What if I don\'t want Peanut Free table?

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 4:58am
Marlene5's picture
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Joined: 08/13/2004 - 09:00

My daughter is starting 1st grade in a few weeks and I am under the impression that they will require her to sit at the peanut free table. (She vomits after eating peanuts, so I would describe her allergy as moderately severe.)I am really worried about her being isolated at the peanut free table. The only other PA kid is a 4th grade boy. The school requires non-PA children to request a form letter from their teacher in order sit at the table. It must be done in advance.

My problem is that I would rather she is careful with wipes, etc than sit at a table by herself. She is very social and will very sad about sitting away from the group. I am reluctant to ask parents to have their kids sit with her every day. What if they don't want to sit with her at this isolated table? She doesn't have a best friend at this point. Can the school require that she sit there for liability reasons? I never thought I would argue against something that is there for her own safety, but I feel that she is discrimated against for having an allergy.

I feel I need ammunition before I talk to the school again.

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 5:13am
LaurensMom's picture
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Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

There are options for a peanut free table that do not require your DD to be isolated from her friends.
DD's class has 2 tables end-to-end. One table is peanut free, the other is not. She sits at one end. Friends who do not bring PB to school for lunch jsut sit at this table.
There has never been an issue with her 'sitting alone'.

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 8:10am
Sandra Y's picture
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Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

I agree with Lauren's Mom. My son always sat at the PF table of course, but anyone else can sit there as long as they don't have peanuts.
They are wrong to segregate the peanut allergic kids. That is not what a peanut free table is supposed to be.

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 9:51am
mcmom's picture
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Joined: 06/15/2004 - 09:00

My son isn't old enough to eat lunch in school yet, but I know that in the past what they did for PA children was to have them sit at the end of the table, put their lunch on a disposable cardboard tray, and make sure that no one sitting right next to them or right across was eating pb.

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 2:39pm
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Hi Marlene,
Has your dd ever been around people eating pb before? My dd hadn't when she started school, and I was a nervous wreck and insisted on a peanut free table. It turned out that it was a very negative and isolating experience for her.
We ended up not asking for the peanut free table when she switched schools in 2nd grade. She has managed two years eating with other kids without any special precautions and she hasn't had any problems.
My dd has also had vomitting as her major reaction. Still, my understanding is that one cannot predict what a future reaction could be like. I assume your dd has an epipen at school?
Good luck. I agree with you that she should not be discriminated against. If the school is insistent you could ask them to have a "peanut table" where everyone who brings pb has to sit.
Take care, Miriam

Posted on: Fri, 08/13/2004 - 6:15pm
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Marlene5,
Our cafeteria is structured such that each class sits its own very long table.
We were successful in getting the [i]peanut free table[/i] to be defined as the entire class table due to the very same concerns about social isolation.
As California Mom had mentioned, I've also read some posts here about the use of a [i]peanut table[/i] as a way to combat the social isolation issue. Also, I believe that there was an article published a few years ago in the magazine for School Nurses on the topic, and it mentions that in the author's view, peanut free tables are discriminatory.
This is a tough issue...the whole "safety versus social normalcy" balancing act...
Good luck in working through it w/your school.
[This message has been edited by Nutternomore (edited August 14, 2004).]

Posted on: Sat, 08/14/2004 - 1:47am
Renee111064's picture
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Joined: 07/05/2001 - 09:00

My son was isolated in first grade in the cafeteria. He was allowed to have one friend sit with him during lunch period. He was very sad during the year.
There was a little girl after the first week or two that he had to sit with him every day. Although they were friends he didn't have a "male" friend to sit with and talk boy talk.
My son never complained to me about this, I was in the school during lunch one day, went down to see him and found this out. The little girl had to be isolated from others becuase she has CF.
In second grade I switched him to a smaller school in our district. I made sure he could sit with his "whole" class. He just had a section at the end of the table that was peanut free. His whole lunch period the entire year was a great experience for him. He so much more enjoyed eating with others.
It is amazing how the far the children are willing to go to keep a classmate safe. They were and are always protective of my ds.
It is the parents in this world that gives our children so much grief about their allergies.
Hope all goes well for your child for the school year.
Renee

Posted on: Sat, 08/14/2004 - 10:07pm
Mary Kay's picture
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Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

My son sat at a peanut free table in grades 1 thru 3. At his school it was a good experience. In first grade, he was the only one at the school with a peanut allergy. The table was the "special table" and seated 4 kids. It was placed closest to the exit door, the table was excused first for recess and the kids got to eat lunch without being squished together. The kids sitting at the table changed everyday. In the morning, his teacher would ask who wanted to sit at the "Special Table" at lunch. The kids would raise their hand and the teacher would check their lunches for obvious peanut products. I didn't care about "may contain" products. His classmates loved it. I heard many stories about kids going home to tell their parents not to put peanuts in their lunch so they could sit at the "special table". There actually was a waiting list during the week because the table only seated 4. In second grade there were 3 more students in first grade with a peanut allergy, so another table was added and each PA child was allowed one classmate. Again, the PA child didn't pick, it was a volunteer basis so the non PA kids all had a chance to sit there if they didn't bring peanut products. It worked out great. I never heard complaints from either the PA kids or the non PA kids.
My son changed to a different school in 4th grade and chose not to sit at a peanut free table. In our district it is a choice. The table is there if the child and parents want the student to sit there. But it is not required. So he chose to sit on an end of a table in 4th and 5th grade. If he was ever sitting next to someone that had peanuts/pb he would either ask that student to leave (I didn't find out about those incidents until years later, kind of rude) or would just move somewhere else. The lunchroom staff knew about his allergy, so he was allowed to do this if he needed to. Again, no social problems with any of these lunchroom procedures.
In Junior High, he sits where he wants, but again, if he is ever uncomfortable he moves to another location. There are now more kids with PA and his friends all know about his allergy and are very accommodating about it. He has told me stories about his friends asking classmates to "move somewhere else" if they are eating pb.
Good luck. A peanut free table can work if it is viewed as being a place of honor.
------------------
Mary Kay

Posted on: Sun, 08/15/2004 - 1:04pm
Cindia's picture
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Joined: 06/05/2001 - 09:00

My experience with my son at his school is almost exactly as described by Miriam in her post about her daughter. The peanut free table in the first grade was a social disaster! He was so miserable, he begged me to let him be normal. He now eats with everyone else. He sits with his friends and he knows to report any "problems" with lunch such as teasing or threatening with PB. He is now starting 3rd grade. This has worked fine for us for the last two years.
I think I got a little too paranoid. BTW, my son is not contact reactive nor airborne.
Cindia

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/2004 - 11:37pm
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Isn't there something sort of - exclusionary and illegal - about the peanutfree table? I've always thought it more fair to have a peanut table than a peanut free one, because the one is based on a disability which a child can't help but the other is based on a choice that can be helped. It seems to me that if you choose to bring peanut butter and your other peanut butter buddies sit with you, that's somehow more tasteful than isolating out the disabled peanut allergic and making them really obvious and isolated.

Posted on: Mon, 08/16/2004 - 11:46pm
synthia's picture
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Joined: 10/05/2002 - 09:00

I donot want a peanut free table for little V.
IMHO,and in my case, not good for the[b]children!![/b]
Setting arrangements/zones
Love this site
Synthia

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