Trouble w/nurse signing up for Kindergarten

Posted on: Thu, 03/22/2007 - 11:58pm
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

First off, sorry I'm only posting when I need something these days...it's all I have time for at the moment. I'll be back with words of wisdom when I have more time (try to contain yourselves with the excitement [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img])

Anyway. My town is supposed to be very progressive with allergies. Uh. Huh. DH and I met with the Principal a while back...the meeting went well overall. He brought up a 504 plan. I was thrilled. My ds is MFA, with milk being anaphylactic in addition to peanut.

Fast forward to registration day. Handed in my forms. Wasn't expecting to get into any conversations about anything other than do you have this form? It was being held in the office with people constantly parading in and out. The nurse started quizzing me. Wanting me to tell her on a form that had 4 lines allowed what accommodations I wanted for my ds. I wrote TBD, told her we couldn't possibly cover everything at this moment. Don't think she liked it.

She told me they don't read labels, sending home a letter requesting no peanuts doesn't mean it will be adhered to, false sense of security, blah, blah, couldn't believe my ears, blah.

I won't relay the entire conversation, but you get the idea. Spoke to my allergist, he was quite surprised and offered to back me up if I need it. We're going to follow up with the Principal re: 504 now that he's registered, and see where it goes.

But I gotta tell ya: I'm sooooo glad I've been reading this site for almost 3 years now. She was trying to steamroll me, and no luck [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

This part is more of a vent, and can you !@#$% believe this?!

Next part: question:

Our goal is to keep the blatant nut products out of the room for snack. Honestly, I'm not sure what they are because we buy so little commercially packaged food due to ds' MFA.

Here is what I think are the blatant peanutty snack foods (I'm not going to worry about may contains right now);

Cereal bars, granola bars, pb crackers, nutterbutter cookies, pb oreos. What else? Anything?

Thanks. Let the games begin.

[This message has been edited by mommyofmatt (edited March 23, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 12:18am
Greenlady's picture
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Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

"They don't read labels"????? What the heck does that mean?
I'd say, if the the label has the word "peanut" in the list of ingredients, then it is a peanut product. If the teacher can't read a label, she's in the wrong profession. If the teacher is unwilling or unable to accept the liability for reading the label, then have the nurse clear all foods first.
Or, if this is too hard for them, then have a food-free classroom.
Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 12:28am
mommyofmatt's picture
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Joined: 03/12/2004 - 09:00

Oh. I hear ya Greenlady. Believe me. I want to have an idea of all peanutty snacks for the letter to parents.
I guess we should also include safe snack suggestions to be helpful [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Snack ideas?

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 1:11am
notnutty's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

In my opinion it is their "obligation" to read labels. On the bottom of the list of safe snacks I provided to our school, I listed the following:
NOT safe snacks:
This list is not extensive, but merely a list of common products that are NOT safe.
*No peanut butter/nuts/trail mix
*No products that do not have a list of ingredients
*No baked goods
*No donuts
*No M&Ms, plain OR peanut
*No Ritz-bitz sandwich crackers
*No cheese and cracker sandwich packs
*No generic brands
*No Little Debbie products
Like a previous poster indicated. If the teacher does not want to be responsible for reading labels or minimally looking at the safe snack list, then the school needs to hire someone who will perform that function OR no food in the classroom.
The school nurse told me last year when we were getting my DS enrolled in kindergarten "we cannot guarantee a peanut-free classroom". I explained to her that I understand there are no guarantees, but they must do everything they can to "reduce the risk, including eliminating all peanut products from the classroom." She was a little taken back by my straightforward approach, but ironically I received an email from her about a month ago stating that she appreciated the way I advocated for my DS and that my DS is lucky to have me.
One child provides a the snack for the entire classroom from the safe list. I have been present before when the teacher has sent snacks back home with a student because it was not on the list. She just circles the word peanut on the package and sends it right back home. It has forced me to trust this teacher to give my son only food from the list, but it has worked out very well this year. We will have to reevaluate as we go forward.
Good luck with this!

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 2:56am
solarflare's picture
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Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

I don't agree with the "no generic brands" thing.
We use a lot of generic brands safely. It's not any more difficult to track down allergen info on generic brands than name brands.
In as much as I support peanut/tree nut bans with young children, the day that someone tells me that I can't buy generics (when generics are often safer for my kids allergy sets) is the day that I complain.
------------------
Cheryl, mom to Jason (9 MFA including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and egg)
Joey (7 NKA)
Allison (4 milk allergic, suspect shellfish, avoiding PN/TN for now)
Ryan (1) nka *knock on wood*

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 3:04am
luvmyboys's picture
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Joined: 05/25/2006 - 09:00

Most here recommend getting qualified for 504 first before attempting to discuss accomodations...so other than things that may need to be handled immediately like am session placement and a placement with the more knowlegeable teacher i'd recommend taking 1 battle at a time. At our school there will never be daily snack in my kids' rooms therefore all food activities can be planned and coordinated.
luvmyboys

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 4:17am
notnutty's picture
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Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by solarflare:
[b]I don't agree with the "no generic brands" thing.
We use a lot of generic brands safely. It's not any more difficult to track down allergen info on generic brands than name brands.
In as much as I support peanut/tree nut bans with young children, the day that someone tells me that I can't buy generics (when generics are often safer for my kids allergy sets) is the day that I complain.
[/b]
This list is for parents of non-allergy kids bringing snacks into the classroom. PA only. Since there are countless generic brands available, it is impossible for me to call each one to verify the manufacturing processes to list whether or not it is safe.
I am not sure what you are so angry about. This is just a list of things that many people with PA feel uncertain about. Perhaps it is just a comfort zone thing.
Also, this is just for purchasing ONE snack per month for the entire class. This has nothing to do with lunch or comfort zones at home. Feel free to modify my "suggession" as you see appropriate.
*No wonder I often pause before offering advice on this message board..there is no shortage of people who offer no practical advice and just sit back and pick other people apart*

