New district-wide \"Food Allergy Guidelines\" that we don\'t like. Comments, please!

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 8:22am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I learned today that our school district has sent out "Food Allergy Guidelines" to all the school nurses. I'm pleased that they are addressing the whole issue and trying to make guidelines that are consistently applied throughout the district's schools. Many of the guidelines are wonderful-- no food consumed in the classroom w/ FA child (eat only in cafeteria), Allergen-free table, etc.

However, one of the points I'm having a difficult time with~ They want children with food allergies to only eat food/drink provided by their parent(s). This means that even if I come in to read an ingredient label on food brought in by another parent and deem it okay, DD still can't eat it. She may "only consume food/drink provided by parent."

I revised a draft of her IHP in August adding the phrase "Unless pre-approved in writing by parent.. she may only consume food provided by her parents", but it was denied. It's such a shame because I've been able to connect with parents before a birthday: they drop off their treats in the morning and I just come in and check them. If they don't have a label or if the label indicates it's not safe, then we just use one of a stockpile of back-up treats for DD.

I'm exploring options of "working up the system" and have a positive realtionship with my school staff. This is not the principal's policy, but came from the superintendent. I understand his desire to protect children and district (liability), but this seems unreasonable to me.

Has anyone else encountered this? I would love to hear everyone's thoughts about this.

Thank you. I really appreciate your comments.


Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 9:15am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Gail, I hope you don't get upset at what I have to say but it may not be such a bad policy. My son was allowed to have pre-approved treats brought in by someone else but there were 3 occasions over 2 years when he received food he should not of, (luckily there appeared to be no traces in it.) Once a parent who spoke to me misunderstood and told the teacher I told her he could have one of the cupcakes she was bringing in.
When classrooms can be so chaotic, especially on party days, and PA parents can have varying comfort zones and sometimes even knowledge of what is safe and what is not---I can see how a school district would want a very clear rule about what children with serious allergies should be eating.
It sounds like some big strides were made with the guidelines so if it were me, I likely wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 10:14am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I hear what you're saying, river. I've worked closely with the school for over 3 years and do appreciate what a great situation we amazing staff who truly cares and puts forth great effort. I have a great plan (IHP) in writing. It truly is a gift.
I think you're right in that what they want to achieve are simple, clear policies that are easy for the staff to administer.
It seems to me that they should be able to allow a little flexibility for a parent, like me, who is willing to jump in the car and actually read the exact label of the food. No second hand info., but actually checking that food ingredient label and authorizing, in writing, that my child can eat it. Otherwise, she will never be able to eat the same food (even when it is safe) that her classmates are. Now that she's in 3rd grade this whole "being different" thing is huge for her.
It's very reasonable that they may not always be able to contact me, that I may not be able to fly over, etc., etc. And in any case where I haven't personally pre-approved for whatever reason, I would want DD to have a substitute treat. But when a classmate is having a birthday on a set date and I know there will be food, I would like to have the opportunity to personally authorize it (and relieve them of responsibility/liability).
Am I being too unreasonable? It has worked out so well this way in the past to do it this way. I would think there would be an acceptable wording that could achieve simplicity and allow for this?
Thanks VERY MUCH for your thoughts. I need help thinking this through as I definitely want to "pick my battles" and realize that this may not be one worth the consequence of being perceived as "demanding".

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 10:20am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Would you be interested in sending me your IHP version? Hopefully, I can wrap it up with the school district soon. I pretty much know what I want, but am comparing plans to see what is actually working.

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 10:23pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I'd be happy to, Mamabear. We need to figure out how to get it to you. My email is currently down. I'd need your address to send it to you US mail. Ideas?

