I'm new here and hope you can help me. Our family (now in New Jersey) may be relocating to New York City. We've looked at several good public schools, but I was appalled to hear that only nurses are permitted to administer Epi-Pens in NY public schools, and that NOT ALL SCHOOLS HAVE NURSES! I don't even know where to begin looking for confirmation of this. I have two sons, 7 and 4, both of whom are allergic to peanuts. (My four year old may also be allergic to tree nuts. I have banned nuts for both of them for years.) The older child is contact sensitive, but he's always gone to schools with peanut-free areas and great teachers. Now I'm afraid. Is there anyone out there with New York City information/suggestions? Thanks.
On Jan 24, 2001
Rose, I am from New York. My son is 14,and it is true that the child can not carry the epi-pen on them. The thing we did was to talk with the teacher and have them sign a paper stating that they were able to give him the needle if needed. It is a long story,but anyway talk to your doctor first and go from there. We are in Upstate New York about 4 hours away from The City. Let me know how it goes. claire
On Jan 24, 2001
It is not true that in New York State children are not allowed to carry their EPIs. It may be a district policy but there is no state law. Don't let the district fool you. In my daughter's district as long as we have a script signed by the doctor saying she needs it with her 24/7 she can have it with her in school. She takes it wherever she is in school. Also, teachers cannot refuse to give the EPI.
On Jan 24, 2001
Katies mom, Great post. I was very interested and I wish when christopher was younger I had a computer to get on and I knew of more people with the allergy. There were so many unnessary worries being that he was the only child in the whole school with a food allergy. No one understood. My son does carry his epi-pen now,but sometimes that scares me as well. I think life is complicated sometimes. some days alls I do is worry. I always thought that anyone could give his epi to him. I figured if I am giving it to his friends moms and that is o.k. then I am sure a teacher would. we have such excellent teachers here that it was never a worry that they would not give it. Take care claire
On Jan 24, 2001
Welcome to New York. I am formerly of Queens, and now am on LI (just 20 minutes away). I don't know what your situation is in terms of work and where you need to live, but it is true that not all schools have nurses. If you can , consider Nassau County. The commute isn't bad, and the school disricts are much smaller and much more accomodating. If you must stay within NYC, just get a 504 designation - they'll have to let the kids carry the epi (although I know you really want a nurse to be there). Feel free to email me for more info when you start narrowing down your housing search.
Hope this all made sense - I'm really rushing now!
On Jan 26, 2001
I am in NYC but my child goes to a private, nut free school. They do not have a nurse and being that she is only 5 I would not want her to carry an epi anywyay. THere are 2 epi's with her 2 teachers in her classroom at all times. There is an epi with the woman in charge of the cafeteria. The director and assistant director also have 2 epi's. There are a few floors in her school and they have made sure that no matter where she is she is only seconds from the epi. I met with the teachers she has and the directors before school started (at their request) and gave them a demonstration on how to use the epi. In addition, the school is only 2-3 blocks from the hospital and there is a plan in place on how to get her there (rather than wait for an ambulance), either actually just carrying her there (she is very small for her age) or drive her there as the teachers/directors/staff park right in front. When they go for class outings/trips they always bring at least 2 epi's and her benadryl. Her teachers are actually completely aware and are constantly reading articles about PA, sharing info with each other, etc. They are very vigilant about what is brought in by other parents (actually, food brought in, even for holidays, is frowned upon and rarely done) They just had a bake sale and asked everyone to put down the ingredients, get things prewrapped, etc. The school prepares all the lunches, kids don't bring food from home so I don't have to deal with the idea of cross contamination from sticky pb&j hands. I still worry but not too much.
As for the public schools, I would imagine they would normally not allow children to carry their own medication. If you have been reading the papers lately, there are lots of problems with kids sharing/selling certain meds like ritalin, etc. And as you can imagine, in NYC drug abuse exists even in elementary schools!
Each district/city/etc. has its own rules. I am sure there are exceptions made. Make sure you get lots of info from the teachers AND the principal of your individual class/school. If the schools that you are zoned for is not adequate, you could also try getting a variance into other public schools.
What part of NYC are you moving into? Do you know what district you are going to be in?