Posted on: Fri, 03/23/2007 - 12:37pm
solarflare's picture
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Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

I understand comfort zones and all that, but what if there is another FA student in the class that can't have certain things on your safe list?
I've been there, done that. Requires flexibility, and saying "absolutely no generics) is inflexible.
Over the years, I've had to go out of my way to check the safety of certain products that my son's classmates have asked me about.
------------------
Cheryl, mom to Jason (9 MFA including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and egg)
Joey (7 NKA)
Allison (4 milk allergic, suspect shellfish, avoiding PN/TN for now)
Ryan (1) nka *knock on wood*

Posted on: Sat, 03/24/2007 - 1:52am
bethc's picture
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

My DD is in 1st grade. The way our school handles it is this: everyone brings their own snack. A letter goes home at orientation night saying that because there is a child (this year, children, plural) with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts in the classroom, there can be no food with peanuts or peanut butter in the classroom. They don't ask nicely, "please try not to send it". They don't say "we have a peanut ban." They say it's a peanut-free classroom and snacks cannot have peanuts or peanut butter in them. If the teacher finds that someone brought it anyway, she says, "Oh, we can't have that in here" and makes them return it to their backpack to bring home. I think it's happened one time each school year. We don't say no may-contains or no homemade things. Just nothing obviously peanutty. They can eat it for lunch in the cafeteria. For birthday treats, still nothing with peanuts, but the PA kids have safe treat bags from home kept in the classroom so that the teacher doesn't have to read labels and make the decision about whether it's safe for the allergic kids. I think this set-up works great.

Posted on: Sat, 03/24/2007 - 3:47am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Honestly, I think trying to police what is brought it is a nightmare. I know what my sons eats is always safe....but how in the world can I tell others what to and not to bring?? The poor teacher has enough on her plate with a room over loeaded with kids, and now I need her to read labels of other snacks on top of it all. This is a problem for next year in our situation. This year, in Kindergarten, the parents all bring in a snack shared amongst the other kids(HUGE costco sized snacks). The teacher reads the label, no peanuts or nuts listed, then it's fine to serve(generic of not). My son still has his own snack regardless what the other kids are eating.
Now next year, the kids will be allowed to bring their own snacks. This is where the school and I are locked on what to do. I want them to all take their snacks(whatever they want to bring, I don't care) and go to the lunchroom, then wash hands and return to class. No one will have to worry about labels, about snacks, about letters home, about okay and not okay lists of foods...it doesn't matter!!!!!!!!! Eat it out of the classroom and eat whatever the heck they want. The school doesn't think they have time to do that every day...I'm going to request they try it, once, see if it works. But if they still say "no"...I honestly don't see how any of this would be safe. There is no way a teacher can police what is brought in, there is no way I can trust parents to even read a label for their child, parents at this school will NOT do that. There is no way they'd let me type up a list telling them what they can't bring...OMG I could imagine the hostility involved with that. Not to mention the district will not imply a ban on any food, even in the classroom. So they can ask "please try not to send peanuts" but if they are sent, they are allowed to be eaten. SO DO IT IN THE LUNCHROOM, NOT THE CLASSROOM!
Anwyays JMO!!!!
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Sat, 03/24/2007 - 5:44am
MommaBear's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by solarflare:
[b]I don't agree with the "no generic brands" thing.
We use a lot of generic brands safely. It's not any more difficult to track down allergen info on generic brands than name brands.
In as much as I support peanut/tree nut bans with young children, the day that someone tells me that I can't buy generics (when generics are often safer for my kids allergy sets) is the day that I complain.
[/b]
Quote:Originally posted by notnutty:[b]
This list is for parents of non-allergy kids bringing snacks into the classroom. PA only. Since there are countless generic brands available, it is impossible for me to call each one to verify the manufacturing processes to list whether or not it is safe.
I am not sure what you are so angry about. This is just a list of things that many people with PA feel uncertain about. Perhaps it is just a comfort zone thing.
Also, this is just for purchasing ONE snack per month for the entire class. This has nothing to do with lunch or comfort zones at home. Feel free to modify my "suggession" as you see appropriate.
*No wonder I often pause before offering advice on this message board..there is no shortage of people who offer no practical advice and just sit back and pick other people apart*[/b]
Here is something practical to think about. Demand anything more than having people eliminate the allergen from the label, including "may contains" or "processed ons" and you lose something you can't afford to: [i]credibility[/i]. You start to ramble in your explanations. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. (Yeah, I know, MommaBear talking)
But like I said, btdt. If my child is of the sensitivity where labelling requirements aren't enough to keep him safe when he is merely in the room with something that doesn't have what he is allergic to written anywhere on the label, I'm going to have to consider a homebound designation.
Sure, "food free" might work, but there is that credibility issue. I guess people might wonder why [i]the rest of the school suddenly becomes safe[/i]. Sure, you can start to explain why you feel it's a more limited risk (might not be), but we begin to ramble. Tell people they aren't entitled to an explanation (504's IEP's etc,) and not only do you lose credibility, you look like an overlord. Both losing situatios, IMHO. No advice, IMMV.

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