Power struggle with school district

Posted on: Tue, 12/28/2004 - 10:31am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I apologize for the length of this. I'm incredibly frustrated...

We are in the midst of a horrible power struggle with our school district. And before things get really nasty, I just want to know (from other PA parents) how you would handle this if it was you/your child.

Drew is airborne and contact sensitive to peanuts. His last reaction occurred one year ago at school, when pb was served at breakfast. We, being very non-confrontational, tried doing things the school

Posted on: Tue, 12/28/2004 - 10:50pm
jtolpin's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

OMG.
Is what we are looking forward to?
Is the norm? Good god....
I am sorry you have to deal with this...
How unreal... I've talked to the school committee in the past IRT situation. Which is by far, less than yours, since C is in Preschool now.
Next yr is K, and it will be 1/2 day (out before lunch), so she doesnt eat lunch there...
I don't even want to THINK about 1st grade. Sara's in 1st grade and eats lunch at school every day (even buys a lunch 1x/wk -- pizza on fridays). We supply her lunch the other 4. Not because of peanuts, Because I'm cheap [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Anyhow... For C and school, I have no idea what to expect. The school committee changed our food policy a lot, so it doesnt help us as much, and Im hoping a 504 plan will be in place for her...
I cant believe a school district is doing this to you...
I dont htink you are being unrealistic in your demands... You're doing whats safe for your child. Why they dont understand that is just BEYOND me...
What can we do for you? I have no idea. Really... Offer BTDT advice perhaps? I can't... Havent BTDT.
But, to be non-confrontational may not be the right way of doing things...
The term 'Backbone Surgery' comes into play here, and although you catch more flies with honey... may not work.
You do what you have to. You do whats right.
We'll do what we can for you here...
I wish you good luck.. truly...
Jason
Caitlin 4-17-00 Allergic to Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Bananas, Grapes, Rye, Sesame, Beef, Garlic, Mustard, Onion, Peas and Avoiding Latex and all Nuts
Sara 2-13-98 NKA (Avoiding Nuts)
Meghan 2-28-03 NKA (Avoiding Nuts)
[url="http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin"]http://community.webshots.com/user/jtolpin[/url]
------------------
[b]* ENRICHED * [/b]

Posted on: Tue, 12/28/2004 - 11:27pm
TinaM's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/25/2004 - 09:00

Our disadvantage is that there are only about 2 other children in our district with PA. Also, very few people here are aware of PA (very small southern town.)
[This message has been edited by TinaM (edited March 02, 2005).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 12:04am
synthia's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Power struggle,it's funny you should bring up these words now.
I was told "we don't want to have a power struggle".
I replyed with it "is not about a power struggle it is about kepping a child safe!!"
What does your gut say?
Do what [b]you[/b]feel is going to keep [b]your child safe![/b]
Hang in there Drew's mom!
------------------
Love this site
Synthia

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 2:02am
Nutternomore's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Drew's Mom,
Thanks for the update...was wondering how your struggles were going, as you had posted about this previously.
Some things to consider:
Please don't take this the wrong way, but how confident are you in your legal representation? Do they have sufficient civil/disability rights experience? I ask because what jumps out at me is a concern that you mentioned that the 504 plan development has taken a back seat to these issues. Although difficult and time-consuming, the 504 planning process is one of the strongest legal weapons you have available to equalize the situation with the district. Although you may not choose to [i]fully[/i] develop a 504 for this year (meaning that all accommodations are committed in writing and encompassed within the plan), IMHO the discussions re:this accommodation (changing the lunch menu) should be discussed under this process. Lack of resolution through this venue entitles you to a file for a "due process" hearing under the law in order to resolve the impasse.
Don't have the info w/me at work, but Reed Martin, a nationally recognized civil rights attorney, has put out some publications that assist in this process - [url="http://www.reedmartin.com"]www.reedmartin.com[/url]
I purchased the one on basic 504 planning, but he has another one about advanced advocacy strategies. It's called "Are you ready to play hardball?" Using your school's and state's violations of Section 504 and the ADA to get your child the program they need - [url="http://www.reedmartin.com/advancedadvocacymanual.htm"]www.reedmartin.com/advancedadvocacymanual.htm[/url]
Possibly using some of the ideas (either on your own, or in conjunction w/your attorneys) in this publication would broaden your counter-attack, and it would really rattle their cage, and perhaps make them get a little more reasonable in their dealings with you via the 504 process.
I would not start a petition, because based on what you stated, there is a high possibility of adding fuel to the fire in terms of negative public sentiment.
Stay strong! I can relate to the stress that you must be feeling right now...but you will ultimately work something out with them...
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited December 29, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 2:20am
Nutternomore's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

OK...had to find your old posts on the history of this
Here's one of them:
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001587.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001587.html[/url]
There was also another post in which you indicated that you had some positive contact with a member of the school board, but wanted to explore potential resolution with the school first.
So, in addition to my earlier comments, you could also:
(1) Try to take this directly to the school board for resolution
(2) Informally meet with a school board member (with your attorney) and indicate that should the school not get more reasonable, given the medical documentation, then you may be inclined to open an inquiry to possible violations on the part of the school and the state re:504 and ADA violations.
Also, it's always helpful to offer alternatives to give a school the opportunity to save face. In this case, not sure why the resistance to eliminating PB from the menu, but the alternative I'd offer to them is to be sure they know that Sunbutter has been added by the government to the commodities list for school food service programs, meaning that they can be reimbursed for purchasing/offering it instead of PB... The school board member might find this of interest, since there is no "takeaway" in terms of free protein; it's just a substitution for a safer product for the school community....
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited December 29, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 4:19am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks for the encouragement. We are going to keep fighting this as long as it takes. I just wanted to get some feedback as to what other pa parents thought. I don

