Now We\'re Being Asked Not to Go on a Field Trip - Tell Me This Isn\'t Happening?

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 11:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

For months now, the Grade 2 class has supposed to have been going on a bowling trip for building up extra points in their classroom (I don't know how they build up points or what the points are for). The trip is scheduled for this Wednesday (two days from now). I had e-mailed the principal last week about Jesse's parent designated supervisor for this trip, just as I had for the skating excursion two weeks ago. Here is the e-mail I received tonight from the principal:-

hello Mrs. Cook:
I have been chatting with Ms. M about bowling on Wednesday. We are
worried about the site not being peanut-free and of the risk to Jesse.
Ms. M has phoned the facility and they sell Reese's pieces, Planters
peanuts, etc.
Also, there will be other groups there that morning increasing the risk.
We are concerned about guaranteeing Jesse's safety given this
information.

B. L.

I am absolutely beside myself. This is the same as when Jesse was in JK and I got a phone call the night before he was to go to computer class and I was told he couldn't go.
He ended up in ceramics instead and when I told him he couldn't go to computer class, he said "That's okay Mama". That was 4 years ago.

Here is the e-mail that I shot off to the principal as soon as I received hers:-

Dear Mrs. L:
Hello! I have a BIG problem with this e-mail. It is very interesting that Mrs. M would have been the one to call the facility (as I was going to) and get the information that would indicate that perhaps it is not in Jesse's best health interest to go on the bowling trip even though this is something that his class earned through bonus points.
Might I remind you that Jesse has the RIGHT, under Ontario provincial school board policy to attend this event. Also, peanut allergy is covered as a hidden disability under the Ontario Human Rights Commission and should he not be able to attend, I would be filing a complaint there.
Jesse's written school policy is such that he has a parent designated supervisor for instances whereby there may be the sale of peanut products or the increased risk to Jesse. That is why that clause is specifically written in. That is also why, the parent designated supervisor, if the parent says so, can be the teacher. This also adheres to school board policy throughout Ontario.
I'm sorry, Mrs. L. I was told this in JK when Jesse was supposed to attend a computer class off the premises of the school. I was called the night before, similar to this, and told that he could not participate because of the school's concerns. I chose another course for him to take. However, it is four years later, and I have learned a lot more about my son's rights within the school system in Ontario. I have also learned a lot more about teachers that are unwilling to accommodate a child with a disability, even if it is a hidden one.
Your own school is not peanut free and poses a risk to Jesse as he navigates the school to go to science, library, computer room, karate, gym. His own classroom posed a risk to him for three months because his teacher was not adhering to his written school plan and checking the snacks for "may contains". It was at YOUR school that he had his anaphylactic reaction and was not dealt with properly one month ago.
The parent designated supervisor for Jesse can be his teacher - period.
I will make a telephone call right now to see if I can get a sitter for my daughter (Mrs. M is also aware that I have my daughter home that day I am sure) and if I can, I will be on the trip.
I am not pleased Mrs. L and I think your timing with this is wrong. Jesse will, however, be going bowling, with or without me.
Thank-you.
Best wishes,
Cindy Spowart Cook

I called the one person who I thought might be able to watch Ember for me and she's unable to that morning.

I called the Mom of the TNA child in Jesse's class who often volunteers in and out of the classroom and unfortunately, she's not going on the trip. However, she thought this was absolutely ludicrous.

The Mrs. M. referred to in the e-mails above is Jesse's teacher (use whatever adjective you care to in front of teacher, as I will abstain from doing so).

I have one more parent that I can ask - the one that accompanied Jesse on the skating excursion.

I can also simply go and take my daughter with me whether they like it or not.

I c.c.-ed the e-mail to the principal to the superintendent of the school board.

My head is ready to explode. It has been over an hour since I read the bloody thing and I haven't stopped shaking yet. I am very upset. I don't want to hear "that's okay, Mama" from Jesse again. It's NOT okay.

My DH, for whatever reason, has decided that the best way to deal with this is to sit in front of the TV watching his usual sitcoms and offering no suggestions whatsoever

I am absolutely beside myself. The TNA parent said that she felt that Jesse should be able to participate in any activity that any other *normal* child does. She doesn't even know about the rights involved within our school system (and thanks to Katiee the information re the Ontario Human Rights Commission). She is just thinking like a *normal* parent, but also a parent with a child with allergies, although not PA.

Also, because she does work in the class, she said that there is no reason that the teacher could not be Jesse's parent designated supervisor because there are a LOT of parent volunteers going that day. The reason she's not going is because her ex-DH is going and that makes it difficult for her son. She said that if she had known the school was going to be like this, she would have spoken with her son and gone with Jesse and his Dad still with him. Can you believe anyone being that sweet? She asked me if I was absolutely furious.

Of course, I am. But I'm also really tired and I think most of all, right now, really really sad.

