School Fun Fair - Need Some Help Dealing with the Organizer

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 6:17am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

pWe've been notified already that my PA son's school will be having their Fun Fair in June.br /
This is the event that caused a lot of problems for me last year with the school.br /
I'd like to go over what happened last year and how I would hope it would change and I'd really appreciate any suggestions anyone could give me to help deal with the organizer who is the same woman as last year./p
pNow, this year at the school, I have been designated as the "official food checker" which means that if any person for fundraising purposes is bringing a food into the school, they call me and I call the place they are getting the food from. This year I have had to call Pizza Hut and Subway. This wasn't something that was in place last year.br /
I am supposed to be notified of any upcoming events, involving food, before the rest of the school community, although this has not always happened this year./p
pLast year, I got the flyer in Jesse's knapsack about the Fun Fair including a big portion of it regarding the Bake Sale. I called the school to see if it could be a peanut/nut free bake sale and they told me to speak with the organizer. /p
pI called the organizer of the Fun Fair. I explained to her why I was making this request. Now, I have to remind people that although I may present myself differently on this board, I am a very quiet, calm and shy person. I do not deal with people in a harsh, demanding way. I deal with them quietly. The woman immediately told me that for her to request peanut/nut free donations to the bake sale would "piss" people off.br /
She went on to say that even Gummi Bears were coated in peanut oil. I tried to interject with some words and she simply hung up on me.br /
I was beside myself! I got off the phone literally shaking./p
pI posted here about the experience and people did respond about how to have a "safe" bake sale. I learned that people can label and double wrap the goods for the bake sale. A new flyer was issued for the Fun Fair requesting peanut/nut free treats that were clearly labeled and double wrapped. As it turned out, chocolate covered peanut butter balls were made and other peanut/nut treats.br /
The principal spent the afternoon of the Fun Fair double wrapping the baked goods./p
pThe organizer went so far as to suggest to the principal that our family should simply remain home. It is my position that Jesse should be able to attend school safely and attend after school events safely as well./p
pWe went to the Fun Fair. There was a barbeque portion and they were selling ice cream for the dessert part. Of course, it turned out to be Good Humour and not "safe".br /
This was after I had spoken with the organizer./p
pWhat I did end up doing was my passive aggressive little thing, which I'm sure, in her words would only "piss" her off more. I sent information about PA and anaphylaxis as well as an e-mail from Trebor Allan stating that Gummi Bears were NOT "coated in peanut oil" to her home address./p
pWell, as it turns out, the Fun Fair is being organized by the same woman this year. I found this out this morning after e-mailing the principal when I saw the announcement in this month's newsletter. When I saw it was the same woman organizing, I e-mailed back to the principal indicating that I hoped the woman would be more receptive than last year and that the principal could give her both my e-mail address and telephone number to contact me at ANY time with ANY concerns she may have with regard to the Fun Fair and PA.br /
I also told the principal that I would contact a "safe" ice cream supplier right away, which I have already done./p
pHow do you think I can handle this woman differently this year? Actually, I didn't do anything with her last year at all - I don't even know what she looks like. I allowed her to verbally abuse me, swear at me and hang up on me. I only passive aggressively tried to educate her but also recognized that it would probably enanger her./p
pShe did actually complain about my request to the principal last year and it caused such an uproar that I was effectively "called into the principal's office". When I e-mailed the principal this afternoon I told her clearly that I expected different and better treatment this year by the organizer. I also recognized that the organizer did do a great job last year and that I was not negating that./p
pAny thoughts would be greatly appreciated./p
pBest wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]/p
p------------------/p

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 6:39am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cindy, just a thought, but why don't you put away your keyboard and go visit the principal in person for a discussion? Or how about a joint meeting of you, the principal and this other woman plus any others in a position of responsibility for this event?
No need for things to get confrontational - in the spirit of coordinated efforts, etc., etc. The Principal should have a neutralizing effect on this woman and will also hear whatever niceties she has to say to you. I would not recommend a one-on-one with the woman, judging by your personality as you state, you would probably get nowhere except possibly humiliated again.

