Participating in Milk Program Putting My Son At Risk!

Posted on: Mon, 01/07/2002 - 2:19am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

At Jesse's previous school, we received a monthly notice for milk and Jesse has always successfully participated in this.

Since our move, the money is sent in daily and I have only gotten milk for Jesse a couple of times. However, to-day, I decided to send two weeks worth of money in to cover his milk.

While I was out picking Ember up at the school, my DH received a phone call indicating that the school cannot guarantee that the milk monitor (student) handing out the milk to Jesse hasn't eaten peanut butter or peanut products, which would thereby contaminate his milk container! WHAT? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]

In Jesse's PA Plan, EACH and EVERY child in the school is SUPPOSED to be washing their hands after snack and lunch times. So, if this is in place, how is it possible for a child milk monitor to contaminate his container?

So, DH asked if this had been the case for the couple of times that we had ordered milk for Jesse and he received the answer "yes" (we had been putting him at risk).

I just fired off an e-mail to the principal asking her to call me because it's obvious to me that they are not following Jesse's plan.
Otherwise, what is the possible explanation for contamination of his milk container?

I am simply aghast! The thing that bothers me is that you just seem to keep getting hit with these little things, little things, and they're really starting to add up for me again.

I'm going to phone the school as soon as I finish this post as well and see if I can speak with whoever spoke with my DH. I had been planning to review Jesse's school plan with his teacher and the principal this month, but now I have the request in writing with the principal already in my e-mail to her.

Many thanks for listening and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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Posted on: Tue, 01/08/2002 - 4:06am
Kathryn's picture
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Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

Cindy, Hi! I am the milk coordinator at Troy's school. The milk monitors agree not to eat nuts, peanuts, kiwi, banana when it is their turn to hand out the milk but that is only because Troy eats in an adjacent room which is the 'safe' lunch area. I do not worry too much about contamination of the milk cartons. Handwashing is our major reduce the risk strategy after he is in the gym, in the library, in the computer lab, after recess etc. He complains about all of the handwashing but it helps keep him safe and it places the responsibility for his safety with him and helps him develop a life-long habit that will help him cope. If he touches something with residue the handwashing should remove it before it is ingested. In Jesse and Troy's case having milk available to drink at lunch is important and the actual risk of a problem developing is probably so small as to be almost non-existent. Perhaps Jesse could help himself to the milk in the fridge--that might also help.

Posted on: Tue, 01/08/2002 - 5:45am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, I find this to be an outrageous situation! The milk monitors should definitely be throroughly washing their hands before handing out milk to any students. I would think this should be a policy for anyone who is handling food to give to others. For the school to act as though this is going to be "Jesse's problem" to deal with is totally unacceptable, IMHO. I hope you get it straightened out ASAP. Good luck! Miriam

Posted on: Tue, 01/08/2002 - 9:50am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Our kids just get their own milk out of a refrigerated crate. The teachers / lunch room monitors look out for anyone taking 2 or whatever...DD school is small (about 300 kids) but that is also what I remember happening when I was in school.
Can Jesse get his own milk from wherever it is stored?

