Segregated Allergy Classrooms- Is this fair?

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 6:31am
ZeniaD's picture
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Hi,
I'm am new to this board.
Both my 8 year old Daughter and 2 year son were diagnosed with life threatening nut allergies over the summer ( my son is allergic to peanuts & has severe contact dairy allergies as well and my daughter is allergic to tree nuts).
My situation is this.
My daughter's school segregates all the children with food allergies into 1 or 2 classes every year ( since she was only diagnosed in the summer - she wasn't placed in that class for this year).
Now I am sure it must make some things easier (no peanut rules etc) - but these kids don't even have the same food allergies.
The children in the segregated class have wheat, dairy, tree nuts, & peanuts in the class as well as few others I probably am unaware of.
Isn't this a terrible idea though?
These children aren't allowed near the other kids in the school.
It also seems like it would be even harder to ban "threatening" foods from the classroom when you have a vast array of food allergies in there.
My daughter is devasted that they want to place her in this classroom next year- she doesn't want to be separated from her friends.
And she is terrified that she is going to be made to use the antibacterial soap and hand gel and wipes which is used in the classroom to keep nut oils down to a minimum and which she is highly allergic to - (after only one use her hands start to blister, crack and bleed).
I understand the benefits, but I don't think this is the answer.
I'm not even sure it is legal to segregate the allergy kids in to one group.
Wouldn't it be dangerous to fill a room with 22 children with conflicting food allergies and make only one person responsible for them?

I feel overwhelmed with my two with conflicting food allergies - I can't imagine 22!
I'm no stranger to food allergies, I myself have life threatening allergies to Aspartame ( nutrasweet) and cherries.

Does anyone else live in a community where they do this?

Thanks for any feedback.
Z.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 6:50am
Lori Anne's picture
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You asked if other towns do this. I just registered my dd for kindergarten and they just told me that there is a "peanut free kindergarten class" I thought, "Oh, good" when they told me because I was just thinking about it from the viewpoint of dd's safety. But after reading your post, I don't really know how I feel about this right now (in our town--your situation seems different). I don't think our town does this for every grade, but I don't think so. They just told me that they currently have one kindergarten class that is peanut free (and they didn't say that all kids with allergies were in this class).
O.K.***I just read your other posts. Had no clue this is what you meant. Keeping the kids totally separated 'til middle school? I would have a problem with that and I know it would make my dd very sad.
[This message has been edited by Lori Anne (edited January 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 6:54am
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What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
------------------
Mom to 6 1/2 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:04am
synthia's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b]What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
[/b]
I would like to repeat that as well,the ? that is.I think *I* know what you mean.
Brings something to mind in my area.
------------------
Love this site
Synthia