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 9:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Philip's Mom, thank-you for your thoughts re this. Actually, my keyboard does get put away quite often despite what many people may think to the contrary.
Now, as far as meeting with the principal and the organizer. It is a really good thought and I will suggest it if things do become contentious. However, the principal is someone who would prefer not to be dealing with this "issue" (PA) at all. She was supposed to attend a meeting with Jesse's new teacher and myself and basically told me to-day that she's too busy and wanted one of two new vice principals to attend in her absence. I told the school secretary that because both of the vp's were new, it didn't really make much sense for them to attend the meeting with the new teacher as they weren't aware of the protocol re dealing with PA either. I did e-mail the principal and tell her that I would meet with the teacher without her and without the vice principals and then the teacher could run by any of my concerns/requests with her after our meeting together.
No, PA is something this particular principal does not want to deal with at all. She has made this fairly clear since Jesse started school there last year. So, for me to set up a meeting with her and the organizer, before things become contentious, she would consider it a waste of time. Her e-mail to me this morning in effect told me that the organizer would be dealing with me.
I do appreciate your thoughts and I will certainly ask for a meeting if the woman gets bit**y with me again this year.
Now, I'm putting the keyboard away and having a late dinner.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 10:55am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cindy, I didn't mean to offend you about the keyboard. It's only that you mentioned sending emails to the principal and offering your email address for contact. When dealing with difficult people sometimes face to face is best BEFORE things escalate into a contentious matter.
Since this principal doesn't seem very supportive from what you say a coordination meeting could still be arranged with a third person in the room. How about a friend just happening to be at your house at the same time as a meeting with this woman. You would be surprised how some people tone themselves down when more than one person is present to hear themselves be a jerk.
This third person could even be another parent you have asked to help in this endeavour. I just really feel strongly about this neutralizer position to help this other woman behave better. I'd do it for you if I lived closer -
Debbie

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 1:14pm
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Cindy, are you trying to have a bake sale where every food item is safe for your son to eat or simply have it safe for him to attend and not eat?
I would not let my son eat at any bake sale since I wouldn't trust anyone else's idea of pm-free. The bake sale at my son

Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 2:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Philip's Mom, I actually could use YOU to help me deal effectively with this woman. Now that the principal knows that I know about the Fun Fair and have raised my concerns with her, we'll see where things go from there.
Eileen, you had some wonderful ideas, thank-you. I do have to say that I am not lucky to have a "peanut free" classroom for my son. His school board district has a policy that ensures his "right" to have one.
A "peanut free" school is harder to achieve.
It is the decision of the principal of each and every school.
I do know another PA parent living in my province (Ontario) whose child's school does run a successful "peanut free" bake sale every year. It can and is done. It is also not an unusual request to be made nowadays.
Jesse is also the only child in his school with PA. There are no children with any other food allergies in the school population of 560+ at all.
I believe the community I live in is not really aware about food allergies because there are not the numbers of people with them here yet.
Cayley's Mom, also posting on this board, lives in the same school district as I do, about a 45 minute drive away. As she mentioned in another post about her daughter's pre-school, she had to pave the way for her child, because her child was the first PA child in the pre-school. However, this year there are 3 or 4 more. Also, she is very fortunate because there are actually "peanut free" schools in the place that she lives.
I am not clear but I think this may be where the difference between countries comes in, yet again. Peanut free classrooms and schools are not uncommon here.
But again, I really did like the suggestions you had to make.
I forgot to mention even why I was concerned about the bake sale. I wouldn't trust anyone to make things "safe" to begin with so I wouldn't be purchasing anything for our family there anyway. My concern is that people may consider the baked sale goods as part of their dessert and be eating it in the schoolyard at the Fun Fair event. This raises a few concerns. I think someone else posted last year (I will have to find that thread) that we could actually ask people if they purchased anything at the bake sale, rather than making the bake sale peanut/nut free, that they please refrain from eating it until they got home.
These suggestions come from people that have been able to get these things put into place.
I'm going to find that other thread. Of course you'll see that I was ready to scream as I entitled the thread, but looking back now, even though I had felt almost attacked, especially since I was a "newbie" (new phrase here on this board), people did have some really good thoughts on it, as did you.
Again, Jesse has the "right" to a "peanut free" classroom in this school district. He also has the "right" to enjoy activities both during and after school in a RELATIVELY safe environment.
Also, I'm sorry, it is not a concession to me that all foods for fundraising are checked by me. At the beginning of the school year, the vice principal approached me and asked me about the chocolate covered almonds and if I felt okay about them being sold. Yes, I did.
Jesse is not allergic to tree nuts, but does not consume them because of the cross-contamination issue. I also know that the boxes are well wrapped. I simply told her that yes, I felt comfortable with the almonds being sold but that Jesse wouldn't be selling them.
Perhaps this all seems like a concession to you because your child does not have the "right" to these things in his school. Mine does. I do not make any unreasonable demands and I go to a lot of effort to educate people and also, as the food checker person to make sure that food is "safe". Oh, and the only reason I have to make sure that the food from say Pizza Hut and Subway is "safe" is because if it wasn't, it could not be sold to any of the children in Jesse's "peanut free" classroom on the days that he attends school (2 one week, 3 the next) or the alternate days. So, if the food wasn't safe, they would be losing the revenue from 40 students and denying 40 other students the food. A "peanut free" classroom means that even "may contain" products are not allowed into the classroom.
I'm sorry, you did have some really good advice but I do take offense to your use of the words "lucky" and "concession".
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 2:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I actually just went through Search and found my I Want To Scream thread. It is very interesting to read now almost a year later, for me. However, aside from the fact that I didn't know how to paragraph "properly" yet so my posts are even more difficult to read, there is some really good advice in there re bake sales and dealing with the school in general.
I must say, I was one angry woman that started that thread. I don't know if I would be as angry to-day. Probably.
PeanutKate had a wonderful system in place at her son's school. There was double wrapping and clear labeling done of the baked goods for the sale.
Anyway, if anyone is interested in it, as long as you don't say I was out of control in it, please feel free to read on!
Again, it was very interesting to read it almost a year later and to see the anger I spewed forth was unreal! I believe it was after that thread that I started off-the-board contact with MKRuby who really helped me learn how to deal with the school effectively. At any rate.....
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Wed, 03/28/2001 - 10:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Eileen, I realized I hadn't responded to your comments about the recipes I've been posting.
I had received an e-mail cookbook of Brand Name Recipes and my DH recently reminded me that I had it and thought that it might make for a great addition to the Snacks, Recipes section on this site especially because a lot of people don't feel comfortable buying the actual Brand Name products that were featured.
I haven't actually tried any of the recipes I posted en masse. The only ones that I have posted that are "tried and true" of mine are The Carrot Muffins, The Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins and The Tabouli Salad. I also posted Cayley's Mom's Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf which is "tried and true" by her. Then, of the Brand Name recipes that I've posted, some people have been coming in and posting when they have tried them so that we do know they are, in fact, "tried and true". When I finish posting all of them (I almost forgot I was going to post 2 a day), I was going to put a cautionary post separately that none of the en masse ones were "tried and true" unless someone other than me posted that they had tried them.
I know I have given everyone the very misleading impression that I do a lot of different food things with recipes. I actually don't.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Thu, 03/29/2001 - 1:55am
KatiesMom's picture
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Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

