aren't people so passionate about this? At any time in their children's schooling? I mean, I know why I'm not now, but why not ever? Is it about what battles to choose, etc.? Why? An entirely separate ? that I may raise.
gvmom - go with your passion. It will empower you and your children (even if it sometimes feels like it's going to kill you). Go with what you know to be *right* and what, in fact, is *legally* correct.
(one day, since sometimes in this thread I feel like it's only you and I on the same page, maybe we'll get together and burn our bras together or something terribly rad like that [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] )
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
There but for the Grace of God, go I.

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 1:45pm
lilpig99's picture
Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

In the Mystic Valley case, the parents sought a peanut and tree nut free classroom. Also, the allergic child was separated from his peers within his own class (set to happen to my own child, read all about it in another thread).
Just imagine inserting 'Food free classroom' instead of merely 'peanut/free classroom'...think you could argue for one, based on the hearing officers statements within this case?:
[i]The position expressed by Mystic Valley's administrators is legally flawed in many respects. First in reaching their determination as to whether the accomodation requested by Parents is or is not reasonable, they weigh the inconvenience of a total ban on other students.....The impact of a modification on the rights of other students is in regard to [b]education[/b] and how the modification would effect their education. Nothing under the facts of the case at bar shows that the educational program of other students would be affected by banning peanut/treenut products from the classroom.
Mystic Valley's arguement in favor of protecting the rights of students to bring peanut butter snacks and lunches into the classroom over providing a safe environment for this seven year old Student, is mistaken. It considers the inconvenience to individual parents/students over the needs of the handicapped individual[/i]
There is alot more good stuff in that ruling as you know....just wanted to share.

Posted on: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 7:25pm
mommyofmatt's picture
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

I've been reading along, and seriously thinking about food free celebrations and where I stand.
Birthday celebrations without food is definitely doable. My ds' preschool did it for 2 years. There are public schools in my town that do it (just not the ones we're districted for [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] and my request to change schools within town was denied).
I agree gvmom, that if you strip this argument down to the essentials: if your 504 states that classroom has to be free of certain allergens, and then treats are allowed in the classroom that contain these items, then sending in a safe treat box is in effect giving them permission to violate your 504.
I also agree that it's very difficult to not send in a safe treat box, knowing that will probably mean your child will be left eating nothing while the others all chow down on something that looks delicious [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] And what kind of message does that send to your child if his teacher and classmates are still willing to indulge in these treats while he eats nothing? The safe treat at least, I think, provides some cushion or softness to the exclusion.
While the safe treat box in effect sounds like it goes against your 504, the lack of it could make an isolating situation for your child that much worse. There is no easy answer.
From some of your posts in this thread, it sounds like you have a plan to address this situation if they do eat the treats in class. I'm not sure you want to elaborate on that plan...so I'm not asking you to. But I think it's important that you have one, and you've played out the various scenarios in your head. If they do x, then you do y.
And I admire your commitment to see this through gvmom and I thank you for raising this topic as it has been swirling in my head for quite some time.
Currently, we don't have a 504, and I'm not saying that's a good thing. at. all.
Looking at this from another MFA perspective if you'll indulge me....since kids are in school all day, of course they need to eat. [b]LUNCH[/b] and [b]SNACKS[/b]. And when they're eating lunch and snacks, presumably, they're not ALL eating the same thing. My ds' classroom is designated peanut free, and all indications are that that will be honored, based on past history with same teacher.
They do [b]NOT NEED[/b] to eat cupcakes or other delectable treats every time they turn around. They may want to when those treats come in the door, but they don't need to, and there's a big difference. And, when X number of kids are all eating the same yummy, most likely messy thing that my ds is allergic to (anything with milk, eggs, or nuts), his physical safety becomes more jeopardized, as well as his emotional well being.
ETA: I'm wondering though if anyone who is has PA only would be bothered by a no food birthday celebration if a nut free celebration were guaranteed. I will start a new thread and ask that question so as not to derail this one.
If these treats were consumed outside his classroom, I may feel somewhat differently. But in our case, they eat in the classroom.
I've been waiting all summer for this private school where the principal and vice principal truly have their hearts in the right place to finalize their allergy policy. Guess what? They can't do it [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] I imagine the cupcake queens are out in full force.
I've printed out all the links in this thread that could help with this argument and I will search for more when I can, and hopefully find more to post.
Now it's time for me to find the backbone to fight the cupcake queens. This thread will hopefully help. Meg
[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited August 22, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited August 22, 2007).]

Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 12:50am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

My dd's school has a similar tradition (although, unfortunately, not in lieu of a party treat). The birthday child donates a book to the school library, and the school librarian puts a photo of the child holding their book on a huge bulletin board in the library. It is also announced in our weekly newsletter. No one wants to be left out, so this has been very successful over the years.

Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 1:04am
ajas_folks's picture
Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by ceross:
[b] This happened with my DD last year. Her kindergarten teacher gave each student a candy cane and told them not to eat them until they got home. According to DD, the teacher read the label and said there were no nuts in them (she's also egg allergic, though). Thankfully, DD did not eat it but I had to be the bad guy and take it away when she got home. When I emailed the teacher about it, she said she didn't want DD to be left out. We'd noted on DD's allergy plan that she's not to be fed anything not provided by us.
Cupcakes arriving at school unannounced are pretty common. That's why I leave a box of safe snacks at school (mini Oreos, etc.) for DD so that she can at least have some treat. I guess I don't look at this as an inclusion issue with her. I mean she already has different treats when she goes to parties, so this is just part of her life.
Is it fair? Of course not. But it's hardly fair that she has these allergies to begin with but it's not something she can change.
As for feeling excluded because she's different from her peers, there are so many means that kids can find to exclude other children: you don't wear the right clothes, you're fat, you wear glasses, etc. Exclusion is a lesson she'll learn anyway even though she's sunny, sweet, and young. For me, it's more productive to teach her how to handle that gracefully and that it's is not reflective of her value as a person. Also, I should model the behavior of grace for her if I expect her to learn it and that entails being gracious about these issues in the classroom. I'm not saying be a doormat but you don't need to go to the mattresses to make a point and thereby exclude and single-out your child even more.
Our school has nut-free classrooms for those students with allergies. Some items that are may contains did make their way into the classroom during the holiday parties (strangely despite the class mom having kids with severe food allergies) but those posed less of a risk to DD. Birthday cupcakes were handed out during snack, which was held in the cafeteria.
We also have a very simple rule for DD (who is 6): You don't eat anything not provided or checked by mommy/daddy. So forcing parents to bring in a celebratory snack free of all her allergens that she wouldn't be allowed to eat anyway wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be fair to the other 24 kids in her class who do not have allergies. My daughter is one person and the world does not revolve around her even despite her allergies. Certainly, safeguards should be in place and if those are violated, I'll deal with them but asking for protections that would serve no purpose would only serve to make other families resent us.
[This message has been edited by ceross (edited August 17, 2007).][/b]
Quote:Originally posted by ceross:
[b] Please go back and reread my post. You have quoted me out of context. I said that in our situation asking the entire class to bring in safe treats would be moot because we would [b]never[\b] allow DD to eat them. That's our rule for her at her current age and I don't foresee that changing for a number of years. My only request is that the treat not include nuts, but if it includes eggs that's not a big deal because she's not going to eat it.
Please don't quote me out of context to make some point that had nothing to do with what I posted. Of course, we all have the same goal and that's to keep our children safe. I don't disagree with that. I'm also not going to say that you can't take your approach but I do think it might make accommodating children with MFAs less palatable to the parents of non-allergic children and could possibly exclude your child further (every child in his/her class is going to know that they can't have treats that other classes have because of your child).
I am fortunate to be in a school system, that while not perfect, does a lot of good things as standard practice. There are no peanut-free tables so there's no exclusion there: Children with allergies are seated with their class at one end of the table buffered from the kids who bring lunch by kids who get hot lunch (which has no peanut products). No nut products are served in the cafeteria. For birthday celebrations, parents can order Scribblers popsicles instead of bringing in cupcakes, but this is optional. Cupcakes (at least for kindergartners) were doled out at snack, which was served in the cafeteria. Signs are prominently displayed on each classroom with a peanut-allergic child to indicate that no nuts are allowed in the class. DD's teacher contacted me ahead of time about a lesson involving food (the were learning about the senses and sour, sweet, etc.) to let me know what they were using and I sent in safe items for DD. Also, DD's teacher last year allowed her to have her Epi in her backpack (in addition to the one in the office) so that one would be closer to the class and so that DD would have it for the bus to day care; this was allowed despite the fact that legally DD cannot carry it because her allergist has not signed off on her to self-administer. When we did have an issue both the teacher and principal were very responsive.
There were still hiccups (the candy cane) and instances of not always being informed about b-day celebrations beforehand (but that was often because parents just showed up with cupcakes without informing the teacher beforehand). However, the school year went well and I expect next year to be good as well. As I said, we're lucky. To me it's about balance. I'm more likely to drive hard on an issue like the teacher giving DD a candy cane than about birthday celebrations.
[This message has been edited by ceross (edited August 19, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by ceross (edited August 19, 2007).]
[This message has been edited by ceross (edited August 19, 2007).][/b]
Keeping your posts (as they currently appear) there in full, but only addressing that you felt I took part of your original post out of context.
First of all, it was not my intention to "quote out of context" but to simply respond briefly to a specific part of your post which I interpreted to be a generalized comment, given my perceived tone of the entire post.
Additionally, with the "original" version of your follow-up post to mine (as I read it in its form on August 19th, but did not have time to respond), your reference to our method of "NO safe treat box" as being a [b] [i] Draconian approach [/i] [/b] led me to again perceive an intended "tone".
If I have horribly misinterpreted or misunderstood, I apologize.

Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 1:14am
ajas_folks's picture
Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

First you cry. Then you get angry. Then you take calm, appropriate action. Repeat after me.
[This message has been edited by ajas_folks (edited August 23, 2007).]


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