PB in classroom! Help needed ASAP!

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 5:04am
kandebuttahfly's picture
Joined: 12/27/2007 - 17:08

I am in desperate need of help, and I don't know if im posting in the right spot or if this should be under the schools section, but i really need help ASAP! Now, I have posted in the past how great my son's daycare is, how much i adore the staff, how great i thought they were bc they keep the epi pen in the room, etc., but recently there have been several issues that are making my trust in them waiver somewhat. I recently posted a post about people (my mom and my daycare staff) feeding my son foods without reading the labels. He is only 11 months, and has no way of communicating in the event of a reaction. His one "serious" reaction he didnt have any blatantly obvious signs like hives, etc. This subject has been weighing heavily on me, and I have been trying to make every reasonable measure to ensure his safety. Now, I know many will suggest just switching daycares, and obviously i will do whatever is necessary to keep my son safe, HOWEVER, switching daycares and finding something else appropriate for my son may just not be that easy. this is literally considered one of the best daycares in my city!

Yesterday when I picked my son up, I asked the lead teacher if I could take a look at his epi pen so I could check the expiration dates, just to make sure. She said yes, and then she proceeded to tell me that another child had brought pb sandwich for lunch - and they gave it to him. My heart sunk, and i thought i was going to throw up. i walked into the office and spoke with the director briefly about this. I explained that there had been at least one instance where he had been fed foods without labels being read (and i still dont understand why - i supply snacks) and that there was pb brought into the room and fed to the child. She already knew about this - the lead teacher had discussed it with her already. i asked which/how many of the rooms were peanut free, and she told me that none of them were, and its not likely they ever would be. she explained that the idea of making the center peanut free had been brought to the board, and the head of the board (a physician and a mom nonetheless) was the most strong opponent to the idea (she didnt however give a reasoning for why). so basically she said that pn werent served at the school, but others are allowed to bring in, and that when they get older they do a cooking class in the kitchen, and that there is a good likelihood that pn/pn products/may contain/processed ons would likely be used. she said that approx 15 kids have food allergies out of 300-350. honestly, i could understand if i was making a wacky request such as that no one be allowed to bring in egg, diary, meat, etc., because i want my son in a vegan environment just because thats what i want. i am asking them to take care of my sons life and his SAFETY be eliminating *one* thing from the center (or even his room!), as it is there are already a significant amount of food restrictions, as it is a jewish daycare and food is kept kosher, and no meat at all is allowed! She told me it wasnt likely that it would ever be peanut free but somehow they "make it work" for the kids.

Im sorry, but "making it work" isnt good enough! Now, i dont completely understand all of this and PLEASE correct me if im wrong, but wouldnt my son qualify for section 504/ADA? how can i check whether the daycare is required to adhere to the ADA? it was my understanding that anywhere that received federal/government $ of any sort is required to adhere. DES pays a portion of my daycare, does that count? they also participate in (i opted out) of some sort of federal food reimbursement program to pay for meals, and children of families with food stamps also are automatically granted free lunch (again, he's 11 months old, so it hasnt been a major issue until now, and i opted out of the federal food program as they only served a generic brand of enfamil lipil formula, only milk based, and he is on soy).

I dont even know what to do, or where to start. i am so disgusted right now that i cant even think straight, and im sure ive forgotten stuff or didnt explain the situation well enough.. can anyone help me out here??? what do i do? who do i speak with? please help im about to lose my mind! i am a single mom and cant be out of work, but i cant risk my sons life in the meantime. please help!

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 5:59am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

Hi I'm sorry you are still having issues
Below is link to a really long forum on 504's go to page 12 about half way down Gail W. Posts several links for resources on 504 one is the office of Office of Civil Rights. That might be a good place to start. It is my understanding that your preschools participation in the Fed Lunch program makes is what would make the 504 pertain to them.
The second link is to a site where a woman shares her 504 outline.
I am torn on if we should do a 504.
Hope these help get you started. I would continue to work with the school on how to keep your child safe now the 504 process can be a long one.

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 6:14am
kandebuttahfly's picture
Joined: 12/27/2007 - 17:08

who do i speak with about this? the director of the program herself said that they are not peanut free, and that if other parents bring pb it WILL be fed to the kids. she suggested feeding the children at different times on different high chairs - the problem with this is the high chairs in his room are like... a long table with 3 holes that are seats... does that make any sense? if not let me know and i will try to decsribe better. it just seems this would be too close for comfort since it is the same exact table virtually, and his sensitivity from past reactions is very strong and potentially airborne. what can i do in the meantime, short of quitting my job to stay home with him where i KNOW he is safe, what requests/requirements can i ask of them to ensure his safety?

