Should a school really BAN peanuts/tree nuts all together?

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 5:49am
turlisa's picture
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Joined: 08/29/2004 - 09:00

I am new to this and I dont want to sound like I am not a compassionate person. I am the mother of a 5 yr old little girl who is starting school this year. She is a very picky eater and does not eat meat at all. The majority of her protein comes from peanut butter and peanut containing products. I just received a letter from her school yesterday that ALL peanut/nut products are BANNED from school along with fresh pitted fruits, seeds (poppy, sesame & sunflower) and legumes. The reason for the ban is that one 1st grade boy has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Although I feel bad for the little boy, and cant imagine what his mother must be going thru agonizing about the safety of her child everyday, I can help but feel that this ban is unjust for the 99.9% of the student body that is not allergic. Knowing that there is someone at this school that has PA, naturally, I would restrict the amount of these foods I would send to school with her, but I was not given that choice. I was told I must comply. I am fighting the school board and I will continue fighting til this ban is removed.

The boy in question attended the school last year without incident. they did take precautions last year with a peanut free zone and a peanut free hot lunch program. The reason the ban is in place this year is because he was afraid of the residue that was in the garbage and he was afraid to make friends because they all ate peanut butter; and while I agree that is very sad, I dont believe it is a viable reason to ennforce the ban.

My neice has a life threatening allergy to eggs. not even a year old yet my sister carries an epipen with her in case her daughter comes in contact with egg. Now it would be IMPOSSIBLE to ban everything containing egg from the school, but seeing that the school has banned all peanut/nut from the school, wouldnt they be legally responsible to ban all egg also? at what point do they decide one persons life is more valuable than the other?

Whats more, in either case, what makes the childrens parents feel they have the right to take away the foods that many children can tollerate.

Now many will cite the disability act, but if one child is in a wheelchair you put in a ramp, you dont take out the stairs. One child is allergic to bees, you dont keep everyone in at recess.

Where does it stop? I really do understand the severity of the allergy, I just dont feel it is right to deprive the other students of a food they love that is also healthy for the majority.

Please enlighten me and tell me if I am wrong.

Thank you

Lisa T

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 6:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

No comment.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 6:57am
JacquelineL-B's picture
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Joined: 02/14/2002 - 09:00

I'm so sorry to hear that your neice has egg allergies. My DS reacts to eggs too, we can no longer cook them in our home since he has airborne reactions.
So actually you've been exposed to food allergies for a year now with your neice having a life-threatening egg allergy.
Something to consider:
At family parties do you serve egg dishes? Or do you, out of compassion for your neice, not have something that could kill her? If your daughter would only eat egg products would you tell her that her desire for a certain food outweighs the life of her cousin?
It has been a very painful experience in my life when family has put their desire for a certain food *right now* over the life of my son.
Perhaps because of that I try to accomodate all disabilities out of compassion because everyone is a member of my community. I trust the disabled and their families, doctors and teachers to decide what their accomodation needs are. Everyone deserves a compassionate family and community!
In my humble opinion,
Jacqueline

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 7:23am
krasota's picture
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Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

personally, I feel that your daughter has a right to eat foods which are safe and appetizing for her. However, peanut residue is very hard to neutralize. I think that the ban on all seeds and legumes is over the top--and I have a contact (anaphylactic) allergy to soy.
Is the PA child contact-allergic to sunflower seeds? If not, perhaps your daughter could use Sunbutter, with special permission from the principal? It's free of peanut-traces. Perhaps the school would see fit to make the soy-free version of sunbutter permissible?
I'm vegetarian and manage to be peanut and soy-free, but I'd be quite miffed if sunflower seeds or peas weren't an option--your daughter has dietary needs, too, and she needs a viable protein source to make it through the day. Without legumes, seeds, or nuts, what can you give her--quinoa? I imagine she wouldn't like that too much.
I really think you need to contact the school. Don't push for peanut butter, I really don't think that's negotiable, but finding a peanut-free spread should be a negotiable option.
It's possible that your child might have to sit at a different table. It's far easier to decontaminate *one* lunch table and one child's hands than all the tables and everyone's hands. [img]/peanut/boards/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smirk.gif[/img] I wish there were a good workaround for allergies, but there just aren't always.
ygg

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 7:47am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by turlisa:
[b] The reason for the ban is that one 1st grade boy has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Although I feel bad for the little boy, and cant imagine what his mother must be going thru agonizing about the safety of her child everyday, I can help but feel that this ban is unjust for the 99.9% of the student body that is not allergic. [/b]
99.9? [i]Really?[/i] Source for the statistic?