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:39am
Greenlady's picture
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I'm no expert, but this sounds illegal. I would investigate further.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:49am
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Quote:Originally posted by synthia:
[b] Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b]What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
[/b]
I would like to repeat that as well,the ? that is.I think *I* know what you mean.
Brings something to mind in my area.
[/b]
Well there are currently 12 classes of approx 22 children each in my daughter's grade. Two of these are designated for "allergy kids" - as they are referred to.
The two "allergy Kids" classes eat lunch together ahead of the other classes( to minimize their exposure to other kid's lunches) then they have recess first - to minimize their exposure to oils from other kids' hand on the playground equipment.
They have no contact with other classes.
While the school would never say "Don't get near the allergy kids!" They have created a situation where these kids will never meet most of their peers until they reach Middle School and the segregated classes end.
I think that would e awfully traumatic for the 30-40 kids who have spent their elementary years only exposed to each to other to suddenly be dumped into the general population of 250 plus kids in their grade and end up in classes where it likely they won't know a soul.
These policies were put into place several years ago, by moms who begged for them, but I just don't think it is right. I worked for a Civil Rights law firm for several years and I can't believe this school system hasn't been hit with a "reasonable accommodations" lawsuit.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:09am
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Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b] These policies were put into place several years ago, by moms who begged for them, but I just don't think it is right. [/b]
Are you sure this is a "policy"? If it is, you should ask for a copy of the policy. I'd love to see that in writing. There will be legal references on a school board policy.
Or is segregating the children with food allergies from their non-disabled peers 'just' their 'practice'? Do you have the option of having your child not placed in one of the "allergy" classes? Have you asked for your child to be placed in one of the other classes?
Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b]I worked for a Civil Rights law firm for several years and I can't believe this school system hasn't been hit with a "reasonable accommodations" lawsuit. [/b]
Girl, you've got access to a gold mine! Can you just call and run this scenario by one of the attorneys you worked with and see what they think?
This seems like blatant discrimination based on a disability. I'd bet ORC would be all over this.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited January 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:30am
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Sorry didnot want to take this thread *off topic*.
------------------
Love this site
Synthia
[This message has been edited by synthia (edited January 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:47am
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Life isnt fair.
Segregation is Illegal.
Do they have all the minority children in one classroom.
How about the children who speak spanish better than english.
Maybe a special classroom for kids who are on free/reduced lunch.
No no no. This is not only unfair, its illegal and downright wrong.
I agree with Gail. Ask for it in writing so you can fully "understand"what is going on. Get the "policy" before you really get started on this. This would be textbook fun for OCR.
Your child has a right to an education just like any other child without a "hidden disability". Assert those rights.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 9:32am
Gail W's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b] These policies were put into place several years ago, by moms who begged for them, but I just don't think it is right. [/b]
This may have first started as segregation by request/consent. I mean, can a group with a shared gender/race/disability choose, as a group, to be segregated from the general school population? I don't know if that was "legal" (segregation by request), but regardless, it seems discriminatory to establish this as a practice.
This situation is very interesting.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:02am
ZeniaD's picture
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I doubt that there is anything in writing about this - the school district's lawyers wouldn't allow it.
I will find out though.
I am really reluctant to broach the topic with the principal though because she is just a very nasty retaliatory person. I expressed concerns to her last about the way the weigh and measure the kids (20 kids , boys & girls in room with a scale and two volunteer parents calling out their height & weight to each other in front of the group). I told her I thought it was strange that parents chaperones on a field trip weren't allowed to have important medical information about the children the were supervising ( who has allergies, diabetes etc.) but they could make the childrens height & weight public information in front of their peers?
Within days my daughter who has never had problems at school before - started having all kinds of problems with her teacher (who is personal friend of the principal).
I know they like to keep all the kids in one because then they don't have train as many teachers on how to handle allergic reactions. To be fair some parents are thrilled that their kids have this safe environment to go to school, and some parents would be downright livid if they thought I was attacking this safe haven. Ultimately, I'm not sure how much safer it can be when all the classes share communal spaces like bathrooms, gyms, the library - which are disinfected like the cafeteria.
I think the original intent was to fill the class with children who had food any allergies so that if certain foods had to be banned from the classroom (namely PB) the parents would be more understanding.
It sounds like so many of you are now fighting to get any cooperation from your schools and our school system went through this years ago and it has evolved into this really strange kind of discrimination which is defended as being the safest option for the children. Maybe it is a "be careful what you ask for" situation.
I'll see what I can find out, but we are looking into other schools - it may be easier than trying to fight the other parents and the school system.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:32am
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I have to agree that I'm not sure if it is really a "safe haven." If (God forbid) an allergin was somehow introduced into the classroom and all the PA kids started reacting at once, how would they handle it?
I understand - I really do - about not wanting to buck the system, but this situation really sounds toxic to me. (No pun intended). Is it possible to make an anonymous complain to OCR? Are there other school options open to you? I hope you can find a solution that works for your family soon.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:50am
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Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[b]Life isnt fair.
Segregation is Illegal.
Do they have all the minority children in one classroom.
How about the children who speak spanish better than english.
Maybe a special classroom for kids who are on free/reduced lunch.
No no no. This is not only unfair, its illegal and downright wrong.
I agree with Gail. Ask for it in writing so you can fully "understand"what is going on. Get the "policy" before you really get started on this. This would be textbook fun for OCR.
Your child has a right to an education just like any other child without a "hidden disability". Assert those rights.[/b]
well, I know my school district does have "special education" classrooms. Classrooms where "special education" students, those with various disabilities ARE grouped together. [i]Segregated from the "non-disabled" population[/i].
It's pretty common practice, yes? I mean, some parents of "non-disabled" children are downright [i]peeved[/i] when "special education" students show up in *their* child's classroom.
Don't know if I'm going to bring up the whole idea of "gifted" classroom groupings, (whoops, just did) or [i]segregating[/i] childrens' classes based on [i]ability[/i], [b]giftedness[/b], or problem areas, but isn't it the [i]trend[/i] nowadays?
Interesting discussion I'm watching. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
At least from my perspective.
I'm not saying you agree with this type of segregation, debbie1, just taking the moment to express something that came to mind. I mean, noting that in many cases, I think [i]segregation[/i] might just be seen as the *norm*. And without many people objecting. KWIM?
General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just describing my own personal, highly individual, and possibly unique perspective.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 4:43am
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I just wanted to mention that my DD's school has put all of the allergy kids in one classroom this year:
Here is the run down of allergies:
Peanuts, Dairy, and Latex
Peanuts and Soy
Walnuts and Hazelnuts
Peanuts and ????
Celiac Disease
I think that they have put the kids all together this year for mostly good reasons. It is comforting for DD to know that she is not the only one with special dietary needs. DD's teacher is also super organized and careful and so she just naturally is a good teacher for all of the kids with allergies. These children are NOT segregated from the rest of the school at all. I am not sure if I would like them to be all together every year, but it seems ok right now while they are little, especially if there is one teacher who is just really up to the task of helping to manage the allergy better than any other teacher in that grade.
Margaret

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 6:12am
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[quote]Originally posted by MommaBear:
[B] well, I know my school district does have "special education" classrooms. Classrooms where "special education" students, those with various disabilities ARE grouped together. [i]Segregated from the "non-disabled" population[/i].
That's the really funny part - the "disabled" kids are all fully intergrated into the classroom, in my daughters class in the last 4 years there have 6 kids with hearing loss (including 3 with cochliar implants), two kids with wheel chairs and one whose autism is so severe, he spent most of the day every day rocking back and forth crying or screaming and hitting other children.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 6:22am
ZeniaD's picture
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If (God forbid) an allergin was somehow introduced into the classroom and all the PA kids started reacting at once, how would they handle it?
That was my first reaction - if somehow one kid was exposed in that class - wouldn't it be likely that a child with the same alergies in that class would have a reaction at the same time? Then what? The procedure for this school is that they won't allow the teachers to keep the epi-pens in their desks ( no locking desks or cabinets you see -dumb reason but they are firm) so they have to intercom the nurse - the nurse runs the epi-pen or other medication to the classroom. My question was what happens if in the time it takes the nurse to get to the classroom ( it is a big school) another child starts reacting - now you have an empty nurse's office- and a teacher who can't leave the first student and so the second child would have to wait for the nurse to go back downstairs (with the key to the drug cabinet) and get that child's medication. The answer I got was "That would never happen because we work very hard to make sure that nothing comes in contact with the children in the first place." As someone who has lived for teh last 10 years with the knowledge that the wrong kind of gum or a soda that is accidentally diet can send me into anaphalaxis, I just don't buy it.
I'm sure they are very careful (about PB anyway)- but it just sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 7:28am
gotmilk's picture
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well...what about the "PEANUT FREE" table?! I thought a peanut free table was a good thing. We want our PA children segregated at lunch, but not in the classroom? Im not a lawyer, but I would have to ask what exactly is it that PA advocates want?

