School wide ban - Is is really that physically complicated?

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 2:47pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

As some of you know, Cameron will be starting Kindegarten in August. I have a meeting with the school next Wed.

I spent many hours pulling different information (most from this site, thanks guys) and used the "Proposed Peanut Allergy Management Plan" posted by LauraP (Excellent starting point) for an initial "ice breaker" if you will. I edited it to fit our comfort zone and added things I thought would benefit us. At our next meeting we could go into more detail, but atleast they knew some of are "needs and wants". I gave a copy to my SIL (she works in the school system, but not at this particular school) I explained to her that I wanted an unbiased opinion of how I was coming across, I don't want it to look like I'm demanding these (yet, anyway, [img][/img] ) I feel if I'm "proposing" I'll have a better reception. I also told her that I know she may not agree with some of the things in there, that's fine, but I'm not looking for her to suggest a different way or to change it, I just want a point of view outlook.

(you guys wondering when I'm going to get to the question??? SORRY!!! I'm trying [img][/img] )

So she asked my permission to give it to the teacher she works with (the teacher is a an ESE teacher, that has alot of experience with school plans, etc) I said yes. Well, today she was telling me that the teacher is still working on it, making notes here and there (fine), and the one thing she did say was that taking pnuts out of the school would be impossible, it would have to be something done nationwide for them to do it, and also it's a big staple in the school.

I wouldn't mind having a pnut free table and classroom alone, except for 2 reasons:

#1 They serve pb sandwiches in the school lunch daily....This would mean ALOT of kids would be eating it, meaning alot of residue, etc.

#2 Here they have a system where the child goes to 3 class rooms a day, in addition to art, PE, or whatever else. The system works so that the child starts Kindegarten with a K-teacher, 1st grade teacher and a 2nd grade teacher...This means he will have the same 3 teachers every year. But it also means 3 different class rooms, plus all the other extra rooms where they have art, music or whatever their electives are.

Am I making sense to the reason I want a school free and not just a classroom free, I think it'd be alot easier for the school and safer for Cameron b/c he'll basically be all over the school.

Anyway, is it really that "physically" hard to remove peanut products? I'm not talking other parents opposition, just referring to how difficult would it really be to say "NO PEANUTS" and clean out whatever is there and just not allow it back in there by other students.

I'm sorry for rambling, and I realize that this is just a teacher that has no say in it. But I want to prepare my self for the rebuttal if necessary.

I would also like to add that this is a very small town with less than 20,000 population. So a small school. Another thing that I might be bringing up if they don't want to do the pnut free school is the fact that they banned the confederate flag logo from the district. These flags were not creating problems for people, they weren't out waving it around, there is just a very popular shirt here made by "Dixie Outfitters" and the shirts have little logos of the flag. One parent complained of the shirts, and took it to the board and they banned it, simple as that...NOW there is a problem, it's caused a lot of upsetting arguments, etc over this. Anyway, sorry to get off the subject (like I haven't rambled enough)

But if something that isn't life threatening to a child can be banned by one parent, why can't we remove the peanuts? Again, I'm not asking about oppositional problems, just removal of the product.

Thank you for your input, and feel free to tell me if you have a different opinion than I do.

Lana [img][/img] smiling on the outside
[img][/img] kinda mad on the inside

[This message has been edited by Cam's Mom (edited February 01, 2003).]

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 3:05pm
cynde's picture
Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

I don't understand why someone thinks it "can't" be done. [img][/img] Our school is peanut free (althought we don't have a cafeteria). There are little blips once in a while but everyone (with a few minor exceptions) is making an effort because a life is involved.

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 3:27pm
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

