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Posted on: Fri, 06/08/2001 - 8:07pm
J. Roberts's picture
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Joined: 12/13/2000 - 09:00

I myself have PA, and survived K-12 in public schools with supported neither "bans" nor "reduced risk". I also did not have an Epi-Pen until age 18. I never went into shock, and only suffered a few skin reactions (I also have an allergen count of 20802).
I support "reduced risk" to the extent that Epi-Pens should be allowed to be on the child's person at all times, and teachers, administrators, nurses, and classmates etc. should all be trained on proper administration of same. Everyone should also be well educated regarding the allergy and the ramifications of a reaction. Should a child be teasing a child with PA (generally by attempting to shove food in the PA child's mouth, etc.), then the PA child should not be punished if forced to "fight" in order to avoid having this happen (I do not advocate violence -- I do, however, believe in allowing a PA child to protect themselves from the ignorance of other children or adults).
The idea of "bans" is something I do not support under any circumstances. Expecting a school system to be solely responsible for the safety of a child who suffers PA is the same as negligent parents expecting the teachers and administrators to instill moral and family values in their children instead of doing it themselves.
The key to living with this allergy is educating not only the child with PA but all those (family, friends, teachers, etc.) with whom the child has frequent contact. The responsibility should not be completely shored upon the school. If a child has every detail of their allergy taken care of for them their entire life, when they go out into the real world (i.e., college) and have to fend for themselves with no idea of how to do so, it is asking for trouble.
-- Julie

Posted on: Mon, 06/11/2001 - 7:20am
Wilton's picture
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Joined: 12/15/2000 - 09:00

I'd like to address some of the arguments I've seen here.
"A ban would mean that all parents had to read food labels and call manufacturers"
No, a ban would mean that you can't send in or serve any product that was labelled as containing the banned allergen (peanuts, nuts, both). If it's not on the label, it's ok. Our daughter would still only eat what we sent with her.
"A ban creates a false sense of security"
The United Kingdom banned handguns, yet everyone knows there are still handguns out there. People are still cautious in bad neighborhoods and there are still metal detectors at airports. So what good did the ban do? It absolutely, positively reduced the risk that any given person on the streets of London will die from a bullet wound.
"A ban is not 100%"
As above, NOBODY expects it to be 100%. What we are talking about is a dramatic reduction in the presence of peanut proteins on the school grounds and the associated reduction in risk.
"A ban on peanuts doesn't reflect the real world"
Since when has school reflected the real world? We go to great pains to create an artificial environment for our children in which they can learn and develop. We block porn from the school's internet gateway. We subject children to dress codes. People can carry licensed handguns in the "real world", but no school will grant a child a handgun license. We feel our children should be free from the fear of random violence, from harrassment, from responsibility to earn a living, and from other real life distractions when in school. We even, in some schools, try to provide nutritious, balanced, healthy meals that they certainly don't get in the real world. We (parents, teachers, community) don't always succeed in maintaining this protective environment, but we sure as hell try.
Also, medically speaking, peanuts and nuts should definitely be banned in any setting that has children under the age of 5, when exposure of an immature immune system to potential allergens can still contribute to creating an allergy in a child that is not allergic.
"A ban places all the responsibility on the school"
On the contrary, it makes life easier for the school. The school can now say to parents and students "no peanuts, period" and can protect itself from litigation by taking reasonable enforcement measures. The decision points are few, clear, and universal. Compare this to the poor school system in Spokane that was so ill-equipped to deal with decisions about individual student needs.
"A ban would stigmatize the allergic children, who want to be 'normal'"
This is utterly and laughably false logic. With a universally-applied ban, you might not even know which students are allergic. What is "normal" about the peanut-free lunch table?!?
"If you ban peanuts, you have to ban all allergens"
Extrapolating from a Sampson study, peanuts cause 60% of food allergy deaths, tree nuts cause 30%. Reducing the risk for 60-90% of the food allergic population sounds like a good start to me.
"A ban pits parents against parents"
Do we honestly think that the same parents that vigorously fight a ban will carefully read labels in a "voluntary" situation?
Yes, I want us to find the root cause of food allergies and eradicate it at the source. Until then, banning peanuts from my child's school (just like banning guns, knives, rat poison, fireworks, etc.) will reduce a very real threat to her life during the part of the day that I and her immediate, educated circle can't control. That's really all the justification I need to support it.
[This message has been edited by Wilton (edited June 12, 2001).]