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 8:35am
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Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b]That's the really funny part - the "disabled" kids are all fully intergrated into the classroom, in my daughters class in the last 4 years there have 6 kids with hearing loss (including 3 with cochliar implants), two kids with wheel chairs and one whose autism is so severe, he spent most of the day every day rocking back and forth crying or screaming and hitting other children.
[/b]
what's "funny" about it?
BTW, both my children are on the Autism spectrum. They don't hit other children or scream but occassionally, my oldest will be reduced to tears by the callousness of others. He spends part of his day in a special education classroom, and part mainstreamed.
Their teachers describe them with only admiration. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] My oldest is often called "a good example for his peers" [i]including "normal" classmates. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] (Just had an IEP meeting and re-evaluation for my oldest). I've posted some recent comments about my youngest and oldest here on the boards. In order to adapt to others learning styles, (the apparent mandate of some "regular education" classrooms), and as part of his OHI designation for food allergies, he has a 1:1 aide. He does a lot of accommodating for others, even at age 10.
One of the issues we addressed was the apparent attention (good) he draws from adults. I mean, they gravitate to him.
No advice, just me.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 8:54am
ZeniaD's picture
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[quote]Originally posted by MommaBear:
[B] what's "funny" about it?
apparent attention (good) he draws from adults. I mean, they gravitate to him.
Sorry - should have said strange-
and I think having most kids in general in a "regular" classroom is great. That is why I don't understand our school's treatment of kids with allergies.
They seem so all fired intent on integrating kids, even the ones who maybe aren't ready for it - like the little autistic boy I mentioned. His mother is friend of mine, and he is a very nice boy one-on-one, but the classroom environment is over stimulating for him. The school however insists he be in classroom for most of the day (only an hour or 2 with a specialist).
Sorry if I offended - I didn't mean to. I only pointed out the other examples of children who can be typically put in special classrooms and segregated in order to show that this school doesn't treat any other group of children this way.
Every child has right to be educated and to feel like they are getting the same educational experience as any other - that is sort of my argument here.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 9:08am
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I consider myself a pa advocate for my child.
It is my mission in life to have my son be able to do anything and everything any other child without pa does. This includes but not limited to school, parties, circus, ballgames, playgrounds....everything. I take every situation, make phone calls and have arrangements made that provide the safest possible "normal" environment.
I am a huge opponet of the peanut free table. It was never an option in my mind. I would not allow my son's school to segregate at lunch or any other time to a peanut free table. He participates in every aspect of school that every other child does. He is in a classroom with non allergic students and he eats his lunch with his class everyday just like everyone else. He participates in gym, recess, library, computer lab and field trips. The only differnce I can think of is another kid may pack a pbj, he doesnt.(obviously)
I dont consider my son's peanut allergy as a requirement for special education.
I do not think grouping food allergies as a disability is the same as children with a learning disability. A LTFA is a hidden disability while many learning disabilites are not hidden at all. A child with learning disabilities typically requires different instuction in order to learn or function in a classroom. I grew up with a boy with autism and my neice has cerebral palsy(sp?) Having a peanut free classroom changes nothing about teaching and instuction students.
So the short of it. I personally would be furious if my child was singled out into a different classroom or a special lunch table or anything of the sort.
keep us posted.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 9:46am
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Just to clarify: There are 22 children in DD's class. Only 5 of them have Food Allergies. The only foods prohibited from the classroom are peanuts and nuts.
Margaret

