school policy favors kids to \"like\" pb

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 10:35am
Lorip's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

Our school is a small k-7 rural community with under 70 students. There are two kids with a peanut allergy in the school, including ours who is in 1st grade. You have to consider the demographics of this school, there is not enough room to have a peanut-free table in the room without completely segregating the kids from their friends, to another room. Because there were 6 students with peanut butter sandwiches who sat next to my son one day at lunch, despite reminders for parents to find alternative sandwiches, the principal instilled a "policy" of a peanut-free zone without talking to the part time school nurse, to us or to the other pa parents. There are three or four sets of parents who have been very vocally against this policy because "pb is all their kid will eat" and so the policy should not be enforced. At the school board meeting, they banded together (the issue was not on the agenda and we were out of town so were not in attendance) and got the board to approve an overriding policy that the pa kids should be in the separate room and the pb will be again be allowed. We are distraught -- obviously these parents consider their kids likes and dislikes more important to lilfe of our son. What are your comments? We know these parents are not as informed as they should be, although we have been working hard over the past year & 1/2 to educate them. I need to hear from you. Thanks!

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 12:04pm
NicoleinNH's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

EDIT
[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 09, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 1:31pm
JenniferKSwan's picture
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Joined: 06/19/2006 - 09:00

Argh! This is what I fear the most, though my children are not in a school situation yet.
Because there isn't room for a peanut free table, would your child be able to sit at one end of the table while those eating peanut butter sit at another end? I know it's not ideal but it seems better than making your child eat in another room. Having said this, not sure how reactive your child is, but wondering if it's viable.
------------------
Mommy to Aiden (1/26/05) PA,wheat,barley,soy,egg and others yet to be discovered and Connor (7/21/06) with possible egg allergy

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 2:36pm
Lorip's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

We have not exhausted all of our options yet, that is true. At one time he did sit at an end seat, but they have assigned seating by grade and right now is arranged with him in a middle seat -- despite everything the teachers are relutant to rearrange again. I'm talking to them about making sure everyone washes after eating too. I'm most upset by the lack of understanding by these parents who "just don't get it" and are advocating for their child the right to choose pb because it's easy for them. My son doesn't get to choose his allergy and they think the solution is that he should be segregated? That's clearly not a healthy alternative for him --to be punished or feel punished for something that is out of his control. Reading other postings and doing much research about what others are doing has provided me with more options.

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 2:41pm
Lorip's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

Thank you Nicole too, until today and reading many postings, I didn't even know that pa fell under the 504 laws. One reason I was so upset orginally was because the board made such a decision without us, very odd indeed! It's not the first time that has happened.

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2006 - 10:43pm
Greenlady's picture
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Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

If anyone should be segregated, it should be the kids with the peanut butter. How about a counter proposal that kids who bring peanut butter all eat together in a separate room?

Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 12:20am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

How about not responding to board policies, for the moment, and concentrate on what your child needs. I'd go into research mode before taking any action. There are lots of threads about how to obtain a 504 designation for your child. Here's another great place to gather info: [url="http://www.allergysupport.org"]www.allergysupport.org[/url]
I think obtaining the designation is the first step.
Would you post the policy (you might want to delete any identifying info) stating that pa kids will eat in a separate room? I'm wondering if you might want to get OCR's opinion on it.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited November 28, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 12:57am
Gail W's picture
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Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Jana lives in your state and may be a resource for you. Her e-mail is in her profile.
Here's some info she provided that might interest you: [url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000748.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/000748.html[/url]

Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 3:16am
Lorip's picture
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Joined: 11/27/2006 - 09:00

Thank you again for your encouragement and support. I emailed one of the school board members and talked to the superintendant and they are agreeing that we were not represented and that we should have a meeting to discuss the issues and options before the new policy is distributed and put into place. We have been in compromise mode ever since my son started school in K understanding that other people don't necessarily have to change their whole lives for us, but that our son's life at school is worth some understanding and compromise from them too. We are not going to stop compromising now but hope that they would have a better understanding! We are trying to separate the policy from what is best for our son, while keeping him as safe as possible. Until this year, it hadn't been a problem! Having more information and more specific references to site to other parents and to the Board are going to help. The superintendant tells me a neonatal Dr. (one of the opposing parents)is the one who said at the Board meeting that having a peanut-free environment "desensitizes" the child [from being constantly aware of what he's eating or what is being eaten around him]. The statement sent me through the roof. I'm in the process of getting our allergist to help us on this item too. The Board members relied on a statement from a "DR" who does not have a specialty with children issues or allergies.
Oh, we don't have a 504 in place, just an emergency care plan. That may become one of the next steps we take if we can't find a resolution. You would think that a small rural school would be able to work these things out together without going "formal" but that's not always the case.

Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 4:15am
luvmyboys's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2006 - 09:00

With such a small school, possibilities for friendships of same sex and grade level must be small. It is sad to think other parents would not be more considerate and inclusive if for no other reason than to keep the kids together.
You need a 504...segregating the kids to another room would not be permitted...even if in this circumstance it means the school must go peanut free.
Luvmyboys

Posted on: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 5:14am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

You might want to contact the Spokane SD (since I see you must be nearby) and see what their policies are regarding management of food allergies.
They have done the some of the most thorough work in the country over the last seven years. It was done because they had a child die under their care. The Walters family has made kids like ours MUCH safer... but at a terrible cost.
Anyway. Just wanted you to know that was out there. You're bound to see it (and probably have already heard about it if you have lived in the area a while).
One advantage I have found in dealing with a smaller district is that they simply don't have the extra resources/time/personnel to mount a serious set of roadblocks. They may be fairly happy to have you do the legwork and will usually adopt the recommendations of your allergist without much of a fight. So if you make it easy for them, that's probably what they'll choose to do.
Good luck!!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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