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Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 3:06am
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Anonymous (not verified)

Ally310, welcome! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I want to respond to your post first of all. Do not be afraid to send your son to school or even pre-school. You can gather all of the information you need to educate whoever will be taking care of your child. It can be done and it can be done well. If you look at people posting here, there are very few that have the difficulties I post about. That doesn't mean that they're aren't more people out there that have difficulties though, they're just not verbal about them or don't post them on the board.
One member started to gather information for her son going to school this year at least two or three years ago so she had everything in place for her son going to school. As far as I know, he is going to school and doing well and he is safe.
The most important thing is that you have found this website. You can ask any question that you feel you need the answer to and people will help you so that you will feel relatively safe on the first day of school or pre-school sending your son off into the world. Please trust me on this one. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Even though I am having the difficulties I have having, I have to reiterate that Jesse has NEVER had a reaction at school. This is his fourth year of school. Not one reaction. So, please, please, don't be dissuaded simply because of me.
I have had difficulties in the past with schools, but not to the extent that I have here. I have dealt with a reluctant principal before but never a reluctant teacher. Your son will be okay.
There are other PA parents that do choose to homeschool their children but I believe if we raised the question, PA wasn't the only reason or may not even have factored into why they chose to homeschool.
Yesterday I was leaving the school after doing my breakfast dishes and two girls that I know were coming into the school with their Mom. One girl is in Jesse's class and one is in Ember's class. I told the wee one that her class had gone skating, that there was no one in the classroom. The Mother said that the daughter couldn't go skating anyway because of her asthma and that the school was apparently refusing to give her her asthma meds which required hospitalization of the child on a weekly basis.
I asked her if she had heard of Duty of Care, which she hadn't, and I offered to send it to her via e-mail, but she just disconnected the internet this week.
She then went on to say that everything is being done to provide a safe peanut free classroom but what about her youngest daughter's allergy to red food dye and how it isn't being dealt with properly? Well, I was beside myself. Apparently, if the child ingests red dye it causes her blood pressure to rise and this requires some type of medical intervention although not clear what.
The Mom went off to storm into the office to see the principal. I know that if the child was anaphylactic to red dye (which you can be), that she has the same *right* as Jesse does - she could have a red dye free classroom.
I called the principal and the superintendent and spoke with them. The principal was just notified of the child's red dye allergy yesterday morning when the Mom stormed in there. I asked her if she thought that was odd, that 3 months into the school year she should be informed, and yes, she thought it was odd. She said that the Mom had requested that a letter be sent home re the red dye and the principal was going to comply with that, although the Mother had offered no medical documentation whatsoever.
We got a letter home last night with our SK children. It said that the child was allergic to red dye and ingests it, it causes a spike in her blood pressure. It went on to list fresh foods that are red that are safe and packaged foods that are red that are not safe.
I read the letter this morning. Could the timing ever be worse! To me, the letter was just plain stupid. I'm not clear, and will probably raise the question here if a rise in blood pressure would even be considered an allergy or an intolerance. And why would the principal issue the letter at this volatile time without medical documentation?
I had told the principal yesterday that if the Mom was having difficulty figuring out what paperwork she needed to provide to the school to have her call me because I could help her.
I called the principal this morning after reading the letter and I asked her if she didn't think the timing was really bad on this one. Her response was that yes, it was bad timing, but since the parent had just told her yesterday (and the parent probably realized she could say something because of the uproar re the PA, which is positive - her knowing I mean, not the uproar), bad timing was a part of life.
Just bloody lovely.
Lam, I understand what you mean about substituting snacks for children. For example, I don't care for my children to eat a lot of red dye (hmm, given above) and also sugar if they can help it. Even chocolate.
I would have to say that I don't think the parents of the children in this classroom are that way or if they are, they are not vocal about it. The snacks that we use to substitute the unsafe snacks with are, I think, better, than the snack that was originally sent.
But still. We do have a high volume of children using the snack program. We have children appearing at school with no lunches and no snacks. It is all very odd and sad.
So, I see where you're coming from and I do agree.
To make matters worse for me, the woman that has been threatening to call the school board all year finally did either last week or this week. I can just imagine. I am SO fortunate that she chooses not to show her face when her child is picked up. I know for her that it is not a matter of financial difficulty.
I know that she is just being a bi*ch. Pardon me. This is before the stuff started this last two weeks with the "may contains".
She has been like this since Day 1 and I have to say that if she thinks her child's lunches are more important than my child's life, she's a total bi*ch. Yesterday, I was just so upset by it all. Actually, I remain so to-day, if not even more. Thank heaven she doesn't have a child in the SK class who would have received a note about the red dye or she would have had a fit.
I feel that the red dye letter at this point in time, with all of the confusion, etc. is minimizing the severity of the PA situation.
California Mom, I'm sorry, I have to disagree with the "may contains". Right now, if I wouldn't look like a complete idiot, I would let everyone have "may contains" in the classroom. I am SO tired of fighting about this. I don't even know why I have to fight about it. Why have we gotten along for three years previous to this fine as far as the food in the classroom and now it explodes and explodes into my face as far as I'm concerned because of a teacher making $70,000.00 a year who chooses not to get it (pardon me, it's $69,000.00+).
The "may contain" clause in Jesse's written school plan has exploded because the teacher did not adhere to his written school plan, period.
If she had adhered to it from the beginning, we would not be having this problem or this discussion on the board.
I do feel that if the item is "may contain", then it can't come into the classroom if we're not allowing "may contains". We can't allow products in because the manufacturer chose not to label them properly. Do you know what I mean? If we let the improperly labeled items in, we might as well let all of the "may contains" in. Truth be told, I'm letting "may contains" in next year. I can't this year now because of the uproar, confusion, alienation, etc.
I'm sorry if I'm coming across strongly and also very angry. I am.
On an upside, when I came across the red dye issue yesterday I needed a couple of answers about the right of the child in a classroom in our province, Ontario. This meant I needed to call another PA.com member that I have never spoken with before. We have always been in touch via e-mail but I have never called her.
I had an absolutely wonderful, enlightening conversation with her (are you reading this out there? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] ) and I was really pleased to have talked to another member.
I think that's one thing that we do miss in cyberspace. Sure, we're in touch here and we may even be in touch with a lot of people "off-the-board", but I can tell you that it is very different when you actually get to speak with someone on the phone. It must be great to meet. So, that was my highlight out of all of this sh**.
Otherwise, I just feel like stopping to talk about it. I feel sad, angry, upset, violated, a lot of things. And that little pink pill every night is not going to sort this out.
I'm taking the "may contain" clause out for next year regardless of what school Jesse is at. I respect those of you that have the "may contain" clause in and have been able to keep it in successfully. I obviously haven't. I'm going to let it go. I'm too bloody tired to fight anymore. I want to spend my time re PA helping other people or learning more about different manufacturers, not on a bunch of b/s.
Pardon my language and thank you so much everyone for your support, caring, and concern.
I know that a couple of other people posted that I need to respond to, but I'd like to close now. You know me, I'll be back later.
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 5:27am
KarenT's picture
Joined: 10/30/1999 - 09:00

