Letter still not sent home regarding allergies!

Posted on: Sat, 09/08/2007 - 9:42pm
janbiv2's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Okay, it's only 3 days into school, but that's 3 days my 1st grader is in a classroom where parents do not even know there is a child with a severe allergy.

The situation right now:

1. Teacher sent home a letter stating there will be no sharing of treats for birthdays, they will do fun activities instead.WOW! GREAT! However, she did not mention at all there being a child with severe allergies in the classroom, nor any restrictions on snacks brought into the classroom.

2. Nurse says she gave teacher letter to "fill in the blanks" which list the allergens, and she's "sure the teacher will get around to it soon." HUH?

3. All seem to be in agreement (nurse, teacher, principal) that making the classroom nut free for ONE student is not feasible.

Okay, so I am starting the 504 process Monday morning, but in the meantime I would really like to stress to the principal that Justin's class needs to be designated a nut-free zone, that parents are not to send in any nut/peanut/sesame products for snacks (which they eat in the classroom), and if a child does bring in an offending allergen, it will be replaced with a "safe" snack, that I am willing to provide.

My question is, I have already spoken with the principal on the phone, and nothing has changed.

Should I set up a meeting face to face or should I put my concerns and suggestions in a letter? I often like letters because a. they are evidence of my concerns and if something should happen I have proof that the school was aware of the situation.
b. Letters are often taken more seriously because the school will also realize there is now a paper trail, they were made aware of my concerns and it could look bad if something goes wrong.

I haven't formulated the letter yet, but I am thinking to include of course my son's allergies, the seriousness of the allergies, including his being contact sensitive, the dangers of his reacting to peanut residue being left behind from other children's hands in the classroom, the fact that MANY school districts in my area are successfully implementing nut-free classrooms, INCLUDING schools within OUR OWN district.

Also, should I mention that I am seeking a 504, which I plan now to do regardless of whether they make his room nut-free tomorrow, next week, or never?

I am very concerned because lately Justin has been having reactions, and we're not even sure what he is reacting to. None have been life threatening, but we have been needing to use the benedryl more and more often.

Advice?

Thanks so much,

Janis

Posted on: Sat, 09/08/2007 - 10:20pm
janbiv2's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Okay, here is a first draft of my letter to the principal. Please tell me what you think, make any suggestions or changes you feel should be made.
Thank you!
Dear Mr. (Principal),
I am writing to you to express my concerns over the safety of my son

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2007 - 1:40am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I can see your quandary. You clearly have to do something.... but now they'll have a PERFECT idea of why you want a 504 plan... and be even more afraid of what [i]else[/i] you're going to want with one in place. Your letter gives them a TON of information that I think I would really save for the 504 process.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
I'd say as little as possible until you make a formal request for evaluation. YOu might need to do that simultaneously, but with a second letter.
Maybe just saying that there NEEDS to be a letter sent home IMMEDIATELY making it clear that these items pose a very serious risk to one of their children's classmates. You can certainly raise the issue of increasing frequency of reactions as a cause for concern. But asking for a nut-free designation, IMO, will probably place your 504 designation in jeopardy at this point.
I would tread VERY lightly with administration until you have it. It sounds as though your administration has no intention of gracefully acquiescing on the point-- no sense tipping your hand NOW.
If the situation seriously deteriorates, you [i]can[/i] remove your child until the 504 is in place, but you'll likely need your allergist's backing to do it.

