Suggestions anyone??

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 6:07am
moxymom's picture
Joined: 01/31/2003 - 09:00

I have to admit, I'm feeling a little stupid about this whole situation, but here goes. My son started in a new school last monday. He's in j/k. When I went to register him, I told them of his peanut and nut allergies and was assured that they were a completely nut and peanut free school. I was told that there were other pa children in the school, who were more severe than josh...he needs to ingest to react, the others have airbourne reactions. So, because they told me the other students' parents had gone over everything, I trusted them.....stupid me. My son steps off the school bus yeserday with chocolate all over his face. i asked him what it was and was told that they had donuts from the coffee store (Tim Hortons). I almost died. i got home and was on the phone to the school immediately. i spoke with his teacher who confirmed that they did in fact have them. I asked if she had forgotten I told her they were UNSAFE and she denied having any knowledge whatsoever. She said that Josh had told her he couldn't eat them so she said "Fine, don't eat them". then she turned around and saw him eating one and what does she do??? Does she take it away from him???? No!! She says " I thought you couldn't have that?" and my son said "It's okay now" and she said, 'Okay then". Now, I do my best to teach my son what he can and can't eat, but the fact remains, he is 4....all of his friends are eating something in a peanut free school, he thinks it's okay. So, she hangs up on me and I have a small breakdown. The I call the school again and demand to speak with the principal. After a little arguing and then me saying, would you rather I spoke with the papers about your not keeping the children safe? the principal appeared on the phone. I told her of my concerns and she said, "We're a peanut free school and I had no idea! I thought Tim Hortons was safe" Am I the only one who thinks it's one of the more obvious places to avoid??? Anyway, she told me that the other pa parents told her it was fine!!!! So, she has asked me to put together a presentation for the staff, and quite possibly, the parents as well so that, with any luck this never happens again. Thankfully, my son is fine. What I'm wondering is, how do I teach them everything they need to know about this horrible allergy without overwhelming and losing them??? There is so much they obviously don't know, but I can't very well go in with 100 pages for them to read and learn. I'm so discouraged right now.

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 6:22am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

They do not need to know everything. The do need to be receptive to ongoing communication and education, and some simple and very basic, easy to implement guidlines to keep the children safe.
Really, it is great, once you get past the very negative interaction with the teacher, that they admitted to not knowing and asked you for help in learning.
I spent time going over some basic statistics comparing the extreme sensetivity of PA as compared to ohter food allergies, numbers of Emergency visits, ans such, just to make an impact as to the nature of its sensetivity. Also helpful to compare it with other known deadly allerens like medications and bee stings, which people readily seem to accept and remind them that peanut accidents are much more common.
Make sure they know the appropriate emergency responses.
Most importantly, there needs to be some concrete ground rules for minimizing accidental exposures. This would include foods and brands prohibited, foods that are okay, or perhaps a rule that the allergic children only have food prepared at their homes and sent with them, as well as peanut free school. That would prevent what happened to you this time. Others might have had the wrong food, but the allergic kids would have theri own at all times. Keep a stash of treats there for such occasions so your child will be satisfied and happy.
Just some ideas to get you going. Good Luck. Let us know how it goes. becca

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 6:32am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

In the school thread, on page two, under the title "school inservice" posted by Dawn are some ideas for you. Dawn just recently did a full inservice for teachers that they really found educational. Take a look at that link and perhaps you can email Dawn for a copy of her exact notes.

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 6:46am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

The daycare my son attended was also 100% peanuts/nuts free. Even better, his teacher was PA.
Yet at Christmas time, they served Tim Horton donuts. They "obviously" selected the ones without peanuts. DUH!
I was glad I had brought gingerbread men to distribute and my son was only interested in those. (he was 4)
When I discussed it with the teacher (who wouldn't eat any of the donuts! Second Duh!) I was told that they're allowed to bring "may contain" food into the school. And whose decision was it anyway? Some bureaucrat without a PA kid, obviously.

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 8:11am
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

moxymom: it sounds like your child's school is "peanut-free" just like my childrens' school and former preschool are (and former sunday school classes, grandma's house, etc..etc...etc..). sometimes i think we have to be careful that we don't just accept other peoples' ideas of what peanut-free (or peanut-safe, peanut-aware, etc.) are; especially when there isn't something legal in writing. (we have nothing in writing). i'm not sure if it's just really that hard for other people to understand (since they don't have to live it everyday) or if they just don't really care. (i prefer to think it's the first but i'm afraid it's the last). i wish i had some good advice for you. wouldn't it be wonderful if there was some way to completely educate others (especially school staff and other childrens' parents since they are so important in keeping our kids safe when we are not present) in a way that made sense to everyone? joey

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 8:32am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

To address the whether it is hard to understand/believe versus not caring, I would like to think the first as well. I just wanted to say it was hard for me to fully realize, learn and accept the scope and risks for every PA individual. I had a child who ate PB for a month or two before obviously reacting and was still fine after a good clean up and 30-60 minutes. I just hoped and believed that she was not "that allergic" as to have anaphylaxis, but did think I should limit exposure nebause she could get that way. I know each time was worse for her. I had wondered then, BAM, it was in my face.
But I alwyas try to remember, as a PA parent, a health care professional who reads up regulary on health issues, how it really took some time and reading here for it to really sink in. We need to give others that benefit of the doubt, and patiently educate, as trying as it can be. They do not get it because they do not live with it. It is really quite a broad scope of things we need to be on guard for, and it took me some time to learn, it wuld take others without exposure much longer.
Of coourse, that does not mean we tolerate unsafe situations, but to try to be patient when getting the message out there and when we bang our heads against the wall wondering why they just do not get it! Just another angle on things. becca

Posted on: Fri, 01/31/2003 - 8:34am
Caterina2's picture
Joined: 02/14/2001 - 09:00

Moxymom, we had several situations like yours at my daughter's previous school. I found it very difficult to convince the staff that Tim Horton's doughnuts were not safe especially when all of the other PA kids had no problems eating them. Because of the different comfort zones, I basically told the teacher and principal that all food given to my child would have to be okayed by me first even if they were sure it was peanut free. My daughter is now in grade 2 and there is another child with PA in her class that eats Tim Hortons doughnuts every time they are brought in (they seem to be the standard party food). This makes it very difficult for my daughter to explain to her classmates why she isn't able to eat them. She is slowly becoming more confident in dealing with these situations.
Giving a presentation will enforce the seriousness of the allergy and providing a list of safe foods will help the school in deciding which foods to bring in, however, other PA parents might still bring in things that you don't consider safe for your child. Since it is difficult for a 4 year old PA child to remember which foods are safe, it is extremely important that the teacher follow your instructions as to which foods are safe and acceptable to you. In JK, I used to tell my daughter not to accept any food at school even if the teacher said it was okay unless I had checked the food first. I asked the teacher to inform me ahead of time when foods were coming into the classroom so that I could prepare my daughter for the event, either provide her own snack or tell her what was going to be served was safe. This didn't always go smoothly since the teacher forgot to tell me when food was being brought in. In SK, I left a safe treats bag with the teacher so everytime food was brought in, my daughter could choose a special treat from her safe bag. By the end of the year a lot of the kids wished they had an allergy too so they could have the special treats.
[This message has been edited by Caterina2 (edited January 31, 2003).]

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