impossible???...thousands of food choices and it's impossible to get rid of the peanut at school??? good grief. i choose to think of it not as a "ban" but as an important precaution. as far as the ban of the t-shirt with the flag...that was done immediately probably because it was the "politcally correct" thing to do. they didn't want to come across as looking unconcerned. being vocal about PA doesn't seem to be politically correct. i feel strongly about keeping my child safe at school and about anything i can do to keep someone else's child safe too. if it makes you feel any better, i get the same attitude here. people just act like their kids would starve and die if they couldn't drag that sloppy pb&j sandwich to school every day. i swear to you...some of the mothers probably send it just to make a statement of some sort. (our cafeteria also serves a pb&j sandwich every day to certain kids). a little girl said to my little girl just today, "i wish you weren't allergic to peanuts SO I COULD BRING THE SNACK I WANT TO BRING TO CLASS." How sad that the little girl didn't leave it at, "i wish you weren't allergic to peanuts. period." i told bryce not to worry and try to be patient with the child because i feel certain the words first came from her mommy or daddy's mouth. uncaring people raise uncaring kids - that's what's impossible. hang in there. we're all in the same boat, i'm afraid. joey
[This message has been edited by joeybeth (edited February 01, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 7:47am
kelly01's picture
Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cam's Mom:
Just a thought (a little removed from your question) but at your meeting, you might want to explain the allergy,the seriousness of your childs possible reactions, and some examples of different ways that other schools have handled it. Then turn the tables over to them for suggestions. Say something like, "I know that I have some ideas on what we could do to make the school safe for my child, but as the teachers/administrators YOU have a good idea of how the school runs. I would love to hear what suggestions you might have about how we can go about elminating risk before I discuss my thoughts". You never know, they might come up with exactly what you are looking for...and they will think it is THEIR idea.
If they don't come up with any suggestions, you still can move on to your requests and you haven't lost any ground. If having pnut free tables, etc is acceptable to you I would include that as a possibility. I would probably list several different scenarios (ie, pnut free school, pnut free table, hand washing, etc) and list the pros and cons of each scenario below it. I would also leave space to add addtional pros and cons (as well as ideas) that the school staff might want to add. The more that you can make this a joint effort, the easier it will be for you to have them on your side going forward.
Again, this is just a thought (and an "old" sales/marketing trick). If you can make people think that something is their idea, that is half the battle.
Good luck!

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 9:41am
cynde's picture
Joined: 12/10/2002 - 09:00

Kelly, you marketing people are tricky, [img][/img] I can see how that would work well. I'm going to remember that one.

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 10:26am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Cynde and Joey,
I don't understand either why it seems so impossible to do...There are changes in our district policy every year, and throughout the year, they send a note home and/or publish it in the newspaper. I guess I just dont "get it".
I realize the flag issue is definately a political one, especially here, where we were already on all the national news in the last year for a huge discrimination issue, which I believe is no different here in our little town as in other cities and towns across America (unforntunately) [img][/img] However, I still may (possibly) bring it up as a LAST resort. My husband doesn't agree that it is a relative comparasion, and that may be true, but my thinking is this "ban" was not a life threatening problem, and was requested by one parent.
It is sooo sad that parents make negative comments and issues in front of their children. I am very careful about what I say in front of my children in respect to my agreement or disagreement w/certain things, whether it be that I don't agree w/something a teacher or another parent has done, I never chastise another adult in front of my children, unless what they did was wrong and dishonorable.
I didn't think your post was removed from mine at all. In fact that is the reason I posted this question. I do want different opinions to how I should proceed. And your suggestions are excellent and I plan on using it. I will add to my proposal the pnut free table/classroom suggestion and all the pros and cons to each of my proposals. That is a wonderful idea, and you are right, it could be a better approach. I did however plan to discuss with them his allergy and see how or if they've handled allergies in the past, it's possible that they already have dealt with something before and already have ideas.
The last section of my proposal I added a few pages titled "Cameron's Story" it discusses his past reactions, my reasons for the proposed plan, and why I truly feel they are neccessary. I thought it really added a personal "picture" to what the allergy does and not just a scientific picture.
I'm going to post the plan in the school board when it's completed.
Thanks guys for the replys, and more suggestions or comments are definately welcome, I still have a few days to pull it all together.

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 11:21am
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

lana: i like your idea of personalizing your idea with a story specifically about your son. i have always thought that maybe, just maybe, people would be more receptive to PA needs if they could actually get to know the children that need thier help. sometimes i think people are instantly turned off by the whole thing because they are dealing with us mothers (or both parents; rather than with the actual PA child. maybe we come across as demanding and defensive or something; i don't know.
we had a precious little girl with fairly severe cerebral palsy on our daughter's softball team once (they were all about 6 yrs old). by the end of the season we were so in love with that little girl (even the hardcore, competitive, do-anything-to-win type parents). this particular little girl had a lot of challenges keeping up but we had more fun cheering for her than worrying about whether or not we won or lost. (by the way, she ended up being a really good ball player and having a great season in spite of her cp). anyhow...a little off topic but just an example of one time when i know a child really did change some attitudes just because people got a chance to know her personally. i think your idea to include a story about your son is a great one. joey

