Need advice about lunch problem


You'll have to excuse me if this comes out in one big run on paragraph. Bear with me. I'll try to be clear.

I'd like advice about what I should do. My two choices that I'm thinking are keep my DS home from school or get DS and bring him home for lunch.

Now, the reason why I ask is because of what my son related to us at dinner tonight about his lunchtime experience. At his school there are 4th & 5th grade lunch monitors that come and get the lower grade classes and sit with their assigned class at lunch.

Today, while sitting and eating his lunch, apparently one of the lunch monitors tells my son that he has dark circles under his eyes and the rest of his face looks red. He said he told her she should stop saying that because it was making him nervous. He then goes on to tell us that she decided to go to the office to check his allergy paper (I am guessing it is the Allergy Fact sheet with his picture that is posted by the secretary's desk -- but I could be wrong). Anyway, she goes to the office, then comes back after looking at the paper and says he is fine.

I need to take a deep breath.

Or two.

Okay, telling this is making me want to come out of my skin again. But aside from having to completely talk to the Principal and clear up the fact that a 4th or 5th grader shouldn't be proclaiming my son fine, when she thinks he is having a reaction -- in addition to the fact that said lunch monitor should have gone to the adult that was [b]IN[/b] the multi-purpose room where they eat if she thought a reaction was happening --- add on to that the fact that if said lunch monitor goes to the office to check a paper to see if a child on the other side of the school is having a reaction, there sure as he!! should have been an adult running back with them and a medical kit to make sure my son was getting proper care.

Did I mention we have a 504?

I'm digressing in my continued state of being flabberghasted!

Anyway, my main question is what should I do? Aside from trying not to rip my head off and throw it at the Principal -- should I just pick up DS for lunch, or make a bigger statement and keep him home from school?

I also welcome any other comments, suggestions, exclamations, commiserations, etc.

On Oct 10, 2006

If the 4th or 5th grader is a "monitor" and they happen to suspect a reaction, they should be trained to immediately tell an adult, not try to handle the situation themselves. Dealing with an allergic reaction should not primarily be their responsibility.

I would not keep your son out of school. Mistakes unfortunately do happen and the school needs to learn how to do things better by learning from experiences such as these. I would absolutely talk to the principal about the issue (in a nonconfrontational way of course). Suggest, better instruction for the monitors.

Perhaps suggest taping a reminder sign to each table stating something like, "If you suspect that you or another student is having an allergic reaction, tell an adult immediately!"

And/or a PAL poster?

[This message has been edited by MimiM (edited October 10, 2006).]

On Oct 10, 2006

I would want a trained adult monitor in my childs lunch room. I think my child is at the greatest risk for having a reaction in the cafeteria and would never want a 4th or 5th grader responsible for my child. I would also be upset w/this. I also would not enjoy it if I were the parent of the 4th or 5th grader....this should not be his/her responsibility.

On Oct 10, 2006

I wouldn't take your child out of school - that would really be punishing the child, not the school. I personally would go eat lunch with my child until this matter is resolved.

And it definitly needs to be resolved - what the heck are they thinking? Does your 504 specific adult supervision in the lunch rooms? If not, then I think it's time to revisit it.

I'd also be sure and recognize that the lunch monitor was doing her best to protect your child. This is WAY too much responsibility for a 4th or 5th grader, and she should get credit for trying to do the right thing.

How did your son take the whole thing? Hope you get things straightened out soon!

On Oct 10, 2006

Well, we decided to keep DS home today. Luckily enough, he won't think of it as a punishment because he thinks he is staying home due to the fact that my Grandmother and Uncle are coming over for lunch. It isn't often that we get to see them, so it is like a special treat -- so he is excited that he'll get to see his Great Grandma and Great Uncle.

We did send an email to the Principal last night, and expect to speak to her today. We are sure the fact that our son is out of school will get us communication with her. (no child = -$$$$)

We also agree that putting the responsibility on the head of a child for supervising, especially when FA's are involved, is quite inappropriate. In the 504 we specifically have that an adult must be present in the multi-purpose room (where my DS eats lunch).

I also agree that the lunch monitor gets credit for thinking about DS's allergy, looking at him to figure out if he was having a reaction and trying to find information to clarify what she thought. That said though, the Principal should have made it clear that if the monitors, or anyone, suspected anything at all, they should get the adult present.

Funny thing about DS, the thing about the whole incident that bothered him the most was that the monitor was telling him he had dark circles under his eyes and his face was red. It made him feel nervous - and he asked her to stop telling him that. Even when relating the story, the rest of it didn't bug him. He could have been talking about anything.

We did also find out another piece of info too during this whole thing -- and we included it in our email. A couple weeks ago he told us that a lunch monitor (different than the one above) told him to move out of his seat. He told her no, that he was supposed to sit where he was everyday. She asked who said -- and he told her his Mom. Well, he was proud of himself, we were proud of him, and we thought the matter was settled. Little tidbit though, came out last night about the seat incident, as we are trying to figure out what monitor and who did what, with respect to yesterday's incident. Apparently, the lunch monitor who told him to move, after he refused, sat next to him and tried to shove him out of his seat. Again, he is proud because he didn't budge when this big kid is shoving him. I, however, was not pleased.