Posted on: Wed, 10/16/2002 - 11:51pm
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Gail, I actually totally agree with you. I would be very upset with such a policy and would take my concerns as high as I needed to in order to (hopefully) get this issue resolved. My seven year old pa daughter has a lot of anxieties about various issues and does not want to be different whenever it can be avoided. I am like you: I will "fly in the car", stand on my head, or do whatever I can "behind the scenes" so that Leah can eat what the other kids are eating. I think this policy discriminates against kids with a disability. Their hearts (or wallets?!) may be in the right place, but I wouldn't want someone else making this blanket decision for my child. If they feel so strongly about this policy than I think the policy should be that NO child is allowed to eat anything other than what the parents send in. I'm serious. This really bugs me! Miriam

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2002 - 2:30am
ACBaay's picture
Joined: 03/19/2002 - 09:00

Hi Gail W,
I think that this rule may be interpreted, such that once you go into the school, check the food item, then YOU would be the one giving the item to your child. Maybe the wording of the ruling can be changed to reflect that, or possibly the food item may be placed into your child's lunchbox after you check it out.
I do think that they are on the right track with this rule. It would help to prevent a reaction in a situation with a substitute, or in the case of a teacher just not being certain about cross-contamination issues.

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2002 - 5:44am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I agree with Andrea, and I was just thinking the same thing. This rule could have a loop hole for you: You go to the school, you check the ingredients, and then YOU hand the food to your child. Technically, YOU are providing the food to your child, not the school.

Posted on: Thu, 10/17/2002 - 8:29am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for the comments. It really helps to hear others thoughts on this. Just to clarify, Andrea, the teacher or a substitute teacher would never give my dd anything to eat ever. Period. Staff have never been in the position to do that, so there isn't any confusion or decision-making regaring what she can or cannot eat. That decision has always been mine/DH.
But what they are saying now is that even if I check a food (in person at the school) that it doesn't matter: she can't have it. I think you're right about the "loop hole" in that I could just go to the next step and actually serve it to her. It just seems silly. But I agree that they are on the right track and just wanting to protect my DD as well as their staff.
I explained the new rules to my 8 year old DD who is considering writing a letter to the Superintendent. She wants to write him about what it feels like to have PA and feel different from other kids. And ask him why he won't let her eat it even if her mom checks it and says it's okay. I think this might be a great approach.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited October 17, 2002).]

Posted on: Fri, 10/18/2002 - 12:14am
Rhonda RS's picture
Joined: 02/24/2001 - 09:00


Posted on: Fri, 10/18/2002 - 3:36am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Hi Rhonda! How wonderful for you to respond to my post! I REALLY appreciate it! I hadn't seen you on the boards for a while and glad to see that you are back. I am still forever grateful to you for your support and assistance in my process to obtain dd's IHP. Your perspective, experience, and knowledge are so amazingly helpful. Thank you!
You know, I really agree with you. I really do see both sides and I go back and forth on it. I'm fortunate in that I believe in my heart and know in my mind that they truly are working for *everyone's* best interest. It's a dance, and so far the school and I have been very compatible dance partners (not to say that both of us haven't accidentially stepped on one anothers toes from time to time!).
And part of it is just simply human nature/personalities in my mind. I don't think dd's 1st grade teacher and I could have balanced the communication needed to implement this system, but this year and last have been extremely positive and it has worked.
And guess what? My problem quickly resolved: the principal called me at home last night to talk about it and she agreed to revise dd's IHP to reflect my pre-approval (with very clear stipulations, of course). I'm very pleased. Acknowledging that it might not always work seemed to be key, but she agreed that if dd could have the same birthday treat as her classmates 10 times out of 20 and feel the same, that it was better than never.
Thanks to everyone for your comments. They were all very helpful and appreciated.
Hope to stay in touch with you, Rhonda!


Peanut Free Store

More Articles

You already know that if you or your child has a peanut allergy you need to avoid peanut butter. Some...

Do you have a sweet tooth and more specifically a chocolate craving? Those with peanut allergies must...

Peanuts and peanut oil are cheap and easy additives to food and other commercial goods. It is surprising (and alarming if you have a...

School nurses in Ohio are choosing not to carry emergency epinephrine due to ambiguities in the state's new allergy laws for schools. The...

Canola Oil Is Made From Rapeseed Plant

Rapeseed oil has been used in Europe for thousands of years, mostly as an industrial oil. It is...