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 8:51am
LisaMcDowell's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

Hi Cam's Mom,
On this website "FAAN" is listed as a resource. & FAAN stand is to "educate" schools, PAs &/or parents to help PAs mainstream into society safely. Therefore, since these two nationally recognized organizations lead the way in educating schools & society in general on food allergies, it would be a contradiction for them to support a ban. Without their support on a ban, there is no where to go.
Another point of interest is that if a PB ban were to implemented, then parents of the milk allergic could also do the same. My daughter loves it when chocolate milk, cheese & ice cream are served at school.
Mom, I believe God gave Cameron to you in the belief that you are strong & able to accept everything your gift comes with.
If you are interested, please refer to Cindy Spowart Cook's topic "Now they are asking us to..." under Schools; I have added a few suggestions on the second page regarding how I have kept my PA daughter safe (no reactions at all) in the 4 yrs she has been in school. I believe I have 4 postings there.
Stay safe!
Any questions please contact me on my e-mail.

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 1:01pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm not quite sure I understand your statement in the first paragraph..You stated:
"On this website "FAAN" is listed as a resource. & FAAN stand is to "educate" schools, PAs &/or parents to help PAs mainstream into society safely. Therefore, since these two nationally recognized organizations lead the way in educating schools & society in general on food allergies, it would be a contradiction for them to support a ban. Without their support on a ban, there is no where to go."
I have to disagree with you that it would be a contradiction for them to support a ban. A ban doesn't eliminate all risks, it only reduces the risks, and to a great degree if enforced properly. As for them to have no where to go if they did support a ban is so untrue, just because they support a ban from schools doesn't mean that the rest of the world is free of peanuts, that would be implying that they believe school is the only danger zone for PA individuals. Even though they don't support a ban, I still use them as a big source of information...But I don't agree with them on that particular issue, and probably more, but that doesn't mean I don't respect what they do, they've done alot for the PA and other food allergy community.
I don't have a problem with my son learning that their are peanuts in society and that everyone is not allergic to them, I myself eat PB and he knows it. My problem is trusting other people to monitor the gobs of peanut butter and peanut products that are going to be handled by 5, 6 and 7 year old children, which we all know is a very messy age group. This is what concerns me to the degree of wanting a ban, I have never been a big supporter of a ban, but at this age group, I am terrified of the risks that will be there daily.
When he goes to 3rd grade (3-5th grade is a different school) I'll be okay with a free table, he'll be older and more capable of handling it to a certain degree.
I don't believe a milk ban and a pnut ban would be anything similar...Milk is in everything and would just about be the hardest thing to remove, however, pnuts are not. And I imagine your daughter does love it when they serve choc. milk, ice cream and cheese are served. So does the little girl who made such a comment to Bryce (Joey's daughter) about peanuts. They don't have to have these particular items at school, sure it's nice, but it isn't going to kill them if they don't serve it, it could possible my son.
At the age group that we are at, we have plenty of time to introduce them to a society filled with peanuts.
Lana [img][/img]
[This message has been edited by Cam's Mom (edited February 02, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 1:24pm
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

as far as i know (and i'm prepared to admit i could be wrong), milk does not create airborne problems or leave a sticky, messy residue on little hands, tables, doorknobs, water fountain handles, etc.. i think foods should be considered for elimination based on the risks. for example, foods don't need to be eliminated from other childrens' lunchboxes for diabetic children because they pose no problems for the diabetic child unless they are eaten by the diabetic child. as far as i know (could be wrong, i know), a child who is allergic to milk cannot breathe in the odor of milk and react, etc.. i think a ban of food(s) at school should be based on the degree of risk involved. by the way, if some food item my children are NOT allergic to was determined to be a big risk for another child in their school, we would make the necessary adjustments for that child. gladly. i guess most of us here probably would. joey

Posted on: Mon, 02/03/2003 - 3:39am
LisaMcDowell's picture
Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

