We were asked to keep our PA kid home from field trip

Posted on: Fri, 10/11/2002 - 11:59am
teacher's picture
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Joined: 11/02/2000 - 09:00

I suppose we asked for this, considering our school plan states that he should not attend field trips without one of us supervising, but . . .

We DID agree to let him go, because the aide in his class is an RN, and because it's not a place we would have avoided if we were going as a family. Also, the school/ teacher/ students/ families have all been nothing but helpful and supportive when it comes to Andy's allergy.

That's why we were shocked when we were asked to keep him home that day. Like I said, I'm not too surprised, but I'm still trying to deal with the whole concept of being left out and being made to feel different ...

One of the moms asked me the next day, "How is Andy? Was he sick?" And I told her point blank he wasn't invited on the field trip. She was a little taken aback. She asked if he was okay with it himself. Truth be told, he was clueless -- he didn't know what he was missing. Now, I won't be able to keep it that was forever, if this continues.

Anyone else had to deal with this? I don't know if I should feel happy that they are looking out for his well-being, or sad for what he's missing, or worried that this might be leading to other exclusions of different kinds ... Hmmm ...

Any thoughts??

Posted on: Fri, 10/11/2002 - 1:21pm
KarenH's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

I think it's horrible! But I have to ask...where was the field trip to?

Posted on: Fri, 10/11/2002 - 1:44pm
sport's picture
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Joined: 10/01/2002 - 09:00

One of my peanut allergic children is in the fourth grade and I would never send her on a field trip without my husband or myself going. If an accident happened--what if the school bus was not there?? Last year I kept my youngest home (even though my sister was a teacher in his grade) for this very reason. He did'nt care at the time, but he might this year since he is a big first grader!! If one of us cannot go we will either have a grandparent go or a close friend.

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 12:52am
river's picture
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Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

I think the problem is with your school plan. The administration is legally bound to follow it. Perhaps you could make an amendment to it now that you know just how supportive the community is.
We're all just learning how to deal with this new and often confusing situation, so there are bound to be times when we recognize, after the rules are written, that they require modification.

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 1:58am
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Anonymous (not verified)

teacher, you must have known this one would get me going. What grade is Andy in? Does your school plan say specifically that you or your DH have to attend field trips or does it say "parent designated supervisor"?
As river pointed out, it depends on the wording of your document and you may have kinda bugged yourself up by simply having one if the wording wasn't exactly what the school's legal team need to hear from you. Do you know what I mean?
In JK and SK, we did not have a school plan in place for Jesse. We had an emergency plan in place in case something should happen to him - i.e., Epi-pen, puffers, 911, etc. But no specific school plan with point-by-point instructions.
Looking back now, I find it incredible for me to have done this (and I don't know if incredible is the *right* word or not because it sounds like a *good* word), but Jesse went on all field trips unsupervised except by his teacher and an E.A. I felt SO comfortable with that woman. I also wasn't in a position, because I had Ember at home, and my DH wasn't living with us during Jesse's JK, to be able to go on the field trips with him.
Jesse's teacher was simply incredible and she just made me feel as though Jesse would be really safe and he always was.
Of course I now regret not having gone because I missed out on some things that I would have liked to have seen in the old area that we lived in. I did attend his last field trip in SK because they were going to the zoo and that kinda petrified me even though the zoo didn't sell peanuts during the week to feed to the animals. I had to get a babysitter for Ember.
You do know that your son, despite his allergy, has the right to participate in any and all school activities whether they are during the school day or after school. Now, if you didn't have a written plan in place, there is no way in he** that they could have asked/told you to keep Andy home. He has the right to go on the field trip and the school has to ensure his safety. End of story.
Man, school stories really do upset me.
Do you have a copy of your school board district's policy re anaphylaxis? I know that you are in a different province than me so I can't comment completely on it.
Would you feel comfortable sending me a copy of Andy's school plan off-the-board so I could have a look at it and possibly suggest where you need to look at your wording?
In Jesse's school plan, which I'll re-raise, what I have worded is "parent designated supervisor" and when we meet with the school at the beginning of the year, it is made very clear to them that by that we could mean, if DH and I are unable to attend, his teacher. The teacher could very well be his "parent designated supervisor". Or, in your case, the E.A. could have been the "parent designated supervisor".
The reason I have the wording this way is two-fold I guess. I know that Jesse has gone safely on trips when he was what I consider now quite young (JK and SK) without me. He can go on trips without me. But the other reason is just in case I'm not able to go on the trip because Ember is not in school and I have no one in the new town we're in to look after her. My birth-sister was here last year when we made one of our trips to the Frink Center and she was able to babysit Ember. However, she left for Toronto in June month so I literally have no one to ask to look after Ember if the trip falls on a day she's not in school. And DH is at college all week now.
Also, someone else posted above an excellent question, where was the field trip to?
Actually, in my thinking, it doesn't matter where the trip was to, but perhaps the school had a particular reason for thinking/acting the way they did. I still believe it was against school policy if you didn't have a written plan in place.
Thank heaven Andy didn't notice anything different.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 2:09am
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still sounds to me like the school was just looking out for your child. I really can't understand someone not going on the field trip with their child if they are that concerned. Have you ever been on a field trip?? Not all of the little darlings act so wonderful and it is hard for the teachers if parent volunteers do not go to help. I know because I am a teacher. As for having little ones at home, I always carried my little one right along with me until he started school too.

