PA Son May Not Be Able to Attend School for 1st Week in Ontario, Canada

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 1:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I never thought I would see this day. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] With school board policy throughout the province of Ontario guaranteeing PA children the *right* to a "peanut free" classroom, my son may not be attending school for the first week for the first time in FIVE YEARS.

I am absolutely beside myself. In working with two different school board districts simply on behalf of my PA son, I have never seen this. In helping countless other PA parents in Ontario get their children safely into "peanut free" classrooms in Ontario, I have never seen this. In speaking with many other Ontario PA parents I have never heard of this.

And yet, in the same school board district that my son attended for both Grade 1 and 2, he will likely not attend school for the first week.

Why?

A principal that did not read school board policy like any other principal has read it before and had very different ideas about what a "peanut free" classroom meant (peanut products could be eaten in the classroom, my son had to be removed).

And a superintendent who is tired of dealing with the PA issue, since he considers students as customers and there are not enough PA customers in this particular school board district.

Even with the intervention to-day of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Jesse has to remain at school until the details can be worked out between the principal and the superintendent and then presented to me. Then, I have to see if I even feel comfortable with what they present me.

I have a written school plan which adheres to school board policy throughout the province of Ontario. The principal to-day nixed every single point in my written school plan.

Would this have happened had I not been Nomad Woman? Damn straight. All he had to do was become the principal of the school my children were attending.

I am absolutely beside myself. I understand that in America this routinely happens and students may even miss months of school until things are figured out.

But this is the FIRST time I have ever heard of anything like this happening in Ontario, Canada.

My daughter starts Grade 1 on Tuesday. I spoke with her tonight and she doesn't want to go to school without her brother (makes sense since it's a new school).

You can know school board policy inside out. You can have a comprehensive written school plan that adheres to school board policy. All you have to do is run across one principal who is unwilling to deal with PA. And one that tells you that your PA child will OUTGROW their PA (even after you have explained the three anaphylactic reactions and how that has been blown out the window).

I am so worn out from the last three days of dealing with the principal and vice principal and even superintendent that I can't even cry.

So, lo and behold, even one of the resident *experts* on school board policies throughout Canada finds that it only takes one apple to spoil the whole bunch and your PA child is at home.

I'm ready to blow this pop stand and head to somewhere where there are more PA *customers* at the schools! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]

For everyone reading who do have children starting school on Tuesday, my best wishes for a good start to the school year and a great Labour Day week-end! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Thanks for listening. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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

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Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 1:27pm
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
I don't understand. Has this principal never read the school guidelines from Anaphalaxis Canada? What's up with him... have you talked to Jesse's teacher? Maybe he/she is more knowledgeable and helpful. Anyway, maybe it's just Belleville, as most school boards in Ontario (ie: Toronto DIstrict School Board) have good guidelines regarding allergies. Keep us updated and hope you can knock some sense into him (or maybe just try another school if he is totally unreasonable to save yourself the grief)
[This message has been edited by erik (edited August 29, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 1:32pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream:
[b]I never thought I would see this day.
[/b]
Not only have I seen it, [i]I've lived it[/i]. (Hard to believe when you read the text of ADA {as I reside in the US and am referencing a *US specific thing* and realize your child has a *disability* ---albeit hidden--- and covered under Federal Law.)

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 1:48pm
hannah mom's picture
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Joined: 10/12/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy
Wow, sorry to hear about this situation -- it sounds awful. As you say, we just don't expect this sort of treatment in Ontario. I hope it is resolved quickly and Jesse ends up with a safe classroom.
Sarah

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 3:43pm
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Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

me tooo!!!!i am there with onario school boards and my child missed 2 months of school in my district(thames valley)there is not one(or so iam told)peanut free in my whole city(london)because as you put it "not enough customers"but i do know that there is alot of real estate to be had!!!what would they do if suddenly there were to many customers??lol,lol,lol!!!!to go along with the wholep/a my son needed a nebulizer that no one wanted to deal with.well my whole point is ,is my child has a right to an education and i have the right to demand that it is in a safe healthy enviroment.if you think about it these teachers princeples supers.ect....are the same people who would be the first to call the authorities if you were neglecting your child by not providing a safe enviroment at home would they not??when this was happening to us that is just what i did!!i called c.a.s on them!!!it may have been radical but i was at my wits end exausted and fed up.i am not trying to tell you what to do merely telling you what i did!!in the meantime i would really like to join forces with all ontarians and nip this in the bud!as school starts in 3 days i will have only 1 child home and some free time let me know what i can do from my end!

