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Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2003 - 6:03am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, I am livid. (I'm sorry that I only just saw this thread today so I didn't respond any sooner.) The situation you are in sounds horrible. I cannot imagine not being able to talk to my child's teacher. Do you remember what happened to me at the beginning of last year, when Leah was in first grade? We had that horrible "interim" principal and the lunch time E.A. from he**. The E.A. wouldn't listen to a thing I told her about Leah. The principal called my dh at his work, and told him that the E.A. felt that I was harrassing her and that if I spoke to her again I would be banned from campus. I was absolutely hysterical, truly beside myself. I called the district nurse and let her know what was happening and how upset I was. I also annonymously called the superintendent's secretary to find out what my next step should be if I chose to take it. (I would have done it in a heart beat but dh didn't want to "make waves" [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) It all got resolved when the E.A. transfered to another school and the principal finally left. Meanwhile I was a jangle of nerves. Thankfully, through all this my relationship with Leah's teacher was excellent. I cannot imagine the situation you and Jesse are in. How could the teacher have just sat there and not said a word?! Doesn't the principal realize how unprofessional this woman is being? And harrassment?! I cannot even begin to express how I feel about that. Grrrr. Please keep us posted. My heart is with you. Hopefully you can take comfort in Rilira's post knowing that Rachel came through a similar experience so well. Still, I am livid on your behalf. Hugs, Miriam [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by California Mom (edited January 24, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2003 - 8:06am
rj's picture
Joined: 01/19/2003 - 09:00

Hi Cindy, I'm sorry your having problems with your school. There's nothing worse than people not caring enough to keep a child safe. Hard to believe those people exits. But, as parents of pa kids we know they do. I guess thats why we have these kids and not them. I'm sorry I don't have any advise for you. (My son isn't in a school setting. The teacher from the school comes to our house). I just wanted you to know that I wish I could make it better for you. rj

Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2003 - 1:17am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I notice that I have had a few replies the last couple of days. Can I please address them later as I'm *supposed* to be getting kids ready for a birthday party and sleep-overs. At any rate, e-mail just sent to the principal with a copy to the superintendent, over something I just learned from Jesse this morning at breakfast. I am SO ticked off (worse than that [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] )
Dear Mrs.
Hello! I understand that we, as a family, came to the conclusion that Jesse would remain in Mrs. ____'s classroom (that is what he wanted) and that this meant he could possibly have preferred seating (which, interestingly enough, he has not had since the parent conference we had with yourself, Mrs. ____ and I). I also suggested to you that I felt the best way for me, in particular to deal with Mrs. ____, because she felt my e-mails were *harrassment* was to avoid dealing with her as much as possible.
I have to say that as a parent, and particularly a parent of a peanut allergic child, this is very difficult, but I also understood that it was in Jesse's best interest.
This morning, at the breakfast table, Jesse brought to my attention that a child in his classroom has been eating Kraft crackers with cheese which are clearly "may contain" items. As I have discussed at length, we have not found ONE cracker and cheese pre-packaged item that is safe (that is why my children have never had them). The ones from Food Basics are safe, although they do remain no name. The pre-packaged crackers and cheese that are being eaten are Kraft. These are definitely not safe because Kraft also makes pre-packaged peanut butter and crackers. I have not had cause to check them lately, but do know that Kraft labels their products really well and the main package that these would come out of would clearly be labeled "may contain trace peanuts".
I asked Jesse what exactly was going on in the classroom - apparently it has been happening for at least the past month. Jesse said that he has told Mrs. ____ that the Kraft pre-packaged cheese items are not safe but A is still allowed to eat them in the peanut free classroom. I asked if A was eating them at lunch whereby a handwashing routine should be in place and he said that no, she usually eats them for snack where there is no handwashing routine in place for after the children eat their snacks.
As you know, I was considering taking the "may contain" clause out of Jesse's written school plan after it had been ignored by his teacher for three months and because of the ensuing confusion it caused for other parents when the snacks finally began to be checked for "may contain" items. However, since Jesse had the anaphylactic reaction at school, this is not a viable option for us for a few reasons. First of all, we are still unclear as to what Jesse reacted to and secondly, I strongly feel that his teacher did not deal with the situation accordingly when he did have his reaction (i.e., she did not follow his written emergency medical plan which is separate from his written school plan). A friend of ours is changing schools within the Hastings Prince Edward County and she finds her daughter in another classroom situation EXACTLY the same as Jesse's, i.e., no "may contains".
If a parent has a problem with a written school plan (most peanut allergic children in the U.S. have written school plans called 504's), they can speak with the teacher about the problem to see if it can be resolved. However, as you know, Mrs. ____ and I are unable to communicate regarding Jesse's peanut allergy or any other issue. When a parent does not have teacher co-operation and/or understanding, it then becomes the principal's role to become involved and have the situation corrected.
I understand that Mrs. G is still checking snacks. I do know that she is quite diligent because I am still being approached by parents whose children have brought in safe snacks that Mrs. G has not allowed in the classroom (i.e., Mr. Christie's Chips Ahoy cookies).
I think what I find particularly disconcerting about this is that Jesse, at just 7, has tried to advocate on behalf of himself in the classroom and has been ignored. It is very important for peanut allergic children/people to learn how to advocate on their own behalf and as each year passes become more responsible for their allergy. I feel Jesse has done more than that.
Because his reaction occurred due to something with the breakfast program or on the way from the breakfast program, I find it commendable that this wee guy even would step back into the Resource Room. He only took the next morning off from the breakfast program, arriving 10 minutes late for school because I had to work the breakfast program and take his sister. I have to say that this is one exceptional child as far as being able to get back up on the horse and try again, especially with something that he does not have to partake in other than the fact that his Mother is running the program and can find no volunteers. I find it amazing and commendable.
As you know, Jesse's written school plan adheres to district school board policy re anaphylaxis and we do have the right for it to be followed to the letter.
Could you please let me know how you are going to handle this situation with Mrs. ____. My greatest fear, in not having contact with her, is that I won't until she ends up killing my child. I am quite serious about this. It is quite obvious that his allergy is not taken seriously by her, even when he is in the throes of an anaphylactic reaction. I have never met a teacher more cold or less compassionate.
Thank-you for your time and consideration.
Best wishes,
Cindy Spowart Cook
I'll respond *properly* to everyone later - I noticed some really good points that were made. Thank-you all. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2003 - 3:27am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

