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Posted on: Sat, 12/07/2002 - 2:30am
kelly01's picture
Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

I have been following this thread and wanted to add a few thoughts:
First off, is the letter sent home by Jesse the only communication that was sent to the parents? On one hand, the letter is wonderfully worded and I think having it from Jesse is very effective. However, if I was a parent reading this letter, two things jump out at me: 1)There is no mention that Jesse can have a reaction even if he doesn't consume the food. This might be second nature to us, as parents of children with PA...but most people would not think THEIR child having a snack labeled "may contain" could harm Jesse. They would realize it would not make an appropriate 'party' snack, but would not put together that their own child can not have it. 2)It uses the verbage that every time you "choose" to not bring in peanut snacks. This, again, to me sounds like a voluntary thing....not something that is mandated.
I think a short, to the point, note needs to go out that lists what IS safe and the reason behind not allowing "may contains" in individuals lunches/snacks.
Something else that keeps jumping out at me is this: Cindy, you have stated that you would let the "may contains" in except that it would make you look like a 'complete idiot'. I am not sure if you really feel this way or you were just really upset at the time you wrote the post...but...if you really feel that the "may contains" do not pose a threat to Jesse...than by all means, change the policy and move on. Who cares what other people think? I disagree with the tactic that just because people haven't been following the plan correctly you need to keep putting yourself through this and stick with it to make a point. You could simply state that you have re-evalutated the situation, and now that Jesse is older you feel he can handle having "may contains" in the classroom, as long as they are not for a class party/project,etc. (However, if you truly feel the "may contains" are a threat to Jesse, than of course you should do what you feel needs to be done).
Also, earlier in the thread you mentioned that on one particular day you went through the childrens food and got rid of all the "unsafe" foods. You went on to note that they were all "may contain" type...that there were NO OBVIOUS PEANUT PRODUCTS. Maybe it is just me, but I think a "thank you" is in order to the parents of the children for this one. Many parents are probably feeling frustrated because they have been avoiding peanut products. (I know for myself that I do not require any restrictions on the snacks of my sons classmates...but a note goes home in the beginning of the year just as a reminder. I am always pleased and thankful for the consideration of the other parents who are not sending peanut butter snacks, etc.)
Lastly, what does Jesse think of all this? I know that he is still young, and many decisions still need to be made for him. But how does he feel about it? I would take into consideration what type of backlash he may receive as a result of this. I know that others may disagree with me. I do not mean that you should put him in harms way to keep him happy...only that he is getting old enough that his feelings should at least be taken into consideration.
Just my thoughts...obviously this is your issue, and you need to do what is right for you.

Posted on: Sat, 12/07/2002 - 12:44pm
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi California Mom, Debo and Lam,
I am glad that my posting made sense. There are so many times I try to write a posting, and I read it over, and then delete the whole thing and re-write it.. sometimes I just give up til the next day.. hehe I am glad it made sense to you all, as it is not always easy to put thoughts into words that make sense. Sometimes the thoughts are so clear in my mind, but then writing them down, they seem messed up or confusing.. hehe.
And Cindy, I hope you are having a fun weekend. The birthday party for Jesse at McDonald's sounds like it went so well.. that is great!
Have a great weekend everyone! All your postings in this thread make a lot of sense too [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 12/08/2002 - 1:55am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Codyman, you raised an interesting point about showing medical paperwork to the schools before requesting safety measures be put into place for your PA child. The ONLY medical documentation I have for Jesse's PA is on the emergency medical form, which I actually fill out and the doctor simply signs. This only tells the school what to do should he have an anaphylactic reaction. It has his picture on it (I provide that or the school takes one with their digital camera), a list of anaphylactic symptoms and then the steps (which I have written) of what to do should he have an anaphylactic reaction (i.e., Epi-pen, two puffs Ventolin, dial 911, Epi-pen again in 15-20 minutes if ambulance hasn't arrived).
I actually have no medical verification whatsoever that Jesse is PA except for that one piece of paper. Of course, he has his Epi-belt on and he wears his MedicAlert bracelet but no where in the school records would there be a letter that simply says that this child is peanut allergic. The school really only, except for the emergency plan, has MY word for it.
Interesting. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/confused.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 12/08/2002 - 3:44pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Was it in this thread that someone mentioned they couldn't find Kellogg's Nutrigrain Twists anymore and thought they weren't being made anymore?
At any rate, had wanted to post since Wednesday when I did see the pricey little bugs.....
I found them at PharmaPlus (Canadian specific). Regular Nutrigrain bars were 8 in a box for $3.79 (they're on sale this week though, along with the Twists) and the Twists were 6 in a box. Pricey little bugs, as I say, especially when they remind old aged one here of a fig newton cookie.....
If it wasn't in this thread, erik, where the heck was it?
Oh, and if you were worried about aging yourself by telling us about Vector, heck, don't worry about it, a Candy Guru has to be young (or young at heart), don't they? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] So, that would have you right back in your 20's dear sir! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
To everyone else that I still owe responses to re the school situation, please bear with me. I appreciate each and every person who took the time to follow this thread and to add their input. I'd like you to know that.
I also am really burnt out and need to take somewhat of a break. Tonight for me, it was visiting PA.com and actually being able to visit other people's threads other than my own and hopefully help someone else out. I'm really tired and stressed and don't want to keep posting that on a daily basis.
However, you know me, I will eventually respond to everyone *properly*. Until that time, thank you for your thoughts, caring, and concern. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 12/08/2002 - 4:17pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

