Need Opinions/Advice

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 2:51am
MFA Mom's picture
Joined: 08/31/2007 - 09:00

Hi, yesterday was the first day of school. DS is in 4th grade. Anyway, I was assured that the same procedures as last year would occur this year in terms of handling nuts that show up in class etc. That a letter would be sent home the first day asking that parents not send nuts into the classroom.

The note did not go home yesterday.

Two children had PBJ, kids ate in the classroom (I still don't know why). The nurse came in and made a big ordeal about moving kids around etc.

I can't seem to be happy with the way the school handles my son's pa. They are either not doing enough or they are embarassing my son. He said the teacher moved the kids with pbj to two desks away from DS. Then, the nurse came in and shuffled everyone around, put them at a 1/2 table about 5 feet away from my son. DS pointed out that this was not a good idea b/c there were a lot of manipulatives, books supplies on this table that he may touch at some point.

The other thing is that they continue to place the "allergy kids" in the same classroom. They did this last year too. It is not a coincidence. I am not 100 percent happy about this. I would really prefer that they place the kids without allergies being a consideration with the teacher that is most appropriate for the individual kids. There are 3 fourth grade classes. I would prefer the kids were spread out because it opens awareness to more than one 4th grade class, it limits the choices for adding to pn free table at lunchtime (they can choose a classmate from their own class). What do you think about this?

Our 504 meeting is Tuesday. (eligibility meeting) I am asking for pn free classrooms for the entire 4th grade as the kids are moved around for math to different classrooms. They are also mixed up for other lessons. I am also asking for a reduction in outside treats etc.

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 3:58am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Funny how I always seem compelled to answer a question when I am supposed to be vacuuming. *Major Procrastinator*
First, get your designation. If you think accommodations will come up at the meeting, then go there after you get the recognition of the 504 designation.
For accommodations, be child specific and consistent.
Your child needs a Peanut Free Classroom -- the area in which he receives instruction. Without that, his education isn't accessible. So, any classroom he is to receive instruction in, is then considered to be an area that needs to be Peanut Free also. Those other classrooms could be categorized as "Extended Classroom Areas".
If it ends up that the way they configure instruction is that your child spends time in every 4th grade classroom for his education, then every 4th grade classroom must be Peanut Free. But, if it is just one other classroom, then it is just that one other that needs to be Peanut Free. You could try floating it by them in such a way to see if they would go for all..... but depending on their level of stringency, just those that are directly specific to your child are the ones that you really must make sure to get Peanut Free.
As for reduction of outside treats.... try. It all depends on the attitude of your school. But, try to put specific parameters on foods that would be allowed in the classroom, as opposed to trying to limit the amount. Most school personnel don't like to feel like they are constricting the other parents (*insert eye roll and shaking head*) -- so if you give specific guidelines they might be more accommodating. We have the limitations of: Pre-packaged, Individually wrapped, with ingredient label & allergen warning, Peanut & Tree nut free, and no "may contains" type stuff either. Additionally, even if those are followed, we have final approval for our son to be able to eat it. But it does limit the foods in reality. It still allows for lots of choices for the sugary fat that the other parents want to inundate the school with though, while making it so that the teacher can read a label, know what is in a food, and turn it away at the door or allow it in. It does help to keep an allergen free classroom at the very least.
Also, if your district has a Wellness Policy, read that for help in curbing food -- especially as rewards. If your district doesn't have a wellness policy, check your state department of education. And, lastly, thanks to Lilpig, check the USDA discussion about "Competitive Foods". It gives schools the right to place limitations on foods that fall outside of the food that is outlined for the lunch program -- which includes things like birthday parties, etc.
Oh, and I feel your pain about having "allergy kids" in the same classes. I'm tired of having my son placed in the same class because the kid a year ahead of him with PA had that teacher. The way that kids parents handle things really screw us. Also, this year, there is another kid who is PA in my DS's class. His parents don't send in an Epipen... and I know don't have a 504 (of course none of the other FA kids do either). Having what is near complete opposite approaches in the same classroom just makes it very difficult.
Good luck with your meeting tomorrow.

