Please comment on Principal\'s Letter for Kindergarten

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 1:10am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pThe principal at my son's school has drafted a letter (to be sent out in about two weeks) and asked me to comment on it. I decided to post it here and am asking all of you to critique it and post your comments. /p
pSupposedly there are 5 children with "peanut issues" (my son included) in kindergarten this year. Everyone agreed that putting those 5 children in the same peanut-free classroom would be a wise decision. BTW, my son is the one listed in the letter that "has an extreme level of the allergy." /p
pDear Parents:/p
pThis school year there are children in Mrs. X's classroom that are allergic to peanuts and peanut by-products in every form. One boy in particular has an extreme level of the allergy and any insuring that he receive no contact with peanut products must be monitored very carefully./p
pWe are structuring our snack program in Mrs. X's AM and PM classrooms around not providing any snack that contains peanuts or peanut by-products. Since the snack program in all our kindergarten classrooms is one where parents provide enough "snacks" for the class to share, we are requiring that any snacks brought in as a contribution be those that have no peanuts or peanut by-products as ingredients. This leaves a huge variety of choices and should in no way be a challenge to providing snacks that all the children will enjoy. We will provide you with a list of suggestions (we do this each year) that you can choose from./p
pFurthermore, we will be requiring that any "special occasion" (birthday, etc.) treats be peanut free and only in sealed, store bought packaging with labels that contain the ingredients. This will provide us with any opportunity to better monitor any food products brought to school and into the classroom./p
pI am sure that you will agree that the health and welfare of all the children is of paramount importance and that providing a safe classroom environment is a must. Your cooperation in this is necessary for us to insure that safe environment. Please do everything you can to help us monitor Mrs. X's classroom./p
pIf you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact my office./p
pThank you very much for your cooperation and understanding in this matter./p
pYours in Education,/p

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 2:43am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

ryan's mom,
Great letter!
The only thing that caught my attention was the part about "store bought" foods with labels for special birthday-type treats. I imagine some, if not most, people will consider labeled foods from the bakery as OK. They would fit the criteria "store bought, sealed, labeled".
What do you think?

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 5:08am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Ryan's Mom,
What a terrific letter!
I also agreed with Lam about the store-bought goodies. As we unfortunately all know, not all labels are created equal. This could give a false sense of security. I'd rather supply my own treats for my child to eat in those circumstatnces.
Amy

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 7:41am
LaurieI's picture
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Joined: 04/04/2002 - 09:00

I liked the letter. I also agree that the store bought birthday treats would not be safe even with the labels. In this situation, I would supply my child with a special treat on those days.

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 11:18am
Riss's picture
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Joined: 05/21/2002 - 09:00

It is great that the principal is sending this letter out. We got frustrated with the director at our school and sent out a letter ourselves - great response from the parents, who weren't even aware that there was a child with a peanut allergy themselves.
The only question I have is about the parents providing the snacks for the class. I wouldn't trust that if parents are cutting veggies or fruit at home that there wouldn't be any source of cross-contamination (ie peanut butter on a cutting board). If you are providing your own snack for your child daily then this wouldn't be a problem. I also agree with the others about the birthday snacks. Last year we had a box at the school with treats for our son, so that any time there was a birthday circle he would have a snack from that. You could also ask if you could have some muffins stored in the freezer at school for such occasions.
I am still confused over the whole "mild" peanut allergy thing - I thought all should be treated as severe.... Something else to talk to the allergist about [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 07/24/2002 - 11:36am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks everyone for your replies. I guess the letter wasn't clear that Ryan won't eat any of these products. To try to make him feel "normal" he will be able to eat parent-provided snacks in sealed, labeled boxes (from major manufacturers, not small local bakeries) from a "safe" list (things that we have used at home like Nabisco Saltines, Fritos, Lay's Potato Chips, etc.) However, for parties, I'll be making special treats for him--trying to make it as close to possible as what everyone else is getting.
I agree that most of the bakery stuff will not be safe for him, and he won't be eating it. But we came to what we felt was a reasonable compromise for everyone while trying to ensure his safety. Reading the labels from the bakery for the other kids' treats would be far better than hoping every parent was complying with no-peanut rules with home-cooked food. The principal and I are trying to walk the very narrow line of gaining support/assistance from parents while maintaining a solid and effective safety net. We're trying to be broad enough to prevent as much parental resistance as possible.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited July 24, 2002).]
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited July 24, 2002).]

