\"The world doesn\'t revolve around your child\"

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 4:28am
NCMom's picture
Joined: 04/30/2003 - 09:00

I could not believe my ears. I was in shock. I have always had a good relationship with the school (this is my son's second year) and now I hear this. The teacher told me she wasn't going to deny 17 other children because one couldn't have something.

It came out with an incident the day prior. The teacher's husband had brought some leftover cupcakes to the class to share. She called me (which is what I have asked that they do) and I told her he couldn't have one. She gave him one of his safe treats that I have for him. She did not tell me on the phone that the cupcakes were from her husband. I thought it was from a new parent (we have two new children in the class) or from a parent who had forgotten to call me first.

The teacher was very defensive when she put my son in our van and told me "he was just fine with his treat". That wasn't the issue to me. I was just so surprised that she would allow that. And then when she told me in our conference the next day that the world doesn't revolve around your son, I was at a loss for words. After I've had a chance to calm down, I've realized she has not a clue as to what it's like to keep your child safe in the world that's full of food everywhere you turn. Not going to deny 17... my child is denied every day but he's learning to live with that. And live is what I want him to do!

The next day was a field trip and I had asked if she could remind the class not to bring peanut butter - she never responded to my requests by note so I asked when she was putting my son in the van that day of the cupcake incident. She said we couldn't ask everyone not to bring sandwiches. I had sent an e-mail to the preschool director earlier in the day and when I saw her the next morning (on my way to my conference) she said she would have been glad to ask the entire preschool not to bring peanut butter but it was too late to ask now! That set the stage for my conference since I now know it was the teacher who decided just not to ask and it would have been taken care of.

At the conference, the issue of peanut butter on the next day's field trip came up and I was told in a certain tone of voice that there was soap and water at the farm and the kids could wash their hands. Almost like "how can you be so stupid?" Well, my son and I sat away from the rest of the class since I knew that at least 4 of the kids and even the grandparents who rode with me. The teacher did not ask anyone to wash their hands and the kids went straight to playing on a rope swing. I didn't let my son do that and we went to another activity where I thought there was less risk he would pick up the peanut butter from their hands.

It took me all weekend to become less emotional about it and I'm having a conference with the preschool director this week. I know attitude and compassion is not something you can teach but I think perhaps I've not conveyed the seriousness of this allergy enough. Has anyone seen the video from FAAN "It Only Takes a Bite?" I'm thinking of ordering it to help her learn. The assistant teacher was in our conference as well and she piped up with a chocolate allergy when she was a child. I was so much in shock over the previous comments that I couldn't even get into the difference in some allergies, that this could bring death!

Any suggestions would be most appreciated! I have never encountered this before but I know many of you have, unfortunately. My neighbor had a good suggestion of having the teacher bag up any treats that come in unexpectedly and send them home in the children's bookbags. She would put a safe treat in my son's bookbag from the treat bag that I have for him. Any others? Thanks!

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 4:57am
jami's picture
Joined: 09/02/2004 - 09:00

Hopefully the confrence with the director will solve some of the poblems. I am always amazed when I meet a teacher who isn't compassionate and doesn't "love" or have the best intentions for all of her/his students. Why would you be a teacher?
Ok - do you have the Peanut Allergy answer book? could you copy and highlight.
My sons present preschool really benifitted from the teacher handbook from FAAN - in realizing how serious this particular allergy is to our kids. I know that it doesn't address or support the no nuts at all ban - but it does cover how important it is to clean, and not come in contact with any peanut substance. And maybe your director will be abe to help come up with ways for the classroom and fieldtrips to remain safe for your child - since preschool is such a hands on/ kids get into everything - type of situation.
Maybe, if you have a list of things that you think would keep your child safe and you can ask your director what things would be possible to accomplish or how best to accomplish these things in their school setting.--- and if it doesn't meet your satisfaction - then state that you are afraid that they woud have to end up calling 911 and administring the epi-pen, you are trying to make their life easier in helping to keep your child safe. I know I didn't sate that right, but I can't think f the polite way to say it right now.
Good luck, It is always harder in these meetings when - we know the obvious answer, and why can't they see the problem. keep us posted- and I'm looking forward to other people suggestions also.

