Middle School teacher handing out pb cookies to the kids in my sons classroom,WHY?

Posted on: Sun, 10/06/2013 - 8:34am
whit0629's picture
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Joined: 10/06/2013 - 15:22

My 11 year old son, doesn't want to go to Middle school anymore and has had 2 reactions at school, in less than 2 weeks. He has been with this School District for 3 years. Don't know what to do. The school nurse (District Nurse) has assured me that all of the staff members know of any special considerations with the students, and had a highlighted list, especially if the child is in their class. A couple of weeks ago, they were selling a pb/jelly item on the alacarte, which a good amount of the kids love and were eating, including out at recess, he couldn't get away from it, they never have had a peanut free table for him, they told him that he just needs to move if somebody sits next to him eating nuts. I contacted the principal and this item, after quite a struggle was finally removed from lunch. Then just 9 days later my sons teacher handed out peanut butter cookies to each of the kids in the Art class as they were walking in, and offered one to my son, he then told her NO, I AM ALLERGIC, she said she didn't know that, and he then had to leave the classroom and went to the library. He then broke out in hives and felt short of breath. Needless to say he will not be going to school tomorrow. Obviously the nurse didn't inform the teachers of his severe nut allergy. What do we have to do to feel safe at school. The nurse didn't even call me/art teacher, although she was aware because she called my son in the Library. The nurse also said he only needs one epi-pen, and said 2 isn't necessary. She also said she thinks that some of these doctors/allergist just overexhaggerate. Anybody else run into anything like this. My son just wants to be able to feel safe, but now is scared to go, and will that classroom be cleaned thoroughly???

Posted on: Tue, 10/08/2013 - 1:16am
ParentofPAChildMI's picture
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Joined: 10/07/2013 - 03:13

I am a parent in a similar situation. It is really bad when you cannot feel your child is safe at school, a place where they are required to spend so much of their time. I am also a Paramedic and have attended to my son when he was having a severe reaction from a peanut glued to a squirrel picture in the classroom. No consumption but was required to glue the peanut to the paper, it nearly cost him his life. Educators are really clueless and parents of children who do not have food allergies simply add to the problem. Since my son is sensitive to the smell, touch and consumption it is impossible to get him away from peanuts and tree nuts. Almost every day I am called because he is showing signs of exposure, however until he is collapsed or in respiratory arrest the school just will not get it, and by the way he attends a parochial school because the public school is 10 times worse. So now I get to pay top dollar and worry everyday that my son is going to have anaphylaxis and possibly die. He has been given snickers bars by his teachers on two separate occasions, peanuts and popcorn by yet another and frequently belittled when he seeks the use of his albuterol inhaler because his breathing is labored and his asthma has been triggered. There are days I would like to kneel on the chest of these teachers and see how they like it when they have to struggle to breathe, they simply do not get it! I have initiated the steps to move forward and force the school to make changes through the Office of Civil Rights and ACLU. My son should not have to vacate a classroom or sit in the hallway, basically removed from others because the teachers, principal and school refuse to recognize his severe food allergy.

Posted on: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 6:45am
PeanutAllergy.com's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer:
We are sorry to hear that your son has to go through this at school. Education is essential for children, and he has a right to feel safe at school.
We recommend talking to the school district. Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, your son’s allergy qualifies as a disability. By law, each school district is required to have a Section 504 Coordinator to help implement a safe environment for your son. For more information on Section 504, please visit this website.
It may help to talk to your son’s teachers about his allergy instead of relying on the school nurse to inform staff members about it. You can also give teachers and other parents a list of peanut-free snacks so they know which treats are safe to have in the classroom.
For additional advice and support, you can read more than 100 responses to your post on our Facebook page here.

Posted on: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 11:45pm
survivingfood's picture
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Joined: 09/04/2013 - 19:29

This nurse has outdated skills/knowledge. Her attitude and lack of professionalism are troubling in re: to not properly informing all the teachers of your child's allergy and advising on one epi pen, when all the updated recommendations out there are to have two at all times for very valid medical reasons. You need 504 Plan asap and the school should know about nurses unsafe practices in re to life threatening food allergies so that she could be properly educated. Good luck.

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 1:13am
laurelg1's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2013 - 15:19

I run a school health clinic and while I try to keep my teachers informed about student health and updates specific illness, I always ask the parents to talk with their child's teacher and/or any other teacher that will come in contact with the child on a regular basis. This ensures health communication with the teacher and also imposes a personal touch to your child and their illness verses just being a name on a piece of paper that may or may not get passed on from the health professional.

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 1:49am
Lundkat's picture
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Joined: 07/13/2012 - 20:58

Sad that this is even an issue. There needs to be mandatory teaching about ALL allergies in the classrooms. The guidance counselor or nurse can talk about it, just they do about bullying. They could teach about symptoms and how to help. Kids make better choices when they realize their friends could get sick and they can help keep them safe. The 504 is a great tool and you should be very demanding! Our school wanted to isolate my 6 year old PA daughter in the closet area of the lunchroom. HELLO...really!?! Lets isolate my daughter, who already feels different and excluded. Definitely not ok! They created a Peanut safe table for her and hot lunch only (our district food is peanut free), she keeps her supplies separate, they DO NOT allow any product that contains or "may" contain peanuts for snacks or birthdays in the room, and she even carries her Epipen on her (even at 6). These are just a few things you can REQUIRE them to do. Do they allow guns in your school? I'm sure not. So why would they allow something that could kill your child, be that prevalent in the building?
This is exactly why we just went through a desensitization process! Completely worth it! Best of luck!