Posted on: Mon, 06/11/2001 - 9:17am
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

Wilton fantastic post.
Please check out the thread that provides information showing that Ann Munoz Furlong of FAAN received a $14,000 grant from the Peanut Foundation with the goal of showing peanut bans do NOT work.
This raises serious questions about the origin of FAAN's opposition to a peanut ban and gives the appearance of a conflict of interest.
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001685.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001685.html[/url]
[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 11, 2001).]

Posted on: Tue, 06/12/2001 - 5:59pm
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

I thought it would be informative to look at the Food Allergy Initiative's position on peanuts in schools (although FAI has provided funds to FAAN it was not for "showing" a ban does not work"
[url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/"]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/[/url]
Look under "peanuts"
Then "Peanuts in schools" the site is a liitle clumsy,
"....Peanuts In the Schools
Ater two children in Ontario died from severe reactions to peanuts during the summer of 1994, The Canadian Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology joined with provincial affiliates and allergy organizations to issue recommendations on managing anaphylaxis in the public schools. The goal was to reduce children's exposure to allergenic foods in the classroom, particularly to peanuts. The group concentrated on education about allergies, focusing on the primary grades. The guidelines suggested no trading or sharing of foods, encouraged hand washing, and stated that food-allergic children should only eat lunches and snacks that had been prepared at home. The group saved its strongest statements for the youngest ages, recommending complete restriction of peanuts and peanut butter from nurseries, day care centers, and early elementary grades in Canadian schools to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.
The Food Allergy Initiative works with state and local departments of education to help schools and classrooms develop appropriate procedures for managing food allergies....."
Please note that "...The group saved its strongest statements for the youngest ages, recommending complete restriction of peanuts and peanut butter from nurseries, day care centers, and early elementary grades in Canadian schools to reduce the risk of accidental exposure..."

Posted on: Tue, 06/12/2001 - 6:00pm
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

I thought it would be informative to look at the Food Allergy Initiative's position on peanuts in schools (although FAI has provided funds to FAAN, it was for something other than "showing a ban does not work")!
[url="http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/"]http://www.foodallergyinitiative.org/[/url]
Look under "peanuts"
Then "Peanuts in schools" the site is a liitle clumsy,
"....Peanuts In the Schools
Ater two children in Ontario died from severe reactions to peanuts during the summer of 1994, The Canadian Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology joined with provincial affiliates and allergy organizations to issue recommendations on managing anaphylaxis in the public schools. The goal was to reduce children's exposure to allergenic foods in the classroom, particularly to peanuts. The group concentrated on education about allergies, focusing on the primary grades. The guidelines suggested no trading or sharing of foods, encouraged hand washing, and stated that food-allergic children should only eat lunches and snacks that had been prepared at home. The group saved its strongest statements for the youngest ages, recommending complete restriction of peanuts and peanut butter from nurseries, day care centers, and early elementary grades in Canadian schools to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.
The Food Allergy Initiative works with state and local departments of education to help schools and classrooms develop appropriate procedures for managing food allergies....."
Please note that "...The group saved its strongest statements for the youngest ages, recommending complete restriction of peanuts and peanut butter from nurseries, day care centers, and early elementary grades in Canadian schools to reduce the risk of accidental exposure..."
[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 13, 2001).]

