Press conference in Nassau County NY- will announce new food allergy plan for schools

Posted on: Thu, 10/06/2005 - 7:25am
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GUIDELINES FOR DEALING WITH FOOD ALLERGIC CHILDREN TO BE ADOPTED IN NASSAU COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Please join us at a press conference on Oct. 14, 11:00 am, at the Mineola Legislative Building (1 West St., Mineola). At this press conference, Dr. Ackman, the Commissioner of the Nassau County Board of Health, will announce the Health Department's commitment to food allergy education in all Nassau County Schools, and his commitment to adopting policies in all Nassau County Schools to ensure a safe school environment for our food allergic children.

Last month, at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) meeting of Nassau County School Superintendents, more than 50 Nassau County School District Superintendents received copies of the attached guidelines which we drafted, titled "Food Allergy Guidelines for Schools," together with supporting materials. The materials were distributed with a cover letter from Dr. Ackman urging all schools to take note of this serious issue and establish protocols and procedures for dealing with food allergic children. These Guidelines will provide school personnel (from superintendents, principals, nurses and teachers to cafeteria workers and bus drivers) with the "best practices" for preventing allergic reactions in various school settings and teach them how to deal with emergencies in the event they do occur.

Of course, we didn't accomplish this feat alone. We are extremely grateful to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, Mount Sinai Hospital's Jaffe Food Allergy Institute and The Food Allergy Initiative for their assistance and support. We are also thankful to Jill's law firm, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP and Stephen Mandel, a Schulte associate, for making available the resources of the firm for this project. Through the invaluable help and support of Nassau County legislator Craig Johnson, we established contact with Dr. Ackman and Dr. Mapes, the District Superintendent of Schools for BOCES, the entity responsible for any county-wide initiative in the schools.

Our guidelines are broken down into various segments, as is the typical school day. We give suggestions, for example, on what the classroom teacher should be aware of, what the role of the school nurse should be, and how to deal with lunch/recess, field trips, etc. While many try to make schools "peanut free," we believe that this is not necessarily the best approach, especially in light of the fact that so many children are allergic to things besides peanuts. We feel that it is unrealistic to make schools "peanut free", as it causes undue conflict with some parents, and that, even if this were to be accomplished it would provide a false sense of security for the schools. We believe making schools "allergy aware" and providing them with the proper education is likely to be far more effective. We must all train our children and the school community to provide a safe environment in which our children can learn and flourish like all other children.

We need to make a strong statement about the importance of this issue. By filling the Mineola legislative building, we believe we can accomplish this, so we urge you all to join us and to bring your children (food allergic or not). We appreciate your taking your children out of school for this and feel that by missing an hour of school your children will be able to go to school safely for many years to come. Further, what better lesson could we teach our children than to empower themselves and try to change things for the better instead of feeling victimized by the limitations put on them due to their food allergy. Please feel free to contact either one of us if we may be of any additional assistance. Thank you in advance for your support. If you would like to join us, please RSVP to one of us by Monday, October 10th. Hope to see you all on October 14th!

Best Regards,

Amanda Bromberg
516-625-8627
[email]amandabromberg@optonline.net[/email]

Jill Mindlin
212-756-2530
[email]jill.mindlin@srz.com[/email]

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