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Posted on: Thu, 09/02/1999 - 1:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with Steve W. It would be unrealistic to expect all parents to refrain from sending peanut to school. Some just do not care, and others do not really understand. As the PA child ages, he has to deal with the fact that there is peanut in the real world, and has to learn coping skills.
My son has been living with peanut anaphylaxis for ten years. He is now 13 years old, and is a well-adjusted young man with good friends. Every year since Kindergarten I have gone into his class at the beginning of the year to talk with his classmates, to help them understand the dangers of his allergy, and also very importantly, that he is still a normal boy. Each year I have tried to do a different activity with them, ranging from colouring sheets when they were younger, to making a peanut-free recipe book for lunch ideas.
Now he is entering Grade 8, and these are going to be trial years ahead for him. He and I both trust his friends in regards to his allergy. They all know how to use the Epipen, and have practiced with the Epipen trainer. His classroom is peanut free, and students bringing peanut to school must eat in another room. However, he still wants to eat with his friends when it the turn of his class to eat in the multi-purpose room. If one of his friends has peanut, they move to another table. If they chose not to, my son would move, but so far, that hasn't happened.
I wish there was no such thing as peanut, but there is and we have to deal with it, without making our child's life too different from others.

Posted on: Thu, 09/02/1999 - 11:44pm
PattyR's picture
Joined: 04/12/2002 - 09:00

I also prefer the term risk reduction. I do not think it is possible to enforce a ban. I do wish the schools would be more understanding of the situation. I think many of us are made to feel as though we are hysterical parents when we are only trying to keep our children safe. My goals for my son are safety first and second is as normal a life as possible.
The only way the schools will understand is if it comes from the top down. We are fighting one principal at a time or one school district at a time. We need legislation.
I am a special educator and with kids with special needs, the ultimate goal is always inclusion (mainstreaming), to be educated as much as possible with "typically developing" children.
I find it unacceptable that a child would have to eat (against the parents wishes) in a hallway or away from his/her peers or even have to ride in a "special" bus due to a food allergy.
Perhaps it needs to be a standard that any child with a severe food allergy have a Section 504 plan. Unfortunately, for plans to truly be followed, they need to be governed by law.
I also find it unacceptable that a child should be expected to be on a school bus without their epipen or any necessary medication. Our kids often have more than one allergy. What if they develop an allergy to a bee sting that was previously unknown? I wonder what the policy is for kids with that allergy? You can't ensure that there will be no bees on the bus!
I hope that the group we have here can be part of the solution for the safety of our children and so that this becomes easier for the parents that will follow us. Let's hope we are not still fighting the same battle for our grandchildren!

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/1999 - 3:03am
Assistant Principal's picture
Joined: 09/03/1999 - 09:00

I am an assistant principal at an elementary school, and have been recently informed of the severe reactions that can be caused by a peanut allergy. I knew it existed, but did not realize how serious they often are. We have one child on campus that is known to have an anaphalactic reaction. He has always been allowed to carry his epipen, and has had accomodations in the cafeteria. When I came to this campus and learned of the situation, I asked to review his 504 plan. There wasn't one at that time. The school simply did not realize he needed one, but we initiated the process immediately. I encourage parents to bring it up with their school. Most administrators are simply ignorant of the seriousness, and truly want to provide safe environments for all children. I think it is ludicrous for schools to fight with parents over simple requests. I do, however, believe that we cannot ensure a peanut free environment. We have sent a letter to all parents on that grade level in the past to ask for their cooperation. This year we expanded the letter to the entire school, and have taken peanut butter off the lunch menu on our campus. However, (naively)I did not anticipate the reaction of the parents. We have received a few phone calls that were angered by the letter. I HAVE to believe that these parents were also simply ignorant of the seriousness of the situation. But, some of them are just apathetic or see their own inconvenience as more important. I will research this allergy further, and I enjoy reading these discussions and opinions. I wonder if Fiona could somehow share her recipe book with me? Can I email you, or call? I'd also be interested in other recipe and/or easy ideas for lunch. I never thought there would be so many parents that INSIST their kids will eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. I'm trying to brainstorm kid-friendly and parent-friendly foods for lunchboxes.