Many thanks for listening (this has been a heckuva year, so thank-you SO much) and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Hey, did you know if you edit a message, you can't put in smilies, they show up as what you typed them as? I had to edit most of this message to get my e-mail to the principal in and then everything thereafter and every smilie I did (of which there were many) came out with just the typed instructions for them. I think this just happened to me recently here and I couldn't figure out why. Now I know why. And now you know why, it's:-

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Cindy Spowart Cook (edited January 27, 2003).]

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 11:45am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Oh Cindy, this is most distressing. You did great with your e-mail to the principal - I am really proud of you. Yes, I agree with you: Jesse should absolutely, without question, be on that field trip. I also think that if you do want to go, or feel that Jesse's safety requires that you go, you should be able to bring Ember with you. Considering the timing of the principal's e-mail to you, how could you be expected to find child care so easily. This school is treating Jesse dreadfully. My first thought was that if the bowling alley isn't considered safe for Jesse then the whole class should not go. The principal's wording is very interesting: she doesn't come right out and tell you Jesse can't go. She [b]knows[/b] what Jesse's rights are. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. {{{hugs}}} Love, Miriam

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 11:48am
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

If it was me (as I can only state what I would do in this situation as you describe it) I would:
#1 Verify if my school plan for PA enforceable.
#2 Verify what it states about "field trips".
#3 If it implies the school must plan the field trip to include my son safely and within the realm of the plan, I would simply state this in a letter to the school and cc it to the appropriate parties. I would indicate my concerns if the terms of the field trip did not agree with the plan. If it did, I would indicate my concerns about my child being asked not to attend. I would be sure to state what was not acceptable according to the agreed upon plan if there was a conflict.
#4 Provide a way to contact me and ask for an IMMEDIATE reply (most likely before the trip was to take place).
#5 Regardless of whether or not things changed by Wednesday, I would do what was safe for my child, and rest in the knowledge there was documentation of the incident.
Just sharing what I would do and what would allow me to sleep soundly at night. Only you can choose what course of action is right for you.
Oh yeah, I would definitely plan a "Mom and Me" day if the field trip proceeded without my child. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 11:50am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Posting while you guys were posting................

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 11:59am
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Rae
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Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

Is it normally a problem to bring siblings? It is an acceptable - often encouraged practice here.
I can totally relate to the Dh/ tv watching, not responding.......!!!!!!
He goes - no guestion about it! I can't imagine them making a suggestion otherwise. It is a School Board policy here that no one goes on a field trip if all can't go (regarding medical issues). If a child has asthma, and they forget their meds. - the whole class can't go. I don't see how they can venture to even suggest Jesse can't attend!
Stand your ground! I don't think you ask too much!!
Rachel

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 1:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank-you to everyone who has so kindly responded so far. I'll respond *properly* later when my mind is working properly to address each and every one of you and your questions. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Thank-you (you all know how I have to do things *properly*).
At any rate, after much thought, I have decided that if I cannot get the other parent volunteer to be Jesse's parent designated supervisor, I will go on the trip and I will take Ember. Taking Ember is against school board policy here, but then again, so is what is happening with my son.
Here is the e-mail that I just sent to the principal now:- (I hate editing out the names, I wish I could leave them in [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] )
Dear Mrs. L:
Hello!
I have contacted the woman who I thought might be able to look after Ember on Wednesday morning so that I could be Jesse's parent *designated* supervisor. Unfortunately, because she is moving, she is unable to look after Ember on Wednesday.
I contacted Ms. C because I have contacted her in the past about being Jesse's parent *designated* supervisor. First of all, her son is tree nut allergic and she has experience (unfortunately) using an Epi-pen on her own son. She also volunteers, as you know, quite a bit in the Grade 2 classroom. She is unable to attend because of the arrangements she has made with her child's Father to be in attendance that day.
I can contact Mrs. G, who you so kindly contacted and got to be Jesse's parent *designated* supervisor for the skating excursion a mere two weeks ago. I am not clear why you didn't think of Mrs. G as someone that could be contacted, or perhaps your thinking had not gone that far (you had only wanted me to be aware of the dangers that Mrs. M had found could be expected at the bowling venue).
My only other option, failing Mrs. G as Jesse's parent *designated* supervisor, despite being advised that there are plenty of parent volunteers already and his teacher, all of whom, could be the parent *designated* supervisor, is that I bring my daughter, Ember, with me.
I understand that this is against school board policy. However, I also understand that the exclusion of my son, because of his peanut allergy, is also against school board policy and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I am willing to go with the lesser of the two evils.
As we have discussed, ad nauseum, it is the right of Jesse to participate fully in all school events, before, during, and after school, in relative safety. If one wanted to be an extremist, it could be suggested that if the bowling alley is considered so unsafe for a peanut allergic child to walk into, that NONE of the class should be walking into it as part of the school program, and particularly when it has been a much talked about event that the children have all earned.
I will speak with Mrs. G if I have the opportunity on Tuesday morning after the breakfast program. Failing that, I will attend with Ember on Wednesday morning so that my son can participate in this much anticipated event and one which again, he has the right to attend.
I would like to point out (yes, again) that his teacher could be his parent *designated* supervisor. In JK and SK I never went on any field trips with Jesse. In Grade 1, my husband and I alternated, but if we were unable to attend, his teacher was the parent *designated* supervisor, which you could confirm with his Grade 1 teacher at P.C. I believe this is because I wrote to you last week regarding Jesse's parent designated supervisor for the bowling trip and for more information about the facility (i.e., the name) and your response to me was that you would speak with Mrs. M. As you know, Mrs. M considers ANY question I may have harrassment. I wasn't clear at the time why you didn't deal with the parent designated supervisor question in the same manner as you had with the skating and just simply gleened the name of the facility from her without letting her know it had come from me. I believe this is Mrs. M's ongoing vendetta against both myself and sadly to say, a 7 year old boy with a deadly allergy.
I would also like to point out that we have made the decision, as you are aware, that we are NOT changing schools and that Jesse will remain in Mrs. M's class (I can see it now - he'll have "preferred seating" again as well).
How do you intend, as the principal, to have this situation handled for the remaining five months? I have NEVER experienced treatment like this by a teacher in four years and am contacting my lawyer about filing a detailed complaint, including Mrs. M's NOT dealing with Jesse during his anaphylactic reaction, with the school board, against Mrs. M.
Thank-you for your time and consideration.
Cindy Spowart Cook
I'd still really appreciate anyone's thoughts and opinions on this one. I'm really down (even though my e-mails may sound as though I'm not) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 1:28pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Cindy,
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhh. L.A.W. rocket.
I myself prefer mano-a-mano, but definitely see the tactical advantage.
MommaBear