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 6:32am
Suzy Q's picture
Joined: 05/20/2004 - 09:00

I ordered the FAAN video that you mentioned and thought it was very good. I also ordered their free school kit last year for my son's preschool. It included a video, which I have not seen. I loaned my FAAN video to the school this year and the director decided to show it during their allergy training because she thought it was better than the school video and it included young children.
We also asked parents to bring in non-food items for a Halloween goodie bag. Of course, one parent brought food. She thought everyone could have it. They just have no idea...

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 7:23am
abers's picture
Joined: 10/11/2001 - 09:00

I'm really sorry you're going through that with your school. I know I would probably be crying and thinking about it non-stop. I hope your conference goes well and that you're able to work out a good plan with them. Just know that we're all thinking of you and behind you as you talk to them. Keep us posted.

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 7:48am
mommyofmatt's picture
Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Just your topic title makes me very sad. What a terrible thing for a teacher to say [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
I hope you're able to work through this and you somehow get this woman to see the light of day. Has she seen any documentation from your doctor or allergist? Would that help? Hopefully educating her more will help.
Big {{{HUGS}}}}.
Meg, mom to:
Matt 2 yrs. PA,MA,EA
Sean 2 yrs. NKA

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 8:01am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

That was a cruel thing for the teacher to say--very condescending and belittling. There are ways to express that idea without using that phrase.
Every parent's world revolves around their child. As parents, our job is to make our child the center of our own world. Of course we have to do that without warping the child or losing sight of the rest of the world, but I think that phrase sounds cruel coming out of a teacher's mouth.
If she is having issues with how the allergy is handled in the classroom she should be able to discuss it with you without resorting to childish taunts.

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 8:04am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Well, no real advice that you haven't already gotten. Sorry you had to hear that.
My normally very good, non-food oriented, allergy aware MIL (she is diabetic and is familiar with eating restrictions) siad to me last year at Xmas that she "was going to make her jello salad with walnuts as dd needed to learn to live in the real world". OK.
I told her that it was fine (dd is PA and TNA but not touch sensitive and I figured a few nut bits in gelatin were not a problem) but that she would need to tell dd at the event that the jello was not safe for her.
I think that the actual act of saying to dd, "I made this and it has nuts so you can't eat it" put MIL over the edge and I haven't had another issue - but it still makes me mad how she phrased it.
What world does she think we live in?

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 8:10am
MarkB's picture
Joined: 10/15/2004 - 09:00

I hope within the next several days, you send us a thread that says the teacher has been FIRED!!!.

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 10:12am
Sarahfran's picture
Joined: 06/08/2000 - 09:00

Chicago--that's a brilliant response! Make the adult who refuses to help accomodate a person take responsibility for her own actions in the same way that these adults expect children to take responsibility for their own safety. It certainly would make an adult think twice about who is the grown up here, or whether a child even CAN take responsibility for her own health and safety. That's why the adults are there, isn't it?
NCMom, I don't have any advice for you that you haven't already gotten (except maybe you should print up the post from L's father further down this board to show what happens when a preschool really does refuse to change for one child), but please let us know how this plays out. Good luck!

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 1:46pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I think a note from the allergist is a really good idea. I remember we had an incident in preschool. It was not made safe for dd, they did not tell me about it until the last minute, and I had to keep dd home that day and miss work. I had the allergist write a letter, and his final sentence was "Peanut allergies can be fatal." After that the preschool totally changed their tune. The director who had previously said "I did you a big favor by taking your daughter with her epipen", did such an about face after that letter. Maybe your allergist could do that? Ours actually told me to fax him a letter, he would change anything he thought needed changing, then have it typed up and sign it. It worked great. It is a shame when doing the right thing is not important to the people taking care of your child, and your tactic becomes to scare them about a possible lawsuit, but I really think after they got the letter from the allergist saying "Peanut allergies can be fatal", they became worried about a lawsuit.

Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2004 - 2:01pm
mama2aidan's picture
Joined: 07/09/2004 - 09:00

My goodness, why are people so ignorant? I'm sorry that this is happening. EVERY child is precious. I'm sorry, EVERY Life is Precious & should be respected. This teacher is showing lack of respect for your child & her special diet. She did not choose this fatal allergy. We are doing the best we can. She obviously isn't. I send my prayers & hope things iron themselves out. Good Luck!


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