My software does not support hand-grenades. How DID you email that? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2003 - 4:22am
rj's picture
Joined: 01/19/2003 - 09:00

Hi,Cindy have you ever thought about having a teacher come to your house? I know alot of people wouldn't want that. I understand that. I'm not trying to talk anybody into anything. I just thought maybe it might be something to look into. It is working out really good for us. When we were going to put my son into Kindergarden,we realized the school wasn't going to keep him safe. We are in the states, they told us there was no such thing as pa. We got a Child Advocate and made them send a teacher out to the house. He is in the 5th grade and we are still doing this. Will he go to school someday? Proberly, I can't say when yet. We will take it year to year. He is very allergic to taste, touch and smell. This dosn't cost us anything for the teacher. Sometimes there are small costs for field trips, science projects,etc. I don't feel like I'm taking money away from the school because the state has this money for this. The school can't use it on books,computers,saleries or anything like that. The school uses it or loses it. I'm not asking it for my 2 non pa kids,they go to school. I know this isn't for everybody, but maybe some people would want to know about it. He gets 7 hours a week with the teacher. I then pick up the slack. Seven hours one on one is pretty good. They asked me if I thought he needed more hours for this year. I talked it over with his teacher and she thought he didn't. Although, they said as he gets older he would need it. I don't know if we made a good choice over his schooling or not. I was afraid of letting people know about his schooling because I thought I might get alot of criticism. If I'm doing the wrong thing its out of love nothing else. This is a school that when we had a meeting they "allegedly" did a challege on him. We ended up at Children's Hospital. A teacher came to my door on a Saturday totally upset and told me what happened. So this is how my son gets his schooling. We don't shelter our son to much, he makes age appropriate decions for himself. We want him to be ready for a world that isn't ready for pa people. He dosn't even want to go to school yet, when he does we will deal with it. Hope this helps somebody.rj

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2003 - 8:24am
tiredmommy's picture
Joined: 01/26/2003 - 09:00

Just a quick note - I checked at the store today. The Kraft handisnacks crackers and cheese DO NOT have a may contain warning on them. I checked both the sets of three and the big box.
This is in Canada.

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2003 - 11:15pm
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

Wow Cindy, and I thought I had trouble with our school. I am hoping as I write this that the teacher in question has been bopped on the head with a magic PA awareness wand and now "get's it"!
It truly amazes me time and again how stressful this allergy can be because it never seems to let up does it?
Your one saving grace is the fact that you have a Principal who seems to be onside with you. What I would question is the fact that the the Principal has not "acted" in her role as the teacher's immediate supervisor. Was she (the teacher) reprimanded in any way with regard to the written school plan not being followed? What steps have been taken by the Principal to ensure that this situation does not happen again.
The teacher seems unable to handle this situation at all, how has she been with other children who have disabilities?
I wish I had all the answers Cindy but you might consider mentioning to the Principal that Peanut Allergies are considered a "hidden disability" by the Ontario Human Rights Commission and as per the advice I was given by the OHRC, if Jesse is in an unsafe situation and the school refuses to act, you can file a formal complaint with the OHRC.
Seems like a drastic step but given the situation and all the stress it is continuing to create for not only you but also Jesse, maybe it's the next logical step. Just my opinion, maybe someone else can come up with some more creative ideas.
I really hope that things have improved for you guys.
Take care,