Of course, last night I wasn't sure if we should have added this into our email -- but with careful wording and the right tie in, we put that in too.

It really is clear to us that this Principal needs to get a handle on these monitors, from multiple angles. And, really, it makes me question how 'present' the adult in the M.P. room really is, if they aren't seeing what is going on around them. (Just for the record -- the adults usually present in the room -- the principal and the custodian).

On Oct 10, 2006

Interesting situation. I can think of a few 4th or 5th graders that I would trust MORE than some adults to notice and react to a problem - but as an above poster said they may need some more training or not be the "right" kids for the job. Especially the one shoving your DS out of the seat!

Can he have some meds in the lunchroom if the office is that far away?

I agree that you need to seek out what adult is really there too.

On Oct 10, 2006

HOw old is your son? Was he eating a safe lunch in a safe setting? Was there even a chance that he was reacting? Does not sound like it.

I'd hate to be the 4 or 5th grader put in the responsibility of watching the FA kids eat. I would never let my child be given this responsibility.

It sounds like some sort of "Training" went on at school for these kids and the one in question took things too far. Looking for and finding a reaction when there was none.

Our kids had fifth grade partners while they were in K. They read together and had activities together but were never never responsible for each other's health.

This seems wrong and I hope your email starts off some sort of dialog.


On Oct 10, 2006

He does have a medical kit located in the lunch room (in addition to the ones in the office and classroom). We are perplexed as to why she went to the office. Frankly though, had they had an adult in the office at lunchtime, they could have questioned why she was there, and should have come running back to the lunch room with her and one of DS's medical kits. The office being staffed by students, of course, is a whole other issue that I have a problem with.

On Oct 10, 2006

Wow. I am so sorry for your family. I don't really have anything to add other than to tell you that I think your instincts are right on-- as the other posters have done.

(This is the same reason I don't allow the teenaged girl up the street to babysit. As her parent, [i]I would NEVER allow my 16yo to take on such responsibility.[/i] Never mind a 5th grader. Oy.)

Good luck getting this resolved.


On Oct 10, 2006

So there are students in the office too? Has this school had radical staff cutbacks?

While I do not have a problem with trained 4th/5th graders of responsible charactor monitoring a table (and I took this to mean that every table not just the allergic ones) was monitored by 4th 5th graders), they need to have an adult in the lunchroom that they can go to / to monitor them and certainly an adult in the office. Who gets the phone? Who handles visitors? Did I misread something?

[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited October 10, 2006).]

On Oct 10, 2006

Actually the lack of any adult in the office, in light of all of the recent school violence, is quite alarming from a non FA perspective.

On Oct 10, 2006

Wow! I just had an idea--maybe we should get rid of the teachers too, and just have 5th graders teach the little kids. Heck, they're supposed to know that stuff, right?


On Oct 10, 2006

I agree that the monitors should be trained to tell an adult.

The incident was poor management by the school.

But at least the student cared enough to be involved.

On Oct 10, 2006

For me personally,I think the only person being 'hurt' if you keep your son home, is your son.

It is tough to watch people make mistakes with something that could have life-altering consequences on your son. THis time nothing happened to him. Use it as a learning opporunity, or a 'dry run' if you will. Use this as an opporunity to point out to the 504 team what went wrong and how you want it fixed.

In our school, teachers rotate being the monitors, and there are parent volunteers who also come in to monitor recess and lunch. I think this poor girl was nervous ...probably b/c she understands the seriousness of her responsibility...for the lives of children with life-threatening allergies. I think that is too much stress for a 4th or 5th grader...I know, my oldest is in 4th...and he FREAKS out if he sees peanuts any where near my 3yo.

On Oct 10, 2006


Personally, I'd object to the whole concept of student monitors having anything to do with my dd's PA. There's no way I'd consent to the school providing medical information about my child to other students. Without my consent, I believe that would be a violation of our rights under FERPA.

I don't mind if student monitors reminding *all* the kids about general cafeteria rules (e.g. to pick up their trash, etc,) but I would not want them to know or do anything related to her food allergies. The cafeteria should be monitored by a staff member trained in food allergies, symptoms, and epi-pen administration.

On Oct 10, 2006

Sorry I wasn't able to check in today and answer your questions -- I appreciate the advice too. Been a long day, but I'll try to answer/address what I can.

Yes, Chicago, I agree that there are kids out there that prove to be more trustworthy than many adults out there. That said, if they were told to tell the adult present I think they'd follow through with that -- my guess is though, that the principal screwed up.

[b]and I took this to mean that every table not just the allergic ones[/b]

This is correct -- each class k-2 has lunch monitors.

