If you are a teacher.

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2004 - 5:17am
MommaBear's picture
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What are your thoughts on Life Threatening Food Allergies in schools?

On students carrying epi-pens?

Emergency Plans?

Epi-Pen Training?

"Bans"?

"Peanut Free Tables?

Full Time School Nurses?

Part Time School Nurses?

Personal Aids for FA children?

Bussing?

504 Plans?

IHP's?

Food in the Classroom?

"Hot Lunch"?

Field Trips?

Continuing Education on LTFA or other healthcare needs?

If I think of anything else I will add it in another post.

Please post what grade level you teach.

Others, please feel free to post your questions as well.

Forgive the questions, just wanting to know [b]real[/b] feelings from "an insider" point of view. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2004 - 2:16pm
KarenH's picture
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Can Educational Assistants respond? I feel that I get to have an unbiased view of the teachers, and the parents too-since I am one.
And oh heck, since I won't be back in the next few days (I'm going out for dinner tomorrow and Thursday is my birthday so I'll be busy) I'm going to respond anyhow, the best that I can.
[This message has been edited by KarenH (edited March 24, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2004 - 2:54pm
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What are your thoughts on Life Threatening Food Allergies in schools?
A. I personally believe that each child has their own needs, and that kids with Life Threatening Food Allergies have the right to attend school and be safe, just like everyone else. Schools are a community, and what a better way to teach community then to have everyone look out for each other.
Peanut Free Tables?
A. It would depend on the parent's comfort zone. If it were my child, I would find this totally isolating. If it were ME in the staff room, it would be horrible. I cannot imagine having to sit by myself and watch all my friends eat and chat because someone has peanuts. As a parent (and an EA) I'd be more in favor of a ban instead of pnut free tables. It's not like the kids are going to suffer if they can't have pbutter at school, they can eat it at home.
Full Time School Nurses?
Part Time School Nurses?
A. We don't have one, I've never seen one, it would be nice but I don't know how common they are in Canada.
Personal Aids for FA children?
A. Hmm. Tricky. I have never, ever heard of a food allergic child in any district I've been in having a personal aid. Ever. I'd be interested in why parents feel their children need a personal aide. My son is severely learning disabled and doesn't get an aide....I know that he's not going to die from it, but our role in my district is more of an educational one then a health one. (unless of course the child has seizures-and that's more like nursing)Maybe in kindergarten I can see, but I think as the child gets older they will have to learn to manage their allergy on their own, and having an aide babysit them really isn't going to accomplish that. As a parent I wouldn't want my child to become aide dependant either.
On students carrying epi-pens?
A. Personally, as a first aid attendant, I would prefer that they wear one. It seems too risky to have it locked away because by the time they call me, I get away from my student, find the child, assess what's wrong and GET the epi, it's too late (in my opinion)
Emergency Plans?
Every district is different. In MY school though I've been pretty disappointed with how lax the plans are. There was vital information hidden away in a binder that the first aid people did NOT know about at all until recently. I could not believe that the parents were trusting the school with their kids, and here we didn't even know some very vital info!
Epi-Pen Training?
A. I think it's a fantastic idea, but MUST co-inside with a seamless emergency plan. I don't think that you can have one without the other.
Bans"?
A. Ooo. Tricky. We have two pn free classrooms in the school. So far no reactions. However, the school itself is not pn free, and we keep an eye out for risks and let the two kids know immediately (and people let ME know). I think that it depends on the parent's comfort zone, and how old the child is. My students are older and their parents have a wide comfort zone. If the child was in the primary grades, I'd be all for a ban considering how easy it is to spread pb around with littler kids and there is such a high risk of a problem. It would have to be backed up by the administration-it's an all or nothing thing, you either go through with it, enforce it, and deal with the fall out from the disgruntled people with out folding, or you just don't do it. Some administrators are simply not willing to "offend" anyone. And if that's the case, it won't work.
Bussing?
In my opinion, FA children should carry their epis on the bus and the bus drivers should be trained, or an aide should ride on the bus. If there were a child who seizured, the protoccol would be to have an aide on the bus. I don't see the difference.
504 Plans?
IHP's?
I'm in Canada [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]No 504's here, and what's an IHP? Individual Health Plan?
Food in the Classroom?
It depends on the teacher. I haven't found too many teachers, in my experience, that use that much food. There is always some during the holidays, and sometimes on birthdays. But I've rarely seen it used as a reward. Many teachers that I know try hard to stay away from food as a reward and instead use stickers, pencils, etc. I don't think that it's needed to teach with, really.
"Hot Lunch"?
My school's hot lunches are not bad. For a food allergic child, I don't see anything wrong with changing things so that they can participate in it, and if not, at least be safe. We have hot lunch only once a week, there is no cafeterias in our schools.
Field Trips?
By all means, I think the teacher should be aware and plan only trips that the FA child could go on. One wouldn't plan a field trip somewhere that a child in a wheel chair could not attend, people would scream discrimination. (and I sincerely think that the school should provide a trained aide for the trip should the parents not be able to attend)
Continuing Education on LTFA or other healthcare needs?
For the school? I think it would be great. So many people think that it's "not important", or it's not really that serious. I'm not sure how the teachers would feel though. I hear many already complaining all the time that they never have time to teach, they are so piled up with other concerns. One would really have to work to get all the staff on board.
You must also note though that I may be a real insider, but then I'm PA as well. *I* am the person constantly reminding the staff about FA, since I also have them. I'm the one who immediately runs and warns the kids when the idiot teacher cooks a ground nut stew in the staff room. The rest of the staff are like, "what are you so excited about? " IMO, they are WAAAAAY too lax about the whole thing. I sincerely believe that if I wasn't around, in their face, constantly reminding people about PA, that far less precautions would be taken.

