What would you do with this woman?

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 1:14pm
virginia mom's picture
Joined: 03/12/2003 - 09:00

My PA daughter's school has two classrooms for each grade and she will be entering first grade this fall. There is a child in the grade with low blood sugar and the mother has become rather vocal regarding peanut butter as the only food that will keep her alive during school hours. She has campaigned with the school to get the teacher she wants for her daughter and is delighted to report that the teacher she has chosen is a "peanut butter person". It appears that she is trying to create a peanut classroom and a non peanut classroom. The trouble is that during the school day, the two classes exchange classrooms and teachers for different subjects. I think that over the summer she has been stewing about the peanut ban in the grade and is determined to do something about it, using her daughter's low blood sugar as her platform. She used to be quite understanding about PA but since her daughter's low blood sugar started, she has thrown her compassion right out the window.

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 1:21pm
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

virginia mom, hi, I was wondering , do you already have a 504 or IHP in place? If so what is in place as far as p.free class, etc.?
Do you have any type of relationship with this woman that maybe you can talk to her and tell her youd like to get together and come up with solutions for both your kids?
If this isnt a possibility I would try to contact the principal over the summer and discuss this with the school, sharing your concerns.
I definitely wouldnt wait until school starts.
Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 1:42pm
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

Unfortunately you probably should insist that the principal deal with her and stand firm on your peanut ban. I am not heartless, the little girl has a legitamate medical need, but I have dealt with diabetics in a nursing home, our snack of choice for stabilizing blood sugar (I worked the night shift and some residents would crash from their evening insulin) was graham crackers and milk. The initial sugar boost of the graham crackers followed by the more steady extended release of the carbs in the milk (carbs in the crackers too)provides a better steadying result of blood sugar. Follow that with a piece of fresh fruit (which most old people can't chew in the middle of the night so we used applesauce) and I'd say BOTH children's needs are met. I am sure you could get doctor documentation of a suitable alternative. Sorry so long but I can't shut up when I see alternatives, why do some people insist on making things so painful? To say PB is a necessity is simply not true, not once did I ever see "Must encourage peanut butter consumption " on a diabetics care plan. There is also Pediasure drinks which would be an alternative also. Best of luck to you.

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 2:44pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Perhaps you could suggest to this woman that she try feeding her daughter cashew butter instead. Although I would not consider it a "safe" food for my PA son to eat since it would probably have a "may contain" label, it is in my comfort zone of items other people can eat around my son.
My Grandfather (who is a diabetic) has eaten peanut butter sandwiches everyday for lunch for at least as long as I have been alive. He graciously switched to cashew butter after my son had his first anaphalactic reaction to peanuts. In fact, he told my grandmother, "Throw that stuff out!" (It was difficult for him to say that because he has suffered several strokes and his speech has been severely affected!) I know he would much rather have the peanut butter, but it is a sacrifice he has made so Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa's house would be a safe place for my son to visit. Good thing too since they only live a few doors down!
By the way, my Grandmother says peanut butter is not part of a suggested diabetic diet, but it is just something my grandfather has always enjoyed.
Also, low blood sugar is not diabetes. It is actually high blood sugar that is diagnosed as diabetes, but a diabetic can experience low blood sugar if they don't get enough to eat (carbs and/or sugars) when taking insulin or other medications to control their blood sugar. I believe a diagnosis of just low blood sugar is called hypo-glycemia, and many hypo-glycemics later become diabetics.
At any rate, I don't know if you feel comfortable with cashew butter (everyone's comfort zones are different) but it could be a possible solution if the class is just peanut-free and not nut-free. Grandma buys Grandpa's cashew butter at Trader Joes and she says it isn't much more costly than the peanut butter she used to purchase. It might be a good compromise!
Good Luck! Cheryl

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 3:23pm
joeybeth's picture
Joined: 09/01/2006 - 09:00

cheryl: what a wonderful grandfather! how sweet and loving of him to make such a big change after years of doing things a certain way.
as for the question....my response certainly won't be appreciated here by some but here goes anyway....the diabetic child can have many snack/lunch options during the few hours, 5 days a week that she is in school. your child has only ONE food she must not come in contact with (peanuts). this is a very easy problem to solve. no peanuts. the other child CAN eat something else just as helpful and nutritious to her and this is a good opportunity for her to learn that other people have special needs too.
i get very frustrated with this attitude that peanut butter is a necessity for certain children. it is not. is is yummy for them and it is convenient...but it is not a necessity. avoiding anaphylaxis is a necessity. i think it's unfortunate that the child may have to forego her favorite snack...but it's not life threatening (not getting the pb) and certainly nothing the mother should be reacting this way about. how would she feel if you had the diabetic child and she had the peanut allergic child? i bet she'd be all for peanut bans/restrictions then.
i hope no one thinks i'm being unkind here...i've been diabetic myself twice (gestational)...insulin several times a day and the whole nine yards. it is NO fun and it is a serious health issue. and i think it would be doubly worse to have to deal with it as a child. i have the utmost respect for those who are dealing with diabetes. i would be very protective and concerned about my child too if he/she had diabetes. however, the diet is not as restrictive as some people make it out to be and there are alternatives to peanut butter.
good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 3:49pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

