peanut-free tables....


An article on the main board got me wondering. It seems *most* don't like the peanut-free if you don't like them, what do you do at lunch??? I like the peanut-free table, but why am I the minority...maybe *I* am missing something(I know, segregation, but I don't see son has friends, usually 3-4 kids(non-PA) and the other grade I see, 2nd, they always have a full table as well, again many non-PA kids)??

I have discussed with my son, as he gets older I might try to get him over to the *hot* lunch table(our school seperates hot lunch and cold lunch), seeing all the cold lunches and all the PB Uncrustables are eaten at the cold lunch table, so technically the hot lunch table is safe, right?? The only two problems I see is if the hot and cold tables are switched, then either could have traces of pb on it. And what if they wash the cold lunch tabel first, then wash the hot lunch table with the same rag....if I could get around those 2 things, I think it would work for him to sit there. But for now he's at the peanut-free table!

------------------ Chanda(mother of 4) Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma) Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma) Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE) Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

On Mar 15, 2007

My son is in second grade. His school is only preK -2, so there is just one lunch session, so I know the tables are clean (I spend a *huge* amount of time in the school volunteering so I see everything, and the custodian there is amazing [img][/img] ) There are just 8 classes in the cafeteria at lunch, each has its own table. Per his 504, he is the first on line to go to lunch, so that he can sit on the end corner seat of the table. His best friend, who never brings pb. always sits next to him. The aides each get a flyer with his picture on it at the start of the year - they all know him, and make sure no one anywhere near him has pb. Our hot lunch is nut free. Most of his classmates do not bring pb for lunch as they know about the allergy. One child does (he's diabetic), and he sits as far away from ds as possible, then reports to the nurse after eating and washes up. Ds wants to sit with his class (the whole class is at one table) and in our situation, there really isn't any reason for him not to.

My son eats right out of his lunchbox, but I know in the past other PA kids have used those disposable cardboard trays - if you wanted to let your son eat at the hot lunch table, that could be an option if you are worried about the table being properly cleaned.

I am so much more worried about him being outside at recess, I don't worry about the lunchroom at all [img][/img]

On Mar 16, 2007

Our situation is the same as mcmom's. Our son is the first to eat at the table and anyone with a hot lunch can sit next to him. Our school lunches are *obvious* P/TN free. Our son eats cold lunch from home. Our son's class has always been FIRST to eat in the lunch rotation - every year since K and he's now in 4th - so he's been guaranteed a clean table every day. His table is not labelled "peanut free."

EDIT: I have to echo the part about being more afraid of recess than the lunchroom. For the last four years, we've had kids who eat P/TN foods at lunch wipe their hands (with wiped WE provided) before they went our for recess. This year, we removed that - testing the waters, I guess. So far, so good. However, I must say that our son is on a daily antihistimine, so his chances of contact reactions are diminished.

I have done some scouting and have found out that at our middle school (5-8) hardly ANYone eats a cold lunch, so next year, lunch MAY get even easier for us.

[This message has been edited by Lam (edited March 16, 2007).]

On Mar 16, 2007

Chanda: Regarding the issue of clean tables. Our lunchroom is separated the same as yours. The lunchroom has two carts with buckets for washing tables. One cart has green buckets for the green tables (peanut free) and one cart has red buckets for the red tables. This way cross contamination from cleaning the pb tables is unlikely. It is actually a simple solution that has worked very well for us.

On Mar 16, 2007

thank you...I might give the bucket idea a try. I do think if they labled the tables even saying *HOT* on the top and *COLD * on the others and then had seperate cleaning stuff, I would consider it, really. I am the opposite of the first 2 posters, the playground isn't a big worry becasue all the cold lunch and PB kids walk over to the bathrooms and wash hands after eating. I am sure a few sneak by, but he's never had problems after recess, it's always as he walks *into* lunch(like the tables aren't clean, or the chairs...something he is touching). Okay, this gives me a few ideas though, thank you!!!! I really appreciate it!

------------------ Chanda(mother of 4) Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma) Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma) Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE) Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

On Mar 16, 2007

Hi Chanda4: My son (10 years old) does not eat at a peanut-free table. He eats directly out of his lunch box, or the school hot lunch if applicable. The tables are cleaned in between lunch periods and he is careful to look where he sits. (I think the main thing that keeps him safe is eating directly from his lunch box or the hot lunch tray.)

I feel that as kids get older, the peanut-free table "can" become an issue for some kids, but certainly not all. My son has friends, but is a little bit of a loner sometimes. To be honest, if he had to have friends agree to sit at a peanut free table with him, it might be difficult. He is part of a group of boys, but not necessarily the "popular" type that kids would clamour to be with if it meant sitting apart from the rest of the boys. At this point of his development I feel it is just as important for him to not have the added pressure of finding friends to sit with. So as long as he is not having problems, we will continue to have him sit anywhere in the lunchroom.

I think if kids have a solid group of close friends than it would not be an issue. But as middle school years approach, kids can change and it is definately something to keep an eye on.


On Mar 16, 2007

My ds also eats at a peanut free table. They also have a dedicated bucket and rags for his table. It's also the same table every day. But, just in case, they wipe the top, sides and under the table as well as the seat just to make sure.

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and a woman came up to me and said "You are Ryan's mom, right?" I said yes. She told me she was the head of the lunch room at school. I did have a meeting with her last year, but I did not remember who she was at first glance. I was amazed she remembered me. She made sure I thought everything was going well. I said it was and she smiled and left with her groceries. I thought that was wonderful.

We have not had one problem in the lunchroom or his classroom this year. It has been awsome!