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 4:01am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Take note of your accommodations, but don't bring them up at your evaluation meeting. Get your son's evaluation done and accepted, then focus on the next meeting, to discuss accommodations. Be ready to argue your point, as to *why* you need a peanut-free classroom etc... hopefully you won't have to, but most likely you will. It took us 4 meetings to get snacks *controlled*...they still won't call it a nut-free room(it's actually allergy controlled since my son deals with multiple allergies) but they will not use the word *free*....which is fine, as long as I know the offending food would be removed, I don't care about wording. But good luck, we had to work a letter into our 504 as well, school wouldn't send one home on their own, so now I make sure each year it is. HUGS
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 1/2(beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig, hamster & asthma)
Jake-6 1/2(peanut, all tree nuts, all seeds(sesame, sunflower, poppy, pine nut) beef, chicken, eggs, coconut, green beans/all beans, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-4 (peanut, tree nuts, milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig, hamster, grass, mold, dust mite and EE)
Savannah-1 1/2 (milk, beef and egg, dog(avoiding peanuts, tree nuts, strawberries, seeds, legumes and corn)

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 4:27am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Reading Chanda's post reminded me of something else too. Have a Platinum letter from your allergist.
In our allergist letter, there is a paragraph that states,"No cure for food allergies exists. Unlike other allergies, where medications or immunotherapy can prevent a reaction, there is no medication or immunotherapy device which can protect against food allergies. The cornerstone of management of life-threatening food allergies is avoidance. This requires an extensive written accommodation plan developed in consultation with his parents and physicians."........ Etc.
If you have, crafted into the letter from your allergist, language that helps get you toward a Peanut Free Classroom, then you are better off. No way to avoid Peanut if they allow it in the classroom right? If your child has LTFA's to Peanut then to avoid anaphylaxis they need to avoid Peanut. Only way to avoid anaphylaxis is to keep peanut out. Your child has a right to an accessible education. They can't learn if their major life systems are reacting and they are in anaphylactic shock because the school allowed Peanut in the classroom.
[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited September 11, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 4:28am
mom135's picture
Joined: 08/24/2007 - 09:00

Just a note on grouping kids. I have been on the fence about this one. So I asked my DD, and she said she would prefer to have other kids with PA in her class so she didn't have to go through this alone. So for now, the school is accommodating. But on the flip side, I know that spreading them out (there are eight of them) to all different classrooms probably makes for a safer school because of more "allergy aware" classrooms. I can see both sides of this one.
I LOVE your last paragraph. That paragraph should be sent to every school in the country that just doesn't get it.
[This message has been edited by mom135 (edited September 11, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 4:34am
caryn's picture
Joined: 11/20/2002 - 09:00

I understand about grouping too -- fortunately for my son he needs the teacher that is structured - and thats who he gets due to his food allergies -- the teacher the kid with allergies had last year -- plus there is one another boy with allergies in his class.
my only thought is -- if there is a mistake made by the teacher are 2 children going to have reactions?

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 6:11am
MFA Mom's picture
Joined: 08/31/2007 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]Reading Chanda's post reminded me of something else too. Have a Platinum letter from your allergist.
In our allergist letter, there is a paragraph that states,"No cure for food allergies exists. Unlike other allergies, where medications or immunotherapy can prevent a reaction, there is no medication or immunotherapy device which can protect against food allergies. The cornerstone of management of life-threatening food allergies is avoidance. This requires an extensive written accommodation plan developed in consultation with his parents and physicians."........ Etc.
[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited September 11, 2007).][/b]
Thanks for the advice. I do realize that my only goal on Tuesday is to get the designation. I will probably refuse to discuss my proposed accommodations until I receive the designation. I don't anticipate trouble getting the designation b/c the ss lady at the board of ed and the principal said he thought it was a good idea.
I must have copied your letter because mine says exactly what you posted about no cure for food allergies etc. LOL. I am still awaiting the letter to be sent back from the doctor.
I guess my big beef yesterday was that they didn't send the letter ahead of time about DS allergy. Also, they ate in their classroom. I thought the nurse came in inappropriately saying that kids had to move around because of allergies etc. I didn't care for the way it was handled. Kind of like along the way of making a big deal of it, they are embarassing my son.
anyway, still no letter today. They also ate in their rooms again. DS said noone packed pbj...
I just sent an email to the principal to compliment the other I sent this am.
Thanks for your replies.

