Link to thread on Living with board re: schools
were StacyH wrote>
When my sister explained to her daughters teacher how severe Jordyn's allergies were he stated,"It's all in the mind. We'll get her over it." Can you believe the ignorance?
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------------------ Stay Safe
[This message has been edited by Chris PeanutAllergy Com (edited September 14, 1999).]
On Sep 30, 1999
Ooooooooooooooooo - it steams me!
I am currently enrolled in a masters in teaching program and during class last night, our professor was discussing a lesson plan she once designed where packets of M&M's were distributed as part of the lesson. I calmly waited until she had finished going over her lesson plan and said "I hate to complicate our lives as future teachers but it's really important that you all realize that M&M's contain peanut products and you may have a student allergic to them." I went on to explain that these allergies can result in anaphylaxis. When no one seemed interested, I added that my own son (almost 5) has a severe peanut allergy to try to bring it home . Still no interest or concern and my professor looked at me as if I were not adding useful information during our precious time and changed the subject!
During break, I spoke to one of the other students in the class to see if she understood the severity of this problem, and she thought I just meant the reaction would be breaking out in hives/a rash. She did not see it as a serious problem at all!
The schools in my county are known for excellence, but they still have peanut products in their lunch menus!!!!!! I am scared to send my son to school next year (he currently attends a peanut-free daycare) for fear he will die from their ignorance. WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET THE WORD OUT MORE TO THE PUBLIC??????? I try telling as many as I can but few listen. THey can't seem to imagine the nightmare that we suffer or that it's even half as bad as we describe that it is.
We will need to make ourselves annoying to our children's teachers (which I hate to admit, since teachers are already under enough pressure) until they allow a small amount of classtime to provide a discussion to the entire class about food allergies. I will provide my son's teacher with the video "The Elephant Who Couldn't Eat Peanuts" which is only 9 minutes long. Well worth it as opposed to the possiblity of a child dying in front of her/him.
Be sensitive (teachers have to conform to the SOLs now as well as a myriad of parent complaints) but be firm.
Would love to learn more from those of you who have successfully communicated with school staff who at first didn't take you seriously.
On Sep 30, 1999
Thank you for your WONDERFUL post!!!!
My son's Kindergarten class viewed "Alexander, the Elephant who Couldn't Eat Peanuts" and the teacher had a discussion about it afterwards.
The lunchroom is like a mine field. I am up there everyday to ensure my son's safety. I am a firm believer that [b]unless it affects their child, parents will not read ingredients on labels.[/b] My son is allergic by touch and ingestion...he and the other peanut allergic child sit at a peanut free table but all the foods that come in the other children's lunch boxes i.e., potato chips with peanut oil, crackers manufactured on shared equipment, "Little Debbie" snack cakes (shared equipment)...I am a basket case from the minute I walk into the lunch room until the time I pick him up from school. All it takes is ONE child not to wash up properly and it can be our children's death sentence.
And the scary thing is the teachers don't eat in the lunch room with the children and even with me in there, how do I KNOW if the child eating cheese crackers brought from home in a baggy is eating Cheese-IT's or Reduced Fat Cheese Nips which contain peanut oil. Are the Pringles from home the Barbeque ones or the peanut oil containing Pizza Flavored ones? Etc., Etc., Etc. [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
With this allergy, one can NEVER let their guard down. "False sense of security??" After being in the lunch room everyday...[b]THERE IS NO SECURITY[/b]!!
I agree with you about getting the word out about the deadly dangers of this allergy. I get the "blank stare" on a daily basis when I mention it.
[This message has been edited by Connie (edited September 30, 1999).]
On Oct 1, 1999
Hi Colleen, Our son, Sam, started Pre-K at a Catholic school this year. We met with the administration and the teacher before the school year started, bringing as much information as we had with us. We gave them the "Alexander" video and a video about schools and peanut allergic students. Initially they seemed skeptical about being able to protect our son. They told us that they had never encountered this problem before. We have since learned that there is one PA child in 4th grade and two other PA children in Pre-K with our son. 3 out of 20!The students eat in the classroom so we were primarily concerned about his classmates, not the other nine grades. Ultimately, they instituted a complete ban on peanut products in his classroom and requested that the parents of students in the other grades refrain from sending in lunches with peanut products. The other parents in our class have been completely supportive once they rec'd the info and what snacks are safe vs. unsafe. One father even tracked down a supplier of "Soy butter" which tastes like peanut butter but contains no peanuts. He coordinates the delivery for other parents. We have spoken to parents in the other grades and once they were educated as to how severe the reaction is, they were also very supportive and decided it wasn't worth the risk to send peanut products in their children's lunches. We did not go in asking for a ban. We also expressed our empathy with how healthy peanut butter is for most children and acknowledged what a sacrifice it was for them to make. Good luck and keep your child safe. Susan, aka Sam's mom
On Oct 1, 1999
I also showed the alexander video to my daughters Kindergarten class. I also bought every student a Alexander coloring book to take home. This seemed to really help reinforce the message and let the parents know a little about the video also.
On Oct 4, 1999
To SamsMom: This is too coincidental! My name is also Susan (I go by Sue) and I have a 5-year old PA son named Sam! Please don't tell me you also have an older, non-PA son named Nathan!
It is great that your school experience has been positive so far. Have you had any negativity from parents? I'm very involved with the PTA at my older (non PA) son's school and based on that experience I really dread asking for any wide-ranging voluntary help from parents in dealing with Sam's allergy when he starts Kindergarten next year. When did you start working with the school? I've read anywhere up to a year in advance is appropriate. I'm still trying to decide if I should attempt to have PB&J removed from the daily "choice" on the menu. I don't know if it is necessary, or if I should just work for a peanut-free table and not worry if the rest of the cafeteria is filled with peanuts & peanut butter. Although we all fear it, I haven't read any posts of reactions from smeared peanut butter on the floor or table in a school cafeteria.... has anyone else?
Sue (another Sam's Mom)
On Oct 4, 1999
[This message has been edited by SueQ (edited October 04, 1999).]
On Oct 4, 1999
SueQ--Your comment about dreading your son's entrance to Kindergarten next year and working with the PTA was interesting to me. I also DON'T think that I will get the assistance and support that Samsmom got. I was wondering if the difference was public vs. private schools. My daughter (non PA) used to attend a Catholic school in Kindergarten and first grade. The parents were very involved in the school there and we all knew each and trusted each other. It was a very nice atmosphere. I know that if my son were going to that school that I could get the support there for him; however, this will not be the case. My daughter is now in public school and my son will attend the same school. I have been in that school system for 2 years and have yet to really get any other parents to even speak to me on a personal level. I have found that in public school parents are much less involved with getting to know the other parents and other children. Therefore, school is less "personal" to them. Every issue becomes "how does this affect me?" and I think that is due to the unsocial atmosphere. Is this what you are facing in your school? This attitude really impacts the peanut allergic child. Christine
On Oct 4, 1999
Christine, No, that's not exactly what I meant. I actually have gotten to know many great parents at my son's public school, and several very very caring parents that are involved with the PTA. However, I've found that no matter what you do, somebody is not happy about it and complains. And I'm talking about small things. For instance, at Open House every year the PTA has hosted a bake sale. Well, this year, we decided to give the baked goods away as a complementary refreshment table. Do you believe some people seemed quite put off by it... they were used to being able to buy cookies to take home with them. So you see, if giving cookies away spurs complaints, asking people to change the way they send in snacks or pack their child's lunch is bound to ruffle a few feathers! I believe that the majority of parents at this school will be understanding and supportive but it will be a very vocal minority that will cause a problem. I think I'll have to develop a thick skin.