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 Post subject: field trips
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm
Posts: 8
Hi! I have been working hard all year to teach my class about how severe my allergies really are (anaphylactic to all tree& ground nuts). My class seems to be understanding and I feel safe in my classroom. Here's my problem. My grade 7 class is joining the grade 8 class to go see the nutcracker and then go out to lunch at a chinese/canadian buffet! When I said that both buffet's and chinese restraunts were UNSAFE I was prsented with some options: 1. Bring a lunch (to eat in this restaurant) STILL UNSAFE
2. Have MOM eat with me (and supervise) STILL UNSAFE 3. Have Mom pick me up and take me somewhere else UNFAIR and I'M BEING LEFT OUT! My teacher is quite upset but can't do anything. Mom and I are preparing a letter to my principal. Just looking for your thoughts. PS I think I'll just boycot school that day. Thanks, Nick :evil:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Don't punish yourself by missing the ballet. Boycott the day before. :wink: (just joking about that last part)

Are there restaurants in the area that you would feel comfortable with? Do you have a few friends that might enjoy going with you and your mom there, instead of to the Chinese buffet with the class?

I don't understand why your teacher can't do anything about it. She should have checked the safety for her students before agreeing to any particular restaurant.

Good luck to you!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Personally I do not like taking my daughters to restaurants either. Is there any restaurants that you are comfortable going to? Maybe you could suggest a restaurant that you would be allright with. The few times I have eaten out with my nut allergic daughter, it has been at mcdonalds, or basic italian restaurants (pizza/pasta). Some italian do not have nuts in the restaurant because they are not used in their pizzas and pastas, but phone the restaurant and ask first.

I definitely believe that if a school is organizing a field trip, or special occassion, that no one should be left out. If someone has allergies, then the allergic child/family should be involved in the decision making regarding the planning of the food related portion of the trip. Schools have a responsibility to treat a child in such a way that does not make them excluded, and hurt their feelings.

I run into this a lot with my daughter too...where the school flaunts forbidden foods infront of her and contibutes to her feeling left out. Sometimes I feel that the school values danties over my daughters safety and feelings.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I agree--If there is a restaurant where you feel safe eating I don't see why the class couldn't go there. If there isn't a restaurant where you can eat, would you feel comfortable bringing your own lunch to a restaurant which doesn't have nuts on the menu? That would be what I'd advocate for as I'm not comfortable eating in restaurants.

If the school doesn't understand the severity of your allergies, maybe you could provide some literature for them to read.

I posted this elsewhere on the site, but Canadian allergists have come up with a document explaining the risks of allergies in a school setting. They deal with the issue of cross contamination and of the risk of coming into contact with nut protein.

Here's a link: http://csaci.medical.org/schools.html

I don't see why the school should expect your mother to get involved. It is their responsibility to provide a safe environment for you.

Good for you for standing up for yourself. Let us know how it turns out.

Best wishes,
Lisa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17 pm
Posts: 246
Location: Niagara region, Ontario
Nick,

Welcome to the forum! It is nice to see someone your age join us. I have a close family friend who is in grade 8 and peanut-allergic. His mom says a way to make the school understand is to compare your situation to a student in a wheelchair. Would the school plan a fieldtrip to a place that is not wheelchair accessable? Perhaps if you pose this question to the teacher, it would put things into perspective for her. Good luck!! You sound like a fighter and I'm sure you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Soccermomt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm
Posts: 8
Funny you mention the wheelchair analogy. We are using this example in the letter we are writing to the school (discrimination seems to be something they understand). Thanks for every body's help and suggestions. The letter goes to the school tomorrow, along with the unsigned permission slip. Cheers, Michelle & Nick :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Please let us know how this goes with the school.