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:37pm
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Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[i]I consider myself a pa advocate for my child.
It is my mission in life to have my son be able to do anything and everything any other child without pa does. This includes but not limited to school, parties, circus, ballgames, playgrounds....everything. I take every situation, make phone calls and have arrangements made that provide the safest possible "normal" environment.
I am a huge opponet of the peanut free table. It was never an option in my mind. I would not allow my son's school to segregate at lunch or any other time to a peanut free table. He participates in every aspect of school that every other child does. He is in a classroom with non allergic students and he eats his lunch with his class everyday just like everyone else. He participates in gym, recess, library, computer lab and field trips. The only differnce I can think of is another kid may pack a pbj, he doesnt.(obviously)
I dont consider my son's peanut allergy as a requirement for special education.
I do not think grouping food allergies as a disability is the same as children with a learning disability. [b]A LTFA is a hidden disability while many learning disabilites are not hidden at all.[/b] A child with learning disabilities typically requires different instuction in order to learn or function in a classroom. I grew up with a boy with autism and my neice has cerebral palsy(sp?) Having a peanut free classroom changes nothing about teaching and instuction students.
So the short of it. I personally would be furious if my child was singled out into a different classroom or a special lunch table or anything of the sort.
keep us posted.
[/i]
bold added.
Oh, I think that *many* learning disabilities, conditions, etc, that affect the ability to learn in an environment that caters to the many, could be described as a "hidden disability".
Here is what I find "strange". [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] The classrooms my oldest has been in for "special education" have had some of the most pleasant children in them. Many just as or even more mannered and compassionate as their "regular education" peers. Some of them maybe with more common sense. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I mean, behavior issues are no stranger to the "regular education" classrooms. My "special education" child scores in the "extreme upper end" of many "standard scores" including many [i]comprehension[/i] related areas. But he is still [i]segregated"[/i] to "special education" for some subjects.
go figure.
What I found out: My oldest's 1:1 aide is being used often to help his "regular education" peers. I mean, if the instructors think an "aide" is necessary,if they want to meet their "quota" for "no child left behind", should those parents need to go through what I did to get one? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] I mean, from what I understand, this aide is to be [i]dedicated[/i] to my child. Don't know how altruistic I'm feeling ......
I mean, it puts my child in a [i]situation[/i]: ask for help, take the aide from someone the aide is helping. KWIM? I won't even go into the allergy issues.
I think if the teacher needs an aide, they should ask for an additional one.
I mean, does the presence of my child in the "regular education" classroom actually *help* others to learn? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]
My child's presence does not detract from others ability to learn but it does require accomodations. Hmmmmmmmmm. similiar to pa?
But I digress. Honestly? I don't know: Is section 504 considered "special education"? a "disability" service? Anyone?
definitions I found for "special education":
[i]Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.[/i]
[url="http://www.upei.ca/~xliu/measurement/glossary.htm"]www.upei.ca/~xliu/measurement/glossary.htm[/url]
wouldn't specially designed instruction include modifications to [i]items[/i] used in lessons (or disallowed in the learning environment)?
[i]"education of physically or mentally handicapped children whose needs cannot be met in an ordinary classroom "[/i]
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
is pa a "physical" disability? Hmmmmmmmm, my child is not "mentally handicapped. But he still has a "special education" classification.
my child's "peanut/treenut/lentil free" classroom is not [i]ordinary[/i] either. It's been carefully thought out and required the cooperation of countless individuals to make it "work". And our parties rock. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]
There's even people specifically trained to monitor, implement, and [i]save lives[/i]. On a daily basis even.
I even think, in many ways, it is *extraordinary*.
No, not "ordinary" at all.
"[i]programs designed to meet special learning needs of students[/i]"
[url="http://www.cpf.ca/English/FAQ/FSL%20Glossary.htm"]www.cpf.ca/English/FAQ/FSL%20Glossary.htm[/url]
I've always thought if my child couldn't access education in safety, he couldn't access it. [i]it affected his ability to learn.[/i] he had special learning needs.
I mean, aren't "gifted programs" by some definitions considered a form of "special education"? Even within an IEP? And what, do "gifted" students don't impair others ability to learn?
Anyone?
We can all cling to our view of "special education". I don't find it distasteful. But my point is that I see many children who are [b]segregated[/b] for no other reason than [i]lack of accomodation[/i], even, [i]fear[/i], distaste, or just plain apathy or lack of effort. and not because they impair someone else's ability to learn. Although not sure if that is a valid criteria as I think people can consider themselves fortunate if the the system caters to their individual needs. KWIM?
Personally, I don't consider my child's needs a "disability" unless it's other's lack of insight that makes them so.
and no, my child doesn't sit at a "_______-free" table either. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
having my aspie child in the classroom "mainstreamed" doesn't change anything about the teaching and instuction of other students, but I [b]am[/b] going to look into how *his* 1:1 aide is being used. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
I guess I'm just surprised that this type of segregation surprises anyone. It's not *specific* to PA. It happens all the time. But like I said, I might have a different perspective possibly due to different exposure.
General disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. But maybe applying some insight, for no one other than myself. Just describing my own personal perspective. I might be way off. But I'm surprised people are surprised. I do not guarantee the accuracy, currentness, or content of the links in this post. Or definitions. Individual Mileage May Vary.
edit typos........late.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited January 28, 2006).]

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 5:10pm
MommaBear's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b] I guess I'm just surprised that this type of segregation surprises anyone. It's not *specific* to PA. It happens all the time. But like I said, I might have a different perspective possibly due to different exposure.
[/b]
[url="http://buffaloreport.com/articles/030502medige.html"]http://buffaloreport.com/articles/030502medige.html[/url]
link to article entitled:
[b]"Privatization of Public Education:
2. Segregation, Desegregation, Resegregation[/b]
[i](The first article in the series "Privatization of Public Education" appeared in Buffalo Report, 19 April 2003)
~Bernadette Medige[/i]"
to quote:
[i][b]"Pursuing the special, avoiding the needy[/b]
Virtually every study on charter schools has found discrimination against children with special needs, in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), unless the school is specifically created for them. In such cases they are also segregated, in direct conflict with the spirit of the IDEA, which specifies that children be placed in the least restrictive learning environment because studies show most benefit from being in a general education classroom. In a free-market system, students with special needs may detract from the marketability of a school, and for-profit EMOs educate far fewer students who need it. A study by the Education Commission of the United States and the University of Minnesota

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 9:39pm
Arlene's picture
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I dont think i would be too happy with my son attending a segregated class, i dont see the need for it at all.
I mean the kids that are allergic to wheat could be eating peanuts and the kids that are allergic to peanuts could be eating eggs or dairy. It just doesnt sit right with me.
It does sound like the perfect answer and us mothers of allergic kids should be delighted, after all we are shouting for more to be done within the schools...but this has been taken to the extremes.
It really is a great example of "be careful what you wish for"
I cant see this being legal at all.