Posted on: Wed, 06/13/2001 - 1:07am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I would like to share what we have done at our school. We took the approch of educating our parents and students, our school is not "nut free" except for a few class rooms which are directly effected, as far as the rest of the school we are a "nut aware enviorment"..we encourage and thank parents for reading labels and give suggestions of alternative lunch and snacks in our monthly news letter. again we dont want to give a false security of being "nut free" but slowly introducing it to our school this way has and will make it an easier and less stressful situation. Over a period of time the parents and staff have made it second nature to read and not send nut snacks. Our parents have thanked us for not pushing this on them but teaching them about our childrens allergy..
Sharon/Toronto

Posted on: Wed, 06/13/2001 - 12:29pm
B G L's picture
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Joined: 06/03/2001 - 09:00

Hi Chris,
In reply to the Q: Should schools ban peanuts?
I have a son who reacts by smell, touch, and of course ingestion. He is now 13 and in the 7th grade, and I'm SO grateful to still have him with us.
His allergy just seems to continue to get worse as he gets older.
When David started school the reaction was only by ingestion, and we as parents carried the epi faithfully, the school had a plan in place, teachers were trained. We believed that all the i-s were dotted and the t-s crossed.
After his 1st trip from school in the ambulance because of cross ingestion, the plan was changed to a letter home to all parents of kindergarten students, no peanut products in the classroom, and because of complaints by parents about snacks, we brought snack for the 2-k classrooms for the rest of the year.
Grade 1/2 combination classroom was the same plan only 18 reactions in those 2 years. 4 were emergency room visits. The rest were "slight" with taking him home for the rest of the day and night to observe.
Grade 3/4 combination classroom was definitely worse. A note went home with parents just as before. Everything was in place. But, we had parents in that classroom, the same parents who had complained in the kindergarten classes, that it was unfair for their child to do without peanutbutter or products with peanutbutter in them. So, again we sent home notes that we would supply snacks for the class, for the next 2 years. Their children or any of the children were welcome to eat them at any time that the rest of the class had snack or ate lunch. I didn't mention that in Davids Elementary school, lunch is eaten in the classroom. This has been a godsend! Anyway, one of the students, during his first year in this class had a morbid fascination with Davids allergy. Questions, or bringing food in his lunch with peanuts in it and then showing it/them to him. Of course the teacher contacted the parents, talked to the student, finally just sent that student out to the pod area to eat his lunch with other students who wanted to go with him. Most were so annoyed with him that they just cut him out of the group dynamics of the class. This really made the parents upset. Oh well, school was just about over, they said they wouldn't make their child be with HIM next year. This was loudly said in class one morning as we all (parents/students) gathered to go on the end of the school fieldtrip. The fieldtrip turned out ok. Many parents brought lunches for their kids. You can guess what the sandwiches were,and which parents brought, you got it, peanutbutter! Almost to a child,these students refused to eat their sandwiches because of David! I had to hide the tears. I brought extra treats for everyone, enough to feed an army.
The next year (4th grade) in the same class, we reached a new level. David was playing on the playground and came in contact with peanutbutter on the monkeybars. We administered, called the ambulance ( they could not belive that he reacted so severely by touch)and we were in shock. David never mentioned the playground again, but I noticed that he never played on the equipment at school again.
Grade 5/6 By his own request, David gave up Scouts (he has always wanted to be an Eagle Scout), and Baseball. Kids and parents didn't "get it" and just the thought of peanuts on the ground of the ball field really bothers him.
School was great though! The principal, teacher and lunch staff ( they had not served peanut or peanut products since 1st grade)were wonderful and supportive. The kids in the class all understood, and I bake the best cookies in the world, I'm told! Then in march of 2000 our cafeteria served sunflower seeds in packages to the hot lunch students. David never has had a hot lunch, I just can't take the chance. Well, the packaged sunflower seeds said on the lable, "may be processed with peanut oil" If you can imagine, 10 students were opening bags of sunflower seeds, David was grabbing his throat and running from the room. He collapsed outside his classroom door and was given the epi right there. Thank goodness he carries it on him at all times,(The nurse has a backup too, and the teacher in her desk!)was then rushed to the emergency room. He made it! We then faced the next challenge. 6th grade overnight. He was threatened by a student there. That student was immediately sent home. David's comment was after the 2 night 3 day stay was, " I needed to do this mom, just to prove to myself that I can live on my own." To his teacher when he got on the bus to come home, " Well, I'm alive Mrs. B!"
Now, David has made the transition to Middle School. It has been a great success. As for eating lunch. David eats in a classroom. He is allowed 6 to 8 other students to eat with him. He has so many friends that he is never lacking for company. We have only had 6 reactions at school, this year, and 1 physical threat. The student who threatened him was expelled for 1 month. David asked to meet with him when he returned to school because he knew that he and this boy will have to go to the same school together for the next 5 years. I was not in on the meeting but he says that all went well.
I am so proud of my son. He meet with all 6 of his new teachers at the beginning of his 7 grade year and asked each one, by name, will you agree to be trained to administer this epi, and will you sign off that you have done so? David ran the meeting of teachers and district people last year and this year, voicing his concerns, explaining to all what this allergy "looks" like and answering any Q's.
Many people have wanted my husband and I to just take David out of public school. As hard as it was and is for me to admit, David has a life threatening handicap. Dale and I want him to live as normal a life as possible, as long as possible. His 504 plan gives Him that opportunity. And he WANTS that opportunity. David knows the risk he takes every day. He has said that High School just might be too high-risk for peanuts and to difficult to a place to raise the awareness level of teachers, parents, and students.
I don't know how long David will be able to attend public schools. I just know that he wants to continue to attend as long as possible. I want to give him the opportunity to do so.
So, Do I want peanuts and peanut products to be banned from our schools? Do I think that it will create a sense of safety that is just not there? If peanuts are banned, I will be just as vigilant, David will be just as vocal, his risk of exposure WILL be less. He'll live a little longer.
David Lewis' Mom
[This message has been edited by B G L (edited June 13, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by B G L (edited June 25, 2001).]

