National TV News today - CA elem. school controversy

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There will be a story running on national news [b]today[/b] re:the controversy about my PA son attending elementary school in California.

It will run on the Fox News network from 7-8PM EST, and 4-5PM PST. Note: this is [b]not[/b] your local Fox affiliate that shows the Fox sitcoms, but the Fox NEWS cable station.

[b]It should be a good story[/b]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] At a minimum, my wife was interviewed, as well as the women who started the petition, our school district personnel, a family in a neighboring community who is PA and attends an elementary school where accommodations were made w/o incident, as well as the principal at that school.

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited September 12, 2003).]

On Sep 12, 2003

I've been hearing stuff about the WC elementary school on the news! Will watch tonight. Sounds like there may be a happy ending.

[This message has been edited by ophie (edited September 12, 2003).]

On Sep 12, 2003

Yes, that is my son who is at the center of the stories coming out of Walnut Creek. See the "We're under Attack..." topic in the Schools thread....

On Sep 12, 2003

Just saw that this will be "coming up"!

[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited September 12, 2003).]

On Sep 12, 2003

Gail, its airing right now. I just saw the clip about the story coming up. Didnt sound so positive.

On Sep 12, 2003

It's about to Gail, within the next 20 minutes. I just saw the tease.

On Sep 12, 2003

Love my C, sounded kind of negative didnt it? "Is it fair, no pb&j, we'll report, you get mad"

On Sep 12, 2003

It just aired on Fox News. Your wife did great! I cannot believe how some people just don't get it. The woman who was interviewed about being inconvenienced was unreal. You were smart in not attacking the opposition but asking for compassion and understanding. Thanks for standing up for all of us.

On Sep 12, 2003

OK, the teaser had me worried, but it was a good piece. Aside from the ignorant mother who doesnt think the whole class has to be in a peanut free zone (the torture).

Your wife did an excellent job and you should be proud. I am grateful to you both for helping the cause for all of us.

On Sep 12, 2003

BTW Gary , how did you feel the report aired? Were you happy with it?

On Sep 12, 2003

Yes, the "tease" sounded negative. I see they did try to show both sides to the story. However, I don't think they really did the story justice. Especially not including the juvenile e-mail petition from the Parents group about the "rights" being infringed upon. I wish they would have mentioned that. And too bad they didn't consult their "Housecalls" Dr. Rosenfeld who has said on Fox that they should just ban peanut butter in schools because of the severity of this allergy. He said earlier this year on his show that if the parents who are protesting bans had to experience peanut allergy in their child, they'd be changing their tune.

I have to say though that I am impressed w/ the Superintendent in his interviews. He seems like a caring man.

I'm curious to know how Gary & Leora feel about it.

On Sep 12, 2003

We're disappointed with the tone of the piece, in that they just played up the "rights" issue. Also, the host's emphasis on [b]this one school[/b] made it sound unusual or extreme, which really bothered us.

Just about all of our key points, plus the other interviews were left out.

Particularly disturbing was what appeared to be backsliding by the Superintendent. After stating the other day (KRON 4 news video clip) that they had "both a legal and a moral obligation to protect this child", today the sound bite that was captured included the phrase "..we don't know whether our position is too extreme..."

Looks like he'll be hearing from us all about that mixed message. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Leora did do a good job, but we're disappointed that so much good stuff got edited out.

Gary

[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited September 12, 2003).]

On Sep 12, 2003

Gary - You did raise awareness across the country and I thank you for that. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

On Sep 12, 2003

Oh ya, and one more thing.....I didn't appreciate the other mother's remarks that ~ paraphrasing~"If the child's life is in danger why would the parents send him into such a dangerous environment" (casting doubt on the seriousness of the allergy or questioning their parenting)

Geesh...isn't that the reason that the parents have worked hard to make the environment safe for the child [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]

On Sep 12, 2003

I was unable to find it. Did anyone see it in the Chicago area?