And about the office -- there are students that staff the office during lunch. In addition to that, all last year the custodian served as office staff sometimes when the part time, temporary, secretary wasn't there. At least this year they finally got a full time regular secretary. To me, the whole office, the way it is run, the feel of it, seems very disorganized. As for the phone and visitors, whoever is there seems to be who handles it. I'm not thrilled.

[b]Actually the lack of any adult in the office, in light of all of the recent school violence, is quite alarming from a non FA perspective.[/b]

I also agree with this assessment. I really feel it is irresponsible of the school to be so complacent.

Peg, my son will be 7 this week. He is supposed to sit at the same corner seat, at the same table, every day. He does get a safe lunch, but we can only hope that other students don't send nut products in their lunch. DS is supposed to have a cushion of 'safe' lunch eating people around him -- but identification of who has nut stuff probably only goes so far as identifying the obvious. So, it is a possibility that he could be reacting.

Again I agree wholeheartedly that a child shouldn't be responsible for the life of another child -- in this situation especially. That is why we have the stipulation of an adult being present in the lunch room.

Corvallis Mom, I am right there with you about the babysitter thing too. To put the responsibility on the head of a child in such a way, well to me seems irresponsible. I too, wouldn't want my child taking that on either.

Momcat -- I think they'd try to turn it all over to the 5th graders if they could. They'd probably still cry lack of funds, while buying bells & whistles.

Cathlina -- I agree, poor management. And we do give credit to the one monitor. She actually happens to be the older sister of a little girl who was in my sons class last year.

3xy1PAinNH -- DS did okay staying home today -- for him he thinks he was home because of the special visit by relatives. For me, I have a hard time trusting people with the lives of my children, especially given the history we have with the school. While not as bad as some, it could be better. We did talk to the principal today, who in turn had spoken to the lunch monitors. One of the things she apparently asked them about was their comfort level being DS's monitors. Whether or not they were nervous about it, or it was too much -- and from what we gather they are okay with the set up. We'll see though, I'll be very interested to hear how lunch goes tomorrow.

And Gail, I agree about the need for the school to keep medical information confidential. We have decided that for DS it is better to have his lunch monitors, classmates & parents and school staff, know about his allergy. We don't go broadcast the information to the whole school, but wouldn't not tell people. I think part of our wanting to be open about it is that if someone by chance sees something that might prove to be dangerous to our DS, we want them to say something -- and immediately. We want them to be aware of the need for quick action -- being responsive. It might just save his life.

The situation with the monitors is one that I'm not thrilled with. Not that I don't appreciate having 2 kids assigned to watch DS's class, but I think the adults tend to depend too much on how responsible they think kids should be, instead of their own duty to do their job & fulfill their responsibilities.

Now, given all that, we did have a phone call with the Principle. She of course was the diplomat and politician that she always is. The main thing is that she did talk to the lunch monitors. She also was perplexed by what happened, but reiterated that they were to go to the adult in the room. Apparently she was also aware of the seating incident -- and had actually gone over to the table after a monitor told her he wouldn't move, and told her that he was to stay where he was. I don't really even want to imagine how much went on before the monitor went and got the Principle. Anyway, this is the part where DH does better than I, it all boils down to trusting that what the Principle says to these monitors will be the right thing and the thing that makes them go to an adult in the lunch room -- and that the adults in the room will also be paying attention.

I've always believed in the old cliche that says,"The road to **** is paved with good intentions" -- so I will again be waiting with baited breath each day, especially at lunch, hoping I don't get a call telling me my son is on the way to the hospital -- only to find out the situation was made worse because they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

On Oct 11, 2006

I am so sorry for what you are going through with your school. Personally I think having kids as cafeteria monitors is a great idea. But in addition to adult supervision, not instead of. I think it is good for the student monitors to learn and practice responsiblity, if they are there to make sure everyone picks up their trash. etc. And in case of emergency they should be instructed to get an adult immediately, period. By emergency, I mean not just a reaction, but also, what if a child were choking? In case of emergencies, student monitors can be a real asset as a set of extra eyes, but that should be where their responsibility ends. And in the office, again it is a great way for the kids to learn and practice responsibility, but with close supervision and limited duties.

On Oct 11, 2006

This seems really strange to me gvmom that kids are monitoring your ds for reactions...BUT if they already know your ds' situation, and the school isn't getting rid of kid monitors any time soon, would any of these ideas help?

1) Role play with your ds on what to say when approached by a monitor. Would it make sense to tell your ds to talk to the adult in the room if he's approached by a monitor with anything allergy related?

Let's say just for argument sake that this monitor was more playing than trying to help. Kind of feeling her own importance in her role, KWIM? I think it's possible since she didn't report it to an adult. If that is the case, if your ds talks to an adult about it immediately, these instances will probably stop.

2) Prepare some kind of training sheet for the monitors -- let them know ds' arrangements for seating and to ALWAYS report to an adult if he looks like he's not feeling well. Would FAAN's Be a Pal program help at all?

And, of course, keep fighting for the adults to be involved in supervising your ds!! But if kids are involved, and already know your ds' situation, I would try to use that to my advantage somehow.

