LOOKING FOR A GOOD LETTER TO SEND IT TO A CONGRESSMAN REGARDING PA AND SCHOOL SYSTEM

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2004 - 8:09am
sdelpino's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2004 - 09:00

Does anyone has a letter that I can probably copy to send it to our congressman to see if there is a way to try to pass a law to avoid and remove pbj in public schools? I have a friend that knows the congressman and the senator and I would like to start with a good self explanatory letter and also request a proposal to get some parent's signatures and do the research for them.
I saw one that Mrs. Clinton answered back but the origial letter that was sent to her was not there. Please help. Thanks,

Peanut Free Store

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2004 - 9:26am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Hi Sarah,
I've read your posts, and I am sorry that you're having such difficulty re: pre-schools and your daughter.
Further, I applaud your desire to want to advocate to the government to want to do something about it.
I'd like you to share with you some of my impressions, based on my personal battles in this area, for you to factor into your decision-making.
If you look at the current state of affairs on this issue, here's what it looks like, IMHO. Keep in mind that this doesn't reflect my [i]personal view[/i], but it's my take on what we face:
[list][*] We have the leading layperson's organization (i.e. FAAN) who not only doesn't acknowledge the wisdom of comprehensive risk reduction plans (they use the devisive word "bans"), but their CEO goes so far as to advise [b]against[/b] them in the media. There are tons of posts on this subject in the Schools and Media thread (many of them authored by me). To their credit, they have entrenched themselves with every major stakeholder group to act as the "voice of the food allergic community".[/*:m][*] There is not a [b]single[/b] medical organization in the U.S. which I have been able to find (believe me, I've researched) who advocates the use of bans as an approach to handling the school setting. [/*:m][*] After years of dealing with the FDA/legislators with food labeling issues (going back to notifications to manufacturers in [b]1996![/b] ), we [i]still[/i] haven't been able to pass food allergen labeling legislation to give consumers basic & reasonable protection re: what we are putting into our kids' bodies. We still can't trust labels, although we are on the verge of a potential breakthrough in this area this year.[/*:m][*] In a school setting, there are still an amazing number of schools that haven't developed district-wide guidelines, so everything is handled on a case-by-case basis.[/*:m][*] The issue of bans, rightly or wrongly, is a huge cultural issue in this country due to our historical emphasis on personal freedom. I have experienced this first hand when placing my child in Kindergarten this past Fall, despite doing everything we possibly could re:development of a strong 504 plan. See this thread for some of the details: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001160.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001160.html[/url] [/*:m][*] It is only in the past year to 18 months have we really seen a increase in the media coverage re:the issues of Peanut Allergies. Less than two years ago, we had loads of pediatricians who were ill informed of the issues (which led to the Pediatrics magazine supplement on food allergies last year)! You may have seen that a study was just released indicating that an alarming number of emergency rooms aren't even sufficiently educated re:food allergies to properly advise patients.[/*:m][/list:u]
We've also seen demonstration that the food lobby is extremely powerful and well funded.
So, it is my personal opinion that the timing is not right to engage in that sort of effort. I see it as putting the cart before the horse.
In my opinion, I think we need to view this as a longer journey, that consists of a number of stops along the way:
[list][*] Getting food labeling legislation passed - Provides greater protection sooner, for both us as PA families, as well as those parents of our classmates - also helps the population at large understand just how pervasive peanuts are as an ingredient in food products[/*:m][*] Working w/Congress to enact legislation to create a [b]national standard [/b] around managing severe life-threatening food allergies in the schools - probably using the Mass. Dept. of Education Guidelines issued in Fall 2002 as an excellent starting point - might be possible to restrict PB at least in the earliest grades through this effort, or at least have well developed protocols to "reduce the risk"[/*:m][*] Push schools to take advantage of the recent announcement that will allow districts to purchase SunButter (sunflower seed butter) as an alternative to PB for school lunch programs[/*:m][*] Continue to use the media to publicize research findings, and perhaps do some work to quantify what is being done in school districts currently around risk reduction ("partial or full bans"). FAAN doesn't have the guts or the incentive to do conduct such a study (they've made some moral compromises in the past to ensure their survival), so we'd have to be creative to find alternative approaches to such an effort.
I've really been giving these issues a lot of thought over the last year, and merely wanted to share my line of thinking for your consideration.
Change of this magnitude takes time.
Hope you find my perspective helpful.
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited March 03, 2004).][/*:m][/list:u]

Posted on: Wed, 03/03/2004 - 10:25am
sdelpino's picture
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Joined: 02/26/2004 - 09:00

Thank you for your input and thoughts. I understand what you are saying but I have the feeling that our congressman will help me at least to address me. He helped us 2 yrs ago with another issue and I am sure this time will do it again. I know this will take time (maybe years) but I will fight it until the end. There is no need for public elementary schools to provide the kids with PB and that will be the issue I will present. Of course that I will have to do all the research, contact a lot of people including doctors to get at least all the information to presented. Maybe this will not work now but at least I have the peace of mind that I tried and I will continue as I said until the end. My main problem is the language, that is why I was looking for a good letter to send it to different governmental departments and someone will get the issue. Actually the secretary of this congressman knows about the peanut allergy. She even told me that she will find the way to get me a personal meeting with him. Now is the time to do this. We are in election year and all this politics wants votes and of course they will get my vote if I see help on their part. I also understand what you are saying regarding the labeling of the products, but we can submit everything at once. Maybe they can pass those bills together. Will see. Now that I know this website exists I will keep you all posted regarding my researches and positive gainings. Hope you understand and a little effort together from everyone will help a lot. Just remember, (in my language) baby that does not cry will not get the milk. So, if all of us start bombarding the government, someday our voice will be heard.
This is all for tonight. Thanks again.

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