parent angry with peanut free class

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 12:31pm
tjpage's picture
Joined: 03/22/2003 - 09:00

My children's classes are peanut free for snacks. They eat snacks in class and have to be free from peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame free (due to life threatening allergies). This isn't the first year that this ban has been in effect. Not all classes have the ban but only the classes that have children with allergies or grades that share rooms. My oldest is in the 4th grade.

I had a mother call me screaming that she was not going to be responsible for my child's life and she as well as other parents were sick of the "peanut free" rule. I told her to contact the school and speak to the principle. She then informed me that she had and she was going to fight this "rule". She then hung up the phone. After a short period of time I called her back and told her that I would be willing to talk to her and try to explain why the class was peanut, tree nut, and sesame seed free. She again, began yelling and screaming, I continued to tell her that we could not talk about this issue if she continued to scream and hung up again on me. Next, I called the school and spoke to the principle. She informed me that the school was aware of this irrate parent and had contacted the super (he is new this year). The super was aware that peanut products had been removed from the lunch line and children can still bring them to school for lunch. He also knew that at some of the schools there was peanut free classes.

What rights do these innocent children have. I have letters from their allergy doctors and have had the schools support with out doing an 504. But, I will be doing a 504 to protect my children and help the school have proof that the "peanut free" class rooms need to continue.

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 1:16pm
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

Ugh, that woman sounds very unstable. I wouldn't try to reason with her at all. You really really really owe no explanation to other parents about your child's disability. I think you were right to tell her to discuss it with the principal.
She is probably violent and abusive about other things as well. If it wasn't PA it would be something else.
Believe me, this is not the first time your school administrators have had to deal with an irrational, abusive parent. Leave it to them and keep your distance.
If she calls again you should hang up and if she harrasses you in any way you should report it to the police. Good luck.

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 2:30pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

tjpage, big hugs! [img][/img]
I agree with Sandra Y.
Do you know this woman well? I'm just wondering how she got your phone number (and how you were able to call her back)?
It's something the school should deal with, not you.
I had an incident when my son was in Grade 2 (he's going into Grade 4 next week) and there was a woman who was very vocal in the hall of the school about the "peanut free" classroom and how she wasn't going to take it and blah blah blah and call the superintendent of the school board.
She didn't know that I was the PA parent, but the way she was carrying on, as though our request was so unreasonable (i.e., my child's life IS more important than your daughter's *right* to eat pb), I was so unsettled. I had never heard anyone talk like that before so openly.
I've always suspected that yes, people are angry or resentful when presented with a "peanut free" classroom, but I had never heard it before.
I left the school bawling my eyes out. It was horrible. I spoke with the principal and told her that she had one angry parent on her hands. She said that the woman had already spoken with her and she had been referred to the superintendent.
When the woman did speak with the superintendent, he basically gave her the two rote lines about the "peanut free" classroom - the ones you have to say when you're dealing with someone who is just not going to understand.
How would you feel about your child seeing another child have a reaction and/or DIE in front of your child?
What are you teaching your child when you tell them that their food choices are more important than another child's life?
And with that, the "peanut free" classroom carried on. Suffice to say that the woman never did speak with me through the school year, but actually, I'm glad that she didn't.
I would not know how to deal with it if someone actually phoned and spoke with me the way you were spoken with.
When I was consulting with my son's school when he was in SK about the school's Fun Fair, the co-ordinator of the Fun Fair was extremely rude with me and said something about everything had peanut oil in it, even Gummi Bears (not true here in Canada, not clear if it's even true anywhere else) and she was quite rude. I was quite shaken, and again, spoke with the principal (different school, different principal).
What I did do with that woman, in my passive aggressive style which can still come out, was mail her some literature on PA and anaphylaxis. She was never rude with me again, but also, she didn't go out of her way to be pleasant with me either.
Can you block her phone number out? I know we have call blocking here? I don't think you should have to listen to an irate parent - it is the school's job (if you will) to deal with anyone who is so unhappy with a "peanut free" classroom.
And I think the thing that ticks me off is that through the years, we have managed to move each year (not a great thing [img][/img] ) and it's not as though their children are deprived their holy pb for the rest of their school years - only the one year that they happen to be in the same class as my son.
I have my meeting with the new principal at the new school here tomorrow and I have a whole new thing to deal with - the "peanut free" table in the lunchroom and I can tell you, it was not something I expected to be dealing with for a couple of years more (my son is just going into Grade 4) and I had to speak with him tonight about how he would feel about that. I also spoke with his sister to see if she would be okay about sitting at the "peanut free" table and really she's not.
His cousins will be going to the same school as well and one will be in his grade. But I can't even be guaranteed that his one cousin could be a buddy for him at the "peanut free" table (my SIL has some *issues* with "peanut free" classrooms).
And he's at an age where it may not be okay, going to a new school, with Mom sitting there at the peanut free table if no one else is. My heart is just simply broken. As soon as I found out there was a lunch room at this school, I immediately phoned the other school close to me to see if they ate if their classrooms, but no, another lunch room. So, like many of my American friends who have been dealing with this since Day #1, I finally have to deal with it.
I am scared. But I'm also worried about my guy and how he's going to feel at a "peanut free" table in a new school in a new city with no friends and no back-up to sit with him at the peanut free table. Basically, right now, I feel like sh**.
Pardon me to have gone off on something else, but the point is that there will still be a "peanut free" classroom *request* and I'm not sure if I won't hear some of the angry stuff that you did (although not via phone).
If she does call again, can you tape her phone calls? Quite frankly, I would have the woman charged with harrassment. She should be going through the proper channels and dealing with the school board regarding this - yes, the new superintendent. Not you.
You are ONE PA parent. It is NOT okay for her to scream and yell at you.
I truly think people have lost their minds.
Big hugs. [img][/img] Please let us know how it goes.
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 9:29pm
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