Posted on: Fri, 09/03/1999 - 4:07am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Schools should BAN peanuts and peanut products, (in schools with peanut allergic children), because IT WORKS! This does not mean that the school is 100% free of peanuts, but it does mean that people take the safety of these children seriously and think twice before packing a lunch. It does mean that the safest possible environment is ensured for the child. It also makes that statement that inconvenience is not worth more than a child's life.
In my community last year a public school teacher had a severe allergic reaction to perfume. Immediately, fragrances were BANNED in that school. The same school refuses to ban peanuts despite having more than one PA child in the class. What does this say?
Our schools BAN a lot of different things, (drugs, war toys, etc.). Why on earth would they pussy-foot around a life saving issue?
Is the health and safety of children that undervalued in North America that it can be reduced to political whims?

Posted on: Sat, 09/04/1999 - 9:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

To the Assistant Principal who'd like my 'Peanut Free Recipe Book' - I'm more than willing to share, but I do feel that this is something which would mean a lot more to the students if they generated it themselves, as my son's class did. Perhaps the homeroom teachers could do a project with their classes, or the Student Council, or.....!
E-mail me by all means - my address is listed.

Posted on: Sat, 09/04/1999 - 12:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I also believe in reducing the risk. At my daughters school there are children with allergies to peanut, tree nuts, dairy, soy and wheat.That severely limits what foods could be brought to school if there was a ban.I don't see how a school could ban some but not others.I sent a letter home to parents, met with school officials and developed a emergency health care plan. We sent up procedures on handwashing and cleaning of the tables.All the kids watch out for my daughter and know not to sit by her if their snack is not ok.I also volunteer at school as well as my husband.We feel we have drastically reduced the risk and feel comfortable with that.Am I ever completely at ease? No, but I have to let me daughter have a normal life as much as possible.

Posted on: Mon, 09/06/1999 - 8:33am
rcolbert's picture
Joined: 09/06/1999 - 09:00

My wife and I have a first grade son who have had multiple anaphylactic reactions both from ingestion and from breathing the aroma of peanut butter. We have asked for a voluntary removal of peanut products from the school. The school gym doubles as the lunchroom.
We met with our son's allergist (who told us upon seeing his reaction to the skin test for peanut allergy) to NEVER let him be in the same room with a peanut or peanutbutter!
She will be sending a letter to the school outlining the serious risk that even the aroma of peanut products is to our son and instructing the school that they should eliminate peanut products from the school.
I will keep you posted on our results.
I would like to ask all posters that responded that a ban of peanuts can't work, if they would not have said the same thing regarding a total ban of cigarettes in the workplace not more than 5 years ago?
I know that peanut products are much more immediately life-threatening to our son than smoking could have been to almost anyone.
Our son is also severely asthmatic requiring 3-4 breathing treatments per day. Other than peanuts and occasionally watching to be sure he is breathing ok, he is as normal a first-grade boy as I have ever seen.
Why is it more important to allow all kids to eat peanut products at school than to allow kids like my son to have as normal & full participation in school as possible?
I can only assume that anyone who is willing to TRULY risk these kids lives must be ignorant of the severity of the risk.
I know that not all kids with peanut allergies have the severe anaphylaxis from just breathing the fumes but SOME do!
I wonder if the government suddenly mandated that all schools must remove peanut products, whether those that don't support a ban would argue with the gov't? I doubt it. I realize that anyone who tries to change anything must expect a long up hill battle. I can't imagine anything more important for me to be fighting for right now.
I am sorry this is so long. I would be happy to discuss via email my views with anyone.
Ray (from "Kid Friendly" Naperville, IL)

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/1999 - 9:38am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I understand when someone wants to ban peanuts due to the severity of their childs allergy. But how do you justify banning peanuts and not the other allergents at your childs school? If peanut was the only food kids were allergic to, it would be a whole different story.

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/1999 - 3:31pm
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

just a reminder: Do not worry about the length of your posts etc. Try to discuss on the boards and not in private e mails unless you are discussing private information. This way your discussions help many and not just those involved in the one on one type e mails.
Stay Safe

Posted on: Wed, 09/08/1999 - 5:07am
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

My child has multiple food allergies. I would only ask for peanuts to be banned because it is the one most likely to kill my child and to be smeared all over the class room and playground. I can cope with the other food allergies.


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