In our school if a child comes with a lunch that is not acceptable for a pn/n free room they must take their lunch and eat in another classroom. Their lunch is not allowed in the classroom. This can happen when a babysitter or grandparent is making lunch.
Just thought this might help the in a nasty situation.

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 5:46am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

First of all: Thanks Cindy and Mae for being so understanding about my request. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Cindy, this thing about the red dye is definitely unfortunate. I would have expected that the principal would require medical documentation before sending a letter out to all the parents about this. It just makes life that much harder for you, the other parents, and possibly Jesse. (I guess it makes it harder for the teacher, too, but I'm not very worried about that!)
As for the "may contains": I honestly truly understand where you're coming from with regards to labeling. It just seems too hard to me to expect the parents to be able to judge that a product isn't safe to bring in if they can't actually read it somewhere on the packaging.
Even when people can read it they can be so stupid, though, of course. This is off topic, but we were at a cousin's house last week to celebrate Hanukkah. She asked me if the chocolate gelt were safe. I showed her where it said "this product is not safe for nut allergy sufferers". So what do you think she did?! Handed them to all the kids except Leah. This was quite upsetting to me. I wasn't actually worried about Leah's safety in this case, "just" her emotional well being. She didn't even wait until they were going out the door, for goodness sake, but let them all eat them in front of Leah.
Good luck with this miserable situation, Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 6:57am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

I agree that it is very difficult to ban products that do not contain a nut warning. There have been so many posts here about products made by various companies (Con Agra, Kelloggs USA, Haagen Dasz, etc) which have NO NUT WARNING, yet they are considered unsafe to eat by many.
Trying to ban these products from the classroom may be difficult since they appear safe. The other point is that how will parents know it is a Con Agra product for example, as the company has many many different brand names. They may send a Hunts pudding cup to school and assume it is safe, not realizing it is made by Con Agra.
As long as the PA child (ie: Jesse) only eats food that he has brought along from home (does not share food with the other students) there should be no risk to him from other students eating these products.
However, the exception is if something is being prepared for all the kids. For example, if the class was going to bake Pillsbury rolls and they had no warning on the package but there was no guarantee that they were safe. Since it is for the class, a safe product should be selected that all the students can eat. It should be safe for everyone. It is not right for the PA student to miss out.
AS for lunches from home, I don't think there would be a risk from these items as long as the PA child only eats his own food from home. That is why I do not think it will cause any problem allowing "may contains" in the classroom next year. Although for younger children it is not safe as they may share food.
As you said Cindy, you are spending so much time and energy on this battle, but for next year, you probably could achieve much more if you didn't have to worry about the may contains. You can focus on other things as it is not good for your health and happiness to be in this stressful situation.