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 7:46am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Again, me procrastinating. Supposed to be finding a movie somewhere in this house, which I just saw the other day, but now can not find to save my life. Sheesh!
About the letter home. It would be good to verify if they are just behind on it, or are taking a different stance now that you are going for a 504.
I answered someone else about the whole letter home thing, and I'll also answer you about it.
Depending on how official they make it, which now that the district is involved for us it is getting pretty official, they may not be willing to send a letter out.
There could be a few reasons for them not sending a letter home if they are getting official. Mostly to do with privacy issues. If they sent home a letter asking the other parents not to send in nuts there would most likely be the need for a reason -- unless they made the policy carte blanche for the entire school "just because". They really, given privacy and 504, shouldn't be setting a policy for your son and then publicizing it to the entire class. That violates your child's right to privacy with respect to the 504.
If they don't want to send out a letter based on 504 issues now, you might have to take it upon yourself as a parent to write a letter of your own -- parent to parent -- with information about your child & make a request that they not send in nuts "please". Meanwhile, it would be up to the teacher & school to enforce the Peanut Free classroom without actually stating point blank that it is because of your son.
I know I'm not wording it right.... there are subtlties with it all. But I do know that the "Face Sheet" that we previously had as part of our requirement to do in the 504 for last year was nixed this year when the district got involved. We could do it on our own, but as part of the 504 the district wouldn't allow it because it essentially would be like them advocating our breaching the right to privacy afforded to our son by the district.
Does that make sense?
Either way, it is good to find out why the letter hasn't gone out. If they are just behind then you know you have to stay on them. If it is for privacy & legal, then that could be good cause they are following the rules and doing what they should. Though, I would add that they should tell you why instead of making you chase them down.
Oh, and thanks mom135. It is amazing how schools don't get that if your kid is losing consciousness, as they swell up, and their major body systems are going crazy, they won't be doing anything other than heading down the road to their demise.
[This message has been edited by gvmom (edited September 11, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 10:01am
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

Well, as far as the letter, it used to go out approximately 2 or 3 weeks into the school year. It came from the board of education and is an embarassment of a letter. It is a general letter that says, more children are becoming allergic to nuts and nut oils used in baking. Please refrain from sending nuts or foods cooked in nut oils to your child's classroom or school functions.
Before last school year, I requested that a letter be sent prior to school specific to the parents in my child's class that was a bit more educational.
They accommodated this, but refused to send it prior to the first day of school. They sent it home with students the first day.
I called Friday to confirm that his new teacher was aware of his health concerns and that the letter would go home Monday. Principal called and left a message confirming that the letter would go home the first day as it did last year.
The letter goes home to every student, not just my class.
Principal still hasn't returned my call or 2 emails with an explanation of why the letter is not out and WHY the kids are eating lunch in their classroom.

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 11:04am
ajas_folks's picture
Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by caryn:
[b]. . .
my only thought is -- if there is a mistake made by the teacher are 2 children going to have reactions?[/b]
My blood just ran cold with that thought.
And now my mind is thinking this exact scenario needs to be addressed with our DD's teacher as she has at least 2 PA kids in her class. I never thought about that double-reaction possibility. Never.

Posted on: Tue, 09/11/2007 - 12:07pm
saknjmom's picture
Joined: 04/02/2003 - 09:00

I apologize, as many of you know, I changed my id recently...only to be lower profile and less identifiable by outsiders.
I have typed the old one so many times that I'm doing it by habit. Sorry, just saw that I posted both names in this thread today and didn't mean to, don't want anyone to think I'm being dishonest or deceptive.
And thanks for your replies and advice.


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