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Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 2:08am
ACBaay's picture
Joined: 03/19/2002 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
First, I would like to say how sorry I am that you and Jessie are in this situation. The principal really needs to step in and uphold the policies of the school. The teacher is absolutely out-of-line, calling your concern for you son harassment, and the principal or superintendent needs to fix this situation.
Regarding the field trip, is there a nurse or aide that your school uses for this type of situation? The teacher does not seem to be somebody that can be trusted (either due to not taking the allergy seriously or just plain negligence). I don't understand why siblings would not be allowed. If the trip was to an Art Museum and the sib was 3 y/o, that would be different, but Bowling? Jessie should definitely be allowed to go! And if that means the sib rule must be changed, then that is what they need to do.
I wish you luck [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 2:18am
nuconnexions's picture
Joined: 07/30/1999 - 09:00

Cindy, I normally agree with your viewpoints, but I have some concerns with this one:
- I was very sorry to hear that your son has had a reaction at school this year. Regardless of the circumstances that led to that happening, it is clear that the school teacher and principal have learned the seriousness of your son's peanut allergy. In that light, my wife and I would both have been thrilled that the teacher took it upon herself to find out more about the potential risks in the bowling alley, and that they are expressing their concerns about his safety and well-being in an environment that is completely out of their control. (Incidentally, I don't know if you quoted the entire message received from the principal, but nowhere do I see any reference to the fact that they are disallowing your son to go on the field trip, they are just expressing concern about his safety.)
- Although I am a parent of a peanut-allergic child who is equally as sensitive as your son is to tiny amounts of the offending allergen, I am also approaching this issue from the perspective of someone whose father was a principal, and whose wife is a school teacher. The teacher, regardless of your assertion that you can name them as the "parent-designated supervisor", also has legal responsibilities to oversee and manage the entire class of students. I would question the legal advisor who told you that you can name the teacher the "parent-designated supervisor" without his or her consent - if that were the case, you could name anyone going on the trip, regardless of whether or not they consent to that responsibility. The teacher has a hard enough job within the classroom, let alone in the mayhem of a field trip, and as I said earlier, they do have a legal responsibility to overseeing the whole class, not just one student in particular.
- My biggest concern stems from the reference to your son's "rights". No amount of carrying on about human rights will ever make an environment like a bowling alley "safe". What about your son's right (especially at his age) to having his health and well-being protected by not only the school but by his parents? Sending him knowingly into an uncontrollably high-risk environment in the name of "human rights" to attend a class outing, could be seriously questioned if an incident were to happen, by legal authorities and possibly even by Children's Aid. The right to health and safety would override the other human rights, especially if the decision to go ahead with attending the event was made by someone other than the child. Our son is growing up knowing that, whether we like it or not, his health concerns will sometimes mean he cannot do some things or go some places, especially if we are unable to go with him. Human rights will never change risk factors.
This probably isn't what you want to hear, but when the discussion gets into human rights, I need to remind people that health-related human rights take highest precedence.
Steve Kinsley, RD, MCNE
Nu Connexions: Your Portal to the World of Food and Nutrition Software
[This message has been edited by nuconnexions (edited January 28, 2003).]

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 2:21am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

We were in a similar situation last year... the gym teacher gave weekly "good behavior points" to one grade level (big deal, competitive, all year long) with the big reward being a trip to an indoor play facility at the end of the year. Of course, my dd's grade level won, and the announcement came with very short notice (one week, I think). It was so frustrating... this big build up. I looked into the situation and found out that they served peanut butter pizzas! I was imagining peanut butter on all the play equipment, inside the tunnels, etc.
I spoke with the nurse and showed her the menu from the facility. Then, I sent an email to the principal asking, "What accommodations have been made for Mariah?" She phoned me and apolozied... profusely, and asked me what we wanted them to do.
It is a totally different situation because there was tremendous good will. It was an oversight that "just" fell through the cracks.
Did my dd have the right to go? You bet. In fact, she felt proud that she'd worked so hard all year for it. She had the right AND deserved to go.
But we didn't let her go. And we didn't want them to cancel the trip due to the backlash. It was heartbreaking. She was angry about it for a long time. And the school knew it. Her class felt terrible, everyone. There was a great outpouring of support. (We spent the day doing a list of other fun things...)
But we didn't feel safe letting her go, even with us attending. That was the bottom line. We made the best of a terrible dilema that was very hurtful. And spent much time afterwards processing it with the school. They were very supportive (changed the site for following years) and I think that we gained leverage/respect/trust by showing that we could be accepting of mistakes.
It was painful, very painful, tho.

