Why even bother?

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 4:37am
tcperrine's picture
Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

First let me say that I am not trying to anger anyone, or demean anyone's choices. But I have sat here for an hour or more and read story after story about parents putting extra time into schools to keep their PA kid safe. They are aides, food monitors, epi-pen trainers, kindergarten PAL presenters, cooks, bakers, cheerleaders for teachers - they buy wipes, countless amounts of food, send personal letters of thanks, attend dozens of meetings etc., etc. Some of you said you spend most of the day at school.


Why would you subject your child to teachers who do not care, kids that terrorize, tables alone in the cafeteria, busses with peanut smeared on seats, field trips that may end up in the ER, etc., etc.

Why let your child be the guinea pig and help your district design an allergy policy? What if it fails?

Why insist on a 504 when the school says they won't do one? If you finally get it in place, how confident are you that they will follow it? So what if it is a legal document. I have no desire to visit a courtroom for vengeance after I visit the morgue.

I am trying to get my mind around what positive experience school can provide for a child with life-threatening allergies. I can think of very few. None that can't be duplicated by alternative methods.

I am asking this in hopes of understanding why I am UNABLE and UNWILLING to do any of the above. Is it just comfort zones? It definitely isn't energy level - because it sounds like keeping your children in school is a WHOLE lot more draining than keeping mine out. I don't mean for this to sound like an attack (yet I know that it does) but after reading all your posts - I am exhausted FOR you!


[This message has been edited by tcperrine (edited May 18, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 5:17am
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

My son is not in school yet, but I have read numerous posts in this folder, as aides to help me prepare and what processes others have taken to ensure the saftey of their children in school.
Maybe I am reading btw the lines, maybe not. But is the basis of this post to open the door for a conversation of home schooling vs public/private schooling?

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 5:25am
tcperrine's picture
Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by CorinneM1:
[b]I have read numerous posts in this folder, as aides to help me prepare and what processes others have taken to ensure the saftey of their children in school.[/b]
EXACTLY! Whew! What a mess most people go through! A terrifying prospect for those of us with toddlers or preschoolers.
Quote:[b]Maybe I am reading btw the lines, maybe not. But is the basis of this post to open the door for a conversation of home schooling vs public/private schooling?[/b]
Sort of. I mean, homeschoolers will tell you it is great for a number of reasons. I guess I'm looking for a discussion less on why homeschooling is great (as some will insist) and more on why public schooling (with all the troubles encountered) is worth it. Does that make sense?

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 5:36am
Kim M's picture
Joined: 06/09/2001 - 09:00

Carolyn, I do understand what you are asking. I definitely agree that if I were planning to send my daughter to a public school and I got a difficult response from the school I would have real concerns with sending my daughter there. I would have trouble trusting that they would do the right thing.
However, I have a lot of admiration for those who do fight that fight. Even if the initial fight is difficult, they can pave the road for those who come after them. I decided not to fight the fight. The public school nurse seemed very accomodating when I spoke to her, and I think I could have gotten a peanut free classroom without too much difficuly. But we really wanted to have DD in a completely peanut free environment, and to me that means the whole school, not just one room of many. We decided on a private school that is peanut free.
As to homeschooling, there are many parents who are not financially able to quit a job and stay home. And in my case, I have seen the difference in the way my daughter takes intruction from me and the way she takes it from her teacher. If I were homeschooling there is no way she would be reading at the level she is now in her kindergarten class. At this point she is truly getting a better education in a school than she would at home.
Bottom line, each situation is unique.

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 9:48am
Sandra Y's picture
Joined: 08/22/2000 - 09:00

Not everybody who sends their kids to school puts that much effort and time into it. The people who are spending lots of time doing school-related stuff are probably posting more about it because they are looking to share ideas, get input, etc.
I know what you mean about not understanding why someone would put themselves through all that trouble. But the way I look at it, everyone likes to do different things. There are mothers who love PTA/ fundraising/ volunteering at school and I HATE that stuff, but some women have it as the central focus of their lives while their kids are young.
I think for some people who have an activist streak, who enjoy interacting with schools and making a difference and contributing to a good cause, working for a peanut-safe school is something that gives them satisfaction. Every time I have to go to school and talk about PA it's like I'm going in for oral surgery and I have to force myself to do it. But even if it's difficult and sometimes frustrating for them, I think there are people who feel a sense of accomplishment from making that improvement in the schools.
And they are making a valuable contribution, since there are many PA kids from families who can't advocate for them. Imagine a PA kid who is an immigrant or from a dysfunctional family--they will benefit from the policies put in place by others.
My PA son goes to school but I have never had to do much to get him the environment he needs. A few problems have cropped up along the way, but I think it hasn't been unreasonable.
Homeschooling is great. I'm all for it. I've read quite a bit about it and I regularly visit homeschooling sites. I especially like unschooling, which my brother's family does. I don't want to do it, but anyone who chooses homeschooling has my enthusiastic support.