It's interesting that this question should be raised on the board at a time when we have been discussing diabetes and the *necessity* (if you will) for peanut butter in other threads.
river posted in another thread about if a certain food (peanut butter) was a medical necessity (which it isn't and she was not saying that it was). But she was saying that if it was a necessity for the other child that it should be administered (fed) to the child in a controlled environment that would not affect the PA child. I am not clear if her post is in her *morals* thread under Main Discussion or not. That way, the child could safely have pb and yet your PA child would remain safe.
Now, as far as the necessity for peanut butter for this child. Is what this child is suffering from diabetes? What I would do is find out what food alternatives there are to peanut butter for this child to eat and present this to the school (not the parent).
Also, do you have a 504 Plan in place whereby your child is supposed to have a peanut free classroom?
See, and this is where it gets sticky for me, simply because I'm Canadian. My PA son has the *right* to a "peanut free" classroom in Ontario, Canada. When he entered Grade 1, he was in a similar situation to your child - the two Grade 1 classrooms were only separated by a partition and a lot of the activities were shared by the two classes. So, because my PA son required a "peanut free" classroom, the other classroom, because of the high level of interaction also had to be "peanut free".
Now, I'm not sure that this would apply in your case as well.
The other thing is and this is where I'm wondering if it could get problematic - can the other child also have a 504 Plan in place for her medical condition and is it even remotely possible that it would say in the plan that the child HAS to eat pb?
As far as I can see (and again, please excuse me, even after all of this time I don't understand the semantics involved in a 504 Plan), if your child has a 504 Plan and the other child doesn't, then wouldn't the school have to follow the 504 Plan?
I would research the other child's medical condition (whether it is diabetes or whatever it is) and get a list of alternative foods that the child can eat. As has been posted several times on this board and even in this thread, pb is not the be all and end all if you are diabetic.
In looking at the Safe Snack and Lunch List that I posted here a couple of years ago, when it comes to protein (that old argument about pb containing so much protein, which it does), there was a whole long list of foods that provided the equivalent amount of protein as pb did. So, another child, in a peanut free classroom could still get as much protein as they required simply by choosing one of the alternatives.
That's what I'm thinking in this case too. If you're able to provide a comprehensive list of alternatives, the other child does have a choice. Unfortunately, YOUR child does NOT have a choice.
I also agree with joeybeth re the timing of the child's eating. No one is saying that the child cannot have pb to boost her blood sugar for breakfast, after school snack, dinner or bed-time snack. You are simply asking that the child not eat that particular food item for the time that they are at school with your PA child.
And again, this other child does have food choices (I know we're talking about a medical condition here but this is similar to the poverty = pb sandwich argument and also the picky eater = pb sandwich argument).
Your child does not.
I don't think I really said anything that people above didn't post already, but this type of discussion does upset me.
And again, if there were NO alternatives for this child, I would go with the plan of feeding that river posted (supervised, out of the peanut free classroom, handwashing, etc.).
It is interesting how the other woman was understanding about PA until she was presented with her daughter's own medical condition. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
This reminds me of something that happened this year with my kids at school. My PA son and my non-PA daughter each had a sibling from one family in their class. The Mom knew that there was a "peanut free" classroom because her oldest daughter was in it. She came into the school one morning ranting and raving about how everyone was jumping through hoops for the PA child in her oldest daughter's classroom and how NOTHING was being done about her youngest daughter's (who was in my daughter's class) red dye allergy.
Little did she realize that she was ranting and raving at the PA Mom. At any rate, I listened to her and the trouble was, she hadn't told the school. How is the school supposed to do anything on behalf of her child unless she tells them that there is something they should be aware of? I told her that she should speak with the principal immediately, which she did. I also offered her my help. After her initial talk with the principal and a notice home in my daughter's class about the red dye allergy, nothing more was said about it. The Mom never followed-up. It was like somehow she felt slighted that another child (even a stranger and a stranger's child) had somehow out-shadowed her red dye allergic child (even though she hadn't told anyone about her child being allergic) and she was up in arms about it.
It almost sounds as if this woman is the same, except she is trying to work with the school.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 11:25pm
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Several members here have mentioned PB and diabetes in the context of this discussion.
It brings to mind my own dealings with the school and attempts to achieve a 504 that would adequately address the needs of our son (PA/NUTS/Ashtma/Environmental Allergies/Atopic in general/some other needs)and assist in providing a safe environment.
The issue of diabetics came up. Many times. I think I remember myself saying that merely act of touching (physical contact) with a sugar granule would not cause injury to someone just because they were diabetic. Loudly. Very unlike me. (I'd have to check the tape, but it is a pretty clear memory---I think my heart just picked up a few beats). Deep breath....
We argued for a "peanut free/nut free" ("peanut free" at least) classroom and School even (with respect to shared areas). We were asked, in so many words, how we expected them to go about it. We scheduled another meeting. We reserched. We armed myself with stacks of literature that indicated the absence of peanut/nut items to be of great efficacy in the management of children with such life threatening allergies. We obtained letters recommending the same from our son's physician. We presented documentation of past reactions indicating our son's high level of sensitivity to such products and documentation of our son's Asthma.
We returned. Several times. We appealed to their education, sense of compassion and logic. They appealed to our ability to reason. (In hindsight I see this). "[i]Show us how to do this[/i]. Put it into words. Have your requests ready for the next meeting.[/i]" (General idea summarized in quote).
We returned. Confidently, we handed them a sample of a Letter to Parents. (Among other things) Several examples. We stated: "Look they are doing it in [i]other[/i] schools! There are [b]even[/b] letters requesting the same as [i]samples[/i]."
They replied: "How?" (General idea summarized in quote).
I won't go on. Truthfully? Because it is very early, I have a nice day planned with my children and migranes compounded with GI upset really inhibit that. [i]I still can't go back to that place in time.[/i] And this post doesn't even begin to represent how awful those meetings were. I stated before, we were physically ill by the end of them.
All "Hows" aside I will state this: During that time, I researched food alternatives for diabetics. [i]Later[/i] I called upon lessons I had learned early on as a nurse in the management of diabetes. "Compliance" came to mind. I began to realize that for me to "get it" with regards to diabetics, I had to understand that for a diabetic "Compliance" is very very very vital to survival. I posted before an professional research article indicating how the ability to choose items one [i]prefers[/i] affects "Compliance". (Guess they probably could have found articles too) I asked if PA parents would be willing to cooperate with parents of children with Diabetes in working out solutions by and how their children could co-exist in the same environment. The idea of eating PB in a controlled environment with precautions to prevent cross-contamination in place was brought up. The idea of "Does a child who eats PB in a controlled environment with such precautions in place pose the same or a greater threat than those children who may have eaten PB prior to comming to school [i]with no precautions?[/i]" was brought up.
Again, these (PB, Diabetes) were not by far, the biggest issues on the table during our 504 meetings. Not-by-far.
But they [i]were[/i] a bump in the road. A pothole even. They were enough to derail the meetings and prevent us from discussing [b] what my local public school could and is obligated to do on behalf of my son[/i]. Much of which would have proven to be of great great efficacy to my child. Much.
We (my husband and I) blew it. Does anyone have any idea how that feels? Maybe I'll just hang onto my potholders. And no, I'm not offering any advice at all. I'm just sharing something incredibly painful to me and mine. Too late about the stomach upset as well.
By no means is this post representative of [i]everything[/i] discussed in those meetings, or outside of them. I can't even begin to go there. (Amazing what is said when the recorder is off).