Posted on: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 11:46pm
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

All right. I'm ready to get raked over the coals for my response, but I think this policy was initially created with the best interests of the food-allergic kids at heart.
There is negative talk about this homogenous grouping. Realistically, this happens everyday in most schools. One of the posts above mentioned something to the effect of having the same kids in your class for years, then being thrust into the high school where the are tons of other kids they don't know.
This happens to my kids. Not because of food allergies, but because of the Enrichment (aka "Gifted" but I hate that term because we are all gifted in some way!) program. They have basically seen the same kids in their classrooms since 3rd grade, but by 4th grade the homogenous grouping "officially" starts. Once they attend the middle school in 7th grade, the kids are tracked into 3 levels. These levels really do not intermingle.
I'll use my 8th grade daughter as my example. There are around 600-700 students just in her 8th grade class. There are loads of students she simply doesn't know because she has been tracked since 3rd grade and placed in homogenous grouping at the start of 4th grade. Is this detrimental or illegal? I'm not a lawyer, but this happens all the time in school. This homogenous grouping does serve a purpose.
Ryan's class is already segregated to a certain extent--it is an "Enrichment" class. There is a core group of students that will be together now until high school graduation. However, here's the kicker to this situation, all the Enrichment kids will have to adhere to the rules of Ryan's 504. Which means the same group of kids will be subjected to that peanut-free classroom for as long it needs implemented. This is an even trickier area.
There are between 400-700 kids in each class in our district. So at most there are 3 Enrichment classes in each grade, usually 2. These Enrichment kids will be constantly rotated in and out of the peanut-free classroom or will be subjected to the classroom restriction of Ryan's 504.
So as far as being segregated because of allergy, I will not say it is a complete negative. There was a reason for it. Is it working? Do the kids seem to mind? Are they learning? Are they happy? Kids are pretty resilient and what matters to us, may not matter to them at all. The only thing that might be a concern to me is the diversity/tolerance education issue for other students. But then again, while knowledge is power, knowledge can be abused in a harmful way as well. For the 100 kids that go out of their way to help a food-allergic child, there may be one that will knowingly attempt to cause harm to a child based on that knowledge.
So I'm kind of on the middle of the fence with this issue. It can be bad if it is implemented poorly, but can actually be a very useful tool for managing the education of food-allergic children.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 12:46am
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Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b] Oh, I think that *many* learning disabilities, conditions, etc, that affect the ability to learn in an environment that caters to the many, could be described as a "hidden disability". [/b]
I'd venture to say that my daughter has 3 "hidden disabilities"~
1. She is identified as PA
2. She is identified as Learning Disabled
3. She is identified as Gifted
[b]No "segregation" regarding any of these "hidden disabilities". [/b] Currently she is 100% "mainstreamed":
1. She has supervision/support/accommodations per her 504 plan for PA (e.g. sits at the "regular" tables in the cafeteria),
2. She is in the "regular" classroom with a a part-time aide plus accommodations per IEP that address her LD. (She did have 90 minutes per week of individual "pull out" services in elementary school that were 1:1, but not currently.)
3. She's chosen to take an *optional* "Gifted" class in lieu of 6th grade study hall.
I can understand that why a parent may want their child in a classroom with other children with the same "disability". That wasn't an option for us in elementary school because there were no other grade-level children identified as PA. There were no other grade-level children identified with her LD.
There are 4 other grade-level children identified as "gifted" and we had the *option* of her participating in the group pull-out for the "gifted" in elementary school.
But the pull-out to group with other children with like "hidden disability" was optional.
Plus, and this is important IMO, she wasn't placed in the "regular" classroom with all the other identified "gifted" kids. The "gifted" kids were placed in the "regular" classrooms. The school made a successful effort to "balance" each "regular" classroom regarding factors such as ethnicity, gender, learning style, disability, etc. so that each "regular" classroom was similar to any other "regular" classroom. Personally, I would have a problem if it classroom assignments were accomplished in any other manner.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 12:47am
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In defense of the Peanut Free table. Seriously, why would you want your child sitting between kids who are eating PB? Shouldn't they be able to feel safe at school as they do at home?
At our school, its not just PA kids at the PF table. Anyone who is not eating PB/Nuts at lunch can sit there with their PA friends. It works at our school. The two tables are always full. Also, if a PA child is having difficulty, it is easier to help them instead of running around the lunch room to keep an eye on them. My DD feels safe and can eat her lunch in peace without looking over her shoulder at who's eating PB around her.
Our PF table is not segrated at all. Now, when she goes to middle school next year, she will have to desginate her own table PF. Her friends who have supported her since Kindergarted know about her allergy and I believe will continue to support her through HS.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 2:05am
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My child never eats between kids with pbj. Packing pb is not a disability, its a choice. Those students are required to sit at the opposite end of the table of my child. In fact every class that sits at that table had packers of pb at the opposite end.
If pn free table works for you and your child, that is great, but there are other safe options as well that do not require special seating.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 3:00am
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Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[b]My child never eats between kids with pbj. Packing pb is not a disability, its a choice. Those students are required to sit at the opposite end of the table of my child. In fact every class that sits at that table had packers of pb at the opposite end.
If pn free table works for you and your child, that is great, but there are other safe options as well that do not require special seating.[/b]
You stated this so well. Thank you.
Ditto here.
Edited to add: when Mariah was younger (K and 1st grades) the PF table worked well for her. But a stigma developed for the PF table, and her needs changed . . .
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited January 28, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 4:35am
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Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[b]My child never eats between kids with pbj. Packing pb is not a disability, its a choice. Those students are required to sit at the opposite end of the table of my child. In fact every class that sits at that table had packers of pb at the opposite end.
If pn free table works for you and your child, that is great, but there are other safe options as well that do not require special seating.[/b]
Quote:Originally posted (in reply) by GailW:[b]You stated this so well. Thank you.
Ditto here.
Edited to add: when Mariah was younger (K and 1st grades) the PF table worked well for her. But a stigma developed for the PF table, and her needs changed . . . [/b]
You got me thinking. I mean, I'm thinking more and more of having my oldest "mainstreamed" for everything. Everything. Having the entire curriculum and lesson plans structured to satisfy *one* learning style isn't a disability, [i]it's a choice[/i]. I think future discussions regarding my cub's IEP should revolve around a [i]universal[/i] needs.
Canning children's ability to think into one specific flavor probably isn't teaching them [i]critical thinking[/i], it's watering down what vestiges of it they may have. But this is only my uneducated opinion. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Much of the work that comes home from my cubs mainstream class is in the form of "fill in the blank" type study guides. "Studying the test" I mean. (No child left behind??) It's his "special education" class where other problem solving strategies evolve and are explored. The pressure to "fill in the blanks" and expunge a statistical reference point isn't there. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
The more I think about it, the more I think children have a lot to learn from each other. And I've been told my cub is an excellent role model, for *any* child. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
Speaking of, as another poster mentioned: Behavioral issues. Are we doing a disservice to those with them by putting them all into one group?