tjpage, What a way to start your school year. This woman is a winner! Just ask her what she would do to protect her child if she had to. Ask her if she ever saw a child turn blue and not breath.
I can not believe the rudeness of this lady. The thing that gets me mad is that the children are always so understanding about the allergy and the parents do not get it. I bet if you talked with her child the child could care less about not bringing PB products.
Good luck to you. Claire

Posted on: Mon, 08/30/2004 - 11:57pm
AJSMAMA's picture
Joined: 06/12/2002 - 09:00

Seriously these people need to get a grip. How dare she call and yell at you because your child has a life threatening allergy and you would like for him to come home from school at the end of the day ALIVE. You handled this much better than I would have. At least you kept your cool.
We had one parent at A.J.'s preschool say that "ALL her child eats is peanut butter..." and she just didn't know how he would get by without it. First of all, how unhealthy for that child and second of all preschool lasts TWO HOURS! Gimme a break!

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 3:35am
NutlessMOM's picture
Joined: 09/17/2003 - 09:00

Please follow through with filing for the 504. When you file the 504, accommodations will be made for your child's "hidden" disability. I only wish that I had filed for the 504 when my daughter and son both started school. Maybe, I would still be there. (I had several encounters with an "unstable" teacher.) [img][/img]

Posted on: Tue, 08/31/2004 - 9:17am
tjpage's picture
Joined: 03/22/2003 - 09:00

Thanks everyone for you quick responds and all the support I knew I would receive from the network. I am ready to do what I have to do to keep both my children safe and this woman should be aware because I the school has already told that they support me and my children's lives are more important than anything in the world.
As mentioned in one of the reply's about having the peanut free table in the lunch room and being nervous. Don't be. Just sit with the staff and go over what you want done and they should follow through. My children's school is in the lunch room and I would not have it any other way. Why should they be any more isolated that what they already are. At first, my daughter only had one or two people (who didn't have the allergy) sit there. And one day she ate lunch all by herself (she was a 1st grader then). After coming home crying and asking why she could not eat lunch with her friends, I went to the school. From that moment on, other's could sit there as long as their lunch was peanut free. But when my son went there, the allergy table also began sesame free also. Every day many children sat there who brought there own lunch from home until one day when a child brought in a sandwich with sesame seeds on the bread. Once the staff saw this they cleared the table and had a wash down (it was almost like a prision lock down. Everyone was rushed away, the table was striped down and washed. They made sure my child was already and from that day one, only children have hot lunch can join their friends at the peanut/ sesame free table.
Trust in the staff and make sure they know exactly how you want things down. The school has gone above what I even suggested. They have children wash (with a wipe) when they enter the class every morning, after snack, and when they leave the lunch room (for grade 1 and 2 only), and after they return from lunch. The children in the peanut free classes have the cleaniest hands and desks in the school because of the hand washing policy.
Good luck with the new school and hopefully they are as helpful and understanding as the school my children go to.

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