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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Since there isn't an official standard to judge by (especially outside of Ontario) I often wonder exactly what is reasonable to expect from my sons' school in regards to avoidance? Am I asking too much, or settling for too little? I'm curious as to what others are asking for, and receiving (or not receiving) or what you may be expecting in the future (if your children aren't school age yet)?

We have requested that our sons' classroom be free of their allergen,(egg and peanut) that all of the children in the school be asked to wash their hands after lunch, and that the lunch supervisors are particularly careful in washing up tables. The school voluntarily moved all of the grade 1's to the gym to eat lunch instead of their classroom's(much appreciated), and sent home a letter to the gr. 1 parents asking that any foods containing eggs/peanuts be labelled so that supervisors can pay particular attention to clean-up. I provided the school with wipes for the grade 1's for after lunch to simplify the handwashing issue (the logistics of 60 kids trying to wash up in 2 bathrooms at the same time are a little mind-boggling!).
I have also requested that a letter go home to the entire student body asking that foods containing eggs/ peanuts be avoided as recess snacks (which is a time when the children eat under minimal supervision while running around the playground)...and this is where we're meeting with resistance...the school is extremely concerned with avoiding any request that sounds anything like a ban, and the backlash that they fear would come with it. So I said that I'd at least like the entire school community made aware that there is an anaphylactic allergy to these foods within the school, and hopefully many of the parents will respond by making safe choices (I know I would never want to be the cause of harm to someone elses child). The principal agreed to include this information in the next school newsletter (which is another compromise on our part, I would have prefered that it went out in it's own notice, not just as a blurb in something that many parents may not read).
Another area of resistance is over school parties, the teacher did not want to ask parents only to bring safe treats for birthday/holiday celebrations (kind of destroys the concept of an allergen free classroom, eh?), but suggested that my sons could be separated from the rest of the class during those times :x . After conveying that the allergist thought this was completely unacceptable, she agreed to keep all such items out of the classroom, and finally sent a letter home...but it was infuriatingly vague. It didn't even mention allergies at all, just said that parents are welcome to send in treats and can contact her if they are unsure of what would be a safe choice for the class. Sigh.
Up until a week ago I was really happy with the school, and feeling quite positive about our plan. I had typed up a formal copy of all the things we'd agreed on verbally, to make sure that there wasn't any miscommunication, and that everyone's responsibilities were clearly laid out, and asked for the school to contact me with any issues (which they did not). But now I'm sensing a little more resistance in the teacher's attitude, and have been disappointed by my sons being excluded from their class' Halloween party (which does at least take place in a different classroom), and the vague letter about treats in class...so I'm not so sure, and am really interested in hearing about how other parents balance avoidance at school.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Well, you may know from my previous posts how frustrated I have been with our school. I have been encouraged by my supporters to speak directly with parents, even if it makes me seem 'intense' -- it is my kid's life, so I need to do everything possible.
With the help of my PAC president, I wrote this for the newsletter:
Quote:
Peanuts in the School

Unless you are in Division 10, you may be unaware that there is a child in our school who has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts. Hallowe'en is a scary time for him (in more ways than one) because there are a lot of peanut-based treats that come to school at this time of the year. Should he ingest a very small amount -- less than a half a peanut -- it will cause him great physical distress which will require him to be medicated and taken to the hospital. If he does not receive his medication, he could die from such an exposure. 

We have a very thorough emergency plan at the school in case there is an accidental exposure, but the ideal scenario is to avoid such a traumatic, preventable event. We are therefore requesting that you remind your children that is very important that they wash their hands after they eat a peanut-containing product at school, whether it be at lunch time or on the playground. As peanut butter is sticky and peanut oils potent, our son runs the risk of being exposed to peanuts on every touched surface of the school and playground; should he touch peanuts and then touch his eyes, nose or mouth he will have a life-threatening allergic reaction. It is against our school district's policy to designate a peanut free school in order to protect him, but we are respectfully asking you, parent to parent, to leave peanut-based products at home. Our child's life could depend on it.

Thank you so much for your understanding and cooperation,
Caroline & Randy
ps If you or someone you know has a serious life-threatening allergy, we have gathered a number of resources and would be very willing to share them. Please contact us through the school directory.


I have also written this post: http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1562
I really want to bond together so we get a good strong message out there and face these challenges together.

I look forward to other people's replies.

Caroline2

_________________
son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Quote:
I have also requested that a letter go home to the entire student body asking that foods containing eggs/ peanuts be avoided as recess snacks (which is a time when the children eat under minimal supervision while running around the playground


Recess is a break for the kids to participate in physical activity. It is not snack time. The schools in my neighbourhood do not allow anyone to eat during recess time.