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 8:19am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

turlisa - you truly cannot understand this allergy until you live it every day AND NIGHT of your life. Believe me, night time is the worse for me as I lay in bed wondering if tomorrow's going to be the dreaded day.
What is protein for your daughter is poison to our children. If your daughter goes without peanut products for 5 out of the 21 meals that she eats a week, she will not die. She could possibly become interested in other foods if PB is not an option for her. If my son accidentally comes in contact with peanut products he could die.
I think I could go on and on but sometimes I get tired of having to defend myself to others on why it's so important to keep my son alive. And I'm tired now.
------------------
Lynee', mom to:
Cade - PA, egg whites, seasonal
Carson - NKFA, seasonal

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 8:19am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by turlisa:
[b]I am new to this and I dont want to sound like I am not a compassionate person. I am the mother of a 5 yr old little girl who is starting school this year. She is a very picky eater and does not eat meat at all. The majority of her protein comes from peanut butter and peanut containing products. I just received a letter from her school yesterday that ALL peanut/nut products are BANNED from school along with fresh pitted fruits, seeds (poppy, sesame & sunflower) and legumes. The reason for the ban is that one 1st grade boy has a life threatening allergy to peanuts. Although I feel bad for the little boy, and cant imagine what his mother must be going thru agonizing about the safety of her child everyday, I can help but feel that this ban is unjust for the 99.9% of the student body that is not allergic. Knowing that there is someone at this school that has PA, naturally, I would restrict the amount of these foods I would send to school with her, but I was not given that choice. I was told I must comply. I am fighting the school board and I will continue fighting til this ban is removed.
The boy in question attended the school last year without incident. they did take precautions last year with a peanut free zone and a peanut free hot lunch program. The reason the ban is in place this year is because he was afraid of the residue that was in the garbage and he was afraid to make friends because they all ate peanut butter; and while I agree that is very sad, I dont believe it is a viable reason to ennforce the ban.
My neice has a life threatening allergy to eggs. not even a year old yet my sister carries an epipen with her in case her daughter comes in contact with egg. Now it would be IMPOSSIBLE to ban everything containing egg from the school, but seeing that the school has banned all peanut/nut from the school, wouldnt they be legally responsible to ban all egg also? at what point do they decide one persons life is more valuable than the other?
Whats more, in either case, what makes the childrens parents feel they have the right to take away the foods that many children can tollerate.
Now many will cite the disability act, but if one child is in a wheelchair you put in a ramp, you dont take out the stairs. One child is allergic to bees, you dont keep everyone in at recess.
Where does it stop? I really do understand the severity of the allergy, I just dont feel it is right to deprive the other students of a food they love that is also healthy for the majority.
Please enlighten me and tell me if I am wrong.
Thank you
Lisa T[/b]
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. The school reps I met with over a week ago decided to institute a "peanut/nut free classroom" without me even asking for it. Within two days of that decision, they changed their minds. (something about no "guarantees" and a child who "only ate peanutbutter".) I did not authorize a change to the plan. I thought, "why does this child have to eat it in the classroom?" Surely there must be a point of compromise?
Anywhooooooooooo, it's written into a "plan" (the classroom restrictions), and so far, to my knowledge, it has been voluntarily violated at least once. My cubs physician letter states the need for such a zone of minimal risk.
I mean, a rep at the school informed me (in writing) that my just 9 year old, special needs son should be able to "police himself" wrt certain dangers at school.
[b]SARCASM WARNING[/b]: [i]I mean, why have crossing guards? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img][/i]
Just as a note: I have also been informed that there can be no guarantees wrt the "hot lunch" program offered by the school and my son will need to bring his own lunch. Should I cite Title II of the ADA, or just go with the program?
I also have been told my attendance on field trips will be mandatory in order for him to attend. (Remember, I'm a licensed RN and there are expectations that go hand in hand with that, even in public places.) I always intended to go with on field trips or he would not go, but just noting.
I was informed I would not be allowed to be present at holiday/educational parties his class may hold, even when food is present.
I mean, I'm not just asking for accommodations, but also making, or trying to make, them myself, in order that my child be able to attend.
Question I ask myself: "Are my cubs needs being given the same priority (at least) as others? Is there an intentional effort (by whomever) to thwart actions that may afford him the same level of safety as others while at school? Is what [i]is achievable[/i] even being done?"
There is a special education board of appeals you might find interesting to read related to the same ("Mystic Valley"). I could reraise it for you on the boards.
Anywhoooooooooooooo, again.............. My son is in a very specialized public education program for 3rd graders (not for his peanut allergy, for other needs). I guess I could request a "homebound" option (for a number of reasons) and have the program brought to my family, at our doorstep. I mean, there are literally dozens of specialists involved in it. What ya think? (This comming from someone who homeschooled for over a year and a half.)
I'm in the middle of a lupus flare due to the predicament I find myself in. It must be wonderful not have deal with such worries in addition to the ususal where children and school are concerned..........
We meet with the school [i]again[/i] tomorrow (13 individuals total invited). Wish me the best, ok?
ps........ [i]rationalizing[/i], gotta love it.
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just relaying my own personal, highly individual, and unique situation.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited August 29, 2004).]