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 2:02am
struf2008@gmail.com's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2013 - 08:55

I have a son that is very allergic to peanuts.
At his school I have him protected under a 504 plan. That is covered under the disability act and makes the school have a legal responsibility to provide a safe learning enviorment. So sorry for you and your son! I woyld check to see what plans your state has to offer:-)
Good luck to you!

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 2:12am
Mrsdocrse's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

Hi There,
I am sorry that the people that are around your son are so ignorant. Especially the school nurse! I would start with your child's doctor. They are the ones that have to sign off on the 504. The school has to take steps to protect your child once the 504 is in place. You work together with the administration in setting up the plan.
I don't know about you but when we re fill the presciption for the epi-pen it is always a dual pack. "Twin inject." It is written that way. I would also contact the district school nurse she should be informed of the situation with the nurse at your school.
Each year at the beginning of the year I contact each of my sons teachers and advise them of his allergies and ask them to contact me anytime there is a project or something that involves food at all! I have to say that my sons teachers have been really helpful in keeping him safe.
My son is in the 7th grade and he is at a school that is not peanut free. They do not have a peanut free table either. The catering company that serves the lunches does not serve PB but the kids can bring it in. On several occasions he has not eaten his lunch and when I asked why he said that he wasn't comfortable with eating next to someone with PB. I told him to go sit with someone else. He is allowed to do that. and he does. The nurse said he could eat in her office if he wanted too but he doesn't. He wants to be with his friends and it does cause anxiety for him some days but that is part of living with it I guess.
I also volunteer to make things ( food items) for the whole class so that I know they are safe. It is a lot of work but it helps keep him safe and he can feel like the rest of the kids eating the same thing.
As far as the class room being cleaned I wouldn't count on that. The custodians at my school clean the floors and the teachers clean the tables. I would tell your son to wash his hands often. Maybe you could volunteer to help wipe down the classroom. I should think that she would not hand out PB cookies after him having a reaction. It is hard to avoid the mild atopic reactions because we don't live in a peanut free world but big reactions can be avoided.
I hope you get some support from the teachers they are ones that really are in a position to help your son.
Good luck

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 2:21am
AD75's picture
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Joined: 08/04/2013 - 17:59

Since your school district seems reckless and irresponsible with food allergies, starting with the staff who are uneducated, I would INSIST on a 504 plan right away so that there is liability to the situation. I work in a school system and have seen people make honest mistakes, but this sounds a bit absurd, what nurse worth anything would not know you need 2 epi pens because they only last 15 minutes and you can have a longer reaction or biphasic reaction. If the nurse doesn't know, it is her responsibility to find out (and I'm not bad mouthing nurses, my sister is one, and she would be the first to say the nurse should educate herself). As for the comment from the person who runs the health clinic in a school that the parent should reach out to the teacher because she can't as the nurse always make sure everyone knows, sorry, that's a lame excuse and sounds like typical school employee mentality and why school workers get bad names. As the school nurse, you MOST certainly can make sure every teacher that teaches that student in any capacity knows about the food allergy and the risks, and they can even be reminded through out the year and also receive ongoing in-services, etc. to keep it fresh in their minds. You may not be able to control the teachers actions after they have been informed and educated, but you can and do have a duty to see that they are informed and educated, no excuses as to why you can't get to all the teachers, period. The nurses in the school systems actually have a very important role for the safety of children, and it would be nice to see that embraced rather than excuses. I do think parents should reach out to the teachers and that it is a parent's duty to help educate in the process, but not for reasons that the school nurse just can't get to all the teachers. It takes 100% effort from all parties involved to keep a child with ana food allergies safe at school!

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 3:23am
mom1995's picture
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Joined: 11/09/2004 - 09:00

Do you have a 504? If not get one ASAP. I would also ask the nurse to see her licenes to practice medicine because I am willing to bet she is NOT a doctor so while her advice and oppinion are nice she is not qualified to give medical advice. If you have a regular doctor or the allergist you are working with write a very clear and exact letter that lines out your son's allergy and what accomodations are required for his safety that is a great starting point for the 504.
There is a ton of parents who can all tell you some of their great success stories about how to get the 504 and how to get the best results. Just ask.

Posted on: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 4:14am
Nutsnonuts's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2013 - 10:56

My son's school had no idea about peanuts allergies. It was 12 years ago. Before school start, I met principle, nurse and teacher to explain what it is and what need to be done. I demand peanuts free table and wipes to everybody who had peanuts items. I know wipe might not ideal but better than nothing. Then meet lunch lady and genitor to go over how to clean table. "Soaps". Then went to bus gaga to train all the driver with Epi pen. Bring orange and expired Epi pen. My son's driver tried. Then made peanuts and nuts free zone sign and put at his class door. Teacher call me to double check the snacks others brings in. And all the school staff did the drill. To me who has right or not. It have to be done as safe as possible and to protect our kids, we have to be strong.
Then we move to different state after that. The new school district does not even allow anyone bring nuts to school.
Make school do whatever it takes or look for near by school who already might be peanuts free.

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