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/2004 - 7:16pm
MommaBear's picture
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Thank you for your response, Karen.
(Didn't know how many different people to address the question to, hoping people will "jump in" as they see fit) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/2004 - 12:17am
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

"Personal Aids for FA children?
A. Hmm. Tricky. I have never, ever heard of a food allergic child in any district I've been in having a personal aid. Ever. I'd be interested in why parents feel their children need a personal aide. My son is severely learning disabled and doesn't get an aide....I know that he's not going to die from it, but our role in my district is more of an educational one then a health one. (unless of course the child has seizures-and that's more like nursing)Maybe in kindergarten I can see, but I think as the child gets older they will have to learn to manage their allergy on their own, and having an aide babysit them really isn't going to accomplish that. As a parent I wouldn't want my child to become aide dependant either."
KarenH, Im not a teacher but my son does have an aide. I did not request this, it was suggested by the nurse and the 504 committee had already figured he would get one before she suggested it. Why you ask? Well he is the first student the district has had with PA. He will be 6 (On Thursday!) and he just started school. His aide carries his medicine bag, goes with him to all his classes, lunch, etc. When he goes into a new room she washes down his table. She is in charge of handwashing for all the students. She also checks ingredients on the rest of the classes snacks and their lunches to see who he can sit with.
To have him start school and be responsible for keeping himself safe at 6, and just getting used to being there, I believe is too much. This way we dont have to worry about if the teacher remembers or has time to wash tables or check ingred. The lunchroom monitors dont have time to watch him for signs of a reaction or make sure no one goes near him with p.b. I dont think he will become "aide dependent" as its not really publicized to anyone in the class that she is there for him. She works with the rest of the class just like other aides, etc.
I dont think this is unreasonable, especially in a school that still serves p.b. in the cafeteria/gym. In fact I read an article one time about a school that hired 5 nursing assistants, one for each ltfa student.

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/2004 - 9:13am
KarenH's picture
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Ya, okay Momma2boys, I can see your point. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I agree that at six years old it's a bit much to expect the child to take care of themselves like that, and YES-Kindergarten is pretty chaotic. Totally agree. Sure-then I'd be all for an aide. These things are so dependant on the situation, the child, the parent's comfort zones. If I were you however, I'd watch closely....often aides are pulled away to do a lot of things with other students while schools try to "share the wealth" (know what I mean?) While we all are expected to help out with the whole class, sometimes staff get carried away and begin to have the aide away from their primary student a lot more then they should. Just keep an eye out.
I'm a bit disillusioned with my school, and schools in general. I'm so fed up with one or two people being the "brick wall" and making the job harder for everyone else. It usually is a teacher/administrator/etc who feel that their way is the only way, they know everything, and refuse to learn something new or change. I am in a situation right now where the parent, speech and language, teacher, and another district person think a certain activity would be great for my student. The Learning Assistance Teacher disagrees and refuses to give the permission for me to do the activity with my student. She won't give a reason why, she just won't. In fact, I was told the other day, "I am really set in my ways, I like things done my way. You'd better get used to it." She doesn't care what the IEP is, what the other professionals say, she wants things done HER way.
When they feel that way, you have an uphill battle on your hands-other school staff included. (it's not just parents that fight with those teachers)
[This message has been edited by KarenH (edited March 24, 2004).]

Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2004 - 12:29am
MommaBear's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by momma2boys:
[b] In fact I read an article one time about a school that hired 5 nursing assistants, one for each ltfa student.
[/b]
Did this school have a [b]Appropriately Prepared and Experienced, BSN, Certified School Nurse (RN)[/b] all day, each day, every day?
Just wondering since "lack of funds" seems to be a popular reason for not hiring an [b]Appropriately Prepared and Experienced, BSN, Certified School Nurse (RN).[/b] Is it a valid one? Well, that's another discussion. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I mean, is "lack of funds" an [i]excuse[/i]?
Not saying aides don't have their place [i]in addition to[/i] [b]Appropriately Prepared and Experienced, BSN, Certified School Nurse (RN)[/b] either. Just wondering.
Again, wrt my original questions: Just trying to get a glimpse at "reality". I feel it's cruicial to my child's survival at school. Would it also crucial in developing appropriate policy, procedure, protocol, SOP, and SoC and influential in determining what accomodations I may ask for? In addition to those I deem [i]absolutely unnegotiable.[/i]
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2004 - 4:05am
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Joined: 10/30/1999 - 09:00