MA is still a "life threatening allergy", its in fairness to this fact. My gd is MA as well as most of my siblings; in fairness they would have the right also to ban milk.
No, it is not physically complicated to remove. Nutritionally is not fair for those that depend on it as an only meal or those that depend on it as their most nutritious meal. And it is not fair to diabetic children to limit their sources.
A school age child has the capacity to understand avoidance, & a physically normal child has the ability to move away from an allergen; if there is any concern on the part of the parent or child a napkin can be used to cover a doorknob when opening it, Clorox wipes or any other handy cleaning product can used to clean surfaces in a new area where a PA child will be working. I do it because it is my responsibility to ensure my daughter's safety whenever possible (just as it would be to clean a table or counter where I have placed a toxic household cleaner). My daughter does it because she knows what will happen, it keeps her safe & it is part of her learning to be responsible for her own PA so that she can function normally especially when she becomes an adult & moves away from us.
Do we allow PA to control our life? No. Is it a part of our life? Yes. Do we take necessary precautions to prevent a reaction? Yes. To what level? As much as possible in a world that is not peanut free. Everyday a risk is being taken whenever a PA is out in the public. Door handles, chairs, tables, conveyer belts, etc could have peanut oil or residue on it. Do I clean every surface in public? No. Is it necessary to do so? Depends on one's own comfort level.
At 2 yrs old, my daughter had an airbourne reaction caused by the heating system blowing residue from samples of Nestle Quik cereal throughout a nationwide retail chainstore. Did I remove her? Yes. Did I get angry? No. Did I inform their management of her reaction? Yes.
At my daughter's school the cafeteria & gymnasium are one in the same making it a very large facility. The PA table is at the entrance where lunches are purchased, it is located in a corner that is completely away from other tables (the first two table closest are also PB free to maintain safety around the designated PB table). After each grade has had their lunch the tables are completely wiped down; the PA table is wiped down with a completely different wash cloth. The brown bag lunch kids come through the door to the back of the cafeteria. Perhaps, it would best if you visited the school & talked w/the principal &/or cafeteria employees & aides; it will provide you w/a better understanding of how FAs are accommodated for, what guidelines they use, etc. Volunteering to be a cafeteria monitor for your child & other FA children is an option. Check on this website for insight into volunteering (this is one of the best sources of control) or home schooling or having your child eat in a separate room, etc. My daughter has never had a reaction in the 4 yrs she has been in school. Even though the reported incidences of FA kids having reactions while at school is high, a parent can do something to keep the risk down for their child & others. I know I have enough work w/just my two kids, I can't imagine being a teacher w/20 & over or a principal w/over a few of hundred kids including those w/health impairments, learning disabilities & physical disabilities. Fairness is fairness, they also need help.
As a diabetic, I understand the reason the diabetic child in my daughter's class eats PB throughout the course of a day; its used to maintain her glucose level. She eats it in the nurse's office & washes her hands before returning to class. She could just eat cheese & crackers, but why would I or anyone else want to endanger this child's life if it is done in a safe manner & has never posed a risk to my daughter.
As for & FAAN, if a school has been referred to these websites they have learned what they can expect from a parent. To me, it would be an extremely difficult challenge &/or task for even a few thousand parents to reverse what Educators have learned from these two powerful organizations. Where would these parents go to get the backing & support they would need? Really & truly all a senator or any person w/strong political connections would have to do is refer to FAAN & as their resource to blow a parents' entire ban campaign apart.
In addition, PA adults are living proof that peanuts do not have to be banned for a child to grow up; my brother is in his late 40s & my sister is 60yrs old ( nor FAAN were around when they were growing up).
In the elementary school years a parent has more control then middle & HS; many many parents will not volunteer after grade school. One learning format of teachers is to teach students to be responsible for their behavior, their body, etc. Refer on this website to "PA, where do we stand", next click onto "School readiness for children w/food allergies" next to "School guidelines for managing students w/food allergies" under Family Responsibility.
I use these & other resources to educate myself & others; it also provides peace of mind by knowing what my tools are for my daughter to "stay &/or be safe". These may or may not work for others.
I believe God choose "us" to have these PA children because "we" are strong. "We" have the ability to learn to cope w/a health impairment. "We" have the capacity to love & care for our child like no other. I believe also that as long as one believes in their inner strength, one can overcome life's obstacles.
Stay safe! I'm moving on, so for whatever reason you would like to contact me please feel free to use my e-mail address.


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