identifying kids with food allergies at school

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2004 - 1:54pm
mommymc's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2004 - 09:00

I had a meeting with my son's school nurse today and something came up that I just don't understand. She asked for my permission to let the cafeteria staff know he had a peanut allergy, and I thought "well, of course!" But she mentioned that some of the parents don't want that -- they don't want anyone to know. I am truly perplexed by this. Are there parents who are feeling ashamed or something? Is there some reason I'm just not thinking of? Does anyone on this board prefer to keep their child's allergy as under wraps as possible? I'm just curious why some parents might want to keep it secret, even from the cafeteria staff. I feel like I would rather have everyone know.

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2004 - 2:12pm
me56's picture
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Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

With my older son we were hoping to let him lead a fairly normal life. WE were more concerned about apples and dairy product. His peanut allergy was one of his least reactive issues. If the pines,oaks and grass didn't kill him we figured he would be fine. A few weeks into kindergarden he discovered he could have the forbidden milk at snack. LOts of meds for the next few days while I played detective. on day three he came home smelling like rancid milk. I asked him if he had milk. Oh yea, he replied happily. Soon we discovered his seasonal allergies were unhidable. Hard to hide wheasing and hacking for weeks on end. He is now 11. EArly on his classmates were understanding about his inhailer and trouble breathing. 5th grade was a big change. kids teased him and made him uncomfortable, called him weak and sick. THese are the years we as parents remeber about school and hope to protect our children from.
We will see how middle school goes. AS much as we hope to teach children kindness middleschoolers are harder to control their words.
Good luck
Good news he has outgrown many of his minor trigers and according to test a few majors!!!!

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2004 - 3:47pm
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

This year my dd is in 4th grade and it is the first year we have sent out an "annonymous" letter to the parents, mentioning that there is a child in class with severe peanut and tree nut allergies, yada, yada, yada.
I can't totally put my finger on why I made it annonymous this year. In past years I have always mentioned her by name and included my phone number and email in case anyone had any questions.
I guess maybe I trust her more, now, to make decisions and I do not feel as dependent on the cooperation of others.
Also, I don't want her to feel picked on or singled out. Maybe it could minimize the chance of teasing, (or worse!) regarding her allergies.
Of course everyone probably knows who it is anyway, since this is her 3rd year at the school.
For a younger child, though, I think it is really important to have everyone possible on board and looking out for the welfare of an allergic child.
Take care,
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2004 - 4:07pm
smartalyk's picture
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Joined: 07/20/2004 - 09:00

My son is well known at his school and I am comfortable with that. There are posters with his picture on the doors to let students know of his life threatening allergy and to immediately get an adult is he is having trouble speaking, breathing, etc. He is in second grade and so far he thinks it is cool to be a celebrity. I imagine that when he is older, he will be given the choice on whether all the other students need to know of his allergies. But absolutely all of the staff that has any contact with him (including cafeteria staff if we had) will know his allergies, the signs of a reaction, and how to administer an Epi-Pen. That is essential!

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/2004 - 11:38pm
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Mommymc,
This has been an issue at my son's school as well. While I don't think it is necessary for the parents and students to be able to identify the child involved, it is [b]crucial[/b] that the staff all be aware, especially the cafeteria staff.
Our school nurse despairs of the parents who try to hide their children's issues. Many of the parents do it for cultural reasons (like being afraid their children won't be able to "make a good match" if people find out), others just don't recognize the severity of the situation, or how difficult it is to care for 500+ children when you don't have the necessary info. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Amy

Posted on: Sat, 09/04/2004 - 3:19am
mcmom's picture
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Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

This actually just came up at my meeting with the nurses and principal at my son's school. I wanted to make sure that all of his specials teachers (art, gym, music) knew about his allergy. They mentioned that there was some kind of confidentiality issue, but that since we obviously *want* everyone to know, that of course they will tell everyone. Maybe legally they are not allowed to disclose health information about a student without permission? As weird as this seems to us dealing with FA, there are other kids out there with other health issues, like God forbid, HIV, where I could understand that parents might want the child's privacy protected.

Posted on: Sat, 09/04/2004 - 7:35am
mommymc's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2004 - 09:00

Thanks, everyone, for responding. My son is still pretty young (second grade). I can see how it might be different with older kids, and I may very well feel differently in a few years. Or HE might feel differently, and I'd have to accept that. I don't think I'd ever compromise in terms of not informing the cafeteria staff, though. To me, that's just way too important.

Posted on: Sat, 09/04/2004 - 10:27pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I feel it is imperative that the school staff be very aware of children having food allergies. This includes secretaries, reg. teacher, of course, all special-area teachers, lunchroom aides, recess teachers/monitors, bus drivers, and custodians.
I do not think it is important for students and other parents to know. Believe me, they will find out anyway as the year goes on. It is not that we are being secretive, it's just that the kids will know as the year progresses, thus their parents will know too.

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