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 2:16am
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Joined: 09/21/2002 - 09:00

Speaking as a school employee, I myself would really not feel comfortable taking a child on a field trip if it was written that they don't go on any field trip without their parent. Children without permission slips for field trips can't go either. It's not that children are singled out, but if they took a child, and something happened, the parents could then sue. I agree-you need to have the school plan changed. It needs to be written that a person approved by you/DH could attend as well (whether that is the teacher or teacher's aide). The reason that I asked where it was going, was that some field trips could be more of a mine field then others. For instance, a bakery?

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 2:29am
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Joined: 11/02/2000 - 09:00

Thanks for your replies, everybody. To answer some questions ...
The field trip was to a pumpkin patch. The activities planned involved stuffing hay into scarecrows, walking through a corn-row maze, a nature walk through the forest, a hay ride, and a walk through a pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin.
The teacher's number one concern was that we were 30 minutes away from the nearest hospital. DH pointed out that even if WE came on the field trip, it didn't make us any closer to the hospital! He wondered what might happen if another child were hurt and needed medical attention -- wouldn't they be equally as far away as we would? The teacher aide always drives her car in cases of such emergencies (or simple illnesses or such), so we don't have to pile EVERYONE in a bus to get back home because someone is sick.
The simple fact is the teacher wasn't comfortable with having to look out for him without us there. Being a teacher myself, I can respect the fact that sometimes one child can devour the attention of a teacher and leave the other students without adequate attention. This, however, does not mean my child should miss out on opportunities such as this! (That's tantamount to saying a child with behavior issues should not be allowed on a field trip because they often take too much of a teacher's attention.) We know that Andy has a right to these activities. However, we were torn between forcing our hand (with a teacher who has been nothing but accomodating) and laying back and making at least ONE day a little easier on her.
She has said many, many times to us that her day is consumed with making sure Andy is safe. Even yesterday during show and tell, a child said she had brought in some candy to share with everyone. The teacher refused to let her take it out of her backpack, saying, "We have to keep Andy safe!" I was touched by that. (And I know she doesn't only do that because I'm in the room ... I know her well enough to know that the children's well-being is always foremost on her mind.) She said she just LOOKS at Andy and she's scared for him, in amongst all the kids. I'm very grateful that she cares that much. A lot of people would so easily shrug it off because it's too much of an inconvenience for them.
As for my school plan, Cindy ... Well, Andy's school plan is nearly word-for-word what Jesse's is! You sent it to me, and I changed what was needed for our neck of the woods and made it our own! Geez, it occurs to me that I never asked you if I could do that!!! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] (Hey Cindy, can I do that??? LOL) I kinda figured we you being my HERO and all, that I could never do better than you've already done .... so ... well, frankly, I plagiarized it!!!!! LOL! *sheepish grin icon*! Hate me if you must, but damn, that's a great document!!!!
So yes, I have the same wording as you about a "parent designated supervisor."
OH yeah, Andy is in kindergarten. (We don't designate junior or senior here. They get one year of kindergarten in Alberta.)
I guess I just didn't have it in me to fight the school about this when so far they have been acting in good faith. And yup, since he's oblivious to what he missed, then in terms of advantages to him, I guess he hasn't lost much. (We'll take him out to that same pumpkin patch on our own some time before Halloween.) The biggest loss is simply the socializing with the other kids in THAT environment, I suppose.
And what it comes down to is that he's alive and well and breathing and he will be back at school next week, ready to take on another day of fingerpainting and play dough molding ... and he'll be his usual happy self. I guess that's what matters in the long run, not whether or not he got to go to the pumpkin patch. I only hope and pray that this doesn't set a precedent. (I asked her if there would be other ones during the year that she anticipated he would be asked to miss and she said no. Let's keep our fingers crossed!)
Sorry this is so disjointed. I've been interrupted no less than ten times in the last five minutes .... sigh! That's what I get for doing this on a Saturday morning!
Thanks for your input, everybody!
~Tracey~