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 10:53pm
Kay B's picture
Joined: 12/30/2002 - 09:00

Well, I agree and disagree with the whole objection. I went through the whole wringer myself, with stacks of information for the school personnel, videos, training, volunteerisim, etc. etc. and got endless grief over it. I was ground down by the stonewalling, exclusion, meanness, ignorance, parental objections, ever-present danger and I now homeschool.
BUT I have huge respect for those stronger and braver than I am that can break trail for people like me. I once filed a federal complaint against our local government's parks and rec because they wouldn't allow my daughter to participate in a preschool program without me present (with a newborn too, mind you.) It was a policy designed to screen out health impaired kids, of course. The Federal gov. came out and basically smacked 'em upside the head, and I hear they are now "great" about epipen kids. (GGG) So in that case, I broke trail for every epipen kid to attend those programs with a reasonable sense of safety and preparedness.
I wish someone had been able to do that about my daughter's school.
I'd like to clear something up about the 504, though -- it's not so you can sue after your child is injured or killed at school. It's so that you have the power to say "If you do not safeguard my child as set forth in this document I can inform the government, who can then withhold your millions of dollars in Federal assistance because you are failing to provide a free and appropriate education regardless of disability, as you are charged with doing."
I would be very grateful if someone would hold my school district's feet to the fire in this way and make them live up to the laws mandated by the government. Homeschooling can't be done by everyone, yet I believe my school district deliberately forces people into it. It's illegal, immoral and unethical, yet they get away with it.

Posted on: Tue, 05/18/2004 - 11:48pm
CorinneM1's picture
Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

Speaking for one that is putting little or not effort into it (as of yet), I posted the the private school by my house has been peanut/nut free for a few years now, and have a full time nurse on staff. Lists are given to the parents at the beginning of the school year with items that the children can/can't bring in for lunches and/or treats. All hot lunches are prepared to be nut free.
Knowing this walking in the door, I am a little more at ease, and don't anticipate having to put much more work into the policy. But will suggest or request modifications if I am not pleased. But I think and hope that I will be.

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 12:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

tcperrine, well, I'm not even sure what I have to add to this discussion. Some really wonderful points have been made.
Basically, I felt it was my PA child's *right* (which it is) to attend public school in relative safety.
Personally, for me, I could not homeschool. I know that others here have told me that yes, I probably could, but I am so disorganized about life in general, I know that I couldn't.
And why should I, again, when my child has the *right* to go to school?
Through the years, yes, I have done a lot of bang head brick, bang head brick. My son is now in his fifth year of school and I must say, it does seem to change each year. My biggest difficulty and upset is that we move all the time and my children change schools. I believe if he was still attending the original school he started out in, which I did break ground with the principal in helping make it a "reduce the risk" school, then things would be quite different.
Because we change schools each year (or have for the last three years and possibly again next year), yes, it has been difficult. I didn't anticipate that I was going to become Nomad Woman in this life. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]
JK/SK and Grade One were great for my son in two different school districts in our province. Yes, I did do education. Yes, I did have some difficulties.
Grades Two and Three have been a lot more trying.
But see, again, it goes back to not my son's PA, but the fact that we move a lot. I wish I was able to offer my children what I had as a child - a home where I knew what elementary, junior and high school I would be attending because we would NOT be moving. Sadly, that isn't the case for my family right now.
I enjoyed "paving the way" when we were in our previous town. It actually did help the PA children that followed my son, who was the first PA child in the school there.
Now that he's getting older, I assess field trips and decide whether or not they're "high risk" and whether or not I need/want to attend. For example, this coming month he is going to a mushroom farm. Probably pretty "low risk" and he could go without me, but I'm thinking, okay, right now I'm in a position to go with him (I'm a SAHM) and I've never been to a mushroom farm.
On the other hand, they're also going to another place where I swear, both children have been over ten times in the three years that we've been here. I probably won't go, but have to assess the situation because it is out in the wild (if you will), not close to the hospital, etc.
They also have a trip planned to The Toronto Zoo and I consider that more "high risk" as well.
I do understand from other parents here that it is important to participate on The Parent Council and be involved in volunteering at the school. I'm not in a position to do that and yes, that may have not helped the school community (particularly this one) understand about PA.
There is one other PA child at my son's school and I notice that his parents are even less active in the school community than I am. So, you really don't have to be there all the time.
I like what a LOT of people posted about the pros and cons because it certainly is an interesting discussion, but for me, it wasn't something I was exploring (homeschooling) because I'd rather fight for my son's rights than homeschool both of my children.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 1:39am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by tcperrine:
[b]Why let your child be the guinea pig and help your district design an allergy policy? What if it fails?
I'm really rushed and (sorry) don't have time to read all the responses, but I really want to comment on this one line.
I don't have a pa child. I've been dealing with pa since before a lot of the children from this site were born. And I've been phoning manufacturers a lot of years. Sending letters. I even went through a period of being a guinea pig at the hospital once - simply because the doctor said that although it wouldn't help me it might one day help someone else.
If nobody fights for rights, complains, [b]fights[/b] we would not have safe labelling on any products. We would not be able to ask any airline to leave the peanuts on the ground.
Sometimes it's a *bigger picture* combined with what a parent feels is best for their child and their child's personal situation.

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 2:43am
tcperrine's picture
Joined: 03/01/2002 - 09:00

Wow! I want to say thank you for all the great responses AND for reading my post in the spirit it was intended. Any anger that came across was for our collective situations.
I guess I am just not a crusader. I know that fighting the good fight paves the way for others, but I am too chicken. So, for all you out there banging your heads against the wall - I say thank you...and I'll be here with bandages when you need them. ;D

Posted on: Wed, 05/19/2004 - 2:55am
Artanis's picture
Joined: 05/04/2004 - 09:00

I wonder this too. Institutionalized schooling is starting to seem like a whole lot of work for very little in return. My allergic child is not in insitutionalized schooling yet but the thought terrifies me. Too much is depending on chance and the hope that teachers and little kids will be kind and thoughtful. I remember my teachers and classmates and they were usually NOT kind and thoughtful. Especially the classmates. Then there is the odd bully thrown in, the one no one does anything about, who would find it funny to expose my allergic child to a peanut.


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