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2003 - 11:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Finally, I feel as though I can answer everyone *properly*.
Lam, thank-you. I think taking it up the ladder might actually hurt the situation but the superintendent continues to be copied on any e-mail that I do send to the principal re the situation now. So, he is aware but hasn't come out and called me or anything.
MommaBear, thank-you. I do think we have advocates here if you are having difficulties with your child's school. I could check one out (as long as they're free [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] ).
becca, I was really going to take the "may contain" clause out of Jesse's written school plan until he had the anaphylactic reaction at the school last month. Now I think it is best for it to stay in the for the rest of this year. It would have been confusing to do mid-year but I was willing to do it if it would ease confusion and tension. Thank-you for your ideas though.
rilira, no beautiful stationery? Just absolutely chic Christmas cards (of which I did not receive one this year [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] )! How do you file a formal complaint with the district against a teacher? What do you say? What timing is best? Like should I do it now or wait until the school year is ended? Could filing the complaint actually make things worse for Jesse in his classroom? I can contact my lawyer and see what the process is and what he thinks, not a problem.
Thank-you for your words, they gave me courage. I think what I liked was that perhas the teacher won't discriminate against the next child. If I fight or continue to fight, it may not necessarily benefit Jesse, but it may the next PA child. That's important and always has been to me.
Also, yes, Jesse has found out at 6, now just 7, that even teachers aren't perfect and can be downright mean. I remember my Grade 2 teacher, Mrs. W. I remember seeing her years later, when I was in Grade 6. She was divorced and smoked cigarettes. My soul, I was heartbreaken [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]
California Mom, thank-you for sharing your experience. Yes, I love those husbands that feel we shouldn't make waves [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] I have one myself although when he's the one that wants to make them it's a totally different story. AH!
MommaBear, do you think my e-mail was too harsh? See, I see it as firm, but if other people, like yourself, see it as something else, that may be why Jesse's teacher considers them harrassment.
tiredmommy, thank-you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I checked the Kraft snacks yesterday (and posted here under Manufacturers) and there was no warning on them. I am quite confused [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img] because as I was checking the labeling on the cheese ones I was also handling pb ones by mistake.
I have e-mailed Kraft with very detailed questions about their labeling and if the product is made in a different facility. I'll post the answer probably in this thread as well as in the manufacturers thread. Thank-you for checking though and also thank-you for posting the information. You can see now why my last e-mail may be problematic to me.
Many thanks to everyone and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2003 - 11:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Katiee, thank-you, we were posting at the same time. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] (that great minds thing). You are absolutely correct about the principal. If she is on my *side*, why haven't things really changed all that much? Good advice you gave me, thank-you.
rj, I have never heard of the situation whereby a teacher can come into your home. I really prefer Jesse in the school setting simply because it is his fourth year in school and we have NEVER had the difficulties we have had this year [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 3:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

E-mail I just sent to the principal:-
Dear Mrs. L:
Hello! Further to my e-mail of Saturday morning, I contacted Kraft Canada via e-mail. I am still waiting for an answer. However, yesterday, when I was in Pharmaplus I did check the Kraft pre-packaged process cheese and crackers and it did NOT have a warning label on it (i.e., "may contain", "made in"). Of course, this does not mean that they are not "may contain" but Kraft is a highly trustworthy company that usually labels well. While checking the process cheese packages, I was also handling peanut butter ones.
At any rate, I called Kraft Canada to-day and got the following response from them (this has been posted on a discussion board for other peanut allergic parents, so may not read like something I would write to you):-
I called Kraft Canada to-day at 416-441-5161 and spoke with CSR Jeannie. She advised me that the pre-packaged processed cheese with crackers were made on a peanut free line in a peanut free facility. She also said that if there was any chance of cross-contamination, it would be labeled accordingly.
I found it interesting that she said the line was peanut free and then went on to say that the facility was peanut free.
So, I asked, if the facility is peanut free, doesn't that mean ALL of the lines are peanut free to which she answered yes.
This was the answer I got to-day from Kraft Canada and if we go by what CSR's tell us, it would appear that this product is safe.
I am still awaiting an answer to my e-mail though. Let's see if it differs.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
At any rate, unless the e-mail from Kraft Canada differs, it would *appear* that the Kraft pre-packaged process cheese and crackers are safe for the peanut free classroom. As we have discussed in the past, Cheese Nips and Ritz are not okay, and the store brand ones, except for A&P's Equality brand are also not okay (although they are not labeled as being "may contain").
My apologies. I was glad, however, that I was able to follow-up on the product fairly quickly.
Best wishes,
Cindy Spowart Cook
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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