I think (hope, pray) that kids will definitely help other kids if they see a child in trouble. They may just need better education than the school has provided to them so far.

When we discovered my ds' watermelon allergy/sensitivity thingy, we were at a friend's house. They had 6 other friends there. The other kids were immediately concerned why ds' face was covered with hives. I'm hoping they represent the way all kids would act if they have the right information to start with.

Of course, you know all the details, and these suggestions may not work, but I thought I'd throw them out there [img][/img] Good luck. Meg

On Oct 11, 2006


Originally posted by mommyofmatt: [b]This seems really strange to me gvmom that kids are monitoring your ds for reactions...[/b]

freakishly inconsistent with typical school "excuses" as to why teachers can refuse to be trained......maybe it's time for the fourth and fifth graders to get their own Union.

On Oct 11, 2006

I also think it is weird for the 4th and 5th graders to be monitoring a food allergic child or any child for that matter while eating. At dd`s elementary school, they had monitors for everything under the sun, but they did not have anything like this. They had 4th and 5th graders who had jobs passing out food in the caf with an adult standing 2 feet away. They never would have had kids monitoring the other kids while eating. There were lots of "jobs" for the 4th and 5th graders, valets who walked the kindergarten kids to their classroom, ball monitors, play monitors, etc. By the way, I don`t know how it is in your school, but at ours the kids who wanted these "jobs" had to fill out an "application", and the principal picked the most responsible kids. Not just any 4th or 5th grader could do these jobs.

On Oct 11, 2006

I too think it's weird that they have 4th and 5th graders watching the kids. Specifically because my elementary school had the 7th and 8th graders monitoring the 4th and 5th grade lunches (plus the rest of the classes). We ate lunch in our classrooms at our desks, so it was usually one 7th/8th grader for about 25 kids. Then the teacher would come back to take them to recess.

I highly doubt any of the monitors ever knew about my allergy. Different times then, my epi was kept at the office and they said they couldn't use it on me due to liability reasons, but my mom just trusted them to use it on me if I was in trouble because it was a Catholic school and she felt they wouldn't let me just die in front of them. But everyone used a placemat for lunch, at least. And I vaguely remember adults walking the hall and checking in from time to time on each class.

The one very nice thing about the whole situation was, when I was in 7th grade, *I* got to be a monitor for the 4th grade class. So I got to eat at the teacher's desk. The kids in that class were sweethearts too. It was fun. But 5th graders watching the kids? That's too young, too much responsibility for someone who's only 10 or so years old.

On Oct 11, 2006

Part of what went on here, I think, is that the student did something completely unanticipated. I could be completely wrong, but due to the surprise from the Principle, I think it was thought that if a monitor (or another child) saw something going on with DS they'd tell an adult. My kids seem to love to have something that they can go run and tell somebody about. Instead, this monitor, thinking about his allergy, knowing that there are symptoms appears to have tried to discern whether something was going on first. She probably would have said something after reading his "Allergy Paper" and had figured he was having a reaction due to something she confirmed by reading what she did. Yes, that would be the wrong order of doing things, but in a kids mind it might make sense.

Inherently I don't have a problem with 4th & 5th graders doing many of the things they do, but as long as the school recognizes that they aren't an extension of the staff. There is this laxness that this school has that is problematic. One big happy family, community, everybody watches out for each other -- as long as you go along with it. To me, part of the problem that gets created with the co-mingling of school staff, parents, pta, students when talking about what goes on with the business of the school, is that you don't get anyone who is the clear authority figure. Who's in charge right? We've already caused problems because we have a 504 -- we expect the school to enforce what they are responsible for -- not us running around schmoozing and playing social games. If DH and I wanted to live in a commune we would have moved to one -- but until then, having a clearer authoritarian hierarchy would be nice. A 5th grader shouldn't see themselves on the same plane as a teacher or principle. I'm probably not wording it right -- but there is a subtlety in a child problem solving and being independant, and also knowing that they need to get an adult (to me, the gap lies with the adult leadership -- or lack thereof).

And, btw, Mommyofmatt, thank you for your suggestions. They actually were of help. I had a talk with DS at breakfast this morning (and will again -- just to make sure he absorbs the info). We talked about how if someone notices something going on with him, he shouldn't tell them to stop saying it because it makes him nervous, but instead he should tell them to get the adult in the room. Also, if he is outside, he should take a friend with him to find the adult on the yard (plus a few other things - but mainly him also knowing getting an adult was key). I agree with you that kids usually want to help, and part of making that an advantage for us is to also help DS to know certain things he can do. He still is young though, and the idea of having a reaction makes him nervous and worried. He also hasn't had a major reaction (knock on wood) since his first one -- so doesn't know what will happen. He has a vague idea, just like the other kids -- and that again, points to why it is essential that these adults at the school remember what their responsibility truly is (and paying attention to what is going on around them). The kids can help as extra eyes and ears, which is great in the case of how this school is run. For me, though, I somehow feel that a school should be able to be run by the paid, adult staff -- you know, they should be able to fully do their job. There shouldn't be a dependance on the 4th and 5th graders -- their help should be considered an 'extra' not an 'essential'.

