Trailblazing moms\' advice needed

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 10:01am
mistey's picture
Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

My ds is entering kindergarten in the fall. I happened to run into his principal today. We had a very plesant conversation, and I do like her a lot. She is a parent of a special needs child and is a new principal this year.

We talked a *little* about the accomadations that were made for a student with pa who graduated into the next school. I didn't agree with her accomadations, but she stated that these were the accomadations the parent specifically asked for. But I digress.

What still burns my hide the most is that the district still serves peanut butter OFTEN on the school menu. This school is ranked #1 for ISAT scores in the county and boasts as being SO PROGRESSIVE, then why in the world do they still hold to this old-school way of thinking? I have researched other school districts in my area, some with several tens of thousands to some of 550 students and most of them do not serve peanut butter-containing products on the hot lunch menu.

I mentioned this to the principal and she seemed to agree. But she also let me know (which I actually already knew) that it is not her decision. I'm sure it has much more to do with the superintendent and the school board.

I am need of your expertese all you traiblazing moms and dads! I have already gained SOOOOOO MUCH info from you all, and I truely appreciate it!

Posted on: Sun, 03/18/2007 - 12:28pm
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My take on this is different from most on this board. For both elementary school and middle school, I school shopped. For elementary school, I interviewed school nurses at several public schools some in our district and some out of our district, deciding which school would be the most accomodating of the pa. I then applied for a permit for my dd to attend a school other than our local school and got one. She got a permit for a school in our district and also a permit for a school out of our district. Then I had to decide. The school I picked offerred us a 504 without my even asking. The school nurse insisted that ALL staff be trained on epi, every single teacher, aide, janitor, cafeteria staff, etc., again without my asking. The 504 stated that dd must have a food free room. No one seemed to get upset over it at her school like so many on this board have experienced. Middle school has been a breeze also, no issues at all. They are perfectly fine with accomodating dd. There has only been one food event (Valentine`s Day candy grams) and the school nurse came to me and asked me for a milk free nut free list of safe candy for the entire school to use (dd is milk allergic also, I never expect anyone to make it milk free as milk is in almost everything). We have someone else on the board bandbmom who had a horrible time getting accomodations at her local school, so she eventually switched her child to a school which I think was in another district. Everything went much better at the second school. So my advice is to school shop by interviewing school nurses (not the principal, because if the nurse takes the pa seriously it is up to her to convey that to the principal) and try to get permission to send your child to the school that is the most pa aware. It eliminates alot of stress from a situation that is already stressful just by having a food allergy child be away from you for part of the day. May as well make it as low stress as possible.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited March 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 3:32am
qdebbie1's picture
Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

Are you thinking of asking for a 504 designation? If so, that is where you start.
If not, you should have an IHP(individual healthcare plan) with the accomidations you request are for your child. It doesnt matter what other people do.
You can have an IHP with a 504 designation. An IHP alone makes the school nurse responsible for care and accomidations. A 504 makes accomidations a requirement and makes the school legally responsible.
Start now, it takes time and patience. Get your information and guns loaded before you really talk too much with the school.
Blaze Away!

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 4:55am
PennMom's picture
Joined: 08/01/2006 - 09:00

I will be very interested to see your responses. Our elementary school here is also serving P&B sandwiches one day a week...while in a district about 30 minutes from here even the high schools aren't serving P&B anymore...just doesn't make sense!

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:10pm
hereandnow's picture
Joined: 04/24/2004 - 09:00

Our district serves PB as an option. However, when my pa son started kindergarten the principal sent a letter to the food provider stating that no PB could be served at out school. They switched to cheese sandwiches. Every month, on the district menu, where it says "PB sandwiches an option" it says "except at xxxx School."
I do think that it was easier for our principal who was very experienced, well respected, and had been in the district for years. She had no problem making that policy and informing the food service of it--she was crystal clear that safety is a no. 1 priority. Several years later, we now have a new principal, he came from a different district and this was his first job as a principal. I think it would have been harder for him to come in and establish that policy. It may be a personality thing as well--the extent to which a principal is going to stand up and tell the food service that they need to do it differently (because it does make it a little more difficult for them).

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:13pm
caryn's picture
Joined: 11/20/2002 - 09:00

it also helps if you let them know that sunbutter is available as a commodity for schools in place of peanut butter -- so now that is what our school uses and bakes with - however the other elementaries in our district still serve PB.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:43pm
qdebbie1's picture
Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

My district serves no peanut products. It was not easy but looking back on it, it was not that difficult once I understood my rights and did not back down. It can happen and if you want not give up. You are the best advocate for your child.

Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2007 - 11:24pm
amy2's picture
Joined: 09/02/2000 - 09:00

this is one of the reasons I love this site..there are times when I get upset with my school, but then I read the tough times some of you have had, and it makes me more appreciative of my kids school. When my son was going into first grade (back then, it was still 1/2 day kgtn) he would be experiencing the lunch room for the first time. I met with the food service manager and principal, and school nurse. Going into the meeting I knew I was going to ask the dreaded question,"can you just eliminate peanut butter?" At the time, they were serving it in the lunch for kids who couldn't pay, and also in cookies, and bars..anyway, before I asked it, we were discussing that my son would eat in classroom on those days it was served..then, I asked the question, and the food service manager said," I don't see a problem with that!" I about fell over. So, our school as far as what is served in the lunchroom, is peanut free. I feel so much for those of you where peanut butter is still served in the lunchroom. I do feel that in today's society, with this allergy so prevalent, schools shouldn't be serving it at all. They have a protein level they have to meet, but it can be met with cheese as well...thanks everyone!
Amy (mom of 2)
Daughter PA/TNA

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 8:18am
mistey's picture
Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

Thanks everyone! Sometimes it's just nice to peek in and see encouragement. I think that this is more of a district issue rather than a school issue. It certainly would be nice if they decided that they didn't need to serve peanut butter in ds's school. But I think that it would most likely be an all or nothing thing. There are several schools in the district.
So I'm getting a letter started to the superintendent.
Any suggestions?

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 12:01am
amy2's picture
Joined: 09/02/2000 - 09:00

Mistey, we have 3 schools in our district. The lunches are actually made at the Middle school, then taken to the 2 elementary schools where they are then warmed up. So, our district is peanut free lunches. It can be done. I would look into how many other peanut allergy kids there are. Ask the school nurse, you can tell her you don't need names, just numbers. You know there are going to be more than just yours. It doesn't hurt to ask, I am living proof of that. All they can say is no. Really all you are asking for is no peanut butter cookies, bars, and sandwiches. Our school uses cheese as the replacement for protein. And, our school does occasionally have cake once a month for the bday month, and sugar cookies. On those days, the cafe provides another alternative for my kids. But getting rid of the obvious peanut butter products wouldn't be that much. Also, do it soon, as I know they order the peanut butter ahead of time for the new school year next year, and then the will be stuck with a ton of pb, and will use that as a reason to use it all up.. good luck, let us know,
Amy (mom of 2)
Daughter PA/TNA

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2007 - 12:58am
mistey's picture
Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

There is one other child in the district with PA, but not in ds's school. I already asked [img][/img].

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