Lunch Room Issue

Posted on: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 8:54am
bandbmom's picture
Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

A friend/mom that I know from school occasionally fills in as a lunch aid and she is very aware about Brandon's peanut allergy and she is someone that shows a lot of care and concern about things that have happened during the school year. She has been extremely supportive and helpful with all the struggles we have had. One issue that I've brought up to the principal many times is the fact that the sub lunch aids aren't made aware of Brandon's allergy, the peanut free table, etc., which is why another PA parent and I take turns coming up to the school. This fear of mine was proven a couple weeks ago and today when my friend filled in. When she was there a couple weeks back, she came over to say she would be walking the kids back to class. I started explaining to her that only Brandon and his PA classmate walk back now (and so on and so forth). She had no idea what I was talking about because things had changed with our lunch room plan since she had last been in to sub. No one had bothered to fill her in. If I haven't been there, she would have been clueless.

Today she was filling in again and brought a 4 y.o. little boy she babysits with her. During fourth grade lunch, she let the little boy sit at the peanut free table and eat a PB&J because, again, no one bothered to let her know that the table was suppose to remain peanut free all day. She thought it was just p-nut free during first grade lunch. One of the boys at the table had an airborne reaction with hives, an itchy red throat with redness on the outside of the throat. My friend felt horrible, but it is a mistake I blame on the school for not communicating properly which, again, is why myself and the other mom feel the need to be there everyday. They refuse to take the proper accountability for things just like this. Anyone have an opinion on how to address this? I want to go in tomorrow and say, "see, this is exactly what I'm worried about", but I don't want my friend to get in trouble for something they failed to communicate. They probably won't call her back to be a sub and the principal doesn't like her much already, so I want to address this but not cause her grief. Any suggestions? The more I think about it, the more upset I get and the more it proves that they JUST DON'T GIVE A DARN!!! What is it going to take to have these people take things seriously? An anaphylactic reaction? For a child to die at school?

Thanks in advance!

Posted on: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 9:56am
Lindajo's picture
Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

The peanut free table should be just that, peanut free! Whether its first lunch, last lunch or anytime throughout the day the cafe is used.
I would alert the principal and/or lunch room director or whoever is in charge to this issue. It needs to be told to all lunch aides, whether regular or sub, that this table is to remain peanut free at all times.
So many accidental reactions could be avoided with just a small amount of education/communication. I would point out what happened to that boy and make a firm statement like, "We don't want this to happen again. Or even worse, have a full blown anaphylactic reaction that would put a student's life in danger."
At our school, the two tables designated as peanut free have a sign on them, so there is no mistake which ones they are. There is a thread on these boards that has signs you could print out and suggest that they be used to alert everyone that those particular tables are designated peanut free at all times.
I hope the boy's reaction was mild and didn't get worse as the day went on.

Posted on: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 11:02pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I think it's really important that any/every allergic reaction is documented with the school. You'll need to figure out a way to do that without undercutting this sub/aide.
What about just asking her to go on record? It[i] isn't [/i]her fault, and you can support her. Maybe you could go together to the principal and she can tell what happened? She can state what happened, then you can state why this is a concern for you.
I mean, gosh, so many things didn't happen as they should have.... once she noticed that this child was having an allergic reaction, what did she do? did the child go to the school nurse? accompanied by an adult? was that child's parent notified? was an 'incident report' written up?
I understand why you find this worrisome.

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 12:17am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I keep thinking about this situation...
Tracy, do you think your friend/aide would write a letter to the principal describing factually what occurred? Can you ask her to do that? The more I think about this, the more I come to realize that she really needs to step forward and clearly, thoroughly claim what happened.... and it would be best if she did so in writing. She's the only one who can document what she witnessed... and I would think she'd be angry at the school for placing her in the position that she was in.

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 3:06am
Lindajo's picture
Joined: 10/14/2003 - 09:00

I agree with the other posters. By talking to the principal about her own experience, she could re-enforce the need to have all lunch aides informed and she could stress that she wouldn't want this to happen again.

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 7:32am
bandbmom's picture
Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

I think it is an excellent idea to ask my friend to put in writing what happened during lunch. I'm pretty sure she would be willing to do it. Maybe I'll write her a note asking her if she could do this for me, that way, I'm not putting her on the spot. I found out that the boy had hives and an itchy throat and was taken down to the clinic and his mom was called to come to school. His mom said he had never had an airborne reaction before, proving the point that the types reactions that can occur can change at any time. I'd love to talk to the mom of this PA boy. I don't think most parents realize some of the things that go on at that school and I'd love to fill her in. The more parents on our side the better. I found out today who the boy is; would I be crossing any lines contacting his mom? Their phone number is listed in the school directory.

Posted on: Wed, 02/08/2006 - 10:40am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by bandbmom:
[b]I found out that the boy had hives and an itchy throat and was taken down to the clinic and his mom was called to come to school. His mom said he had never had an airborne reaction before, proving the point that the types reactions that can occur can change at any time.[/b]
Did you learn that from your aide/friend? Maybe she, or whomever you learned this from, could give that mom your name/number?

Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 5:49am
starrsdc's picture
Joined: 09/01/2000 - 09:00

I'm sorry to hear about the cafeteria problems. I feel very lucky that our school has been very supportive of creating a safe environment for my daughter. Even in that environment, however, I think it's critical that my daughter feel comfortable being her own advocate. There is no way a child would sit near her and eat a peanut butter sandwich without her (and her friends, who are very protective of her) speaking up. Our kids have to be empowered to stand up for themselves. I wish I could always be there to protect her, but it can't be that way (and wouldn't be good for her anyway). She's in third grade now and understands that her allergy has to be "exempt from embarrassment or shyness." She must always speak up to protect herself.
I'm not suggesting this takes the place of supportive policies to protect our kids, but (for what it's worth), I think it's an important part of the equation.

Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 6:29am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Gail W:
[b] Did you learn that from your aide/friend? Maybe she, or whomever you learned this from, could give that mom your name/number?
Gail, I think maybe one factor has been left out of this discussion: [i]confidentiality[/i]. It's screaming at me from the posts. Is it for you?

Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 1:05pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b] Gail, I think maybe one factor has been left out of this discussion: [i]confidentiality[/i]. It's screaming at me from the posts. Is it for you?[/b]
Yes, the lunch aide/friend breached that child's confidentiality [i]if [/i]she shared private information about that child with bandbmom. It wasn't clear to me where bandbmom got the information. Could have been from a completely different person who learned about the child's reaction directly from the child's mom.

Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2006 - 1:50pm
bandbmom's picture
Joined: 12/14/2005 - 09:00

Gail is right, I found out who the boy that had the reaction was from another parent at school, who also has a PA child. My friend the lunch aide did not give the name of the child; she just shared the story with me because she knows the difficulties we've had this year and that she felt bad that she was not informed about the pnut free table properly and that the boy had a reaction. The mom who told me who the boy was asked if I had heard about the reaction and I told her I had and wondered who the boy was. The boy was in her daughter's 4th grade class and this is how she knew. Hope that clears things up! Thanks Gail :-)


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