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 3:28am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

nuconnexions, I have to say that I am absolutely REELING from your post (and probably the price I just paid at the orthodontist for a consultation). I am particularly concerned and disturbed by your third paragraph.
It would NEVER be my intention to prove a *rights* point by placing Jesse in a situation that was not *relatively safe* for him. I would fight for his right to attend an event, but if I did think that it was too high risk (which I don't think the bowling alley is - please see under Living with PA, the number of PA children that do bowl without incident), I certainly wouldn't have him placed in the situation and/or the danger. Never. I didn't think anyone could even imagine that I would do something like that to prove a *rights* point.
I can't respond further to anyone else right now, because, as I say, I'm still reeling from your comments, particularly when it comes to Children's Aid (that would be Child Protective Services in the U.S. I believe) involvement, etc. should something happen to Jesse at the bowling alley.
Without going into all of the discussion that has gone on between Jesse and I, Jesse is aware that there are peanuts on the premises.
He is aware that he will be with his group which will remain peanut free. He has, at no time said, especially knowing that I will be there with him, that he did not want to go bowling and that was even after he was specifically told that peanuts were sold at the concession stand.
I'm sorry, that would be like saying Children's Aid could become involved if a PA child had a reaction at a circus. I've unknowingly taken Jesse to the circus before as well.
Steve, your post has me terribly upset. I appreciate the time you took to post and how clear you were, but that last paragraph really troubles me greatly. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 3:47am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

actually, in light of what Steve posted, i don't see where they asked your son not to come on the field trip, only that they could not "guarantee" his safety. Maybe I am not reading it closely enough. (In light of risk factors at the field trip). I am still not clear on your plan. Does it indicate only "safe" places (with regards to PA risk factors) will be choices for field trips, or that a "parent-designated supervisor" (I assume, but it is not quite clear to me from your posts) will be appointed. I *also* would *assume* that it is up to you to determine if they are competent in managing your child and his PA while on the trip? (Would this absolve them from any liability related to an "incident" on the trip, I wonder?) Anyone? I can't see how explaining PA in any detail can "force" someone to understand, or be some type of binding certification that they will act appropriately. Maybe I am failing to see something here. As I have stated time and time again, I am not giving any legal advice as I am in no ways trained in that area or a legal professional of any sorts. Just trying to think things through. Is the school responsible for everything that happens or just acts of negligence? By informing you that they forsee many risks at the field trip (in terms of PA) are they thereby avoiding negligence in notifying you and allowing you to have the final decision and choice of "parent-designated" supervisor? If in fact you are being given the choice of allowing your son to attend with a "parent-designated" supervisor (as I am unclear about this after reading the letter) Can this be accomplished without a waiver on a school field trip?

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 4:24am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I think it's absurd that a trip that was planned well in advance, and that each child respectively earned was not more thought out for Jesse. And talking about Jesse's rights, I believe if Jesse was in a wheel chair and they were told there was no wheel chair access, then the trip would have had to be somewhere else. Regardless of whether the principal was stating that Jesse couldn't go or if she was merely alerting the risks, this should have done in the planning stages of the trip, not one day before. I would still be irate as to how this was handled.
And IMO, if the teacher was just a concerned and caring teacher, I would think this would have definately worried her after Jesses' reaction one month ago. I would immediately have been checking on the safety issues elsewhere, seeing it happen in my own classroom...Or atleast asked the parent of the pa child to check with trip destination and make sure that they are comfortable with the risks or non-risks. But in all reality, this was a group field trip and should be planned with the group in mind and not just the majority of the group.
Good luck Cindy and keep your chin up.

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 5:16am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Cam's Mom,
My point being is that I wonder how Cindy's plan for her son with the school affects his Rights. Does it provide loopholes? Does the plan take precedence over what persons with disabilities would be entitled to without a plan?

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 5:40am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

More {{{hugs}}}, I know you need them!!! Nobody could truly think that you would put Jesse's rights above his safety. That is so far from who you are. If this teacher were a caring human being, this situation would not be happening. You are a terrific mom doing an outstanding job. Remember that! Some extra {{{hugs}}}, Miriam [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 5:43am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I have to agree with the one point made by Steve - I, too, do not see where the school was asking Jesse to not go on the bowling trip. I don't see any kind of negativity at all, just concern.
HOWEVER, I am not the one who has been dealing with the school on a whole list of issues for a very long time. I can see where something like this could come across wrong after all the trouble up to this point.

