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Posted on: Sun, 03/14/1999 - 11:57am
Janet Laflamme's picture
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Joined: 02/08/1999 - 09:00

Laura,
I just read your post and was happy to see that after almost 6 months of the run around from the school, different departments in Connecticut, and many dollars in attorneys fees that I'm finally heading in the right direction for my son. We have been transporting our son to and from school since he is not allowed to carry his epi-pen on school property or on the bus in Norwich, CT. We also have been monitoring all lunch periods since they either have no monitors,one monitor for three grades and kidnergarten, or a different volunteer (parents who don't know anything about individual kids) at lunch. The school's solution was to have my son eat in the office if I can't be there to monitor him! Talk about a rough 6 months! I was not looking forward to the first grade when he has lunch at school everyday.
Just last week I spoke with someone from the CT State Department of Education who said to demand a 504 hearing for my son with a letter from his allergist. I have already given documentation to the school system about his medical situation, written letters to the superintendent and school board, and our attorney in his first letter in Oct. 1998 mentioned having a meeting to "develop an adequate Section 504 accommodation". They offered to shorten the bus route and tell the bus drivers to call for help if they saw the signs of an allergic reaction. Other than that they have ignored us. Right now I'm waiting to get the letter from the allergist before giving them a letter to demand 504 hearing within two weeks of receiving it. I hope we are finally going to get the school system to implement what our son needs to be almost as safe at school as he is at home.
Thank you for your information and guidance in this issue. There are many of us who are trying desperately to get everything together for our kids and its very frustrating when you know what they need and you constantly run against brick walls. I think it's very important for everyone dealing with this issue to make the schools handle life-threatening food allergy seriously so that eventually there will be equity in school systems throughout the country for all children with this problem.

Posted on: Sun, 03/14/1999 - 1:36pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Hi Laura,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share you expertise.
I wish I had your information when we started out fighting this peanut issue with our daughter's school. We were lost.
I would like to say that our daughter's school has been very difficult to work with on the peanut allergy thing. We had to take her out of school for four months before they would provide accommodations. The accommodations we wanted were for them to keep peanut products out of her classroom and we wanted them to keep and administer the EpiPen.
She is ADHD in every sense of the "word". She Has all the classic symptoms and is VERY impulsive - she grabs before you even knew you were holding it. Anyway, the preschool doesn't have a separate lunch room so she was eating lunch with other three and four year olds that ate their peanut butter at the play/craft tables where they sat off and on all day. In addition to this, the kids didn't wash their hands after eating - they just got up and put their little peanut products hands all over the toys, tables, etc;.
The pre-school continues to refuse to keep her EpiPen in school. - We have been fighting this for so long. I have made soooo many calls and written so many letters that I am just plain tired. The kids with peanut allergies may be protected under the law, but our school district doesn't seem to care about the law. Whose going to enforce the law?
We will keep on fighting until this all gets solved, but it won't be anytime soon. The preschool finally took peanut products out of the classroom, but they still refuse to keep or administer the EpiPen. YES, I know the law says they have to, but they refuse.
Again, thanks for sharing your expertise. It is very valuable to all of us.
Sue
[This message has been edited by Sue (edited May 20, 2001).]

Posted on: Sun, 03/14/1999 - 9:53pm
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi Janet! Hi Sue!
Did you know that both of your schools are already breaking laws?
Janet - In your case, a formal referral for a 504 evaluation can come from a parent in CT (it doesn't even have to be from a M.D.). Certainly, the October letter constituted a request for a 504 evaluation. The school had thirty days to respond to that request by setting up an evaluation. They didn't, and they broke the law. You did the right thing contacting the State Department of Education. They are the ones who will help you enforce the act, as well as the U.S. Dept. of Education Regional Office of Civil Rights. Of course, in an attempt to proceed in a friendly manner, see what happens with the 504 request and M.D.'s note. If they still ignore you, it's time to take action - with the agencies mentioned above supporting you. As an aside, if you're interested I can send you a copy of a "Proposed Food Allergy Management Plan" which I brought along to my son's first 504 meeting. Everything is kept in terms of "proposed" and "suggested" - no one likes being told what to do. The school was very receptive to the information I provided, and virtually everything I requested was incorporated into my son's food allergy management plan. Just email me your regular mailing address (too much stuff to retype)! Also, if your attorney wants to contact me, I'd be more than happy to share what I know.
Sue- I'm curious. Do you have an I.E.P. in place for your child? Has she been classified disabled under IDEA? If not, she most certainly qualifies with the peanut allergy and Attention Deficit Disorder. If you have not had her classified, you should proceed as illustrated in my prior post, with a letter to the school informing them your child is disabled under IDEA. If she has already been classified, her IEP can be amended. If you feel they are violating her rights, contact the U.S. Dept of Education, Office of Special Education and your State Department of Education for help.