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 4:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank-you everyone for your responses. I kinda thought that I wouldn't get any because I've always been so vocal about PA children's *rights* in the province of Ontario and I thought people might have thought I was up on a high horse or something and deserved (although my son shouldn't) a come-uppance of sorts. Do you know what I mean?
I just know that I have researched school board policies throughout Canada re anaphylaxis and posted them on the board and had other PA parents help me, and I, in turn, helped other PA parents get their children safely into school. I am desperately trying to get in touch with one PA.com member to go over everything because I consider her *the* expert in Ontario re our school board policy.
erik, school board policies across Ontario re anaphylaxis are all basically the same. They may differ in wording only slightly. But I've received copies from all over the province and there is really not much difference to them at all. The school board policy I have here in Hastings Prince Edward district is basically the same I had in Simcoe County. But, it might be the time to get the he** out of Dodge anyway, as I said, where there are more PA *customers* in the schools!
I am also going to spend the week-end going through the 74 page Anaphylaxis Handbook for Schools which arachide posted the link for.
What I did learn to-day in speaking with one PA parent (another PA.com member) is that this type of approach (removing the PA child from the classroom and allowing peanut products in the classroom) was something that was done in the late 1980's and early 1990's when PA was becoming an *issue* for the schools.
This man was just extremely adamant and not willing to budge one inch. And, as I said, the superintendent is not being helpful either. It may be something that has to go even higher up in the school board district food chain, I don't know.
erik, the difficulty with me having Jesse (and Ember) go to another school is that I don't drive. I cannot have the school board bus Jesse to another school simply because I don't feel comfortable with the school. I have to be able to get him physically there myself. Now, apparently, there is another school that may be within walking distance, I would have to check.
In the Ministry of Education Act there are two things that you can ask for if your child is physically disabled and their disability affects their learning ability academically, an IEP or an IRPC. I was told point blank to-day by the principal that he would not even give me the paperwork to initiate that process because Jesse's hidden disability does not affect his ability to learn. I did say that if he was in a classroom where there was residue that he could react to, that would affect his academic learning should he have a reaction. Apparently, if I attempt to initiate an IEP or an IRPC, it would be a precedent for a hidden disability.
I have to say that the person I spoke with at The Ontario Human Rights Commission to-day was simply wonderful. He is hoping that the superintendent and the principal will get their act together next week. If not, then I start the process of a formal complaint.
Momma Bear, I completely understand where you're coming from. That is why I have always been so horrified at what my American friends have to do to simply get their children through the doors of their schools.
I believe through the years here I've tried to really figure out how things are different in America and hopefully be as compassionate as possible when we live in a country for one that seems to "get it" much better (no slight intended towards Americans - I mean manufacturers, etc.).
If I was American, I would still be posting about this as I see several other members have threads running to-day about their children not being allowed to go to school because of their allergy. But this is blatantly against school board policy in the province of Ontario.
If I was in another province, say, British Columbia, which has no policy whatsoever province wide, I could see a person from that province posting about this.
But, as I said, I have NEVER in five years of dealing not only with my own son, but helping other PA parents in Ontario and also just being in contact with other PA parents in Ontario ever heard of such a thing. I am absolutely aghast.
hannah mom, thank-you for your kind words.
We had a really long hard day after the meeting on the phone (including a phone call to the Housing Tribunal re our recent move - a legal matter and something that is extremely upsetting to me because I was devastated by this move in the first place) and we simply planned a fun night with the kids at home, which we did have.
I'll spend the week-end doing the necessary research I have to do which is basically refreshing my memory and getting in contact with a couple of Ontario PA parents.