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 6:30am
niche's picture
Joined: 02/05/2007 - 09:00

I'm not sure I haven't been in that exact position. My son didn't have to start preschool until he was 2 1/2. Some ideas... You might ask them if you could send home a letter to the parents telling them of the severity of your childs condition asking that they voluntarily not send in peanut products... in hopes that they would comply? or maybe you could bring in a high chair just for your son? Maybe you could ask to speak to the board and try to change thier minds about being a peanut free school? What kind of cleaning / handwashing policy do they have? I would call around to see if some of the other preschools have a better allergy policy too just so you know your options.

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 10:10am
lakeswimr's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

That doesn't sound safe to me. Young children put things in their mouths including toys other children touch with hands that could have food residue on them. they get residue on their clothing, etc. Personally I would switch. I know this might be very, very difficult. It might be the best day care in your city but it certainly isn't the best for *your* child. Food allergies are my #1 consideration when picking a school for my child. This school clearly doesn't get it. I would find one that does even if it isn't considered as good as this school in other ways. Maybe you could find another mother of a peanut/nut-allergic child who could be your daycare provider via your local food allergy support group (or you could put up signs about this.) I think if you decide to switch something will happen so you can switch, you know?

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2008 - 11:50am
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

I am sorry that you are going through this. you said your son is 11 months.. how are the ages and class rooms intergrated? usually the babies are in one room and the toddlers in another room. are they mixed in? I can't imagine that that the babies would be fed any kind of peanuts or peanut products... it should not be too difficult to atleast make the room peanut free that he is in.? My son was not in day care until he was 3. so I am not sure what the usual is for day care. but when my sone was ther the babies and toddlers were in different rooms.. so there would be very little chance they woul come into contact with pb & J.
good luck

Posted on: Sun, 02/17/2008 - 11:01pm
DinaT's picture
Joined: 02/21/2006 - 09:00

I don't know if it may help, but sometimes presenting to a director what the [i]other[/i] centers are doing -- sort of a peer pressure type of thing -- can make a good argument. National day care chains, like Tutor Time, I believe are nut free, and perhaps demonstrating that going nut free is the trend for legal, safety, etc. etc. reasons. Maybe find a local elementary school with nut free classrooms as another example?? I'm still shocked when I hear stories such as yours -- I have yet to encounter a daycare or school in my community that wasn't over the top to make my son safe and already had exemplary policies in place to handle FA. Seems you have to be the trendsetter and set precedent in that school. Good luck.

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2008 - 9:34am
kandebuttahfly's picture
Joined: 12/27/2007 - 17:08

thank you all for the input. i hope this doesnt come across as sounding ingrateful, because it is SO not the case...i am sooo thankful for all of you, and for this board, you have REALLY opened my eyes about a lot of stuff. but i really do need to keep my child here (safely, of course), for a few reasons. the first of which it is the only jewish childcare center in town that accepts infants, and this is very important to me. secondly, the safety regarding all other aspects is superb. with the amount of anti-semitism that unfortunatly exists in the world, being a jewish center, the entire center, and especially the daycare, is heavily monitered and secure. this is important for the obvious reasons, and im sure other places would never turn a child over to just anyone, but there are a certain few people (my ex, his family and certain "others" from "that side" of the family) who are NOT to come within ANY proximity of my child and i feel confident that they will take any and all measures to keep these specific people away. 3rd, as a single mom with veryyy limited income, i have a scholarship to the program, otherwise any daycare would be out of the question. i do work, but only part time as i go to school as well, and as soon as my actual "program" at school starts i will be unable to work at all as i will be externing (mandatory unpaid on the job training).. so the scholarship is crucial as well. so id really like to find a way to make this center work for us. obviously my son is my #1 concern, but theres gotta be some way to make it work for everyone, right?
anyways, in response to some of the ?s... yes, the rooms are separated by age, he is among the older kids in his room - the child that brought the PB into the room couldnt have been more than 13-14 months old. theoretically it shouldnt be a problem making his room peanut free, but he is fastly approaching a bump up to the next age group (likely in august) where pn will be much more prevalent in the classrooms. as for sending a letter home to the parents, in reading some of the 504 posts, a lot of people have said that this is not the right thing to do - any insight from anyone re this particular situation? how would i go about making a presentation to the director/board about making it peanut free, especially given that when i spoke with the director she made it pretty darned clear it wasnt likely to ever happen, let alone happen soon? i hate to sound naieve, but i am a relatively young mom with not a lot of experience when it comes to confrontation in this manner, and i honestly have no clue where to start. i wish one of you experienced pa moms would adopt me and hold my hand through this LOL! like ive said previously, since it is an infnat only room, the threat of actual peanut products being present had never been an issue, and they do such a great job keeping the benedryl and epi easily accessible that i have absolutly sung their praises until now... and my heart is just crushed that no one seems to care about someone too little to tell you whats wrong......

