I am not sending in safe treats......

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:12am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

.... and I'll tell you why.

I got to thinking about this....A LOT. My older son, PA/TNA, is entering 3rd grade. My younger son, EA, is entering kindergarten. I can't go into detail about what is going on with us & our school, but one thing I've been thinking about, and need input on, is the safe treat idea.

Here is what I figure. If I send in safe treats for both my sons, it gives them an out for excluding them. The teacher, the school, the parents..... they all don't have to worry, feel guilty, care, etc., as long as we give them an out. Now, I'm sure I can bribe my boys into not caring about getting some piece of junky sugarness from their classmates, but if the school allows a student to be excluded in their classroom...... FA's aside..... isn't there something illegal about that? Are schools allowed to celebrate Christmas, excluding their classmates that might have other faiths? Why would they be able to exclude a student, through something that isn't even and educational requirement, or necessary to their education in the classroom?

I feel that their teachers should have to look at my children, while they sit there, not being able to partake in what they allow to come through their doors. I also feel that the parents & students who want to bring in unsafe foods should also have to look at my children. They all should know that they are knowingly excluding my children. Sending in a safe treat already sets them apart. They won't be getting the same thing, or be able to be part of the so called sharing that people want to do when they bring in junk food. So why should I make it easier for them?

How many times do my children have to be excluded..... and in an "in your face way".....before their teachers and parents/students care enough to include them?

{PS. -- some of you know that I'm breaking my exile here, and only here, but I need input, opinions, legal thoughts.......}

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:30am
Sarahb's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

Interesting.
My first thought is that they will think that you are a mean and bad mom.
My second thought is what is the acceptable solution for you? Not being sure of your comfort zone...for me I can't really come up with an acceptable solution that doesn't include me providing all the snacks for all the kids...but that's just me. Would you want other parents to call manufacturers? Do you trust other parents to feed your kids?
Or would it just be an end to treats/snacks at school?

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:32am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

You know I have never thought of it that way. By not sending safe treats for your child then the others cannot have treats because my child would then be excluded.
I am so green when it comes to all of this. I have spent the last 6 years with my first child trying to figure what he was allergic to and how to keep him safe. It never occured to me that while I was educating my child about his food allergies, that I should have been trying to figure out a way to keep him safe at school. Preschool was a 2 day a week deal and they became nut free when he started. But the public school system is in the "kid business" so therefore I thought they would watch over my child. Boy was I mistaken.
------------------
#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:43am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I forgot to say though, I DO provide safe snacks and treats for my son. I also provide his lunch. I keep an extra stash of safe snacks and treats in his classroom. I do not want my child to feel completely excluded. My son knows what he cannot have, and he thinks what I send him is cool. I do not trust anyone to feed my child either so therefore I provide everything for him!
------------------
#1 son - peanuts, tree nuts, walnuts, eggs, every weed, grass, tree, mold, dust, cats, dogs, horses, and has asthma
#2 son - peanuts, shellfish, eggs, every grass, weed, tree, mold, dust, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and has severe asthma

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:43am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]My second thought is what is the acceptable solution for you?[/b]
My acceptable solution is the following:
1) Prepackaged, individually wrapped food items, with full ingredient list/allergen warnings.
2) No Peanuts/Treenuts for my one son, No Eggs for the other. No "manufactured in" "made in facility"...etc.
3) My sons still would only be able to eat foods fitting that standard if DH or I had expressly allowed them. But at least they'd be safe for the classrooms, and keep the classrooms safe for my children.
For those that think that limits what is out there..... look next time you are at the store. There are so many individual things out there now, that availability and convenience is a weak argument. My kids just scarfed down little individual bags of apple slices with caramel dip yesterday. They would have fit the criteria too -- for both kids -- and for many Wellness Policies.
And, being thought of as a mean Mom could just be added to the list of what I'm sure they think of me already. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 2:51am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]Do you trust other parents to feed your kids?[/b]
Forgot to answer this. NOT A CHANCE.
But the first hurdle is to get the parents & teacher to realize providing safe foods (if they MUST bring it in) is essential. If not for safety, than at least to not exclude. The schools might have a hard time justifying excluding a student flat out with something that isn't necessary to their education, than fighting about making a classroom safe based on FA's and not killing a kid. I think flat out exclusion would get their attention. Especially if birthday treats,and the like, could be passed out in the hall, at someone's BIRTHDAY PARTY AT HOME.... or just not in the classroom.
After they figure that excluding a child, in their own school, in their own classroom, is a jerky thing to do, then maybe they'd ask what they could do.... and then you hand them the criteria.
It could be just my school, but the desperation with which some of these Moms need to send in a cupcake is near fever pitch. I think they'd come close to selling the family dog if their child couldn't bring in a birthday treat. And what teacher is worth their salt if they would knowingly let a student of theirs be blantently excluded right under their eyes..... and is that worth something on the legal end of things?