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2003 - 6:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Okay, I think I've made notes so I can respond *properly* to each and every person that took the time to respond to my latest saga at the school.
Jesse was with me to-day and we had a discussion about the trip and how there was increased risk to him. He said that he still wants to go on the trip.
I have e-mailed the principal letting her know that I have also called the bowling alley (who would not forgo (?) selling peanuts for even tomorrow morning, it is a business after all, which is okay) and also found out that they wash the bowling balls twice a week. I was pretty well told that as long as Jesse stays with his group, and his group stays "peanut free" (i.e., doesn't buy any of the peanut products or peanuts for sale there), there is minimal risk to Jesse.
So, I made sure that it was clear in the e-mail to the principal that the children would still be behaving as though they were in their "peanut free" classroom and that they would not be able to purchase any peanut products. I also let her know that Ember and I would be attending and I haven't heard back from her to-day yet.
There was something else about my discussion with Jesse I wanted to mention, but it has flitted from my mind (probably because my head just seems ready to explode with the continuing difficulties I'm met with this year). Oh, I explained to Jesse that when he was younger, his Father and I had taken him to the circus and even though he was enjoying the circus, he didn't know that there were people eating peanuts everywhere and peanut shells underfoot. I had him on my lap. His Father and I made the decision to leave at half-time. When we got home, I washed every piece of clothing the four of us had on. But my point in telling Jesse that story was that, if we get to the bowling alley tomorrow and feel the least bit uncomfortable, we do not have to go in. This would be the case outside of school - if we entered a restaurant or something else that wasn't peanut free or we felt terribly uncomfortable being in, we would leave. He thought that was a good idea as well.
California Mom, you are right on in your interpretation of the principal's e-mail. No, she is not telling us that Jesse cannot attend. What she sent was an e-mail informing me of the increased risks and something that would send a *normal* PA parent 'round the bend enough that they would choose for their child not to attend. The same thing happened when Jesse couldn't attend the computer course. We weren't told that he couldn't go. We were just told that they couldn't guarantee his safety at the facility where the computer courses were being held and that the school would feel better if he didn't go (i.e., I would feel better).
MommaBear, could I e-mail you Jesse's written school plan for your opinion? Here, in Canada, it is rare for PA children to have written school plans although I notice it is becoming more common.
School board policy, not Jesse's plan, gives him the right to relative safety at all school events.
Rae, yes, siblings have always been a problem in both school districts that I have lived in in Ontario - Hastings Prince Edward here and Simcoe County previous.
Cam's Mom, you did help. You provided caring, support and encouragement. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
rj, yes, I believe the teacher does stay awake at night to think of ways to be evil.
nancy023, I have confirmed via e-mail to the principal that there will be no purchasing of peanuts or peanut snacks by Jesse's classmates.
Leslea, thank-you. I could re-raise the thread re Jesse's reaction if you like, just so you could read it. It's under Living with PA (I know, it *should* have been under Reactions).
river, thank-you for the link. If it's for what I think it's for, I may be using it quite soon but will probably contact my Canadian PA mentor for advice first [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
wood145, there are no nurses in the schools here anymore. I'm not sure when it stopped.
There were 25 years ago, but not now.
williamsmummy, as you know, I had an article done just before school started this year. The reporter was actually waiting to see how my meeting with the principal at this school went before she put the article to bed. Well, I didn't find this principal all that receptive but what I did was I *spinned* it so that the principal sounded great and I have to say that I believe it did work to our advantage.
ACBaay, thank-you.
Steve, the teacher has had this trip planned since October month. Why make the call only this week It is not clear to me, Jesse's parent, that his teacher has "got it" any better re his allergy since his anaphylactic reaction. Our conference was only a couple of weeks ago and she still met me with a face of stone and that was when I was told, by the principal, that she considers my dealings with her *harrassment*.
I understand that the teacher is also responsible for the other children in her classroom and how appointing her the parent designated supervisor might be problematic.
However, she does have Duty of Care to adhere to. No legal advisor told me I could name the teacher, another PA parent did, but no other teacher has ever balked at the responsibility, even when Jesse didn't have a written school plan (which was for the first two years, his youngest years, in school).
I truly don't believe a bowling alley is "an uncontrollably high risk environment". I will let you know if my visit to one tomorrow with Jesse stands to correct me on this one.
Isn't any time we venture out of our peanut free homes running some kind of uncontrollable risk? Can it not become high risk without us even knowing that it would become such? What about a trip on a city bus?
Gail W., pb pizzas? How gross!
MommaBear, no, Jesse's plan does not indicate only safe places because, in reality, what would only safe places entail or how would one guarantee that a place was totally safe?
I, myself, wouldn't consider the parent designated supervisor legally liable should anything happen to Jesse. I would, however, consider the teacher legally liable simply because of Duty of Care.
No, I won't be signing a liability waiver. I was asked to sign one when Jesse first came to this school board and I refused. I was the first PA parent (not that there are many) that refused, but I consulted my lawyer, told that I was allowed to refuse and revise the document, and that's what I did. I posted about it here somewhere.
I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this.
Now, I get to go bowling tomorrow and to an outdoor conservation area for the whole day Thursday. Whoopee! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]



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