Posted on: Wed, 02/20/2008 - 9:16am
Mrsdocrse's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

I am sorry that you are stuggling.... I can hear it in your words... I know that it is overwhelming . It still is for me at times.. my son is 7. I have known about his allergy sice he was about 2 1/2.
I would get some resources from FAAN ( foodallergy.org) They have some great kits for managing food allergies at day care, school, camp ect. I know you said your budget was tight but What I just did for my summer camp is pucharse one. I think it was $20 -$30. well worth it. read through it an aask to have a meeting with the director. The main thing is that you want to have your facts straight when you speak withthem and try to leave the emotions out of it. ( I know this will be hard). But then you don't sound like an over protective paranoid mom. They may be more willing to compromise. I would also mention that while your child is inthier care they have a responsibility to keep your child safe.

Posted on: Fri, 02/22/2008 - 2:29am
lakeswimr's picture
Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

I would also recommend getting some resources from FAAN. You could also post at [url="http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org"]http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org[/url] (they offer free membership for those who can't afford the $25/year)
I would recommend also making a list of ways you feel your child might come into contact with allergens in bullet form--short and to the point as possible.
For example...
Another child might have peanut butter smear on clothing and get pb on a toy that your child might then touch/mouth and this could cause a life-threatening reaction.
I would also recommend getting a letter from your allergist supporting a peanut-free classroom and explaining that if your child touches her allergens and touches eyes, nose or mouth she may have anaphylaxis.
I would also print out examples of news stories that show this is possible. At kidswithfoodallergies.org there is a list of food allergy deaths that you might show to them. It is very hard for me to look at that stuff but can be helpful in cases like yours.
I would also find quotes in books and pamphlets and on FAAN's etc websites that support peanut-free schools for daycare, preschool and primary grades because children mouth toys, etc. You can call FAAN's 1800#, too. They can give you some advice but I'd recommend asking them for Chris's #. Chris (not the Chris here at peanutallergy.com but the one at FAAN) is their legal advisor and will email you good advice on this topic.
I would present your bullet list of things that put your child at risk along with a list of possible solutions. If there are any risks that exist have the school explain in detail how they are protecting your child from that risk. They probably do not realize how much risk exists and you must educate them in a positive (not combative) way. If there is anything that is unresolved have another meeting to talk about it and why it is a risk.
You can do this! someone told me when I was preparing to meet with DS's present school, "how do you eat an elephant?" Answer - "one bite at a time." This is a project and you just can do one part at a time. :) You can do it! I did it! anyone can!

Posted on: Tue, 02/26/2008 - 8:35am
kandebuttahfly's picture
Joined: 12/27/2007 - 17:08

So - I guess my battle for a peanut free room is potentially on hold for the time being? Possibly some good news? So, I had my son's rast test done a week and a half ago getting ready to wage war with anyone bringing peanut around my lil man! I got the results today, a puzzling negative on EVERYTHING. they did a rather extensive panel of not only food, but seasonal allergens, regional allergens, animal, dust, mold, etc... and his results came back negative for EVERYTHING (including peanut). However, the results were just told over the phone by a medical assistant, and our actual appointment with the allergist is tomorrow morning.
So, I guess tomorrow I will learn a little more. I was rather opposed to doing a skin prick test on him, but i suppose now i will have to be willing to test at least for peanut so that i can know for sure. I just dont understand how he can test COMPLETELY negative for peanut allergy when he has had 1 mild reaction, and one anaphalactic reaction, and I became PA while pregnant only.... Well, I guess I will have some more answers tomorrow after the allergist. I am by no means getting my hopes up at this point... In fact, it scares me a little more because I don't want to become complacent and have a false sense of security... And even though I guess this is good news, it doesn't feel like it, and I know most of you would trade with me in a heartbeat to hear that answer... It just doesn't feel right. How can you not be allergic to something that has cause ana reaction before? *sigh* so more questions for now... hopefully someone can give me some answers tomorrow?
I dont have anything else to add for now, except as always, a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who's helped me out on here so far.... lakeswmr - that is a great quote, and really can put just about anything into perspective, can't it? thank you all so much. I'll update as soon as we get some additional info from allergist.


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