Posted on: Thu, 07/25/2002 - 5:51am
Gadget's picture
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Joined: 10/01/2001 - 09:00

I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of editing the letter because I found it VERY confusing (not to me, but to someone unfamiliar with peanut allergy).
Here is my go at it:
Dear Parents,
This school year, there are several children in Mrs. X's class that are allergic to peanut products in any form (peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour, etc.). An allergy to peanuts can have life-threatening consequences, so we, as a class, must be extremely careful to not introduce peanut products into the classroom.
Since the snack program in all our kindergarten classrooms is one where parents provide enough snacks for the class to share, we are requiring that all snacks contributed to the class be free from any and all peanut products. This leaves a huge variety of choices and it should in no way be a challenge to find an appropriate snack for all the children to enjoy. We will provide you with a list of suggestions that you can choose from (we do this each year).
Furthermore, we will require that any "special occasion" (birthday, etc.) treats be peanut-free. To best achieve this, we ask that all treats be store-bought, in the original, sealed packaging, and be clearly labeled with the ingredients. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of an inappropriate (unsafe) snack being brought into the classroom.
I am sure that you will agree that the health and welfare of the children is of paramount importance and that providing a safe classroom environment is a must. Your cooperation in ensuring a safe environment is greatly appreciated by everyone involved with the school. We are sure that with a little extra attention to snack ingredients, we can keep Mrs. X's classroom safe for each and every student this year.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office at xxx-xxxx (phone #). Thank you very much for your cooperation and understanding in this matter. We wish you a great school year!!
Yours in Education,
Mr./Ms. XXX
I have learned through the years to always draft my own letters that go home to parents and then have the principal review what I wrote. There is much less room for error/confusion that way! I hope you don't mind my re-write, but I honestly thought the original had some very confusing sentences in it. Good luck! Sounds like you have a very concerned, caring principal!

Posted on: Thu, 07/25/2002 - 1:17pm
Renee111064's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

Ryan's Mom,
One question for you! Does Ryan have a tree nut allergy too?
My son has never ever eaten any kind of nuts or would I ever feel comfortable with giving them to him. Not sure if you wanted to add tree nuts to the letter too otherwise I think the letter is good too. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
best wishes,
Renee [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 07/26/2002 - 2:29am
Chicago's picture
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Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

I really liked the addition of a list of peanut products (in the edited version) that included peanut butter. I have been AMAZED by the number of folks I have dealt with that "didn't think" about P-butter when thinking about PA. I guess that it is so common some think of it as a seperate food group - duh.

Posted on: Fri, 07/26/2002 - 7:21am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Renee,
That is a very valid concern since he has not been tested for tree nuts.
When I spoke to his allergist and analyzed his medical history/food eating, he suspects that he is not allergic to tree nuts. Before diagnosis, he used to eat pecans right out of the bag when I was chopping them for cookies with no problems. He LOVED cashews and ate them virtually every day for six months. Also, I bought alot of "nut" cereals like Raisin Nut Bran and Honey Nut Cheerios (almonds, I think) and, again, no problems. Our experience is he doesn't have a problem with tree nuts, but we don't feed them to him anymore because of cross-contamination issues.
BTW, are you going to the Bloomsburg Fair this year?
Hey everyone, THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT! I'm printing out this thread this weekend and giving it to the principal's secretary on Monday. Very good points were raised.
[This message has been edited by ryan's mom (edited July 26, 2002).]

Posted on: Fri, 07/26/2002 - 7:25am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I really like Gadget's edited letter and I hope you can use it instead. I found the first letter to be very poorly written and confusing, although it certainly showed that the principal's heart is in the right place.

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