I am also an Educational Assistant in a School to Community Room working with children with many different special needs.
What are your thoughts on Life Threatening Food Allergies in schools?
On students carrying epi-pens?YES, THEY SHOULD.
Emergency Plans?POSTED IN CLASSROOM, OFFICE, AND STAFF ROOM.
Epi-Pen Training?ALL STAFF PLUS SUPPLY SHOULD HAVE TRAINING.
"Bans"?HARD TO ENFORCE, AGREE WITH NUT/PEANUT FREE ZONES (CLASSROOM).
"Peanut Free Tables?NOT GOOD ENOUGH IN MY OPINION.
Full Time School Nurses?WE HAD THESE WHEN I WAS A KID BUT THAT WAS MANY BUDGET CUTS AGO!!
Part Time School Nurses?
Personal Aids for FA children?YOUNGER GRADES YES. OLDER GRADES THE CHILDREN DO NOT WANT TO BE MADE TO FEEL EVEN MORE DIFFERENT THAN THEIR PEERS.
Bussing?FRONT SEAT AND DRIVER AWARE AND TRAINED.
504 Plans?
IHP's?
Food in the Classroom?ONLY IF NUT/PEANUT FREE.
"Hot Lunch"?FROM PARENT APPROVED PLACES.
Field Trips?EXTRA EPI-PENS WITH TEACHER OR LEADER. TAKE OWN FOOD.
Continuing Education on LTFA or other healthcare needs?
------------------
Karalot

Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2004 - 3:01pm
NutlessMOM's picture
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Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

Okay, I am a substitute teacher and this is what I can tell you about our school. The school system is way too lax about the rules concerning any kind of allergy. There are only 3 PA allergy kids in the school, two of them being my own kids.
I am for a peanut free table. I have fought for one for 5 years. I got one this year. My child is allowed to pick a friend that brought a peanut free lunch to school. (Our school does not serve peanut products at school...anymore.
My children carry their Epi-pens in their backpacks. I had to get a letter from the doctor. They have them on every field trip. I go on every field trip because I seem to the only person concerned about my children having a reaction.
Busing...Totally against it. Both of my PA kids had reactions on the bus. The bus driver had to cut his route short both times to bring them home. He could not control the eating on the bus and the bus was never cleaned properly. Older children found out that my kids were PA and they would taunt them by telling them that they had Peanuts on their hands.
I was asked by the principle and the PART-TIME school nurse to come up with a peanut policy for the school. I was even REQUIRED to do the epi-pen training. Some teachers found this offensive that they needed to know how do use the Epi-pens.
I wish there was such a thing as "A BAN" but that is not reality. I understand those parents who's kids will eat only PB&J. I have a son that can eat all the peanut butter that he wants..but does he have it...NO. I am worn out and tired of fighting a school system that does not care. That is why I WORK at the school everyday. I do want peanut products or any kind of product that a child is allergic to..to be banned from the classroom and all common areas.
As for the FT aide for a child, I just do not see it-not at our school anyway. Only the severely disabled have one that helps them. I think having an aide for a totally healthy child (other than having allergies) would single that child out for harassment from other children. Children can be brutally cruel to one another. If your child has that help...that is GREAT but the older the child gets the more other children will pick up on the fact that your child is "special". At our school, our aides are often pulled from their REAL JOB to assist other people who may be short-handed.
These are just my opinions. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 03/25/2004 - 3:15pm
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This thread is so helpful. (Maybe it's just me.)
Thank you thank you thank you. To everone. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 03/26/2004 - 12:23pm
KarenH's picture
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Glad to help, MB [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
You run into problems of all kinds in schools. Today I was sitting in the staff room eating lunch. One of the staff, who knows I am pa, sits down directly beside me with guess what? PB TOAST. I got up and moved-FAST. I told her it was nothing against her, but I was not going to give myself a reaction sitting beside that toast. I sat on the other side of the table, and moved far back. The rest of the women at the table gave me a look like I'd lost my mind. The pb person said, "well I can sit across the room...." in a bit of a sarcastic tone and then the other women said, "no, we don't want to isolate YOU." I'm thinking..."ya, but you have no problem isolating ME, while I'm sitting way over here by myself?" They commented on how quickly I moved. I explained nicely that the last time I sat beside my son eating a pb sandwhich, I had a bad reaction that lasted most of the day...and today I didn't have any antihistimines with me. They didn't reply.
I was really really unimpressed. People that you think get it, when it directly affects them......you find out that they really don't. If these women were my friends and really cared, they wouldn't act like that, IMO.
So you can imagine that if school staff treat staff that they are FRIENDS with that way....what about the kids??

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