On Oct 11, 2006

are these fourth and fifth grade "monitors" trained in CPR?

I mean, they are monitoring "lunch", yes? I'm continually amazed it doesn't occur to some adults that children eating means the possibility of choking. I tell my older son, if for any reason, he finds himself home alone after school (ie: car breaks down, accident, crisis at work where I am a few minutes late meeting the bus, he can let himself in, call me on my cell phone, but never, never [i]eat solid foods[/i] if he is alone.

Food allergy concerns are a much less likely possibility in my own home than the very real, more likely concern he could choke alone.

No advice, just personally speaking. Boys love to eat "on the go". Maybe it's just my own parenting experience.

On Oct 11, 2006

My DD 504 has it listed that an ADULT supervisor REMAINS at her table!

On Oct 11, 2006

I'm sure these kids aren't trained in CPR. The adults around them are supposed to be (I say with a cringe by the way, just because, well, I'm realistic -- though DH might say it's cynicism.)

Funny about the boys eating on the go. My one younger one is constantly moving -- drives me crazy when he ends up upside down in his chair while eating. Half the time I think it would be a good thing to serve only foods they had to eat with a spoon -- but then I also don't want to have to clean all that mess up when they inevitably knock it on the floor. Makes me then want to go to the other extreme -- only portable foods that aren't prone to crumble! (Although, we don't let them eat outside of the kitchen that often. We have a table in there - and a floor that can take a spill just fine. It could be the FA's, but we keep a pretty tight reign on where, when and what when it comes to the boys and food.)

Gotta remember the no solid food thing for later on. It is almost like no wine for me unless DH is home -- the whole just in case factor. Not that I drink more than one glass -- but if something were going to happen like a reaction, I don't even want to have one sip in me just in case. Funny the things we think of or do so differently than others because of FA's.

BTW, Mommabear, thought I heard your school yelling out and 'Ouch' all the way here in CA! You might break a paddle giving a spanking like that. [img][/img]

On Oct 11, 2006

My child's 504 states a classroom aide will monitor lunch table. The school had to put one in the lunchroom for the peanut free table.

On Oct 11, 2006

I am all for giving kids jobs at school, raising the flag, door holder, helping younger ones get lined up in the morning, being a book buddy, helping in the media center any number of things, but NOT monitoring children in the lunch room or taking over the office at any time of the day. This is not appropriate. For one thing, they are not capable of handling a situation at mealtime, food allergy reaction, choking, other medical concerns with students. Secondly, there is private information in the office. This is not a place kids should be, we have three ladies who work in the office and they stagger their lunch times. We have 2 adults monitoring lunch, sometimes more, but I cannot imagine allowing 4th and 5th graders to do this.

On Oct 11, 2006


Originally posted by saknjmom: [b]I am all for giving kids jobs at school, raising the flag, door holder, helping younger ones get lined up in the morning, being a book buddy, helping in the media center any number of things, but NOT monitoring children in the lunch room or taking over the office at any time of the day. This is not appropriate. For one thing, they are not capable of handling a situation at mealtime, food allergy reaction, choking, other medical concerns with students. Secondly, there is private information in the office. This is not a place kids should be, we have three ladies who work in the office and they stagger their lunch times. We have 2 adults monitoring lunch, sometimes more, but I cannot imagine allowing 4th and 5th graders to do this. [/b]

My thoughts exactly.

gvmom, I am shaking my head at your school: Kids eating their lunches out on the black top, children staffing the front office during the lunch hour. . . [i]Unbelievable. [/i]

There's another house for sale on my block. I'll drive car pool. (a dance CD is already playing for MB's cubs. . . )

On Oct 11, 2006


Originally posted by gvmom: [b] BTW, Mommabear, thought I heard your school yelling out and 'Ouch' all the way here in CA! You might break a paddle giving a spanking like that. [img][/img][/b]

No paddles for me, I've always been a bare hand whoopin' type of gal. [img][/img] [img][/img] Besides, it was merely my [i]calling card[/i]. When I write a letter with some [i]teeth[/i], I'll share. [img][/img]

On Oct 11, 2006

pfmom2, it's a long story, but we had to get a 504 just to get a [b]table[/b]. If we had gone for peanut free, he would be sitting by himself in the lunch room.

saknjmom and Gail, I'm in total agreement with you. There is a lot that I am aghast at -- but it isn't the stuff that people who are interested in the superficial care about -- and there are more of them than there are of me. Heck, the other PA parent is on the PTA and thinks lots of stuff, that would make us all cringe here, is okay. Having to try and change things, that this other woman has been fine with, makes it doubly hard because I get her thrown back at me as an example as to why it has been fine before (what's the problem with us - right?). I don't know how to put it nicely, but there are many things about the way the school is & PTA that is a bit incestuous and status conscious. There are quite a few things that if giving a tour to incoming parents seems impressive. Great for writing up descriptions about what you have to offer students. However, the actual structure, that I feel is fundamental, well, it is sorely lacking. I think many priorities are just messed up. Many attitudes are completely hypocritical and self-serving.

