Lunch eaten in classroom - different policy than cafeteria?

Posted on: Thu, 04/22/2004 - 1:12pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

My son is going to be starting first grade next fall at a small charter school. We are thrilled he's gotten in, but wondering now if they can provide a safe enough environment. The school is too small for a hot lunch program, so all lunches are brought from home. On top of that, lunches are eaten in the classroom.

I had an initial phone conversation and learned they have one other severely allergic child who started school this year. They admitted it's been a tough year but that the child has been reaction free. I'll get more details when I meet with the principal next week, but it sounds like they have a peanut-free zone set up for lunch.

I can see a peanut-free zone in a cafeteria, but this makes no sense to me in a classroom, because what good is a clean desk to eat at when the entire rest of the classroom has been contaminated? I'm thinking the poor child has been reaction free due to blind luck. However, I really don't know if I can get a peanut-free classroom given the fact that all the parents send lunches. I may just insist on it anyway, but it's probably going to be a huge battle. Yech.

Has anyone else dealt with this particular situation (no hot lunch, food eaten in classroom) and successfully obtained a peanut-free classroom?


Posted on: Fri, 04/23/2004 - 2:27am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

My son's kindergarten class used to eat in the classroom. I wasn't crazy about it but he didn't have a reaction all year, fortunately.
If the school is unwilling to make your class peanut free, another possibility is that they could set up lunch tables in the hallway just for that class, and the whole class could all eat out there. That would keep food out of the classroom, at least.
Our school used to set up lunch tables in the hallway whenever the cafeteria floor was being waxed or if the caf was being used for another event. School hallways are usually very wide and the tables can be set up and taken down each day--it would only be a few tables for just one class.
Just another idea, maybe a fallback position if they won't consider peanut-free. Good luck.

Posted on: Fri, 04/23/2004 - 6:02am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Munchkin's Mom, here, in Ontario, my PA son has always eaten in his classroom. We don't have cafeterias in our schools until high school.
He has always had a "peanut free" classroom. I have his written school plan posted on the board here if it will help in any way.
No, it is do-able, or IMHO, it is.
I have run across problems through the years (this is his fifth year of school), but I have seen some years where it just ran so smoothly it was unreal.
We have a "peanut free" classroom.
I'm fairly sure you can request one in a 504 Plan or would that not apply because it is a charter school your child is going to?
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Sun, 05/02/2004 - 1:33am
peanutsafety's picture
Joined: 05/02/2004 - 09:00

Munchkins Mom,
Just recently the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals, ruled in favor of a peanut allergic child. This information may come in handy at your next school meeting. In fact I think all parents should read it. It is twenty-nine pages long and the Hearing Officer had a remarkable understanding of the issue. I've been told this appears to be a case of first impression (food in the classroom).
To request a copy of the ruling, you can contact the BSEA and ask to speak to Reece Erlichman Asst. Director at 781-338-6400 and ask them to mail you a copy of BSEA # 03-3629.
I would also think, the more parents who contacted the Bureau of Special Ed. would present in such a way as to invite notice to the number of children and families that these allergies effect.
Good luck and I hope this information is helpful. Great site! PS

Posted on: Sun, 05/02/2004 - 2:48am
patsmommy's picture
Joined: 10/31/2001 - 09:00

Munchkins mom my son eats lunch in the classroom 4 out of 5 days. His school does hot lunch only one day of the week. His school is also peanut free though. (i know i know, lets just say reduced risk school, we all know accidents can happen and people break rules)
Anyway, no problems so far with eating in the classroom, but I would ask for his room to be peanut free.

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