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 4:34am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:Originally posted by Nutternomore:
[b](1) Try to take this directly to the school board for resolution [/b]
We did. Supposedly, we had two out of the six on our side, but when push came to shove, their "rubber stamps" came out and everyone sided with SI to do nothing. Our school board is made up of community business leaders. Only ONE member of the board has children in the district. Everyone else is "financial" minded (being on the school board, getting your name and face around....good for business!).
[b] Quote:(2) Informally meet with a school board member (with your attorney) and indicate that should the school not get more reasonable, given the medical documentation, then you may be inclined to open an inquiry to possible violations on the part of the school and the state re:504 and ADA violations.[/b]
Hmmmm....that's an idea I hadn't thought of. We will discuss that option with our attorney.
Quote:[b]Also, it's always helpful to offer alternatives to give a school the opportunity to save face. In this case, not sure why the resistance to eliminating PB from the menu, but the alternative I'd offer to them is to be sure they know that Sunbutter has been added by the government to the commodities list for school food service programs, meaning that they can be reimbursed for purchasing/offering it instead of PB... The school board member might find this of interest, since there is no "takeaway" in terms of free protein; it's just a substitution for a safer product for the school community....[/b]
We have repeatedly stressed to them that we are definitely open to compromise as long as it keeps Drew safe. That is our #1 goal.
We have offered SunButter as an easy solution. However, (we haven't checked with our state ed. dept. for about a month) the last time we checked, SunButter was not offered to Missouri schools yet (MO didn't opt for it - it is available to MO, but they don't "want" it, and therefore not an option for MO schools). We will check with them again...maybe it is now offered....could it be that simple????
[This message has been edited by Drew's mom (edited December 29, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 4:57am
MommaBear's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Drew's mom:
[b]How do you get the district to do anything (take on more liability) that they are not legally required to do? [/b]
Is the "liability" there regardless of being "in writing" or whether or not anyone is even aware of it? I mean, I don't know myself. What is the purpose of having something "in writing"?

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 10:09am
Nutternomore's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Drew's Mom,
Wow. You actually have had a number of different threads going about your situation.
Ok...looking at this one [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001485.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001485.html[/url] leads to a question and another variation on options...
1) Per the previous thread, did you ever go back and get stronger documentation from your child's doctor re:his need to strictly avoid peanuts, including some medical documentation of his inhalation reactivity? And also tied it affecting his major life system of breathing, learning, etc.? Without this, you are on shaky ground in terms of ultimately prevailing in the 504 arena. If you do a search here at PA.com, you'll find that a fellow Missourian, GailW, had worked with a physician in MO to conduct an inhalation challenge on their daughter and documented the results. Not saying you should conduct the challenge per se, but something to consider.... [b]No matter what strategy you pursue, you will need strong evidence from the doctor in order to succeed...[/b]
Also, since your school board member was outgunned, and I now remember that you had met directly w/the Superintendent, another alternative is to meet with Superintendent and District 504 coordinator (and your attorney) and potentially indicate that you will press forward with inquiry into 504/ADA violations. If the Superintendent presents to the Board that they need to take action to avoid potential loss of funding, they will respond (that's a financial equation they can understand)... I'll leave it to you to consider whether to also leave them with a copy of the MA BSEA Mystic Valley case, along with the doctor's letter mentioned above...
Another school of thought is that you need to first follow the 504 protocol if not already done so (i.e. formally request in writing to schedule a 504 meeting and convene a 504 team so that accommodations can be made so that your child can safely attend school at all times) - I don't recall how it was that the school put a list of accommodations in front of you for review. Be prepared to immediately provide medical documentation from your physician documenting medical necessity and linking to accommodations needed due to impact of major life systems of breathing (at a minimum) - this is the 504 law language that makes it pretty much a slam dunk that your child gets immediately deemed "504-eligible". Your doctor's letter should also include in its history the documented reaction at school with a likely cause of inhalation of peanut protein. If you were to conduct an inhalation challenge, the doctor would also include those results. Once that designation is made, the 504 team (of which you are a part of) must come together to begin working through accommodations. I think in one of the prior threads I outlined the sequence of steps from there, and given the fact that your 504 coordinator is new, perhaps that person is now better equipped to move forward with you on this... If they just present the items previously put together, you can conditionally accept that plan (which puts rigor and liability in place for the other accommodations), but qualify your signing of the plan with rejection of the cafeteria accommodations. From there, you have the legal right to due process. Yes, the district is responsible for selecting the independent hearing officer, but that doesn't necessarily mean a guaranteed victory for them.
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited December 30, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 12/29/2004 - 1:07pm
momma2boys's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

Drew's Mom, I am sorry I don't have any advice for you, but wanted to offer my support. You are not being unreasonable, they are. You know in your gut what it will take for your child to be safe. I hope your lawyer can help achieve that for you. Good luck, and this really infuriates me.

Pages

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

There are many reasons why you may want to substitute almond flour for wheat flour in recipes. Of course, if you have a...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Most nut butters provide all the same benefits: an easy sandwich spread, a great dip for veggies, a fun addition to a smoothie. But not...

Do you have a sweet tooth and more specifically a chocolate craving? Those with peanut allergies must...