About that house...... does it have lots of storage?

On Oct 11, 2006

[b]When I write a letter with some teeth, I'll share.[/b]

Looking forward to it!

On Oct 11, 2006


Originally posted by gvmom: [b]If we had gone for peanut free, he would be sitting by himself in the lunch room. [/b]

That is against the law. They cannot make him sit alone at the peanut free table. It is segregation due to disability and it is illegal just like it would be to have a table just for African American kids, or a table just for Catholic kids.

On Oct 11, 2006

I don't mean that they would have segregated him specifically -- but if there were a peanut free table for him, nobody else would be sitting with him. The other parents with children who have nut allergies don't seem to care if their kids sit outside on the ground, and nut products are allowed at school. There'd be nobody inside eating with him. By default he'd be alone. I can only imagine the arguments we would have gotten if we had gone for that, then had demanded adult supervision. The principal probably would have thrown 'reasonable accommodations' at me again. Allocating one adult to supervise a single child -- would have been like asking for a gold plated desk chair.

[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited October 11, 2006).]

On Oct 11, 2006


Originally posted by gvmom: [b]Allocating one adult to supervise a single child -- would have been like asking for a gold plated desk chair.


huh. this is what my child's IEP specifically calls for. (a one to one aide, not a gold plated desk chair.)

The district claims it is not "an educational aide" (although parapro certified aides are the only ones they hire), but uniquely for his "health" portion of his IEP.

On Oct 11, 2006

I swear my head is going to pop clean off! I'm just not even able to comprehend this bu!!**** . Just a few minutes ago I'm sitting with my son while he is eating his snack. We are talking about his day. I ask if he sat next to the same kid, as usual. He says no. What? Someone new? Not really. Today, the custodian -- who just happens to be one of the two adults that supervises the lunch room (I know, I know... I can hear it through the computer... it is the loud gasp ... yes, the custodian) told my son to MOVE!!!

Yes, folks, the day right after we talk to the Principle about the lunch monitors -- with part of our issue being the seating -- our son is asked to move by a supervising adult who is supposed to know DS sits in the same seat everyday at the end of the table.

DS again is proud of how he didn't move. That the custodian apparently told him to move quite a few times, and when he wouldn't move, the custodian told the kid who normally sits to the right of my DS, to sit on the left. I guess there was enough room for this kid to squeeze in on the end.

Now I'm left wondering -- too late in the afternoon to contact any of these idiots at school -- why the he!! would they be moving my kid? Why wouldn't they tell my DS why they wanted him to move either? I've even gone by at lunch, and seen this custodian posted right across from DS's table, almost on guard -- he knows the drill. And why, why people, today? It is almost like some sick joke. This information coming to me after I get off the phone with the woman who has harangued me previously (person from some of my off topic rants) about nut foods, whose diatribe today was about the school community and how great it is. Maybe they are trying to make me hate them all more, either that or give me an ulcer. I wonder if I could have them pay for medical bills and prescriptions?

On Oct 11, 2006

About sitting alone at the peanut free table, wouldn`t his friends be sitting with him? That is what I meant about it being against the law---they have to allow his non pa friends to sit with him. I wasn`t referring to the other pa kids.

On Oct 11, 2006

[b]they have to allow his non pa friends to sit with him[/b]

This of course assumes that one could count on other parents to not send nut foods so that they could eat at the nut-free table with my son.

[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited October 11, 2006).]

On Oct 11, 2006

A little Off-topic here, but that gold-plated desk chair sounds really nice.

[i]Do you think I could get one of those?[/i] And perhaps more importantly, can they be engraved?

Seriously, what is wrong with these a$$wipes???? (pardon my French, but this is clearly a situation that calls for clear speech)

I mean, it is FANTASTIC that your son knows better than the rest of the three-ring freakin circus he apparently is being educated in, but GEEZ.....

On Oct 11, 2006

I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry all this is happening gvmom.

On Oct 11, 2006

Your french is perfect Corvallis Mom -- I've been throwing a slew of french around all afternoon. It seems like expletives are about all I can muster for this mess. The only bright spot is his teacher. If only she were the one running the school!!!!!!!!!! There are things that even she rolls her eyes at -- but has sworn me to 'just between you and me' on them. Makes me wish she was running the show even more!

Oh, about that desk, I'm sure it could be engraved. That most assuredly would be extra though!

Thanks Gail. I try to to think about what things would be like without the 504. Oh, wait, I've been there before -- somethings are better left in our memories.

On Oct 12, 2006


Originally posted by Corvallis Mom: [b] I mean, it is FANTASTIC that your son knows better than the rest of the three-ring freakin circus he apparently is being educated in, but GEEZ.....[/b]

ROFL!!!! Hopefully a little bit of humor lightens it for you gvmom...