Quote:
Should he ingest a very small amount -- less than a half a peanut


I am concerned other parents may view this statement as "he isn't taking responsibility for himself" and not continue through the rest of the letter. Perhaps the phrase, "Should he come into contact with" would take the focus off your childs responsibilities and put the focus onto the other children spreading it around the school.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6492
Location: Ottawa
I am thoroughly discusted that a parents right to send "treats" to school takes priority over the right of the student to attend class! I am shocked and amazed that schools feel it is ok for anyone to prepare anything for consumption of the students. I believe that being a parent does not make you a god person and that many parents have been known to harm children. It is because anything can be hidden in food that children are routinely warned not to eat anything unless their mom or dad has checked it after trick or treating. So what makes these treats safe? The fact that they are consumed 12 hours earlier? I think it sends a mixed message.
Most faciities that prepare food for the general public are inspected by Health Dept on some sort of basis. How do I know the level of hygiene of some other families home?
What kind of public education is it when a child is informed that they are not welcomed at school because they woud rather have a festive occasion. Unless you are Wiccan, it isn't even a religious holiday! (I'm not even sure for the Wiccan's)
If the school had said you are not invited because you are female, black, in a wheelchair or Jewish, believe me people would sit up and take notice. These kids can not change what they are, believe me no one wants to be deathly allergic!
OK-I'll stop ranting, but man-it really gets my blood boiling!

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:07 am 
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Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 12:18 am
Posts: 45
Location: Edmonton
At most schools in the Catholic board in Edmonton snack time is before or after recess in class. It first ensures safety and second gives the chance for the teacher to see what kind of food the kids are eating - as this has been shown to have a dramatic effect on schoool performance. I think this is wonderful, b/c you never know outside, and even thoug one class may have a ban, others may not. All teachers also send their kids to the bathroom to wash their hands before and after snack and before and after lunch. I've mentioned to my mom what a great idea this is and she agrees. I can only hope that other school boards follow suit!

Caroline

_________________
Anaphylaxis to fish, nut, peanuts, soy, birch, and grass.
OAS


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 688
Location: Cobourg, ON
I am surprised that children are allowed to eat outside. It has been the norm in most schools I have been in here in Ontario that snacks are eaten inside because of food allergies, insect allergies and garbage problems. Last year, I didn't request allergen free parties. I did insist that my daughter not eat anything unless I sent it. I always baked for school celebrations and sent in extra treats for my daughter. The teacher was very vigilant to make sure that all snacks were peanut/nut free and that hand washing and table washing was done. There were only 3 food celebrations during the year. With careful supervision and appropriate clean up, I think it is another learning situation for the children and my daughter. Her allergies do not appear to be going away so it will be important for her and her friends to learn what to do in different situations.

_________________
13 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, tree nuts and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
10 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:53 am
Posts: 207
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Our school division (River East Transcona in Winnipeg, Manitoba) has an excellent policy. Of course, not every school administers the policy in the same way so it still takes some work to ensure they're following the rules but at least you have the division behind you.

Here's the link.

http://www.retsd.mb.ca/site/about/policy/polmain.html

Here are the sections of the policy that apply to Anaphylaxis.

JLCG Anaphylaxis
JLCG-R1 Anaphylaxis Procedure
JLCG-R2 Anaphylaxis Avoidance Strategies

The avoidance strategies allows for all levels (Administration, ALL parents in the community, staff & students) to be involved in avoding issues related to allergies.

We recently went to a school in our division for a volleyball tournament and when I got there I realized they were selling home-made treats with peanuts and nuts in them. I brought the policy to the attention of the staff on duty. They went to the office, read the policy, and removed the items from the sale, cleaned up the table and apologized for the oversight. It was good to be able to refer to something in writing as opposed to just saying there was a policy.

We had a parent advisory meeting a couple of weeks ago and they were talking about fundraising for the band program. Someone suggested a chocolate bar (Simply Delicious) that is really - simply delicious - but it contains almonds. The principal immediately chimed in and stated that the division has a policy against fundraising with products that contain peanuts/tree nuts and that we wouldn't be able to sell them. Of course, one person at the meeting had to voice their disapproval ("You've got to be kidding me - I could sell 3 cases of those bars without batting an eye.") The principal reiterated the policy and said that they simply can't have nut products on campus - period. And this is high school! I was very impressed.

_________________
adult son allergic to peanuts, most tree nuts, eggs and penicillin.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Mharasym,

That's what schools need, a principal that is willing to stand his or her ground, with the parents as much as with the students.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Wow. I was just reading through your school division's anaphylaxis policy, Mharasym. It is so detailed. It must be an incredibly helpful reference tool in dealing with school administrators.
Here is my school district's policy, really it's just a blurb at the bottom of the section about medication and nothing more. Check out #7.
http://new.lethsd.ab.ca/pdfs/pp504.1.3.pdf

A move to Winnipeg may be in our near future. I would be very excited to move to a school district with a more comprehensive policy.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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