Posted on: Fri, 06/15/2001 - 2:05am
Wilton's picture
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Joined: 12/15/2000 - 09:00

Sharon in Toronto used the term "false sense of security" again.
There is no such thing as a "false sense of security". It is a made-up term, a "marketing" concept that sounds good so it can be used to push an agenda.
Carrying concealed handguns is illegal (kind of like a "ban") in New York City. Do people feel a "false sense of security" when visiting Manhattan?
A ban on peanuts/nuts in a school means that all parents/administrators/teachers/students must be equally vigilant to keep these products out of the school. It is universally applied and, as such, the fairest /clearest option. It does not cause parents, teachers, students, and especially those closest to the allergic child to be any less vigilant.
"False sense of security" is a phrase that people hide behind when they really are saying "I support the right to eat peanuts/nuts whenever and wherever I choose".
Let's all agree to see through the hype and marketing. Let's just agree to drop "false sense of security" from our language in these discussions.

Posted on: Mon, 06/18/2001 - 5:23am
EILEEN's picture
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Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

This is a link to the thread started by FAAN's Medical Advisory Board. Since most discussion of bans/no bans/pn-free involve FAAN I thought the threads were best linked.
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001712.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001712.html[/url]

Posted on: Fri, 08/17/2001 - 5:29am
shnooke's picture
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Joined: 08/17/2001 - 09:00

We also fought with our son's school for 3 years. They finally stopped serving peanut butter. We have learned that since my son goes to a small Catholic school he has been with the same children since Kindergaten. He will be in 4th grade this year. It is tuely the children that look out for him. Every year we send home a reminder letter so that no one will send in unsafe foods. The children bring a snack daily and we have found that the children will not bring in anything that is not safe. The children wash their hands after lunch every day. The children saw what happens to our son when he had an anaphalactic reaction in first grade. None of the children want to see that happen again, it was very scary. We are very lucky that our son goes to school with such caring children. He is also very cautious and never takes any chances. My advice to you is to try and reach the children in your child's class. Also, get the support of the teacher. Have the teacher talk openly about your child's allergies at open house. Everyone knows who our son is and what can happen to him. That makes all the difference.
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