But gvmom, ya got me. Why oh why are they so fixated on moving your son?!?! I completely understand your discomfort with your ds eating lunch at school. [img][/img] I just hope these things can get cleared up so he can eat there safely without you having to camp out there every day or pick him up for lunch...

I'm glad the role playing idea helped. It sort of sounds to me that he's his own best defense (assuming it's just the continuation of these antics and not a reaction) in the looney bin [img][/img] Meg

[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited October 12, 2006).]

On Oct 12, 2006

Gvmom, what about having the kids who buy their lunch sit with your son at a peanut free table? Aren`t there peanut free school lunches available so that he could have a peanut free table and not have to sit alone? By the way, by this age, dd`s friends who brought lunch from home always told their parents not to pack peanut products so they could sit with dd at the peanut free table. She was never alone. In fact, the peanut free table was so crowded that they had to make a rule limiting the number of friends who could sit there.

On Oct 12, 2006

Meg, humor does help. I'm afraid sometimes all one can do is start to laugh at the absurdity of it all. And I too want to make sure things get cleared up. I already did the driving back and forth everyday to get him for lunch last year. That was before we had the 504. DH and I are the odd parents -- we don't think that our nut allergic son should be eating outside on the ground.

Carefulmom, some of the logistical problems arise because without DS's 504, he'd be stuck outside on the ground eating lunch. It isn't the norm for the children to be inside eating at a table. Usually on the K & 1st graders get to eat in the lunch room -- and only if it is raining. Every other year all the kids are eating outside on the blacktop. DS is in 2nd grade -- and last year I got him for lunch everyday because I refused to have him eat outside, and we didn't have a 504. With the 504, his class is actually getting something they've never had -- a table to eat on. In fact, this year they have had the k & 1st grades eating inside more (I think partially because of my DS having to have a table -- I think they are almost shamed into having to do what they should).

So, if we got a peanut free table, instead of a table for his class, his classmates would be eating outside. All of the other 2nd - 5th graders eat outside right now.

And again, I think I've just given up completely believing that I can really trust anyone at this school. Part of how I'm approaching working things, is trying to make things as close to fail safe as possible. I also just haven't gotten the idea that I can depend on people remembering DS's allergy either(when it comes to packing lunches for their kids)-- and if they do remember, that might not mean anything either.

On Oct 12, 2006

Sometimes when I read posts like mine, or ones that have too many things going wrong right in a row, I think "Is that really possible?" Now I know it is. I am so livid I am shaking.

DH is home today because it is DS's birthday. We are having a party for him after school. We figure -- perfect. While I'm working on the party stuff, he can run to school at lunch to see how things are shaping up, what is going on, and sort things out. Great. Fine. Yippee.

He comes home after going there. Fills me in on the seating issues. He talked with the custodian. Talked with the Principal on his way out -- guess she was coming down to the lunch area a bit late for some reason. Anyway, he's talking about the seating stuff -- but there is something on his face. The other brick that is going to drop -- I see it.

WHAT? Right? What now.

There is a new lunchtime yard supervisor. DO YOU THINK THAT MIGHT BE RELEVANT?!!!!!!

The 2nd - 5th graders play on the big yard at the back of the school. Furthest point from anything, anybody --- from help. We do have a medical kit in the lunchroom that flanks the big yard, but you have to know where it is or it will be of no help.

DH tells me that he went over to this woman and introduced himself, then asked if she knew about DS. She knew who he was -- had a vague kind of knowledge that there was something about him. But she doesn't know really anything. She isn't trained. She doesn't know where his kit is. DH did his best to say something -- but she is supposed to be looking over the yard.

DH then leaves, and as he is leaving this is the point at which he runs into the Principal. They discuss the seating thing. They discuss the yard person. Oh, yeah. Well, the Principal will make sure to get her trained. Right. My a$$.

Anyway, I've pretty much started to spew profanities at this point. Inept kept coming to mind too -- and out my mouth mixed with expletives. I feel sick. I can't even believe these people.

So, DH gets an Epi trainer, a kit and fact sheet, and headed back to the school to train this new yard person. WHO HAS BEEN THERE FOR WHO KNOWS HOW LONG BECAUSE NOBODY THOUGHT THEY SHOULD TELL US.

I told DH if that chick doesn't get trained today, DS isn't going to school until she is. Point blank. I'm done. He is a dollar sign to them -- well they can kiss my a$$. They don't play, they don't get paid.

On Oct 12, 2006

Two words for you (other than the profanities... let me know if you need help there-- monotony and all--- I can be very creative)


(You know, for the OCR complaint which is pretty much looking inevitable from where I am sitting right now...)

hugs}}}} to you guys!!

Happy birthday to your DS. [img][/img] (Really-- please try to enjoy today with your great little guy! Relax knowing that he'll get to celebrate with YOU and not those total morons.)