But I haven't broken the news to Jesse yet. When I was presented with the thing about him eating outside of his classroom for the whole year while peanut products were allowed into this principal's idea of a "peanut free" classroom, I did ask Jesse how he felt about eating outside of his classroom. He said that he had never had to do that unless he was being disciplined for misbehaviour.
If this had happened from JK on, perhaps it wouldn't be as upsetting to me. But Jesse has been able to partake in school events and eat in his classroom for FOUR YEARS. In my opinion, this isn't the age to be making major changes like that (ostracizing him) when he never has been because of his allergy (I understand that there are other PA children that are and I honestly don't know how you parents deal with it or your child does). But to start this type of b/s in his FIFTH YEAR of school is simply incomprehensible to me.
If you look at the School Plan for Ontario Canada that I have posted here under Schools, the principal nixed EVERY single point in the plan.
I ran the breakfast program at the previous school. It was a "peanut free" breakfast program. By *rights*, I can request a "peanut free" breakfast program at this school because Jesse has the *right* to partake in the breakfast program as well. However, I'm at a school where all of a sudden Jesse's *rights* under school board policy throughout Ontario have been thrown out the window by ONE man and supported by another.
I had to visit Ottawa earlier this week with Ember for an eye specialist's appointment. We have to return at least three more times for her alone. I also found out this week that Jesse has been referred to a pediatric urologist in Ottawa even though Toronto is a closer trip for me.
I'm wondering if I shouldn't just start checking out the housing situation in Ottawa. We didn't have time for touring and stuff, but I have to say it was a beautiful city, much cleaner than Toronto (sorry, erik, and hey, sorry, Cindy since I lived there 'til I was 39) and perhaps there are more PA *customers* in the schools there.
I really appreciate the response everyone. I truly do. My heart is broken for my son. I know that he will take it in stride (he has always been really cool about *bad* PA news) but as I told the person from The Ontario Human Rights Commission to-day, I just wanted to be like every other Mom this coming Tuesday sending her kids off to school (now, I know for us PA Moms it isn't quite that simple, but you know what I mean).
But I won't be. I'll have my guy home with me and perhaps my daughter as well.
Thanks for the support. I appreciate it more than you can imagine, especially as I look out the computer room window and see a local Toyota Dealership's bright signage [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
domesticgodess, welcome! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] There is another member here that lives in London. I am not clear if her PA child has a "peanut free" classroom or not. I'm pretty sure that he does. I can contact her for you if you would like and see if she could help you out. I can't believe what you're going through.
I can't believe you called CAS on the school but you are right, they would do the same to us! LOL! My soul!
My best suggestion to you would be to call The Ontario Human Rights Commission and speak with the representative. They will ask you a bunch of questions and then they'll tell you whether they can call the school and school board superintendent (as they did in my case to-day) and see if they can resolve it that way without you having to file a formal complaint. Let's face it, no school board wants an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint against them. I would do that. If you would like further information about that, please feel free to contact me at [email]cin44ca@yahoo.ca[/email]
Also, Katiee has posted in the Take Action part of the board about an Act that we have been hoping would be passed that would protect Anaphylactic Children in Ontario. You may like to read that thread and see the different people that you can contact with your concerns - just say you have a PA child and would like to see this legislation passed. Although it's probably unlikely that it will be passed with a provincial election on the horizon, it's worth the time and effort regardless simply to have our voices heard.
Okay, and now I have finally heard of a similar case in Ontario. I simply cannot believe it! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Edited to respond to domesticgodess who was responding while I was posting to my first three responses. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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[This message has been edited by Alternative to Mainstream (edited August 30, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 4:33pm
domesticgodess's picture
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Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