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 8:45am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Please, just think about the message you are sending to your daughter, intentionally or otherwise. In essence, what you are saying to her is this...
Gee, it's too bad that little boy could die if he has a reaction to peanut residue, because YOU like peanut butter and it's far more important for YOU to have a food YOU like at school than it is to worry about his safety. YOUR desires are far more important than his needs. AFter all, YOU could skip peanut butter for one meal out of the three YOU eat each day, but I would never ask YOU to go without anything. If YOU like something, YOU had better believe I'll make sure YOU have it, even if another child is harmed in the process.
Your daughter likes peanut butter, and it's worth risking the life and safety of a classmate to make sure she doesn't have to go seven hours five days a week without it. Is this really the message you want to send to your child?
Please think about it.

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 8:56am
turlisa's picture
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Joined: 08/29/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by MommaBear:
[b]
99.9? [i]Really?[/i] Source for the statistic?[/b]
Well, we are a small community and he is the only one in school with a peanut/nut allergy, what percentage would you use?

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 9:03am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

Lisa,
The PA child's parents are not depriving other kids of peanut butter. The parents didn't make the rule. The school made the rule, most likely after consulting with the child's doctor.
If you don't like the rule, I'd suggest you set up a meeting with the principal. Complaining about it here won't do much good.
My daughter is underweight and she loves peanut butter. Unfortunately, we can no longer have it in the house since my son is severely allergic and has experienced a life-threatening reaction.
Fortunately, your daughter can have peanut butter for breakfast and dinner, so I think she'll be able to get plenty of peanuts in her diet. Lucky you!
This might be a great opportunity to introduce her to other foods. After all, it's not good for your child to limit herself to one food. She needs a more balanced diet. This just might be the nudge she needs to broaden her horizons.
Good luck.

Posted on: Sun, 08/29/2004 - 9:11am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by turlisa:
[b]I am new to this and I dont want to sound like I am not a compassionate person. I am the mother of a 5 yr old little girl who is starting school this year. She is a very picky eater and does not eat meat at all.
[/b]
Oh. the horror. (You'll have to excuse my dark side. I've been told it just part of who I am. You know, the way some people just love peanuts/can't [i]live[/i] without certain items.) [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Hey, but I completely understand such issues. I am the mother of not one, but [b]two[/b] special needs children (no complaints, very blessed, devil that you know thing), who have food [i]issues[/i]. [b]I'm a pretty particular/detail oriented gal myself and it is not limited to just food. [/b] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
anywhoooooooo, I'm not expecting persons to give up peanut butter or perform miracles. I mean, even tho I have. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
I'm just asking them not to eat it in a particular location. "Holy ground/zone of minimal risk" so to speak. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
See, my two very particular, perservarative, detail oriented children, have issues regarding food that could never be done justice by labelling such food concerns [i]a preference[/i] or mere food aversion. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img] [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] However, despite numerous concerns with texture, taste, scent, [b]presence[/b]..............I have managed to raise two strapping hulks, or so I have been told for their ages.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's a miracle.
(*Personally* I consider my youngest and lovingly ~[b]the runt[/b]~. He is 4 years old and verging on 50 lbs. (Still not weighing as much as his older brother did at one year of age. (It was somewhere past 50 lbs.)
to quote:
[b]"The majority of her protein comes from peanut butter and peanut containing products".[/b]
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. For both my "picky eaters", (and you may not believe what and how much they can be "picky" about) peanut products were not an option. They are both allergic. Go Figure.
Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just relaying my own personal, highly individual, and unique situation.
[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited August 29, 2004).]

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