One thing checked out, as I said I would. I did call the closest other school to us. They only have one PA child there as well. The child does not have a peanut free classroom the same as Jesse's. If another child in the class wants to eat a peanut product, he/she has to sit out in the hall and eat it and then wash his/her hands.
I spoke with a fellow college student of my DH's (so an 18 year old) and he said that his old school, where his younger sister now goes has what is known as "the peanut zone". It is a place in the basement of the school where anyone who wants to eat a peanut product goes to eat and then, again, has to wash before they come up into basically what would be considered a peanut free or reduce the risk school. This is in a different town.
I spoke with the superintendent of the school board last week as well re PA when I was speaking with him re the red dye situation.
(I have to say now that I also recognize that I often times do not follow through with what I say I will in my threads, not just this one, and I really feel the need to make sure that if I should happen to follow through that I do post it). He said that he had spoken with a vice principal at the high school level.
Of course, the children have a cafeteria to eat in (someone mentioned this very early on in the thread). The cafeterias in this school district are run by outside companies and the school board (or an individual approaching the school board) is not able to tell the company what they can or cannot sell.
To-date, they had only had one PA student enter the high school system here (at which point I told the superintendent it was time for us to go back to Toronto - more PA children I would think [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ) and that that child, given the above information, found a "safe" place to eat in the school for himself or simply made other arrangements - i.e., went to a safe restaurant, went home, etc. but that he did have a "safe" spot in the school, not the cafeteria, to eat.
So, I did do some follow-up within this school district and I recognize that I still have some other things to address in this thread yet.
Holiday season is quickly approaching and I would love to tell everyone that I'm just really stressed busy with that and may not be around here as much, but truth be told, that's not really it. I *may* just need a break. I have a lot of things going on and certainly all of them are things that have been going on for some time, including PA, but I have never felt quite this way before.
I know I have felt overwhelmed (and raised a ? about it - LOL!) and I know I have threatened to leave the board before (but usually after a thread has gone bad).
For some reason, I just feel really different this time and I'm able to pinpoint pretty clearly why, it's just not stuff I can post here.
Now, that doesn't mean that in say 8 hours from now, I won't be right back in here, but just in case I'm not, please don't worry, I'm just kinda life overwhelmed right now (to-day, in thinking, I decided that I could actually be having a mid-life crisis despite the age of my children because DUH I am middle aged). Something is happening and it has a heckuva lot more to do with other stuff than it does with PA.
But you guys know me. I'll be back to answer each person *properly* who took the time to share their caring with me. I have always appreciated that and will always continue to do so.
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Oh, and erik, I did re-read the thread and I can't find anyone wanting Nutrigrain Twists in this one. Can you remember? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sun, 12/08/2002 - 4:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This is the letter that went home Wednesday with Jesse's classmates:-
December 2002.
To the Parents/Guardians of Children in Ms. ____'s Grade 2 Class:-
Hello! My name is Cindy Cook. I am the Mother of Jesse, the child in your child's classroom with the severe peanut allergy.
I understand that within the last couple of weeks there has been much confusion about what you are allowed to safely send into the Grade 2 classroom. I would first of all, like to apologize for this confusion.
We have been dealing with Jesse's peanut allergy for more than 5 years now and it is pretty easy for us, but only because we have to live it every day to ensure the safety of Jesse's life.
You do not know how much I sympathize with those of you (everyone I suspect) who has never had to deal with this before, especially when you diligently read labels and the product you are buying appears to be safe to send to school.
I'd like you to know that at any time, if you have any questions or concerns, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at 555-5555. I can pretty well tell you off the top of my head which different store brands are safe and which ones aren't, but only because I've had to call the manufacturers myself to see if the food was safe for our family to eat.
I wanted you to know how badly I feel about the current situation with the food in the classroom and I also want you to know that Jesse and I appreciate all of the efforts that you have gone to so far this year to keep him safe at school.
Please please call me if you have any questions, concerns or comments, and I'd be more than happy to help.
I hope everyone has a good, safe, Holiday Season.
Best wishes,
Cindy Cook
I posted this to show what went home last week and also because someone (I believe kelly01, not sure at this time of the morning, I'm sorry [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] ) had said that perhaps a thank-you note was in order.
Again, we do send home a thank-you note at the end of each school year to all of Jesse's classmates and then depending on the financial situation at the end of the school year, possibly something else. Last year it was a regular size box of Smarties (not treat size) with each child. The year before it was an Alexander the Elephant that Couldn't Eat Peanuts colouring book. Just depends.
So, hopefully, I've covered the thank-you kinda mid-term this year and will certainly continue my end-of-the-year practice of sending a thank-you letter home.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 12/09/2002 - 4:00am
kelly01's picture
Joined: 03/19/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for your reply...just wanted to clarify on my lengthy post above, in re-reading it, I realized I made it sound like you "owed" a thank you to the other parents. What I really meant is just that you could be thankful (or "at peace" I guess would have been a better way to put it) with the evidence that at least the other parents were not sending obvious peanut products to school.
I think it is wonderful that you do send a thank you...but I didn't mean to imply that you owed them a formal thank you.
I realize you mentioned you might take a break from the boards, but I wanted to clarify for the sake of anyone who might be following and/or learning from this thread.