[i](Look-- a whole post about your situation without any blue language. It's a f**** miracle. Oh-- er, whoops. Guess I blew it there, didn't I? )[/i] [img][/img]

On Oct 12, 2006

I agree with Corvallis Mom. Time to write a letter documenting the multiple problems you've seen and your DS has experienced.

But do that another day. . . today is reserved for feeling the joy that your son brings you. [img][/img] Don't let them take one molecule of that away from you on this special day.

On Oct 12, 2006

gvmom, Happy Birthday to your guy. [img][/img]

I've read the whole thread (just to-day) and could probably go into babble speak, but that wouldn't be extremely helpful to you.

What I do strongly agree with is the paper trail.

And, if it is of any comfort to you at all, we seemed to have "one of those years" when my son was both in Grades Two and Three (different schools) and although it was stressful, horrible, exasperating, Jess managed to get through without a reaction (oh, except at the breakfast program I ran in Grade Two) and he was no worse for wear. Just his parents.

The kids have had outside lunch here since the beginning of school (not after to-day I bet when we got some SNOW [img][/img] ) and I asked my kids where they sat, and sure enough, the blacktop. This in a school yard filled with Canada Geese and well Canada Goose sh**.

My children have also been in schools where the older students would "staff" the office at lunch-time. I remember because it would drive me batty if I called or walked in.

Just big hugs. [img][/img]

Oh, and once you complete your paper trail by year end, don't be like me, and not follow through - I sense you're the type that would also regret it immensely for quite some time afterward (I still do three years later).

Best wishes! [img][/img]

------------------ If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I would walk up to heaven and bring you back home with me.

On Oct 13, 2006

Hi guys! I meant to post back and update, and also thank you all for your Happy B-days to my DS. It turned out to be a nice day -- and I was so fried by the end of yesterday that today I just vegetated the entire day. As tiring as it gets doing the normal house stuff, and planning a party, I think the stress of this school stuff just leaves me so drained. It just mentally kicks me in the a$$.

So, last post was DH heading to the school to train the new yard person. There is good news about her. She apparently has had some sort of medical training (DH said she used some acronym for something, but couldn't remember what it was). She and her Mom are allergic to strawberries and she has a cousin who is allergic to peanuts (and related a story about her eating a butterfinger to DH). Additionally, she also had used an Epipen trainer before on herself & on someone else. And while there could be a wide range of what all that really means, at the very least there is familiarity with the issue of nut allergies and Epipens (which is better than some of what we started with when we were dealing with veteran staff).

I agree with you that we should document this past week. I think the hardest part is incorporating so much into one letter -- that really puts it in just the right way. Definitely something I'm not going to tackle tonight -- but want to try and make sure it gets done so we can turn it in to the Principle on Monday. To wait on it wouldn't be good. I think people at this school tend to forget their ineptitude pretty quickly. If I manage to get something together in the next couple of days, would you guys mind giving me feedback? I'd appreciate your input.

And CSC, you are right. It is funny the way memory works. I can forget why I was headed to the refrigerator, but I would definitely be the type of person who'd never be able to forget not following through with something that in my gut I know I should. Drives ya crazy, hearing the "Now why didn't I do.....".

Now, I'm headed off for my last bit of vegetating. Thank you all so much for your support, advice and humor this past week.

On Oct 14, 2006

gvmom, I so seldom go into any of the SCHOOL threads as I don't have to deal with school and was shocked to read what you have been going through all week.

What a nightmare!

I hope things settle down this coming week and that the new supervisor turns out to be a good thing.

Keep us posted. Adele

On Oct 15, 2006

Crazy isn't it Adele? Was shaking my head all week. Thanks though for checking in.

Now, hopefully you all can give me some input about the letter I wrote to the Principal. DH hasn't read it yet, so it may not be the final draft -- but it is what I've got right now. Here it is:

October 15, 2006

Dear Mrs. XX,

After the events of last week, we felt that it would be in DS

On Oct 15, 2006

After DH read the letter, he had me add in another item. It comes after the one about DH training the new yard supervisor -- in between that one and the one that starts, "In the future,....". So, here is the added paragraph:

It is incredibly important that whenever a new person is added to your staff, they get trained with respect to Food Allergies. There is no question that most people would do their best to assist a child in distress, but due to the fact that time is of the essence in treating a reaction, letting training slide could make a huge difference in whether a child lives or dies. It is important to have staff that understands that something like throwing up could mean the flu to one child, who would get sent to the office to go home, but could mean the first sign of anaphylaxis for DS, who would need immediate medical treatment and a trip to the hospital. What could be a rash on one child, could be hives on ours. Your staff, all of them, need to know, at the very least, that the subtle symptoms exhibited by our son, that can look like other common ailments, have the ability to turn into something deadly, incredibly fast. They need to know, and our son needs for them to know, who he is, what to do and to do it quickly. Please do not hesitate in notifying us when you have a new staff member. We need to know, we want to insure they receive the necessary training and will do whatever we can to assist you in that process.