Or from the perspective of some posters, if it's prohibitive to others learning, why is it "ok" to put behavior issues in "special education" classrooms? I mean, just because you have a label of "special education", it doesn't mean you have a "behavior problem". Or that you can't learn for that matter. Quite the contrary, one of the areas covered in my child's IEP related to socializing is that most children don't understand what my oldest is talking about much of the time. Although some adults with good comprehension and a wide educational background do. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
Preparing children for success in [i]life[/i] [b]isn't just an obligation the schools have to "typical" children.[/b]
That's a pretty elitist idea, folks.
In life there will be [i]all kinds[/i]---- should children be aware of this and learn to live with diversity and not just another cookie cutter image of themselves?
(Although I get the feeling modern science is consciously working on eliminating a lot of that diversity, and I'm not quite sure I'm going to participate in any "gene" research studies, particularly in the area of "Autism".)
If children learned acceptance and diversity [i]close up[/i] (and maybe expanded their horizons a bit) earlier than later, would those [i]stigmas[/i] be so pronounced [i]in their minds[/i] later on?
An acquaintance of mine has a child with Down's Syndrome. Their child is fully mainstreamed in fourth grade. I personally think it's a great service to the rest of the students. To realize that "typical" is not the only right to entitlement. That having diversity isn't an inconvenience, it's [i]life[/i]. Or is school just about "filling in the blanks", and hoping they don't ask anything on the test that requires one to think.
Oh, and my child sits in one spot at the lunch table. With his "mainstream" class. His aide sits behind him with the adults at the adult table. It's a lousy 20 minute lunch, [b]if that.[/b] People with peanuts, treenuts, or lentils just don't sit by him. The children usually file in sit down. There's not much time to make reservations. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
He just hopes people chew with their mouths closed and that don't pour juice boxes on their sandwiches or mutilate their food sit a bit further down. Or that pick their nose. Or that talk about watching "R" rated slasher movies. Or swear. (Mainstream 4th grade, folks). His aide sits at the next table with other adults. It's life, I mean. (Although I know he secretly would like to sit at the "adult" table.) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/cool.gif[/img]
General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice. Absolutely not. Just describing my own personal highly individual and possibly unique musings.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited January 28, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 5:07am
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Reading the original post a few phrases popped into my head. Like "Jim Crow" and "separate but equal". Even if the original intent was good, that is what it amounts to.
As far as the peanut-free table being segregation, it deprnds on how it is done. At DS's school non-PA children eat there if they have a peanut-free lunch. Therefore, PA kids are not segretated from non-PA kids.
And about segretated the special ed kids, DS has the same hidden disabilities as Gail W's child, plus epilepsy. Not only is he maintreamed, but so are the very disabled kids in the school. That is, DS leaves class to get some one-on-one or small group instruction, but spends most of his time in the regular class. The very severely disabled kids may have more one-on-one instruction, but are still part of a mainstream class. So even if they are not getting all of their education in a mainstream envirinment, they are still around the general population of the school a good deal of the time.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 7:08am
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Adding another perspective here. I know of several situation where special education kids were mainstreamed in the regular ed classroom and it was extremely distracting for students in the classroom.
A close friend of mine was an aide, and she worked with these very difficult-to-manage students.
I had students with Down Syndrome in my class. It was absolutely fine because an aide worked with both of them. Can't say it wasn't distracting, however. But high school students appear to be well equipped to tuning out noises and sounds. Whereas elementary kids get excited and boisterious (I hate to bring this up...) at the sound of someone um, passing gas to say it nicely.
It terms of "desegrating" the classroom of the original poster, what is the alternative at that school. I fear that this *could* be a case of watch what you wish for, you just might get it. I don't know for sure, but before assuming the worst of the situation, I would really want to hear the reason why this classrom was created in the first place. Perhaps there was something going on that we don't know about.
Just too much lack of information for me to stay anywhere but right in the middle on this one.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 7:52am
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Quote:Originally posted by ryan's mom:
[b]Adding another perspective here. I know of several situation where special education kids were mainstreamed in the regular ed classroom and it was extremely distracting for students in the classroom.
A close friend of mine was an aide, and she worked with these very difficult-to-manage students.
I had students with Down Syndrome in my class. It was absolutely fine because an aide worked with both of them. Can't say it wasn't distracting, however. But high school students appear to be well equipped to tuning out noises and sounds. Whereas elementary kids get excited and boisterious (I hate to bring this up...) at the sound of someone um, passing gas to say it nicely.
It terms of "desegrating" the classroom of the original poster, what is the alternative at that school. I fear that this *could* be a case of watch what you wish for, you just might get it. I don't know for sure, but before assuming the worst of the situation, I would really want to hear the reason why this classrom was created in the first place. Perhaps there was something going on that we don't know about.
[/b]
as far as "distracting". Lot's of what other people are comfortable with in the classroom is [i]annoying[/i] and "distracting" to my cub. Like desks arranged 4 to a "block". I mean, everything just *has* to be a social hour, right?
Anywhoooooo, from my extremely "typical" classroom educational setting I can say with confidence "typical" kids fart in class. But when *they* do it, it's "ok". When a Down's Syndrome child does it, it's a big production. (sarcasm)
I remember a girl from my 5th grade who pee'd on the floor in class. The nuns had strict rules about [i]when[/i] you could use the bathroom. Some "use your time wisely" stuff. Well, she miscalculated. No big deal. It cleaned up. I felt really bad for her. However, that said, it probably would have turned into a big "to-do-ha" if it had been a "special education" child, but *that* school didn't offer an education to those children, so moot point. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
Anywhoooooooooooooooo. As far as "distractions". I had plenty of them from my "typical" peers. Namely, being hunted down for my daily harrassment. Actually, it was where-ever some of my "peers" found me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] And for some reason, the staff just never stopped it. As a matter of fact, after I was called a "lightening rod for trouble" (at least they knew who got the "trouble" label and it wasn't me), I was told: "[b]Don't you want to be like the other kids?[/b]" Oh, h*** no.
Maybe they thought it was "normal" for students to terrorize other students. But this was a while back. Supposedly, things have changed.
Oh, and sexual harrassment in the older grades by other students.....um...by my "normal-typical-mainstreamed" peers. [i]I would have been *thrilled* if all they did was fart in class[/i]. Come to think of it, every once in a while, my oldest cub comes to me confused about the "smut" he hears from some of his "typical" peers. I mean, he's my little "Encarta". He knows where babies come from. He even knows the stages of development. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] Just not how they get there. Yet. Talk about distracting. Hey, I'm no idiot. I *know* what *might* still be the topic of conversation even in grade school. And what some "typical-normal" peers might think of as "ok" conversation. Or actions.
Difference might be to some people, if it's a "special education" student or a "typical-normal" student talking about something or doing something. But Why?
Farting. Big deal. We all do it. It's part of my job now. I ask people to do it. [i]I document they do it.[/i] Admittedly we fart in our house. And no one is going to make a big deal out of it. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] It's called being "compassionate". Human, even.
[i]Ducks.[/i]
I take it there will be no medical professionals comming out of those classes? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
[i]"beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot, the more you toot, the better you feel, so why not eat beans with every meal??"[/i]
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited January 28, 2006).]