Posted on: Mon, 12/09/2002 - 6:51am
Codyman's picture
Joined: 08/14/2002 - 09:00

Just a note that I do have an emergency plan written and signed by myself but NOT signed by a doctor. The school or daycare has never requested this.

Posted on: Mon, 12/09/2002 - 8:38am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy..
The "Nutri-Grain Twist" posting you were looking for is in the "Kelloggs Canada up to date info" thread... I raised it for you.
It sounds like you want to stay away from the boards for some reason ... I hope that you are fine. Maybe relaxing with your family at Xmas will help.
You don't want to be too alone though.. even if you don't post, I think it is good if you visit and read postings as your reading about your friends here at PA.com will bring you comfort from your stressful situation.
Have a good week. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 12/12/2002 - 2:17am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Well, I have had Jesse home all week sick with a cold, very bad cough, etc. so I haven't really had much dealing with the school. Monday I was able to go in to the breakfast program without the kids. Tuesday I wasn't feeling great myself and this followed over to Wednesday so I didn't return to the school until to-day (I actually hate that the school has to know when I'm not feeling well in addition to my children not feeling well). I took Ember in for school and Jesse went into the breakfast program. I wanted to see how he made out there and made the decision to bring him back home.
The principal chose me to be the breakfast program co-ordinator because, per Jesse's school plan, I am the food monitor for the school. When she approached me, she just said that she felt it would be easier if I did it because the co-ordinator would have to check on the food with me anyway. I accepted. Only problem is, I can't find any volunteers.
We had a huge donation of cereals come in over the time I have been away this week and I had to take four bags up to the office - one was "may contain" and one had tree nuts in it. It is not a peanut free school but the breakfast program has been very clearly promoted as "peanut free" (that doesn't explain the very clearly labeled "may contain" muffins in my freezer over there right now but anyway)..... I digress.
I think I realized that I didn't necessarily have to take a break from the board, but I had to take a break from this thread, which obviously, I did.
Karen T., yes, children have been eating unsafe items out of the classroom. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it however. I think it depends on how well liked the child is by the teacher or how well behaved the child is. And, this is not sitting well with the parents that their child should be removed from the peanut free classroom to eat something. As a parent, I don't feel comfortable with ostracizing my PA son and I can well understand why another parent would not want their child ostracized either.
In Jesse's Grade 1 class in Stayner, the teacher was adamant that she didn't want to ostracize any children who brought unsafe items into the classroom. She was going to have them eat them in a separate part of the classroom. This would go against Jesse's school plan, but I understood where she was coming from. Fortunately, we didn't stay there long enough to have that one explode in my face.
What I can help but continue to wonder is how this has been done successfully for 3 years and now it seems like I'm asking for something so unmanageable. How was it done?
More importantly, how was it done so effectively that the other parents did not complain or feel moved to hiss at us?
erik, your post was right on. Although we do not allow "may contain" items in our own home and never will and I do have the expectation that Jesse *should* be as safe at school as he is at home (thereby, I really feel that "may contains" should NOT be allowed in his classroom), I have to take the clause out for my own sanity. It is not working.
I want Jesse to be as safe in his classroom as he is in his own home. Why? Because he's not in other parts of the school as I have outlined in this thread already. Not the library. Not the gym. Not the computer room. Not the bathroom for Lord's sake. And not karate where the children actually bring their lunches in to the karate class in the gym. I would prefer to keep the "may contain" clause in his school plan.
However, how, in my head, can I justify letting in products that I personally know are unsafe (i.e., "may contain") because they are not labeled properly? It's still letting in a "may contain" product. So, to me, better just to lose the clause and see what happens.