On Sep 12, 2003

I also thought the segment made it sound like this is the one and only school doing this, which is ludicrous. It also kept saying for "ONE child" ~ as if the whole world has to stop for one child instead of acknowledging the peanut allergic children all over the US (and beyond) with this issue. It didn't mention the childishness of the other parents and gave more time, it seemed, to "Sue" ~ who thinks in circular logic: Let's keep bringing in PB which is dangerous to this PA child, because if it's dangerous for this child, he shouldn't be here. Whuh?? Obviously, not a candidate for the Spock Award for Logical Thought. The whole class shouldn't have to suffer...humph. You are right...not having PB&J at school is absolutely MEDIEVAL. At least the host Shepherd scoffingly said, "if peanut butter sandwiches can even be thought of as a lifestyle..." which was nice. He is, if you watch him, sarcastic in general, often about both sides of stories. I think McHenry did seem to backtrack a bit and wasn't coming across as strong and sure as before. *sigh*. Leora should've been given more time. At least they stressed how serious the allergy is - mentioning monkey bar contact. Overall the piece demonstrates the dangers of oversimplifying stories. Makes you wonder if we EVER get the whole story by watching the news.

On Sep 12, 2003

The e-mail address for the "Fox Report with Shepard Smith" is [email]foxreport@foxnews.com[/email]

Interesting....we just got off the phone with a friend who is so steamed that she is going to write to the Superintendent to express disgust over his lack of conviction this time around.

Gary

On Sep 12, 2003

Upon further reflection, I'm steamed that the other side got more air time than Leora, which seemed to create more legitimacy to their view than was warranted, especially since they didn't educate on the facts.

Just a minor step above tabloid journalism, I guess. I think the majors would do a more thorough job with a report on the subject.

On Sep 12, 2003

Gary, Im so sorry that after all you've been through that you now have this disappointment.

The whole thing kept feeling like an episode of Inside Edition to me.

What is going on with the interest from the morning show you mentioned? If the major networks want an interview will you do it? Just wondering. We would all understand if youve had enough.

Hang in there!

On Sep 12, 2003

I waited to read Gary's opinion before posting mine... and unfortunately I agree. I watched the report "with" my SIL (her daughter/my niece/Mariah's cousin is PA) on the phone. Our reactions were very similar.

First, it was sooooo short. (I kept thinking about all the wonderful footage that must be on the Fox editing floor.)

Both my SIL and I wanted to flog the blond. She certainly came across as a selfish witch, and I suppose I felt some comfort in knowing that this must come across to the viewing audience regardless of how familiar they are w/ PA.

Gary, I didn't take issue with the Superintendent's statements. Perhaps he made the same strong statements as yesterday and they were cut. Perhaps he was responding to a direct question such as, "We have heard from some parents that your school's policies are too extreme. What is your response to those parents who take issue with Valle Verde's overly-cautious procedures?" Just an example, but I can absolutely see how he may have been set up and his statement taken away from the context of the question asked.

And most of all, I didn't like the question that they posed for the story... "how far is too far?" The language they used (e.g. "one school ..." for "one child") presented the story as an an unusual and uniquely rare situation. They set it up as extreme and viewed opinions in that context... whether or not those interviewed thought the school's policies were or weren't extreme.

But on a sincerely positive note, the story did touch on many good points... and it absolutely does increase awareness.

Leora: you are a beautiful, poised, intelligent and well-spoken advocate. You certainly outshined your counterpart! Great job, and thank you for putting yourself "out there" for "the cause". You have my admiration and gratitude. Thank you.

Gail

On Sep 12, 2003

One thing I forgot to mention. The blond who spoke was [b]not[/b] the woman who started the petition. Amy (petition woman) was standing in the background pushing her kids on the swings; this blond must have been a friend who was over playing at their house, and we've not heard anything out of her mouth previously. Not sure how to interpret that - perhaps Amy is starting to tire of going in front of the camera, or that her friend just gave better footage...