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 8:42am
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You like the other"kids"
never
what fun is that
Farts
in our house
the louder the better.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 8:56am
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Quote:Originally posted by qdebbie1:
[b]You like the other"kids"
never
what fun is that
Farts
in our house
the louder the better.[/b]
thank you for paraphrasing. I tend to get [i]long winded[/i]. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 9:26am
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Farting is the least of the problems today, though. And this is my worry.
Before asking the school to "do away with this segregated classroom", one should know the alternative. What would be planned instead of this? Who is going to plan the general food allergy management plan or 504 if there is going to be one. Some people leave the 504 up to the school, personally I wouldn't. I'm right there with a good plan from the start. We'll (school officials and DH and I) work with *our* ideas--my rough draft. And proceed from there.
I want to know all the facts on this. Why parents wanted this plan in the first place. There was a rationale for this segregation, and it seems like it was coming from the parents, not the administration. If the classroom is, shall we say "desegregated", what is the proposed plan to accommodate the food-allergic population. Not knowing the potential outcome is what is troubling me.
We can say we don't like this, but we have to have plans in place for what is wanted and/or needed in this situation. What is the alternative. The unknown is just as troubling to me as the current situation is to other posters in this thread.
Personally, my school has (in the past) put the same food-allergic children in the same classroom. Originally I thought it was a good idea. As the years went by, it wasn't. My child's PA is more strictly and conservatively managed creating questions and concerns for my son. The other child did not have a 504, and Ryan's 504 was constantly "violated" by the other PA child. It caused headaches for me and for the teachers.
This year the food-allergic kids were separated, and it has made my life much easier. So actually, I'm against these segregated classrooms, although not for the same reason as many of the posters in this thread.

Posted on: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 2:41pm
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"As far as the peanut-free table being segregation, it deprnds on how it is done. At DS's school non-PA children eat there if they have a peanut-free lunch. Therefore, PA kids are not segretated from non-PA kids."
Thanks, Jimmy's Mom! That's exactly what I was trying to say.
BTW, how do you "quote" on here, anyway? thanks!

Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 6:59am
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Quote:Originally posted by Lindajo:
[b] BTW, how do you "quote" on here, anyway? thanks![/b]
At the top of each post is a row of little icons. The one on the right shows a paper with a red arrow. That is the "reply with quote" button. Press the reply with quote button at the top of the post you want to quote. When you press that the poster's original message appears as a quote at the top of your message. If you don't want to quote the whole thing, just delete the parts you don't want.
Cathy
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited January 29, 2006).]

Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 8:07am
Lindajo's picture
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Oh, thank you Cathy! Duh, I feel so dumb!

Posted on: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 8:38am
Momcat's picture
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Don't feel dumb, it took me awhile figure that out, too! That and the edit button (the one with the pencil.)
Cathy

Posted on: Mon, 01/30/2006 - 2:01am
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HELP! I am interesting in finding out exactly how Peanut-Free tables work at schools that allow any student with a Peanut-Free lunch to sit at the Peanut-Free table. See in my situation; students sit at a designated table with the teacher and the Peanut Free table is only for students with PA's.

Posted on: Mon, 01/30/2006 - 3:23am
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You might want to start a new thread or look do a search of peanut free tables,ect.
I posted above how mine works.

Posted on: Tue, 01/31/2006 - 3:42am
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Hi everyone! This is my first posting. I have read pretty much all of the postings for this topic.
I have an almost 4 yr. old (peanut/tree nut allergic) that will be starting preschool soon. It has been a very long and tough road to say the least in finding a "safe place" for her.
I cringe when I think of her starting Kindergarten. It scares me to death! I really don't understand what all the fuss is about over the segregated classes and PF lunch tables. I would applaude ANY school that would cater to my child's allergy in any way, shape or form. I don't know if my child is more allergic to nuts than anyone else, but she can't even touch it without going into an anaphlaxis attack. It has happened one time, and as far as I'm concerned, one time too many. I don't care if my child has to be with the same people the rest of her school life, as long as she is safe and happy and alive what is the big deal? I am in a food allergy group in my hometown and I have never heard our parents complaining about how a school has PA classrooms and lunch tables. In fact, we encourage each other to post those schools, so we can have safe places for our children to attend.

Posted on: Tue, 01/31/2006 - 5:17am
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Of course our first priority is always to make sure that our children are safe. But once that requirement has been satisfied we start to look around and say, Ok, she's safe, but she doesn't get to do the things the other kids are enjoying. Then we start to get annoyed at the unfairness and insensitivity of others. Social opportunities often become more important to kids as they mature. It is not too much to ask that our PA kids should participate in all aspects of their education (including social opportunities) alongside their peers.
------------------
Mom to 6 1/2 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited January 31, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 6:50am
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You asked if other towns do this. I just registered my dd for kindergarten and they just told me that there is a "peanut free kindergarten class" I thought, "Oh, good" when they told me because I was just thinking about it from the viewpoint of dd's safety. But after reading your post, I don't really know how I feel about this right now (in our town--your situation seems different). I don't think our town does this for every grade, but I don't think so. They just told me that they currently have one kindergarten class that is peanut free (and they didn't say that all kids with allergies were in this class).
O.K.***I just read your other posts. Had no clue this is what you meant. Keeping the kids totally separated 'til middle school? I would have a problem with that and I know it would make my dd very sad.
[This message has been edited by Lori Anne (edited January 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 6:54am
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What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
------------------
Mom to 6 1/2 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 3 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:04am
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Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b]What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
[/b]
I would like to repeat that as well,the ? that is.I think *I* know what you mean.
Brings something to mind in my area.
------------------
Love this site
Synthia

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:39am
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I'm no expert, but this sounds illegal. I would investigate further.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 7:49am
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Quote:Originally posted by synthia:
[b] Quote:Originally posted by Momcat:
[b]What do you mean when you say that the allergic kids are not allowed near the other kids?
Cathy
[/b]
I would like to repeat that as well,the ? that is.I think *I* know what you mean.
Brings something to mind in my area.
[/b]
Well there are currently 12 classes of approx 22 children each in my daughter's grade. Two of these are designated for "allergy kids" - as they are referred to.
The two "allergy Kids" classes eat lunch together ahead of the other classes( to minimize their exposure to other kid's lunches) then they have recess first - to minimize their exposure to oils from other kids' hand on the playground equipment.
They have no contact with other classes.
While the school would never say "Don't get near the allergy kids!" They have created a situation where these kids will never meet most of their peers until they reach Middle School and the segregated classes end.
I think that would e awfully traumatic for the 30-40 kids who have spent their elementary years only exposed to each to other to suddenly be dumped into the general population of 250 plus kids in their grade and end up in classes where it likely they won't know a soul.
These policies were put into place several years ago, by moms who begged for them, but I just don't think it is right. I worked for a Civil Rights law firm for several years and I can't believe this school system hasn't been hit with a "reasonable accommodations" lawsuit.

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:09am
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Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b] These policies were put into place several years ago, by moms who begged for them, but I just don't think it is right. [/b]
Are you sure this is a "policy"? If it is, you should ask for a copy of the policy. I'd love to see that in writing. There will be legal references on a school board policy.
Or is segregating the children with food allergies from their non-disabled peers 'just' their 'practice'? Do you have the option of having your child not placed in one of the "allergy" classes? Have you asked for your child to be placed in one of the other classes?
Quote:Originally posted by ZeniaD:
[b]I worked for a Civil Rights law firm for several years and I can't believe this school system hasn't been hit with a "reasonable accommodations" lawsuit. [/b]
Girl, you've got access to a gold mine! Can you just call and run this scenario by one of the attorneys you worked with and see what they think?
This seems like blatant discrimination based on a disability. I'd bet ORC would be all over this.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited January 26, 2006).]

Posted on: Thu, 01/26/2006 - 8:30am
synthia's picture
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Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

Sorry didnot want to take this thread *off topic*.
------------------
Love this site
Synthia
[This message has been edited by synthia (edited January 26, 2006).]

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