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 1:45pm
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Cindy, that is horrible, and the day before the trip. At our preschool, I know that I could bring a sibling given extenuating circumstances, even though at times it is discouraged. It is not an issue for us, because dd does not have a sibling, but, my goodness, if a health reason means you need to be there, then however you can be there is the way it is. You go and bring Ember, and tough luck to them. Period.
Now, that gets you through the field trip, but this is al getting out fo control. I feel so badly for you at this school. There needs to be some serious action to get things right all round for Jesse there. Not sure where you can go, but legal advice does sound reasonable. Is there some available diability group or council where you can get some initial fre advice about how to get this all under control?? I wish you luck, and wish I could offer more. Becca

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 1:47pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cindy -
Nothing coherent to add here, but just wanted to say I'm sorry for you and Jesse. Poor guy.
I'll leave it at that -- otherwise I'm likely to spend the next half hour typing/deleting grumpy thoughts about your situation!
If nothing else, combined with the icky memories of this school year, he is going to have awesome memories of Mom going to bat for him. Hang in there...
-Sue

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 2:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I just checked Jesse's written school plan and here is the part to do with field trips:-
1. Field Trips:
Field Trips to locations away from school open a new environment that must be carefully controlled and monitored. These new environments potentially increase the risk of accidental exposure. Jesse can not participate in field trips off school grounds without a parent designated helper and a parent approved plan to ensure his inclusion and safety while on the field trip.
Okay, so I've made it quite clear to the school that he is to have a parent designated supervisor, but what parent approved plan have I given them other than his extra Epi-pen and asthma puffers also have to be taken with him?
I still have time to write out a plan pertaining to this particular excursion, the first time I have ever had to write one out (which is okay), so does anyone have any suggestions of what I *should* write that would be clear to them? Something about Jesse only using the one bowling ball, etc.?
Or do I worry about the written plan thing if I'm adamant about being there?
Still no input from DH who has just said good night to me from bed-room [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] What is it with him? Block it out and it will go away or Cindy will somehow figure this one out?
Again, I'll respond to everyone *properly* tomorrow (Jesse and I actually have a Mom and Me Day tomorrow because he has to go to the orthodontist rather than school - now ask me why it takes all day for a child to have an orthodontist appointment [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] )
I really appreciate it everyone. This has been the year from he**.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2003 - 2:33pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cindy,
I'm sorry I can't help you out with this, but I did want to say I am so sorry that they are doing this to Jesse and to you.
Cam isn't in school yet, but I know of a similar situation w/an ESE class here where the teacher didn't want on of the children attending an overnight trip, which was also a group effort in earning, b/c of his disability and the effort involved. I thought this was so unfair and when another teacher told her she needed to ask his mother to attend, she said the parent couldn't afford to attend, the other teacher's response was to PAY FOR THAT PARENT TO GO out of the earned money...My goodness, some people truly amaze me.
I realize this didn't help, but wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you and Jesse and hope he has a fun a safe trip after all.
And hopefully the next 5 months will be better, although I feel for both of you to be in that woman's classroom.
Do what you have to do Cindy, they are totally in the wrong!
Good luck...and many ****hugs**** to you and Jesse [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Lana

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