We have not heard back from the morning news show that had originally contacted us, so we're not sure what to make of that. We do know that our original contact was planning to go on vacation next week, but we did get an e-mail from him this AM indicating that he had rec'd some info that we had sent to him (per his request).

On Sep 12, 2003

Is there anyway to contact "Petition Woman" who was too much of a coward to voice her opinion. It seems when push came to shove, she would rather push her kids on the swings rather than defend her position. This woman, if she wants to continue the fight, should educate herself on food allergies. I would be more than willing, from the Commonwealth of Virginia, to send her my experiences with a PA child who has had an anaphylactic reaction. Maybe, if she realized that this is a nationwide problem - no, I take that back - this also includes Canada, the UK, and many other points on the globe - then maybe she would not be so narrowminded and selfish and so without compassion. Yes, it may take one person at a time, but there are enough of us to "go to the mattresses for you" as they said in "You've Got Mail" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

On Sep 12, 2003

I missed the original airing on FOX, but watched the video on their website. It was short! Perhaps I saw just a clip.

Anyway...I braced myself for what the superintendent had to say, but his "we do not know if our position is too extreme" was, I thought, tempered by a very loud "but" when he talked about needing to keep the child safe. That was my impression, hopefully others'.

The blonde sounded foolish...her quotating fingers around the words dangerous environment were particulary annoying.

Leora, you are lovely. Thank you both, Gary and Leora, for your courage.

[This message has been edited by Dawn (edited September 12, 2003).]

On Sep 12, 2003

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On Sep 13, 2003

All the elements for "a good story" were in place: very articulate parents, solid 504 accommodations, supportive/articulate school administration, other supportive parents, other area schools with similar procedures in place... If I didn't know this background and saw this story without knowing all that, I would probably have a much more positive take on it. Maybe?

Quote:

Originally posted by StaceyK: [b]Overall the piece demonstrates the dangers of oversimplifying stories. Makes you wonder if we EVER get the whole story by watching the news.[/b]

All the info was there, and they didn't use it. I feel discouraged that this story had such great potential and still fell short.

On Sep 13, 2003

Dawn, can you post the web address for FOX where you watched the video of this story. Thanks.

On Sep 13, 2003

Sure! Click on the "PC Peanut Butter" heading to see the video.

[url="http://www.foxnews.com/access/video.html"]http://www.foxnews.com/access/video.html[/url]

On Sep 13, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by virginia mom: [b]Is there anyway to contact "Petition Woman" who was too much of a coward to voice her opinion. [/b]

This has been very tempting. I live about 2-3 miles from the neighborhood served by Valley Verde, so I probably shop at some of the same grocery stores as some of these people.

I know if I ever see that blonde chick, it's going to be hard to resist the urge to say something.

On Sep 13, 2003

I also saw the footage on Fox. The coverage was pretty good...since they try to be "fair and balanced". HOwever, I can't get that blond women of my mind...luckily, I don't know her or I wouldn't be able to keep my opinions of her to myself. It amazes me how some adults are more immature and selfish that most children!! Hugs to you and your family. I also could go up and hug that Superintendant...KUDOS to him for keeping children safe and hopefully setting a precedent!!

On Sep 13, 2003

The piece really wasn't bad although they really did leave off a lot and made it appear as though this was an isolated occurence. Some of that is simply the result of having to keep the piece that short. We had the same experience when we were interviewed a couple of years ago, even though the reporter honestly tried her best to include all the most important info.

Whoever that blond lady is needs some assistance with logical thought processes. I took great offense to her "why would any parent send their child into such a dangerous environment on a daily basis" statement. Geez, no parent would! That's why the Cope's need the school's assistance and support so that their son can attend.

The whole attitude seems to be "we'll accomodate special needs as long as we're not inconvenienced by them." Man, that's a sad, sad thing.