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2002 - 1:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank-you all for your wonderful, thoughtful responses.
Kathyrn, I think you've made an excellent point which is SO hard for a lot of us to accept - it is OUR child's allergy and OUR child's responsibility. I know that I am adamant about Jesse carrying his Epi-belt from a young age and adamant about his wearing his MedicAlert bracelet from a young age. Both of these things I feel help to empower him and be responsible for his allergy.
But, I guess, as you can see, I'm still having difficulty with when it's time for him to be responsible for his allergy and in what situations. I can say to you, "he just turned 6" (which he did), but I can just as easily see myself saying that next year when faced with another situation at school ("he just turned 7"). And yet, I know your son is just a little bit older than Jesse and he is being taught the responsibility of his allergy.
I guess I'm just finding that part really difficult, and yet I'm the person who just finished posting MKRuby's Mission Statement Re PA and it's about empowering your children and also how it's your child's allergy, not yours. I guess I'm trying to say that it's just hard for me to let go. Does that make sense?
However, after what you have pointed out, I think it would be a good opportunity for me to go through Jesse's school plan and have a paragraph implemented in there whereby Jesse is to wash his hands after participating in certain activities. The only reason it would be in the school plan is because it would have to be someone at the school that tells Jesse to go and wash his hands since I'm not there.
Kathyrn, I did want to get in touch with you off-the-board about a new member (upmeier Thomas) posting under Living with PA. He's posted under a thread entitled Peanut Allergy and he and his wife are new to PA and also in Hamilton. You were the first one I thought of who may be able to point them in the direction of information and support since I believe you're from there as well.
California Mom, see I think you're kinda like me - it's a half and half responsibility as far as I can see. And I just never thought of pb residue on the containers. I actually can't stand the thought of it anywhere but I also recognize that I live in the real world.
Chicago, yes, I will check to see if Jesse is able to get his own milk.
I think the other thing that you'll find when I'm posting now about Schools is that I have always had what I consider a difficult time getting things put into place at the school for Jesse (to some degree). Different things have infuriated me over the past three years.
But I think what I'm finding now is that I'm extremely frustrated because there are only TWO negative things to our move - the fact that you can't find a family doctor where we live and the fact that Jesse only has a "peanut free" classroom again.
I believe I had worked really hard, to the point where the principal previously finally initiated a "reduce the risk" school when she opened the new school in Stayner. I finally got what I wanted only to leave it and come to a place where I'm starting all over again.
I also have several other *issues* with the school like carpet in the classroom (great for asthmatics I'm sure) and how often it is cleaned, etc.
It's just a really difficult time for me. I think to have finally either achieved what I wanted to and got what I wanted and then to enter a completely different environment again is really hard for me (and again, it's always harder on the PA parents than the PA children). So, thank-you for everyone's understanding, support and concern when they see me venting yet once again against the school.
I did e-mail the principal and then spoke with the School Administrator. Apparently, all children are supposed to be washing their hands after they eat (this I would have to see [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) but the School Administrator is in charge of the money box where the milk monitors come and put the money in before they get the milk. So, she came up with the wonderful idea of putting a reminder notice on the money box that everyone has to wash their hands before handing out milk.
I'm definitely having a hard time with the new school for a few reasons - it seems to be "inner city" if you can have an "inner city" school in a town/city of population 45,000 and there are some difficulties that I'm finding in that that I don't care for - those are more appropriate for an Off Topic rant, if anything.
Many, many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2002 - 5:59am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Cindy, I think you're raising a really good point about the division of responsibility betweeen parent, child, and school. I think this is an important issue to keep thinking about and discussing. In Jesse's situation with the milk: I really do see it as a school responsibility. It is something that should be relatively easy to make sure is safe. Believe it or not, I am starting to have Leah take more responsibility than I used to. The other day she came home and told me that she threw up at lunch time after she ate a cookie that her best friend gave her. She told me it was not an allergic reaction. Well, I have a lot of concerns about that: if she really did throw up the school should have called me and let me know; she should cetainly not be eating other people's food, etc. It's intersting: in the past I would have called the school and tried to get to the bottom of what really happened. This time: I really made it HER issue. Then, this morning she told me that a boy from her class was sitting at the peanut free table while he was eating a peanut butter sandwich, and he kept getting up and goofing around. She said that the yard duty told him to sit down, and then said "oh, you're at the peanut free table". Leah said that the yard duty made sure the boy and Leah were sitting really far apart. Well, I really gave it to Leah, especially because she was laughing when she told me this. I said "Leah, you are the one who has this allergy and you need to take responsibility for it. Do you think it will be funny if you get sick from Julian (the boy) running all around with a peanut butter sandwich, and sitting at your table? Do you think it will be funny if you start throwing up and have trouble breathing and someone needs to use the epi-pen and call 911? Will it be funny when you go to the hospital in an ambulance? She, of course, said "no". I said that next time she needs to tell Julian (or anyone else) that this is the peanut free table. If he doesn't listen she needs to tell the yard duty. Believe me: I'm about ready to take some action with the school, whether it will be me sitting with her for lunch (again!) to see what's going on, or whether it will be a call to the nurse or the principal. I haven't decided yet, but I am also really trying to impress upon Leah that the decisions she makes can have grave consequences. Anyway, Cindy, I hope you don't mind me getting a little off topic but I thought it related to this train of thought.
I'm sorry you're having difficulties with another school. It must be really rough to have to start over from scratch.
Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2002 - 9:36am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

California Mom, I can SO relate to what you're saying and I think you put my thoughts into much better words.
We're at the stage right now where we're trying to teach Jesse that there are consequences to his actions, but this isn't PA related. For example, if you throw a snowball at the school window and it breaks, then your parents have to pay for it and if they do, then there is less money for the things that YOU want. This, of course, comes to mind for me to-day because we received a written letter to-day because Jesse was throwing snowballs again [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] They have a "no throwing policy" which I have no problem with and apparently he totally disregarded the teacher on yard duty. This
is one step from suspension.
The letter that was sent home went into the potentially serious repercussions of a snowball hitting another person.
So, I guess, as it is with other things in our children's lives, we have to teach them responsibility for their allergy and also the potential consequences for not taking their allergy seriously.
It's all part of parenting, but I tell you, it's hard and I'm really finding it hard letting go.
And yet, Miriam, by posting what you did, I hope that I can be in the place that you are next year (I'm fairly sure Leah is at least a year older than Jesse). [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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