Cindy:
I think everyone has given you very good advice. My only advice is on how to deal with the organizer of the event. I tend to specialize in pushing people's buttons but in ways that I can't get 'called' on it. What I would do is treat her as if there was no contention between you last year. I would approach her with the attitude that of course she's willing to help and won't this be fun. She is probably regretting even having to deal with you. If you approach her all friendly and have the "let's work together attitude", it will kill her but there's nothing she can do about it. I always approach meetings pretending to have the assumption that they want to help me. That way they look stupid when they say they don't. This is just what I would do...

Posted on: Thu, 03/29/2001 - 5:15am
vic's picture
vic
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Joined: 11/30/2015 - 09:59

Cindy,
I don't have any advice for you, but instead, a compliment! I give you a lot of credit for taking on this challenge!
I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed lately, so last week when our son's school had a carnival with a cake walk, I cheated and took the easy way out. We had our own carnival, complete with pizza, pop, tickets, games and prizes, grandpa and grandma! I was too worried about food being opened and eaten throughout the school, etc.
I admire you for being so strong!
Nut-free wishes,
Victoria

Posted on: Fri, 03/30/2001 - 3:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Katie's Mom, thank-you! That was excellent advice! I really appreciate it.
Victoria, thank-you for the compliment. However, I would like to say that I don't think you chickened out at all. You did something very special for your child, which included his/her grandparents that would be much better remembered than a School Fun Fair any day! Believe me! I went to last year's! LOL! No, seriously, although you think you chose the easy way out in not dealing with the school event, you offered a much more special event for your child at home. It was also excellent that you posted this because a lot of us feel like simply not attending the function because of the ever present food factor but how many of us actually stop and think about what we could do as the parents who make this decision, to ensure that our child has something special to enter their lives anyway? I think what you did is truly amazing and I would like to think that if I did choose to not attend the event that I could do something comparable for my son. I'm not clear that I could.
Also, yesterday, I was speaking with someone that knows EVERYONE in town, having lived here for all of his 44 years. I asked him if he knew the organizer of the event. He did know her. She is apparently very quiet (you would not have known that from the way she was on the phone last year) and maybe 10 years younger than me. He did give me some other details about her life that don't need to be posted but might actually explain for her behaviour on the phone (i.e., stress).
Now, armed with this information, I'm probably actually dealing with a person very similar to myself except younger. Since I'm the older one here I somehow feel that I have some type of advantage, although I'm not clear why.
So, based on this new information about the organizer, and how Katie's Mom has suggested I deal with the woman, it might actually work out okay.
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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