Also, if you live in a major city (and get your mom's permission to tell us which one it is) some people here might be able to help you finding an allergy aware restaurant. Of course, you and your mom would still have to call the place and check it out for yourselves, but someone here might be able to give you some ideas and save a few calls. But please, do get your mom's permission for that.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks for the help. We know what restaurants are safe but we felt the school should be more sensitive to my needs - they could have asked us what would be a safe choice but they didn't, that's what's frustrating. We are continuing to try to help them so that kids coming behind me with the same problems will have an easier time. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
nick&michelle wrote:
We are continuing to try to help them so that kids coming behind me with the same problems will have an easier time. :)


If you ever wonder whether it's worth the effort - let me thank you now. :) My youngest son has an allergy to insect bites and stings and he carries an epi-pen. When he started school I went in prepared to fight for his right to have his epi-pen in his class and his teacher trained. The school was already all set up - all the teachers are trained, and students are expected to carry their own epi-pen and keep an extra in the office. They have banned peanuts and latex due to student allergies, and garbage cans are emptied regularly and not kept by the doors. Also, lunch bins are cleaned regularly due to the risk of insects. This was all set into place by a parent who's son is allergic to peanuts. Her son had graduated out of the school before my son even started - but all the work she did helps him.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm
Posts: 8
Thanks for all the feedback. We decided to skip the field trip to make our point. The principal was VERY apologetic and didn't think about my son's allergies when approving the trip. She agreed that a buffet was a POOR choice due to the potential for cross contamination. She would have changed the restaurant if we would have told her sooner, but as the students were very excited about this particular place, my son felt he would be harassed if he were the reason for a change. The school has agreed to check with us BEFORE booking future field trips involving food. Thanks, Michelle
AnnaMarie, thanks for the last comment. It sometimes feels like we are pulling our hair out to get people to understand. We've done a lot of teaching to the students in my son's class and it seems to have paid off. Some of the adults still may need some work to appreciate the seriousness of these allergies :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Since allergies are an 'invisible disability' and also eating food to a non-allergic person isn't a cause for alarm people so often forget or don't understand. A friend whom I don't see that often but have known for a long time now once invited me out to a Thai restaurant. I've eaten at her place once before and she has tried to take me out for lunch a number of times so she knew about my allergies, but I think she forgets. Another friend whom I've known for....I guess 11 years now....wanted to buy me something to eat when we were at Starbucks recently. When pressed I just reminded him of my allergies. He hadn't forgotten, but he wasn't too sure which allergies I have and also didn't realize how careful people with nut allergies have to be.

But that is no excuse for a school---it really is their responsibility to keep *all* students safe. I'm sorry that you had to miss the ballet! But at least you made your point and everyone at the school will remember about the need to make sure that school activities are safe for all. Congrats on successfully educating the educators!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 10:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Hey Nick, is that your project I was reading about in the AL magazine? Great work.

Good luck on the Science Fair - and let us know how it goes. :) [/b]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:57 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:55 pm
Posts: 412
Location: Vancouver, BC
Is that the same Nick?? I read your article in AAIA's newletter this summer and in AL recently. I am so inspired by you! It takes a lot of guts to do what you have done. I hope that you will take your research and show it to your Minister of Health and your Minister of Education. I think it would speak volumes to them to see how a student has to take matters into his own hands to ensure his safety, and to do so in such a positive, powerful way. I think you have done great thing. Thank you on behalf of my son and our family.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 6:10 pm
Posts: 8
Hi, this is michelle - Nick's mom, and yes this is the same child who has wrote the article(s) for both the AAIA and AL, who was telling about field trips. We've had a very emotional year. If you can believe this, his school science fair judges (teachers) gave his project poor results as they felt it made no scientific sense and was confusing!! :shock:(What is confusing about reducing a behaviour after teaching???) He was not allowed to compete at the next level (but his brother did who looked at beans growing towards the light). He was devastated. His father (a senior research engineer) is a judge at the science fair and he asked his coworkers their opinion and all felt it was exceptional work. We tried to appeal through the school board but they could not do anything. He is getting a LOT of POSITIVE support from this article and he is feeling a bit better about the whole thing. A LOT of positive have happened. His classmates have been exceptional - no nuts at all, and now they are quite protective of him. All are capable of using an epipen as well. His teacher asked me where to purchase nut-free cookie dough for an upcoming fair. So he certainly has made an impact. He will be participating at the AAIA run in Whitby with the children's activities tent and is starting to invent a teaching board game aimed at younger children. Thanks for your interest! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Michelle, sorry to hear things didn't go well at the science fair. But, having people learn from what he did is actually higher praise. It may not seem that way to him right now, but hopefully he will eventually.


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