I hope the rest of you are having a good school year.


On Mar 16, 2007

My son eats at pn free table. The table is marked and is always the same table. The table is cleaned with a solution and paper towels. No buckets and rags used here.

He loves his pn table there are 6 other children who sit there and each invites one or two to join them.

At this age, I just prefer that he is not burdened with worrying about what other kids are eating at the table.

On Mar 16, 2007

My son also eats at a peanut free table. It is not segration unless it is done in a segregating way. As long as non pa kids are allowed to sit at the peanut free table, it is not segregation. Our 504 states that the table is peanut free at all times (not just when my son is there) and the table is not allowed to be used for outside events. Works well for my son, the kids all fight over who gets to sit there.

On Mar 17, 2007

I just posted a question about this, and will respond here as well. My son is in 4th grade, and sits in a peanut free area, always has..This year kids have been less likely to understand he can move seats, etc, in his section, to be able to sit with year, I am thinking of trying him sitting with general population..the peanut free area next year will be crowded with his grade, 5th, and his sister's, 2nd, with only 24 seats to chose from...He is nervous, but his class will be the first to sit at these tables, thus, no cross contamination, the problem: hot and cold can sit together at our school, and our school has been so great, I don't want to ask them to change that for us..I think it would be good for him, for when he gets into middle school, the situation will be similar..we also have an X on our peanut free bucket that cleans the those tables..I also work at the school, lunch and recess, so I think it'll be okay, he is just so scared, due to me telling him all these years, "You need to sit in peanut free area," he has showed this year, that he is sick of sitting back there, and not being able to sit with who he wants to every day like the rest of the kids..

------------------ Amy (mom of 2) Son PA/TNA Daughter PA/TNA

On Mar 17, 2007

Why is he not able to just have his friends sit with him at the peanut free table? That is what my son does. The school is supposed to allow that as long as the friends do not have peanut products in their lunch. It is the law. Then he could be safe, not be scared, and still sit with his friends.

On Mar 17, 2007



On Mar 18, 2007

Marizona, I am sorry, I didn't specify in my post..He is able to sit with friends that have hot lunch. Only hot lunch is allowed in PF area..our school lunch is peanut free thanks to my kids and me! yeah me! [img][/img] anyway, the problem is his best buddies sometimes get to lunch later than he does, and it fills up back there quickly, many times leaving him sitting with kids he doesn't care for..after reading nuttermom's link, I am feeling much better about all son is responsible enough to make sure those around him are not eating peanut products, and our staff in the cafe is great..I think it would benefit him to "get out" of the isolation for his last year in elem. school..I have plenty of time to figure out, but as a mom, of course, i am obsessing early! thanks,

------------------ Amy (mom of 2) Son PA/TNA Daughter PA/TNA

On Mar 18, 2007

Hi Amy2:

If the situation is as you described (your son's class being the first to eat in the lunchroom, you being a volunteer and close by, etc) it sounds like it would be okay to give it a try, as long as you both want to! My son has always eaten with everyone else (now in 4th grade) and we have never had a problem from the lunchroom. If anything, it has helped him be confident in how to handle certain situations (for instance, making sure he eats his food directly from his lunchbox, etc).

I can understand where you are coming from with regards to your son not necessarily being able to sit with his "buds" for lunch. As kids get older they tend to worry more about being left out and it is an issue that needs to be considered.

Take care and hope everything turns out okay for you!


On Mar 18, 2007

My DD prefers a peanut free table. She wants to feel that she can eat in peace and not be looking over her shoulder worrying about the kids around having peanuts/nuts for lunch. She sits with all her friends and whoever doesn't have peanuts/nuts for lunch, whether its school lunch or brought from home. It is a table for 8, so she's not alone.

She's in the 6th grade and we had to request it for her. It was one of the items I put into her 504. I was told by her MS that the kids at this age don't want a PF table and they didn't have one. I think it should be individual based on the child's needs.

On Mar 20, 2007

I had lunch at school with my DD for the 1st time yesterday (her birthday). I hadn't gone in to spy on how things were done, but it turned out to be interesting.

She eats at the peanut-free table with, most of the time, one other PA boy, and they each get to choose one classmate having hot lunch to sit with them. On days that the school serves peanut butter (not that often), more PA kids show up to sit there and they don't choose anyone else.

The table is in a spot that keeps it a little way from the general cafeteria tables, but it's right by where all the classes line up to leave. They have staggered times, so every few minutes another class is leaving. So every kid walks past the table to line up, and the end of the line is right by the table.

My DD has been telling me that all year kids from other classes have been asking them why they sit there, trying to set their lunchboxes on it while they tie their shoe or something, or touching the table. Now I see why! Kids were touching her birthday crown as they went by, kids were standing and staring at us (I was a strange grown-up), and a couple of wound-up boys came by acting silly. None of it is all that bad. But I can see that the table draws kids' attention after they've eaten and while they're bored waiting to go back to class. It's not a great situation.

But I can't think of another place to put it with the current set-up. You wouldn't want it at the tray return. You wouldn't want it between normal tables, within touching distance of those kids. And it's not like they can take out a whole big table for it, because they need the space.

So I e-mailed the school nurse and the teacher to tell them my observations and to say it doesn't need to be changed now, but they might want to come up with a different layout next year (when my DD won't be there).

I was so impressed, though, with the clean-up policy. My DD spilled her milk, and her teacher and I were hurrying to clean it up. We told the lady who was wiping tables, and she said, "I can't use this rag on that table. I'll clean it up later with something else." So they really do keep that table separate, even with the pressure of "We've got a big mess". I e-mailed about that, too. That's so great.