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 Post subject: Halton District schools?
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 7
My four-year-old daughter is peanut allergic, and she is currently in JK in Toronto. We have had so many problems this year with unsafe foods being brought into the classroom that we are thinking of moving to Halton (for this and other reasons) because they have such an excellent anaphylaxis policy. I'm wondering how parents in Halton feel about the policy at the school level: Do principals and teachers really make an effort to follow the policy, and are they very aware of the risks that anaphylactic students face? Even though Sabrina's Law is now in effect where we live, I feel that at the classroom level it has had very little impact. My daughter's teacher still allows cross-contaminated cakes and cupcakes to be sent in for other kids' birthdays (this has happened at least ten times this year) and has actually handed out chocolates to my daughter, which I later found in her backpack, with no ingredient or manufacturer label. I'm so frustrated dealing with this teacher and am hoping for something better if we decide to move! !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
marciag -- sorry, I can't comment on the Halton Board myself but you can start by viewing a discussion about Halton region in the "Schools: Anaphylaxis Laws" thread:
http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=791


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Are you a member of Anaphylaxis Canada? In their recent 2006 spring/summer newsletter, their Q&A with Dave Levac, the MPP who sponsored the bill that became Sabrina's Law, suggests what to do if your school is not complying.

He suggests to approach it sequentially:
1. First, the teacher: find out if s/he understands importance of what is going on - if no...
2. Next, the principal: if s/he doesn't seem to have an understanding of the law, provide a copy of the law [and I would suggest ask them if they have had time to look at the Anaphylaxis Resource Kit sent to the school by the Ministry of Education - the new anaphylaxis guidelines are in there]. If principal is not in compliance and you've given a chance for corrections to be made...
3. Go to the school superintendent and director; if no help there...
4. Go to the school board trustee; if that doesn't work...
5. Write a letter to the Ministry of Education; also inform your local MPP, because all MPPs supported Bill 3 unanimously, and your MPP should be able to take your case to the right Ministry official.

Ideally it'll be corrected before it gets to step 5...

Hope this helps a bit. I know how frustrating it is. We have been contemplating moving from QC to ON because our school has been so unhelpful over the past 3 years with my oldest, and we were very stressed at the thought of our youngest, ana to milk/egg/peanuts, being in that environment. Ontario seemed like the logical choice with Sabrina's Law (although I realize that it will take time for all the schools to get up to speed, and nothing will ever be perfect).

Now, however, there is a new VP who seems willing to work with us so we're staying for the moment. But I totally feel for you. It's horrible and extremely stressful.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 8:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 7
Thanks ethansmom and Karen for your replies. I checked out the Halton discussion, and it does seem really encouraging. What I like about the Halton Anaphylaxis Protocol is that it is so comprehensive and it seems to focus also on prevention. At our school, the principal and teacher seem to think that having an emergency plan in place is sufficient, but I think most parents worry more about prevention.

I am a member of Anaphylaxis Canada, so I did read the Q&A with Dave Levac. I'm wondering, though, whether what I'm asking the school to do is really covered by the law. I've written the principal a letter asking whether we could meet this summer and put better prevention measures in place--shifting the focus away from food in special celebrations, and if there is food to be served, checking with me first and trying to avoid serving cakes from bakeries that can't guarantee there is no cross-contamination. I don't know whether this is reasonable, but I just feel that this year the teacher has taken so many risks without my permission. I never imagined before my daughter started school that so much food would be served there--I thought every kid would bring their own snack, and that would be it!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 9:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I guess the best starting place would be to see what the school anaphylaxis plan says, and what the board policy says. If it talks AT ALL about risk management, risk reduction, etc., that's your starting point. If it doesn't, then you could start the conversation with the whole notion of there being two important aspects to anaphylaxis management: PREVENTION, and then when that fails, REACTING IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

More and more I am personally focussing on prevention and how that is so much more desirable than dealing with an emergency.

I agree that most people seem to think that if you have an EpiPen and have a vague idea of when/how to use it, you're covered. We all need to work to change that mindset.

:) K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


Last edited by KarenOASG on Tue May 30, 2006 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Hi Marciag,

To find out more about schools in Halton, you might want to get in touch with the Halton Anaphylaxis Parent Group.

Here is their website:

http://home.cogeco.ca/~cmr/hapg/

Good luck with it all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 7
Thanks for the website, Nicole--that's really helpful. And thanks, Karen, for the good advice. I think that considering my daughter's age (4), the school needs to do more for her about risk management. I'm so thankful for this forum--it's easy to feel you're dealing with everything on your own, especially when your child is the only anaphylactic student in the class.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
Hi Marciag,

Just to let you know what is happening in your board as we write and in the near future. I am working on the anaphylaxis policy in my school board (Peterborough) and we had a rep from Anaphylaxis Canada come into our meeting last week. She wrote the anaphylaxis training manual and education program for the Toronto School board and she is in the process of training the Toronto principals. The program is set up that the principals in turn train the teachers. The manual has the presentation already prepared for the principals and they only have the use the speaking notes. It is very good. The Toronto board has not trademarked it and will allow us to use it also. Our board will just custumize the medical forms and procedures to fit our needs. I don't know if I can say much more about it. Ask your principal and talk to your trustee. The AC rep is excellent and knows the law in and out. She is also going to train the supply teachers for the Toronto school board. Hopefully the training will make people aware of all the issues you are concerned about and change the practises of your current school. It would seem that the administration of the Toronto school board is very supportive.
Kate

_________________
11 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
9 year old son - no allergies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 1:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:27 pm
Posts: 7
Thanks, Kate. I will definitely talk to the principal about the training manual and see whether she has been through it yet. I think that's what is missing at our school--the teachers and teaching assistants don't understand the dangers of cross-contaminated foods (no matter how many times I tell them), and have even handed out bulk-bin candies to the class themselves, which (luckily my daughter didn't eat. If that training happens before September, maybe things will improve.

Marcia


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