Posted on: Tue, 07/22/2003 - 11:58pm
nancy023's picture
Joined: 12/12/2002 - 09:00

I think that the child with low blood sugar should be allowed to eat her peanut butter somewhere, but not in the shared classroom. People have posted about separate peanut butter tables and eating in the principal's office. Is lunch in the classroom? Or does the mom want peanut butter snacks in the classroom?
The child should also be supervised in washing up after eating her pb. The rest of her class should still not be allowed to bring peanut butter, because the risk is compounded and supervising the wash-up of a whole class is more difficult than supervising the wash-up of one.
That would be my compromise. Good luck.

Posted on: Wed, 07/23/2003 - 12:22am
ACBaay's picture
Joined: 03/19/2002 - 09:00

Yes, I agree. Maybe she can go to the Main Office or the Nurses Office to eat the pb portion, clean up, and then return to the class. She could eat the rest of her lunch with the class. It could be treated similar to another child who goes for a daily medication. This way both health issues are addressed, your child would remain safe, and nobody would feel that their child's health issue is being slighted.

Posted on: Wed, 07/23/2003 - 12:27am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

I have a daughter who has always suffered from low blood sugar, (although I didn't recognize it as that for a long time), and she did respond well to peanut butter sandwiches. But after having PA diagnosed in her brother, I discovered that any other protein and carb seems to do the trick just as well.
Ultimately it's up to the principal to make this decision.
If your principal decides for one reason or another that this woman requires the particular type of accommodation requested, I think that nancy023 is correct. If her daughter requires this "medication" it should be given in a separate place and she should be required to clean up afterward. I suspect that eventually this girl will tire of it and tell her mom she doesn't want to do it anymore.

Posted on: Wed, 07/23/2003 - 12:57am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by river:
[b] I suspect that eventually this girl will tire of it and tell her mom she doesn't want to do it anymore.
I suspect the school district my family dealt with had similiar thoughts regarding PA.



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