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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:46 pm
Posts: 7
Hi, I'm new to the forum and wanted to share a recent school related episode.

My 10 year old daughter tried out for a one-day volleyball tournament and she made the team! The event was being held at a local high school, so I insisted that I attend as a "parent volunteer", especially since I did not know what type of surroundings/supervision would be in place. My 10 year old is getting more persistent that is "isn't cool to have Mom attend". Regardless, I did, and was glad I had.

While at the tournament one of my daughters team mates (a Grade six boy - not in her Grade 4/5 class), purchased a "Reece's Peanut Butter cup" from a vending machine at the high school. My daughter pointed this out to me and I immediately asked her teacher to ask the boy NOT to open it/eat it. Her teacher informed me he had already told this boy to put it away. My daughter is allergic to Peanut butter/NUTS.

We then returned to the bench seats to discover the boy had already opened it and was "eating it". I went to her teacher and asked him to ask the boy to put it away and wash his hands and pointed out they would be "sharing a volleyball shortly for the next game". The teacher informed me he had just told this boy to "finish eating it and wash his hands". I was very disappointed, but left it at that and told my daughter we would go and wash her hands well after any other games.
That day I sent an email to the Principal and expressed that I was "disappointed" in how my daughter's teacher had handled this. I expressed that if this boy "choose not to follow his instructions not to eat the product", perhaps he also choose not to follow his instructions "to wash his hands".
My daughter informed me the next day the Principal went into her classroom and informed the class that the kids are not to purchase food products at any classroom events. She made this announcement when their French teacher was in the room, but not her Teacher. Whether or not she spoke directly to my daughters teacher is still unknown to me.
I spoke to the Principal and asked if she had also informed the Grade 6 class, and the "boy" of this rule, which she had. She said she spoke to this boy and he felt bad as "he did not know" about my daughters allergy. She also said she would email the Principal at the high school to inform her of "nut products" in their vending machine.

I am hesitant to bring up the topic again to my daughters teacher. I worry that if you "rocks the waters" too much, the teacher may begin to resent your child.

Lesson Learned: Always have the Teacher/Coach inform the "team mates" of the allergen!!

Just looking for any feedback as to what, if anything, I should do at this point??


Thanks, Deb

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Have a Daughter with allergy to peanuts/nuts.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Deb I think you handled the situation great. I can understand your not wanting to step too hard on your daughter's teacher's toes... I think that following up with the principal was the thing to do -- as a result a really good new rule (no outside food purchased at classroom events) has come into effect. It seems as though the principal is working in your daughter's best interest and took the initiative to makes things right which is very encouraging and would help me feel better about the situation. In retrospect, hearing that the boy was sorry and wasn't aware of your daughter's allergy, if a similar situation were to come up again, you or your daughter (along with the teacher perhaps?) could inform the student who is eating the peanut/nut product about her allergy. Perhaps by understanding why they can't eat the food item, the student might be more inclined to comply in an effort to "help keep her safe". (I guess that will be taken care of now by ensuring that all students are informed of classmates allergies ahead of time) I feel that it really was the teacher's responsibility to be on top of what the student was doing with the chocolate bar and leading him to the bathroom for hand washing etc. He certainly shouldn't have been allowed to finish eating it -- it could have been confiscated and returned to him at the end of the day. Because you would have liked her teacher to handle some things differently, why not take the opportunity to have a casual discussion with him to tie up some of the loose ends your feeling about the incident. Bring up the subject with him in terms of discussing it as a "really good opportunity for learning" in that you recognize that there are always new scenarios and situations that come up and that keeping your daughter safe in these situations is something that you guys can work together to do. Keep it casual but talk about the "new rule" the principal implemented and how you think it will really help. Discuss other things that you feel might also help to reduce the risks (like confiscating the offending food item if the situation were to come up again, etc). I think open communication is key -- let her teacher feel like he has an ally in you, and that you're someone he can comfortably approach with questions / suggestions about your daughter's allergy. Thanks for sharing your story, it helps me anticipate some of the issues I'll be faced with as my little guy heads to school in the fall.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:46 pm
Posts: 7
Hi,
Thanks so much for your insight. I will definitely take your advice. I have to admit that over the years I have learned how to be a "calmer advocate" for my daughter. I have had alot of problems in the past with this school when there was a different Principal in charge.

Actually, when the Principal emailed me back, she stated that her opinion was that the chocolate bar should have been taken away from this boy.
I have learned however, that school authoritives sometimes do and say what they think you want them to do and say, at the time, to smooth the waters. Hopefully this is not the case in this matter - stay optimistic right!
What I will do is for the next class trip/event, I will ask the teacher to inform any other teachers/classes participating in the trip, to remind the students of this rule of not purchasing food items. I would wager a guess that you would also have to make this announcement to any "parent volunteers", as they also make the purchases. Each year there are new hurdles, but they are all part of the learning curve. Hopefully by people sharing stories we can better prepare ourselves.

Your little guy starts school in the fall you said. One thing I would suggest to you is to ask your school board for a copy of their Health and Medical Needs Policy. This was my guideline as to what the board's expectations are of the Principal, Teacher, etc. and now that Sabrina's Law is passed, we have another great resource.

Thanks again!

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Have a Daughter with allergy to peanuts/nuts.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 10:53 am
Posts: 207
Location: Winnipeg, MB
I think you did great. My son is 14 and also made the volleyball team. At a game at a different school in our school division (which is all supposed to be peanut/nut free) we went to an all day tournament where they had homemade products chock full of peanuts and nuts for sale. It was a fund raiser for a band trip. I pulled aside the person I could tell was organizing the sale table and make them aware of my son's alleriges and reminded them about the school division policy not to serve or allow peanut and nut products in the school. I told them the smell alone would require us to use the fire exists as my son would not be able to exit the gym with the products there - the smell was intense.

They listened patiently as I expressed my concerns not only for my son's safety but also because they should be followingn division policy. They wen to the office, checked the policy and confirmed that I was right. They removed all of the offending products and wiped down the tables and then tracked me down to tell me that they had taken care of the situation. I was very appreciative of their efforts. I felt bad as they were counting on the profits for their fundraiser - but it needed to be done - even if we had no intension of buying anything at the sale.

By this time I had told my son's coaches (who are university volunteers and not staff) about the situation and asked all of the players to wash their hands before the game.

All went well and we had no problems, although I spent a small fortune on chips, pop and Nestle bars to make up for their loss of potential revenue! I guess even when the division has a policy each school administers it slightly differently. This wouldn't have happened at our school. There is nothing in the school that contains nuts and peanuts, including any fundraisers. Of course high school students will do pretty much what they want, but so far Stephen hasn't noticed anyone breaking the rules - I'm amazed! It's a small school (only 750 students in grades 9-12) and i th ink that certainly helps with the community atmosphere. The principal has also held a child in his arms who was in full blown anaphylaxis and he is our best champion for the cause.

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


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