you are probably sleeping lucky you!i would love a friend in london my son would too!

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 11:00pm
DebO's picture
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Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi Cindy
Sorry you are having so much trouble. In your situation, this is what I would do:
1 - Call the media TODAY. Get a news report on the local TV news that your child is missing school because of this.
2 - Continue to deal with the Human Rights Commission
3 - Go way over the Superintendent to the Director of your school board. I actually usually start there and don't bother with the Superintendent.
4 - I believe you have a lawyer from some of your other posts. Ask him about the possibility of suing the School Board for the emotional distress this is causing you and your son. Tell the principal, superintendent and director that you will be checking whether you have a right to sue or not.
5 - Call your local MPP (we are about to face an election here, you know)
6 - Call the Ministry of Education 1-800-387-5514. Since they won't be in until Tuesday send them an email as well. (you can find contact info on the Ministry of Education website). The Deputy Premier is the Minister. (like I said, we are about to have an election......)
7 - try contacting the Ontario Parent Council [url="http://www.ontarioparentcouncil.org/"]http://www.ontarioparentcouncil.org/[/url]
They are supposed to assist parents.
If I think of anything else I will let you know.
Take care
deb

Posted on: Fri, 08/29/2003 - 11:40pm
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream:
[b]
Momma Bear, I completely understand where you're coming from. That is why I have always been so horrified at what my American friends have to do to simply get their children through the doors of their schools.
I believe through the years here I've tried to really figure out how things are different in America and hopefully be as compassionate as possible when we live in a country for one that seems to "get it" much better (no slight intended towards Americans - I mean manufacturers, etc.).
If I was American, I would still be posting about this as I see several other members have threads running to-day about their children not being allowed to go to school because of their allergy. But this is blatantly against school board policy in the province of Ontario.
If I was in another province, say, British Columbia, which has no policy whatsoever province wide, I could see a person from that province posting about this.
But, as I said, I have NEVER in five years of dealing not only with my own son, but helping other PA parents in Ontario and also just being in contact with other PA parents in Ontario ever heard of such a thing. I am absolutely aghast.
[/b]
I, too, was "aghast". Jaw wiping up the floor, even. (When I initially experienced some very [i]similiar[/i] circumstances with my own child. (By now, many here on the boards might get a feel for how close to heart I hold similiarities.) Despite the fact that "Maybe it's just me". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Why was I "aghast" (WRT to my personal situation)? Because although you point out certain enumerated *rights* a child may have in a certain province related to PA. *Here in the US* there exists [b]Federal Law[/b] that is not just specific to one state (province?), but the entire nation regarding *disabilities*. Although I understand certain conditions must exist for the law to be applicable, as I understand it, it has the potential to be applicable in [i]every[/i] state.
No, I [i]don't[/i] believe we (the US) are behind the times. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] It's just that human nature might be.
Again, I absolutely understand the frustration you are experiencing at this particular time. I went through a school year of it, and at two different schools. One private, religious, non-federally funded (as far as I know), the other my local public school.
Physically, Mentally, Moral/Ethically *I* *****Personaly, Uniquely, and completely on an Individual Basis****** just couldn't comprehend or withstand it. The rest is history.
Really, Truly, and Honestly hoping the situation works out for you in the way you desire. I, too, have and am considering [i]moving[/i] to a different town if only for the ability of my children to attend a different school district (due to PA/Nuts/Asthma/etc). My oldest is currently homeschooled.
I just don't know if physically, emotionally, financially, we (my family) can withstand it. (Our current situation is *not so bad*)
MommaBear
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form.

Posted on: Sat, 08/30/2003 - 12:28am
erik's picture
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Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
I agree with DebO. Go higher in the food chain.. if the superintendant won't help, go to his boss. And with an election forecast for soon, call your local MPP and call your local newspaper.. they can do a story on this and that will put pressure on the school.
So this principal wants to allow students to eat peanut butter sandwiches in the classroom? Maybe it's time to get a letter from an allergist that states why this is dangerous and to state that the odds are that Jesse won't outgrow this allergy. Yes, DebO had a lot of good suggestions.

Posted on: Sat, 08/30/2003 - 12:30am
mae's picture
mae
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Joined: 07/12/2002 - 09:00

Oh my gosh, Cindy! I've been too busy to be here much this past week - and I'm so suprised about this situation. Not a great start a this school at all. Have you found out about the other one within walking distance? I'd be looking into that, knowing that I'd be dealing with the principal/v.p. who won't budge, for the rest of the year.
Deb O. had some great suggestions. Contacting the ministry and your local MPP is where I would start - and if nothing was done I'd contact the media ( though this is a bit of a catch-22 - if they do a story and Jesse eventually gets into the school - how will he be seen/treated by staff, students and parents. Maybe it won't be a problem, but if parents feel they will be incovenienced by a *change* at the school - might not be a great situation).
We have a bull-headed principal as well. Stuck in the 70's or 80's and doesn't like confrontation. DS has a safe lunchroom ( though he is in Grade 4 now and continues to eat in the Grade 1 peanut-free room - because he doesn't feel safe in the larger lunch room) and classroom. There is one more PA student in his class - so his mom and I tend to work with the teacher more than the principal.
We just found out that 5 more children with food allergies are entering the school ( to add to the existing 12 or so) - so we are hoping to get the ball rolling on a few different issues.
I feel horrible for you and Jesse and Ember. Hope you get this resolved soon and that Jesse doesn't miss school next week. I've never been to Ottawa - but I've heard good things! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Take care.
[This message has been edited by mae (edited August 30, 2003).]

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