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 2:32am
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Joined: 11/02/2000 - 09:00

sport,
I guess we were writing at the same time ...
Oh yes, I've been on plenty-a-field trip. Not just the ones I organized myself as a teacher, but on the kindergarten field trips organized by this same teacher (when my older daughter was in her class two years ago).
Yes, there is no doubt that they are doing everything humanly possible to look out for Andy and his well-being at that school. I have no complaints about that!
I guess I was just looking for input regarding dealing with the "mama trauma" that comes along with such events. It won't be the last time it happens, I'm sure. We've definitely been lucky ...
~Tracey~

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 4:22am
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Joined: 02/22/1999 - 09:00

I'm supposed to accompany my PA son on all of his class trips. Last year I was unable to go, so my husband had to take a half-day off work to go so that one of us would be with him. I did wonder what the school would say if my husband had not been able to go.

Posted on: Sat, 10/12/2002 - 6:36am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

sport, I would like to reply to one comment of yours and I'll reply to teacher later regarding her situation.
I'm sorry, but as far as I can tell, I CAN use the excuse of having a younger child at home to take care of for not being able to go on a school trip. Why? Because I was told specifically by the school that I could not bring Ember with me because she was not part of the school trip that was going that day - i.e., insurance purposes probably only covered the students who were *supposed* to be going that day, not people who brought their younger siblings with them. I was told specifically, and not just by one school, that I could not come as Jesse's supervisor and bring Ember with me. Period.
As far as PA being a problem on a field trip, my soul. I went to a place called the Frink Center last year (it's a conservation like area) three times with both Jesse and Ember.
I have to go again on the 24th of October with Jesse's class. A PA child isn't the problem or who the teacher has to have their eye out for, but as someone else pointed out above, it's the children that are what are considered behavioural problems. We really had our hands full, particularly with children in Ember's JK class. One wrong move and they would have been in the water on several occasions and their class went twice to the place.
I believe you *could* possibly equate having to watch a PA child with having to watch a behavioural problem child (what great wording, especially since I'm *supposed* to have one of *those* myself), but I disagree.
Also, no where in Ontario school board policy does it say that if you have a food allergic child you MUST attend school field trips. What it does say is that your PA (or food allergic) child has the RIGHT to participate in any and all school activities. The school administration actually has to make the concessions (if you will) to accommodate the PA child going on a field trip. The PA parent does not have to go. Remember also something called Duty of Care whereby as soon as your child enters the school doors, the teacher becomes his/her parent.
No, I'm sorry, I totally disagree with you.
teacher, I will respond to you later. I understand you wanting to pick your battles perhaps, but the pumpkin patch? Both of my kids went last year (disappointed they don't have one here in Belleville) and Dad was the parent designated supervisor for Jesse but he ended up being handed the *behavioural problem* children to watch instead. Same thing happened when he went on Ember's field trips last year (the maple syrup bush) - he was given the *difficult* children to deal with and not his daughter at all (that's okay in this case because Ember is not PA, but the whole point of him volunteering is so that he is going with his daughter).
I'll respond more fully to you, teacher, later. I just totally disagree with sport.
But then again, right now, with Work to Rule about to start in Ontario, I wish I had taken my Father's advice years ago and become a teacher.
When I came into the School thread, I saw another title that caught my eye and I won't go there now as I believe I have children in the back-yard [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img] without me and also that pile of dishes to do I mentioned in another thread, but School things period just bug the living heck out of me. When it comes to PA and school, you just feel like keeping your child home, even though it really does all work out in the end but the frustration that we experience, as PA parents, compared to the frustration level of parents that are not dealing with food allergies is just so totally out of whack. I just feel as though we're constantly banging our heads against the wall and for what?
In this case it was pure and simple. Andy had the right to attend. Your school plan is written so that the E.A. (R.N.) could have been the parent designated supervisor and what difference does it make about the distance from the hospital? In Stayner, we were always 30 minutes away from a hospital regardless. Later though.....
Oh, but I must say, it was PeanutTrace that drew up the Ontario School Plan I posted, not me at all. Amazing amazing woman. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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