I have three special needs children. One with life-threatening food allergies and asthma, one with limb deficiencies, and one with cerebral palsy (whom we are in the process of adopting). They are all three wonderful, intelligent, AWESOME children who just need a little help now and then. They each have so much to offer and others can learn so much from them. Why alienate them simply because of their differences? Don't think of their disabilities as an inconvenience...think of them as an OPPORTUNITY to stretch your own knowledge and boundaries and become a more compassionate, more sensitive, and BETTER person for having known them.

My two cents.

Lori

On Sep 13, 2003

OK, I checked. The blond woman is Sue (Susan) Horning (if I remember right.) The other one (the cowardly 'petition lady') is Amy Casey. Neither has an email address listed. Some day, they along with that Carol Gross who was quoted will look back in shame from a wiser place in their lives (we can hope.) They represent a sad, sad commentary. I would venture to guess that if we examined other parts of their lives, we would see more evidence of their selfish characters. To the Copes: God bless you. You are standing up for your child and these ignorant people and you have all of our support. Keep up the good fight! Hopefully this will all die down and you can resume normality. Or as close to normality as we PA parents get! Please keep us updated.

On Sep 13, 2003

If the petition signers are so serious about defending their position, then the PTA ought to invite them to a "town meeting" to discuss the "problem". Thinking that there will be strength in numbers, the multitude will show up trying to flex their ignorant muscles. Instead of a meeting, the PTA can present them with a "food allergy information seminar" complete with professionals from the medical community who will back up Gary and his family. The PTA can let those opposing the ban know that if they are really serious about their position,then they had better educate themselves about food allergies, anaphylaxis, cross-contamination, etc. Maybe, and I know I'm taking the high road here, they are not mean spirited, just uninformed. After all, if you had asked me about anaphylaxis four years ago, you would have been met with a blank stare...

On Sep 13, 2003

Quote:

Originally posted by Munchkin's Mom: [b] They each have so much to offer and others can learn so much from them. Why alienate them simply because of their differences? Don't think of their disabilities as an inconvenience...think of them as an OPPORTUNITY to stretch your own knowledge and boundaries and become a more compassionate, more sensitive, and BETTER person for having known them.

[/b]

[i]worth repeating[/i].

On Sep 13, 2003

Maybe I am just focusing on the positives, but I thought the piece was really o.k., especially the beginning. At least it presented "peanut allergies = serious risk" as fact, and presented spreading peanut butter to play areas as a problem (which apparently FAAN has a problem believing).

I usually hate FOX news, but am pleasantly surprised.

On Sep 14, 2003

I was pleasantly surprised too. Considering it is FOX I expected it to be awful. The anchor woman's boobs were showing, but other than that it seemed pretty professional.

I'm sure when you're part of the story and you know about all the great stuff that got edited out it's hard to watch it, but as an outsider, I thought it was pretty good.

Viewers aren't going to sit still for a long story about PA. The visuals were good--showed kids sharing food and then picking up a ball, running around with snacks in their hands.

The mother comes across as concerned but calm, making a request for compassion. The blond woman looked angry about peanut butter which made her appear spiteful and petty, which she obviously is.

All in all, I thought it was quite good. I thought the superintendent was probably answering a specific question when he said, "I don't know if we are being...." The tone of his voice and the way he worded it sounded like a response to a direct question. I saw him in one other clip and I'm impressed with how he comes across on camera. The welfare of the child is obviously his first concern.

The only thing missing: the smiling face of the little PA guy who would have melted the hearts of everyone watching and made the angry blond look like the Wicked Witch of the West. But I know I wouldn't want my son on the news, so I support the parents for shielding him. (In the Alexander video, at the end, there are PA kids talking about their allergy and the first time I saw it I started crying they were so adorable).

This is all about the adults. The kids will follow whatever rules you give them. Let's not forget, they are 5 years old and they have to raise their hands and ask permission just to go to the bathroom. They know how to follow rules. This is all about the parents who never learned the lessons they should have learned in kindergarten.

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