Posted on: Mon, 03/15/1999 - 4:40am
tracy's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Laura,
You've done wonderful work here and I thank you for taking the time to share it with everyone here.
It would be nice if your postings, including your "Proposed Food Allergy Management Plan" could be given a permanent spot on the web site for easy reference, rather than only the temporary discussion boards. Disclaimers could be added, along with updates as we all learn more, but you've done a lot of useful groundwork that will be very beneficial to other parents in the future... it could also help them save time when they contact their local lawyers for assistance. Perhaps Chris from the Peanut Allergy Web Site could assist in making this information available elsewhere?
(My son is only 14 months old, but I've got my eye on these issues in case I need to deal with them.)
Thank you again,
Tracy

Posted on: Mon, 03/15/1999 - 6:38am
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Laura,
Thanks for your interest and information.
Yes, our daughter has an IEP and we have the peanut allergy info in it. When she started school, we helped write the IEP and provided the school with pictures of her that were taken during allergy reactions - both ingestion and contact. She blisters almost immediately on contact. We gave the school permission to contact her allergist, which they did. We gave them detailed information from her pediatrician. They didn't like what he said and told us we had to go back to the allergist and get written information on her allergies. We did. They didn't like it. They then told us that we had to take her for a blood test. We did. They have fought us all the way. Anyway... It goes on and on... Thanks for the suggestions.
Thanks Laura.
Sue in Sunny Arizona
[This message has been edited by Sue (edited May 20, 2001).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/15/1999 - 9:05pm
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Sue - Can you email me your regular mailing address? My plan has articles and other documents that I can't type and send via email. I'd be happy to send you a copy of everything via regular mail!

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/1999 - 4:35am
Janet Laflamme's picture
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Joined: 02/08/1999 - 09:00

Laura,
I've tried to e-mail you three times - all were undeliverable for some reason. I would greatly appreciate a copy of your management plan. I'll keep trying to e-mail my address to you. I would also be glad to reimburse you for any postage costs. Again, thank you for all the information.
Take care,
Janet

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/1999 - 5:31am
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi! I'll be posting the whole proposed plan on this board under "Proposed Food Allergy Management Plan". Hope it helps!

Posted on: Wed, 04/07/1999 - 4:58pm
Sue's picture
Sue
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Joined: 02/13/1999 - 09:00

Hi - anyone out there!!! Smile
We had a meeting with the attorney generals office last week about the pre-school that refuses to keep or administer our daughter's EpiPen. I guess this was an "intake" meeting. The man we talked to wanted "just the facts". He said he doesn't decide if the attorney generals office will investigate our complaint, he passes the info to an attorney in his office and the attorney decides if they will investigate. He, also, mentioned that if the attorney generals office decides to investigate, they may include the school district because it was the school district that placed her in that preschool.
Anyway, he told me to come back the following Thursday to sign the complaint unless he calls me before then and says they will not investigate. With all of that said, I can only guess that they are going to investigate our complaint against the preschool, as tomorrow is Thursday and I haven't heard from him.
I would like to hear about any updates that all of you may have on your situations.
Sue in Sunny Arizona
[This message has been edited by Sue (edited May 20, 2001).]

Posted on: Sat, 04/17/1999 - 2:32am
Jan Bobbitt's picture
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Joined: 04/17/1999 - 09:00

Sue,
How did you find a lawyer willing to go to court for your child? [email]JanBobbitt@aol.com[/email]

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