As Lam pointed out much earlier, Jesse has been okay for the three months where the food was not being checked properly. So, next year, I will take that clause out. It is a comfort zone thing and definitely I would re-look at it (great wording there, Cin [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) should Jesse have a reaction. The other important thing is that Jesse has NEVER had a reaction at school.
So, yes, the "may contain" clause can go. Jesse has never shared food, even when he was wee in school (so very unlike his sister - LOL!) and he is getting older so no concerns there at all.
Lam, you always come across just fine for me.
I like how you're straightforward. I really appreciate that in your posts. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
DebO., no, our school plan does not say we will replace unsafe snacks. You have made an excellent point. I particularly liked this, as this is what *should* be being done with Jesse's class:-
My approach is that the child is not
permitted to eat the snack and a note is sent home reminding the
parents that we had a peanut free classroom.
This is also what is supposed to have been done since the beginning of the school year.
However, because the food was never checked properly, a letter was never sent home either (or a note). I believe notes did start to go out within the last couple of weeks.
Kelly01, I appreciate your thoughts re the letter that was sent home to Jesse's classmates at the beginning of the school year and I will certainly re-word it for next year (and advise my best friend and PA.com member to do the same, as she wrote it). The Safe Snack and Lunch List (posted here) was *supposed* to go home at the beginning of the school year but never did. I requested that it go home within the last couple of weeks but still have heard nothing re that.
As far as how Jesse feels re all of this. Jesse doesn't really know when I'm having a hard time at the school. He does know that I have a school plan in place for him. He really trusts me implicitly as far as me looking out for him at school as far as written things. Do you know what I mean? I also believe that he trusts himself and knows that he will not be eating anything from anyone else anyway. It's hard enough to get him to eat period.
When it comes time to change his school plan for next year, because he is 7, I will ask him to read it with me. He was at the meeting with me this year with the principal before school started and again at the meeting with his teacher. So, he is pretty aware but also pretty nonchalant. It's something Mama takes care of and I guess he thinks I take care of it well. He never knows about any upset I'm having about it.
Codyman, does your PA child carry their Epi-pen at school? Are they one of the children that have their pictures on an Emergency Form in the office? The reason I'm asking is that although Jesse was required to WEAR an Epi-pen as soon as he started school (at age 3-3/4), he was not allowed to unless it was signed by a doctor. Also, the emergency plan in the office has to be signed off by a doctor. There are currently only two emergency plans hanging in our office - both PA children in the school.
I believe that is why other parents in our school district are having difficulties as far as having asthma meds, etc. administered to their children. For the emergency plan to be followed, it does require a doctor's signature. That is in the school district I am in now and also the previous one I was in.
In the previous one, my friend's 7 year old started to experience migraines. She had to have an emergency form filled out for him, with his photograph, etc. and what meds to administer to him should he fall ill with a migraine. And it had to be signed by a doctor.
Other than the note that came home in Ember's lunch last week re the red dye, I haven't really heard anything this week at all about the situation in the SK class. But then again, as I said, I haven't been at the school all week. I do know that for me, I will respect the request and not send any red food dye items in.
I hope I have finally answered everyone who took the time to respond to me. I really appreciate it. I think really for me, I thought it might get a bit easier as time went on and I guess I've just had a really fortunate experience for the last three years. I'm glad I have everyone here to count on for support, encouragement, information, and I also think importantly, questioning of my comfort zone.
Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]


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