Person in Position of Authority Who Obviously Doesn\'t Want to \Get It\

Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2001 - 12:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pI am having yet another difficult time with Jesse's school's principal. I think I'm dealing with it okay but I wanted to post and see what other people thought./p
pOf course, this means my going through my whole school experience with him and this principal./p
pWhen Jesse started JK at the age of 3-3/4, I was basically told that he would be sitting beside other children eating pb. I thought, okay, I don't have to legally send him to school until Grade One. However, on my walk home from the school I was able to calm myself down and recognize that there may be a policy in place with the school board re peanut allergy. There is. Jesse is ensured in this school board district a "peanut free" classroom. Whether a school becomes "peanut free" or not is up to the principal of the school./p
pSo, I was able to have the "peanut free" classroom implemented which involved working really closely with Jesse's teacher. Fine./p
pThings went really well last year until the end of the school year almost when I ran into two problems - the school Fun Fair and some teachers selling popsicles in the playground.br /
I sent PA information to the organizer of the Fun Fair and to the two teachers responsible for selling the popsicles which were "unsafe"./p
pI got called into the principal's office. She was very upset that I had diseminated (?) information and felt that any information should go through her. She would not even allow Jesse's teacher to be present at this meeting with me. If you had been present with me at the meeting, you would have thought that this woman was lovely and that she was dealing with this "issue" in a good way. But, if you look slightly beneath the surface, you can tell that she is all smiles and just wants the "issue" somewhat settled and out of her office./p
pThis year it was agreed that I would meet with the principal, vice principal and Jesse's teacher a week before school started.br /
He had the same teacher this year (until she left on maternity leave a month or so ago).br /
At the meeting, I was able to give them some literature and left the two videos It Only Takes One Bite and Alexander The Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts. I am not clear if anyone watched the videos or not out of the group of the three women. I do know that Jesse's teacher used the Alexander video in her classroom to educate Jesse's classmates./p
pAt this time, it was agreed that I would be the "official food checker person" for the school. What this means is that if someone is going to bring a food item in for fundraising purposes that they have to check with me. I will then call the place they are getting the food from to see if it is safe./p
pThe vice principal, at the beginning of the school year, asked me about the chocolate coated almonds and if it was okay for the school to sell them this year. I was astounded! I actually said that yes, it was fine that they sold them (I know they're packaged really well), just that Jesse would not be participating. I really felt as though this woman "got it" especially when she approached me about something that is obviously a really great fundraiser or it wouldn't be so ever present in all of our schools. It is a tradition. She also left on maternity leave at Christmas./p
pA few months back, I got the monthly newsletter and saw that there was a food item being sold. I forget what it was. I e-mailed the principal and asked her why I wasn't informed of this BEFORE it was put in the newsletter (i.e., I should check it to make sure it's okay before it comes into the school). I shouldn't be like every other parent in the school community that finds out about food items through the newsletter. I should be finding out before./p
pThe principal indicated that she would discuss this at the next School Council meeting./p
pThe week of Valentine's Day, I got a call from the school secretary on behalf of the principal. The Grade 8's were selling bulk chocolate hearts from Loblaw's and she wanted to know if they were "safe". Well, again, obviously they had already been purchased! I indicated that no, they were not safe, but this wasn't a problem as long as no one was eating them in Jesse's "peanut free" classroom./p
pI also have to say that any information I get on PA is sent in a group e-mail to the principal. When I sent her Rilira's daughter Rachel's newspaper story website link, she wrote back something about the new vaccine that will be available. She basically negated Rachel's story altogether and how another school was dealing effectively with PA./p
pIn a more recent newsletter, I learned about the upcoming Fun Fair and I have sent e-mails to the principal about dealing with the wicked organizer again this year. I have posted about this already under the Schools forum so I don't need to go into all of that here./p