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 10:49am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Erik, that was very well put and makes a lot of sense. Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 11:31am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Yes, erik, I agree.
I'm so glad you were better able to put it into words than I. Cindy knows how I come across most of the time. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
I truly hope the decision is beneficial to everyone next year - especially you and Jesse. I think it will be. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 11:34am
Codyman's picture
Joined: 08/14/2002 - 09:00

Did anyone have to show medical documentation for their child's peanut allergy? I realized that most children would have an epipen and maybe that is enough 'medical documentation' for the school.
Before my daughter was tested for peanuts I had told the school (daycare) that she was allergic due to her reactions. They did not require any medical documentation.
Even with my son, who is 'allergic' to insects bites and bee stings, who has not yet been tested (will be tested in Feb 2003) the daycare again has not requested any medical documentation. My son does not have an epipen as of yet but has Benedryl for reactions.

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 12:23pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

My preschool wanted a doctor's signiature on the allergy action plan we have in place. It gives them a medical signiature for the intervention they may need to do for a reaction. becca

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 1:09pm
DebO's picture
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

I think CodyMan raises an interesting point. I needed a doctor's signature on the medication form to allow my children to carry their epipens. However, well before I provided this I had numerous discussions with the principal and teachers and had already discussed the action plans for each one of them without providing any sort of documentation. I guess it feels wrong to me to say that a parent saying their child must avoid red dye must provide medical documentation when we don't. Of course, the child's reaction (raised blood pressure) certainly is not equivalent to an anaphylactic allergy but I would also consider that this other child is in kindergarden where there is a much higher risk of sharing foods than in Jesse's class since he is older.
I am also uncomfortable with replacing the snacks and am glad that Lam has continued mentioning it. I think that if you continue to provide the children with an alternative snack the parents will continue to send in inappropriate foods. Does your plan actually state that you will provide alternative snacks for children who have items with peanuts or may contains? My approach is that the child is not permitted to eat the snack and a note is sent home reminding the parents that we had a peanut free classroom. The children will not suffer any serious harm from missing their snack for one day and are more likely to complain to their parents and to remind them not to send the wrong foods if they find they can't eat the snack. Most parents will not want their children to go hungry and so will try to send the right snacks the next time. I also agree, however, that it is unreasonable to ask parents to avoid a may contain that is not labeled as a may contain. These people are being kind enough to alter their shopping and lunch packing habits by reading labels - i don't expect them to also contact companies for information or to be as aware as a PA parent would be. Erik addressed this issue so well that I am not going to try and reiterate his points - I certainly do agree with him though.
Anyway Cindy I hope you are feeling better and find a way to make it through the rest of the year. Fortunately the Christmas break is almost here so you will have a couple of weeks without your "school stress"
take care

Posted on: Fri, 12/06/2002 - 11:30pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Wow, Cindy, this is a terrible and unfair position you are being put into. I have not had the chance to read every single post but have definately followed this page, and skimmed back through others. I want to add my sympathy first of all.
I hate having to be in that type of position, when I think our schools should be the voice of rule and authority on these issues, if they decide to take on policy. It is unfair to have you in the position, as the parent of the allergic child, of searching and enforcing the policy. It is hard for us to be completely objective and for others to see us as very objective in carrying it out. Not saying specifically that you have not been objective and/or fair, but just that it is *challenging* to be so personally involved and in charge of all that follow through. It seems similar to medical professionals treating close friends and family members, in a way.
It would be better if there were a teacher or administrator doing the "policing" then consulting with you about questionable items or problem with the system, until it is ironed out and running smoothly, then still evaluated periodically. Just seems so logical to me, but am finding this same(though not as grand a scale at all) lack of follow through with the more athoritative figures in my school.
On the may contain issue... I have to agree with you on the point that if the policy states it a certain way, it needs to be followed through for the sake of consistency to the policy. However, I think you are wise to reevaluate that for the future as you have said because it does become next to impossible to enforce. I know it is an ongoing process(especially with labeling in the states) to feret out what might be an undeclared "may contain", but agree with you that a "may contain" is a "may contain" regardless. However I really have to agree with those that say we cannot expect others to understand and carry out such diligence with their shopping if our child is not eating it or sharing it. As you are finding, I think it is confusing to those with non-allergic kids if the label looks okay, but the product is not. It is really a problem for us, though. If it is for a party or group sharing thing, then I think the common food items do have to be safe. Period.
This is where I am having similar troubles. The may contains that are not labeled, and my dd has been fed one of these once in her class. She was fine, but clearly my list was not read very carefully. I actually found out by asking my dd daily what they had for a snack, and was so upset when she said "animal crackers." I was lead to believe all snacks would be from the safe list I provided. What has now happened is there is always one of my safe things available, and sometimes other things are being seerved. It is this judgement I did not want to hand over to my teacher, a virtual stranger, really! I originally wanted to simply send in my dd's own snacks, and the other kids could have whatever(nut and PN free though and no known may contains). I was promised it would all be safe, and the school wants to provide the snack because it is in the budget, in my tuition payment and we are entitled to this. Just not working. The big issue is with these subtle labeling issues where we know things are not safe, but laws do not require it to be on the label!! I think the teacher has an issue with keeping to my list or something as well, but has not voiced this openly(there is another topic on this). I am digressing, but these things end up getting way more complicated than neccessary, IMO.
Chris, I am cutting you a check to fund your efforts for better labeling. It is next to impossible for even the most well-intended friends of mine to know what is safe for my dd. It is still hard for me. Thanks for being there! Becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited December 07, 2002).]


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