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:10am
April in KC's picture
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Joined: 08/28/2006 - 09:00

Hi gvmom, I can appreciate where you're coming from with this. If you and I shared a school, though, I don't think I could take the same approach with my child's PA and Celiac Disease, which currently requires avoidance of milk and soy as well, per GI's instructions. [And so far, accidental glutenings have been much harder to avoid than accidental peanut exposures.] If I took the same policy in your school, it would probably begin to encroach on the foods your kids could eat, KWIM? Your apples would work for me, but the dip probably would not - many of them contain skim milk or other dairy.
So it depends on whether you're willing to extend the same approach and mindset to other children's allergies, should those children enter your school. Maybe "just fruit and veggies" / no crackers, etc., would work. But maybe that becomes more restrictive than you had in mind.
It might be helpful to think about how you would approach your school if your child also had milk or wheat allergy, in addition to PA and EA? Or MFA?
I'm not trying to kill what might be a great idea for you and your school, but I'm just trying to provide some extra food for thought as you figure out what precedent you want to set for the way food allergies are handled in your school.
Best wishes - April

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:25am
gvmom's picture
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Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

[b]So it depends on whether you're willing to extend the same approach and mindset to other children's allergies, should those children enter your school. Maybe "just fruit and veggies" / no crackers, etc., would work. But maybe that becomes more restrictive than you had in mind.[/b]
Me personally, I'm not sending in food for birthdays this year. Last year for my son I sent goody bags, with pencils & such, that had a prepackaged, individually wrapped, with ingredients, Rice Krispie Treat.
Had there been a child who could not have eaten something in those ingredients, that would have made the classroom unsafe for them, I would have eliminated the Rice Krispie Treat entirely. Which, again, I will do this year. But also, let's say another parent hasn't told the other parents about their childs food related issues, and the teacher hasn't said anything, having something that the child could take home because of the packaging, and run past their parent before eating, would be do-able. Also, in the case of FA's, 504's, etc., having the item, with ingredient listing/allergen warnings, lets you know if the school is followiing up on what they are supposed to do, in addition to allowing those students who do read, whose parents do trust them to decide, to be able to read the contents for themselves..... as a second check, so to speak, for food safety.
We wouldn't let our kids eat things without our looking at the foods, but some other parents may let their child who is in 5th grade, or older, do so.
I know that in 1st grade, the only check for food safety that the teacher did was to ask the parent dropping the food off was, "Does it have nuts?" If they said no, that was good enough for her. Would that be good enough for me..... no way.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:35am
gvmom's picture
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[b]If I took the same policy in your school, it would probably begin to encroach on the foods your kids could eat, KWIM? Your apples would work for me, but the dip probably would not - many of them contain skim milk or other dairy.[/b]
I meant to answer this too. Sorry.
If you took the same policy, if your child and mine were in the same class, I'd call you to see what suggestions you had that could be safe. You know why? Because I wouldn't want any child to be excluded. I'd call, if sending food in was that important, because it is supposed to be about sharing right? I'd want all children to be part of it.... including those that had dietary needs.... no matter what they were.
About my example, I know that the little bags of apples also come without the caramel. So, if it were my intent to send apples, I'd omit the bags with caramel.
My thought is that if the teachers/parent/students actually visually see that their actions are excluding a child, maybe they would be more likely to call the parents and find a way to include the child.
By sending in unsafe foods, with a safe treat getting handed to our kids, the fact that they are excluded is glossed over.
Seeing a child, sitting at their desk, empty handed, waiting..... doing nothing... while kids around them eat junk.... well, it may seem just as mean as I am by not sending something in.

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:36am
ajas_folks's picture
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Joined: 04/28/2000 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by gvmom:
[b]
It could be just my school, but the desperation with which some of these Moms need to send in a cupcake is near fever pitch. I think they'd come close to selling the family dog if their child couldn't bring in a birthday treat. And what teacher is worth their salt if they would knowingly let a student of theirs be blantently excluded right under their eyes..... and is that worth something on the legal end of things? [/b]
It's not just your school, it's our school too -- 3000 miles away from yours.
In fact, I wouldn't put it past one parent here to send in a cake decorated with peanuts-in-the-shell & the word [i] Entitled [/i] done in pb icing. I'm really NOT kidding.
Honestly, I think you're on to something here & so far as all food allergies & all kids' bonafide medical needs would be accomodated in a non-exclusionary way, then I see this as a real solution.
And IF there would have to be an exclusion that cannot be successfully, safely, satisfactorily worked around, then NO FOOD PERIOD.
Period.
[b] Period. [/b]
~Elizabeth, my .02-worth.
PS -- Exile-schmexile. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2007 - 3:47am
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Joined: 12/22/2005 - 09:00

Yes, gvmom, I know exactly what you are saying. I have been thinking about how on earth I am going to manage my DD's classmates 17 birthdays this year along with holiday parties. The 'sure, just send in something safe, a safe snack bag, something OK for her' provides safety, but not inclusion in anyway shape or form
So legally, what does a 504 give us in the way of inclusion? I know it provides equal [i]access[/i] to the same opportunities in the least restrictive way. But I'm not sure about in the least [i]emotionally stressful[/i] way for a child. KWIM? No, I agree with you, as I see my kids constantly being the one to be left out of every blessed thing. I always return my thoughts to a food free classroom ...a place where all kids experience the same food status....NONE. No food, no allergy issue.

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