pYesterday, I was out with a woman whose child is in Jesse's class. It was pizza day at the school. Earlier in the year, I had been told that they were no longer getting the pizza from Pizza Hut (safe) and that I was to check (as "official food checker person) Pizzaville in another town. I did this. I found out they were "safe" and passed the information on to the organizer of this fundraiser food thing. Well, the woman yesterday told me that they were buying the pizza from a totally different place! I couldn't believe it. The whole thing is, Jesse is getting a slice of this pizza each week. No one had thought to tell me that they had chosen a completely different supplier and I later found out that no one had checked to make sure if the pizza was "safe"./p
pI called the school when I got home and spoke with the secretary. I asked her where they were buying the pizza. She told me the place. I called there and the woman told me that they use olive oil and vegetable oil. I explained to her that I needed to know if the vegetable oil had a "may contain" warning on it. She very graciously took it upon herself to call the manufacturer to find out if the vegetable oil was "safe". As it turns out finally, it was. /p
pBut, my head was ready to explode! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img] My son has been eating this pizza for weeks. What would have happened if it wasn't unsafe?br /
What would have happened if this was a store that had a good connection to a cheap supply of peanut oil? Would I have any legal recourse with the school for not having me check out this product, especially before it was fed to my son?/p
pI e-mailed the principal again and voiced my concerns. I told her that I had two problems with this whole thing. First of all, ANY food coming into the school I am supposed to check on the safety of it. This doesn't mean that if the pizza was "unsafe" the rest of the school couldn't have it. It would mean that Jesse and his fellow classmates, because they are in a "peanut free" classroom could not have it./p
pMy second problem was that this food was actually consumed by my son./p
pI have offered everything possible to the principal. Her response to my e-mail with my concerns was that she was going to address this with the School Council again tonight.br /
In my e-mail to her, I asked her if a personal letter from me to anyone doing fundraising would help. I told her that anyone can have my telephone number, my e-mail address, set-up a personal meeting with me, question me to no end. In all honesty, and I believe a lot of you would know this already, I would go to the ends of the earth to have people ask me about something and do the work. They wouldn't have to do any work about this at all except picking up the telephone to ask a question./p
pOh, and there was the incident that I also posted about on the board where the principal had been calling the school a "reduce the risk" environment at the beginning of the school year. It is even in our parent handbook that we received in October/November. When I queried her on this (because there were no signs that this was a "reduce the risk" environment at all), she told me that this was straight out of the school board policy (it isn't). I explained to her why she couldn't use this phrase without implementing a few precautions. I told her that I could go through a whole list of things that would enable her to call her school "reduce the risk". No, she didn't want that. She stopped calling the school "reduce the risk"./p
pIt has become really obvious to me that because Jesse is the first PA student she has had to deal with (or me the first PA parent she has had to deal with), she really doesn't want to deal with this "issue" at all. It is bothersome to her. It takes away from her focus on opening a new school (one which Jesse will have to attend next year unless we move within specific parameters in the town).br /
To her, "peanut free" is not positive and progressive, it is a pain./p
pI have supplied literature. I have supplied videos. I have attended School Council meetings (what a bore - maybe just my school's). I have offered whatever assistance is required. I e-mail her information re PA./p
pWhat else can I possibly do with this woman or am I forever going to be banging my head against the wall as long as she is the person in authority that I have to deal with?/p
pFor anyone reading this that does not have a "peanut free" classroom for their child, please understand that it is only through my son's school board policy that one is ensured for him. There are many other schools in this school board district that are actually "peanut free" schools. Others are "reduce the risk"./p
pI also feel that the principal is very begrudingly providing me with something that her school board policy recognizes and ensures./p
pI have not asked the principal for a "peanut free" school. She has to provide a "peanut free" classroom./p
pAlso, please remember that although I may appear differently here, I am very quiet. I have worked calmly and clearly with this woman. I am never defensive or angry. Even yesterday when my head was ready to explode about the pizza, I was able to compose a clear, nicely worded e-mail to her. No one, but people reading this, knows how upset I am about this./p
pDoes anyone have any thoughts on how to deal with this woman differently or should I just keep plodding along, bringing to her attention when yet another error has been made and hoping against hope that my son doesn't have a reaction because of the stupidity going on?/p
pMany thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]/p
p------------------/p

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