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2007 - 2:53am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Just off the top of my head, in a really gut reaction way, I would ask you more about your sons mystery reactions right now.
If you think about why you want the 504, combined with the fact that your child is having mysterious reactions, how best can you state the need to make the room nut free to the principal? It is about the safety for your child. Nuts in a classroom = unsafe classroom for your son. How best can your actions support what you are saying to the principal, how best can your actions support your stance relative to what you are asking of the school?
Think too, if you have asked for the room to be nut free, and your child is having mysterious reactions since it isn't so far... could that be support for the NEED your child would have?
That supports the NEED for the ACCOMMODATION of a NUT-FREE classroom, so that it is ACCESSIBLE to your son. RIGHT?
What I would say is that if you are intending to go for a 504, I'd question your sending your son into the class without the nut-free designation..... or, at the very least, keeping him home on days food is to be in the class and not send him back until a thorough cleaning was done of the entire room while nut products are still allowed.
I'd also document, with letters of understanding, each and every mystery reaction your child comes home with from school.
If you state that a classroom that isn't nut free is not safe for your son, make sure that your actions, even without a 504, correlate with what you are saying. If you are doing one thing now which is inconsistent with your stance, that could be used against you when you go to get a 504.
Also, make sure that you have obtained an iron-clad allergist letter. There are examples here on the boards. I'm sure someone could raise or connect to a thread with one. There is specific language that needs to be used.
OH, and why wait for the teacher to pass out the info? If they are unwilling to pass out a sheet, or designate the room, right now, why not make one up yourself to give to the parents in your childs classroom? Make a request from one parent to another .... we pass out a "Face Sheet". It has the picture of our son, his allergy, what other parents can do to help our son stay alive, and signs & symptoms of an allergic reaction. We include our contact number and let it be known we are available for questions, concerns or suggestions for safe alternatives. This is actually done on our own because it would violate the privacy rights that our son has through his 504 -- which the district is strict on following this year now that they are involved with us.
Remember, there are things you can do, aside and apart from having the 504, which are proactive and helpful to making school safer for your child. It isn't a cure all though. The 504 is incredibly important to get. But in the meantime, your actions right now, how you handle things, what you say, what you do, are all part of what combines to support your case when you do go for the 504 -- in addition to helping keep your child safe.
Now I have to go see if I can get the coffee to move through my veins a bit quicker......

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2007 - 3:59am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I think you got some great advice above. I just wanted to add that our *allergy Letter* hasn't gone out either, we're starting week 3 tomorrow). But it hasn't been an issue with me because they have followed through with the other 504 accommodations so parents are aware, already what snacks and such are allowed. They put the info in the grade-level handbook, a list of snack items that are allowed and to please not send in foods containing peanuts, tree nuts and seeds. I guess they've asked the parents to abide by the accommodation without giving the explanation yet...but's it coming. If your son is havign reactions, document them, all!!! I keep a word document of every welt, hive, asthma attack that happens at school, and if needed, I provide proof to the school that they are happening. I even shared it with the allergist when I asked for letters of support. Gail has some great adivce, so I won't add more....I hope you can get this handled asap and get yoru 504 ball rolling as well. HUGS
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, all seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut, green beans/all beans, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (peanut, tree nuts, milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig, hamster, grass, mold, dust mite and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk, beef and egg, dog(avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, seeds, legumes and corn)

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2007 - 11:10pm
janbiv2's picture
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Joined: 02/12/2004 - 09:00

Thank you everyone for your input. I am short on time right now, but just wanted to mention a couple of things. I will be back later to give more detail.
Justin's reactions, THANKFULLY, have not been occurring at school, at least not yet. He has been breaking out in hives all summer and just the other day his hands broke out in hives. This has all happened while with me. We have not been able to figure out what is causing this.
Despite my principal being hard headed about this situation for some reason, my school district is not. I know several parents in my district who have nut free classrooms and even aides for their children on the school buses and at lunchtime!
In fact, their is a group called PAK (Protect Allergic Kids) in my community, and the parent's child is in my school district. They are having a meeting in two weeks, which will include the 504 coordinator of my district who will be speaking about, of all things, getting a 504 for food allergies!!!
So, I honestly am not expecting a lot of opposition on this. My district is clearly implementing 504s for food allergies and taking it seriously.
I just think our principal, while a very friendly, well-meaning individual, is just uneducated on this subject. I also feel that he will turn around quickly if push comes to shove and my sense is I won't have too push hard.
Of course, I could be wrong, but that is what my gut is telling me right now.
Anyway, just wondering if that changes any opinions?
Thanks again!
Janis

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2007 - 1:16pm
MDGCPA's picture
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Joined: 02/03/2007 - 09:00

Hi Janis,
I live in Port Jeff. Suspect you are very close by...the PAK meetings are at Sachem Library right??
If want to chat, feel free to email me at [email]MDGCPAad93@aol.com[/email].
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Marcy
DS - 9 P/TNA
DD - 13 Bee sting

Peanut Free Store

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