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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:03 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Montreal, QC
Below is a reply (for those of you who can understand French) I got from the AQAA (Quebec's Food Allergy Association) when I asked them if anything like Sabrina's Law was worked on in Quebec. I won't translate everything word for word, but basically, it says that in Quebec, the management of allergies and anaphylaxis in the schools is the responsibility of the school's nurse and of the parents. The school nurse meets the parents and the child and elaborates and emergency plan. The AQAA supports them, offer training and they also have information kits for daycares. It's looks to me as a case by case basis.
It also says Ontario needed Sabrina's Law because nothing was in place to deal with anaphylaxix in the schools...

My question is: Is this enough to keep our children safe? Of course, as a mom, I'm not sure, because this is MY child we're dealing with... I'm glad to see some measures are taken, but I don't have a child in school yet, so I don't know how efficient and complete these are.

What do you think?

Quote:

Bonjour,

En Ontario, aucune mesure n'était mise en place devant une situation anaphylactique. C'est pourquoi une loi "Sabrina" a vu le jour. Celle-ci a obligé les écoles de l'Ontario à mettre en place un plan d'urgence en anaphylaxie.

Au Québec, la situation n'est pas tout à fait la même que celle de l'Ontario puisqu'entre autre, l'AQAA travaille depuis 1990 avec les infirmières scolaires. Notamment, elles ont été outillées pour qu'elles puissent faire face à ces situations d'urgence. En plus, en 2006, un colloque spécifiquement développé pour leurs besoins et attentes a été tenu et organisé par l'AQAA.

Aujourd'hui, les infirmières scolaires accueillent dans les écoles les enfants allergiques, complètent un formulaire d'identification pour chaque enfant et s'assurent que tout est en place pendant toute la durée de leur séjour à l'école. Aussi, la majorité des écoles possède un protocole sur l'anaphylaxie.

Dans l'éventualité où votre enfant se retrouverait dans une institution n'ayant aucun protocole, nous recommandons aux parents d'inviter l'infirmière scolaire à communiquer avec l'AQAA pour obtenir de l'information et les outils disponibles pour la gestion des allergies. Notez qu'une trousse est aussi disponible pour les services de garde et les garderies privés.

_________________
Me - Kim - No allergies
DH Ben - 31 - Allergic to nuts and peanuts, lots of environmental allergies.
DD Anne - 4 - Asthma. Allergic to dairy, eggs, mustard, kiwi, peanuts, wheat and barley... for now...
DS Francois - 1 - No allergies so far...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
While it sounds like they at least have some sort of plan, I don't think it goes far enough.
It is great to know that there is trained medical staff at each school but what about the fieldtrip? What about sport events? What about when the nurse is at lunch or before she comes in or after she has left?

It takes a village to raise a child and it takes all of the staff at a school to understand and resolve issues such as cross contamination.

I would prefer if all of the staff recieved training regarding what anaphylaxis is and how to deal with it.

Someone needs to recognize a reaction and get the school nurse. The student may not be able to.

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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: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Montreal
Not all schools have a nurse on staff, and most of the time they're part time.
Before we decided to homeschool, the school we had in mind did have a school nurse, but she kept the epipens in her office, and locked away.
On top of that, she was leaving the school everyday during lunchtime to go to a nearby restaurant.

_________________
11yo boy - peanuts nuts chickpeas
8yo daughter - peanuts, nuts, mustard, eggs, sunflowers (new! ), oral allergy syndrome
husband - pollen of all kinds
me - seafood,, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:03 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Montreal, QC
Cleo wrote:
Not all schools have a nurse on staff, and most of the time they're part time.
Before we decided to homeschool, the school we had in mind did have a school nurse, but she kept the epipens in her office, and locked away.
On top of that, she was leaving the school everyday during lunchtime to go to a nearby restaurant.


Wow... that's definitely not enough for me! ALL the staff needs to be involved in this, and the Epipens should be close to the child and accessible! Did you look at many schools or just one? I'm glad to have the opinions of people who dealt with this before! Thanks!

_________________
Me - Kim - No allergies
DH Ben - 31 - Allergic to nuts and peanuts, lots of environmental allergies.
DD Anne - 4 - Asthma. Allergic to dairy, eggs, mustard, kiwi, peanuts, wheat and barley... for now...
DS Francois - 1 - No allergies so far...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:03 pm
Posts: 40
Location: montreal, quebec
I just wanted to say a big hello to the 2 previous posters.

I too live in Montreal.

My PA/TNA DD will be starting kindergarden in 2008 and I will have many questions for the new school she will be attending.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 1:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Montreal
kdufour wrote:
Did you look at many schools or just one? I'm glad to have the opinions of people who dealt with this before! Thanks!


In our case, many factors came into play. We looked into two private schools, no public ones. We ended up forced into homeschooling, and LOVING every minute of it!

_________________
11yo boy - peanuts nuts chickpeas
8yo daughter - peanuts, nuts, mustard, eggs, sunflowers (new! ), oral allergy syndrome
husband - pollen of all kinds
me - seafood,, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Having looked into which provinces have what in place for Allergic Living mag., I can tell you that Quebec schools – or at least Montreal ones – have had a better system of training and prevention awareness through the nurses and the AQAA training than schools in most provinces.

However, there can still be gaps, and as others are noting, the system still doesn't have the consistency of a law, which you now have in Ontario. The beauty of a law is that if there isn't compliance at one school, or practices such as EpiPens locked away are being found, you can as a parent go and wave a piece of paper at the principal and say: 'not enough, see it's not me saying so, it's this law that says so.'

If enough of you in Quebec have concerns that more needs to be done, start telling the AQAA and the province this. Change happened quite swiftly in Ont. and B.C. (where there's now a ministerial order in place, not quite a law but it must be followed). If no one is saying much then those looking after this "file" will just assume the system in place is sufficient.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:18 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:03 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Montreal, QC
gwentheeditor wrote:
Having looked into which provinces have what in place for Allergic Living mag., I can tell you that Quebec schools – or at least Montreal ones – have had a better system of training and prevention awareness through the nurses and the AQAA training than schools in most provinces.


Which volume of the magazine is that article in? Is it possible to get back issues?

_________________
Me - Kim - No allergies
DH Ben - 31 - Allergic to nuts and peanuts, lots of environmental allergies.
DD Anne - 4 - Asthma. Allergic to dairy, eggs, mustard, kiwi, peanuts, wheat and barley... for now...
DS Francois - 1 - No allergies so far...


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Warning: this is a very long post!!

My kids are now in grades 4 and 1 and go to school in a Quebec public school. They have been at the same school from the get-go.

My experience has been that it is the principal who drives the school board's policy and the school's attitude toward anaphylaxis management. I have friends with kids in the same school board but at different schools, and we have seen that it really does depend on the principal.

If you have a good principal who does his/her job and takes anaphylaxis seriously, you are in good shape.

If you do not, you are in trouble. This is still the case today in 2007, despite the AQAA's stance.

When my oldest started school in 2003, we had a principal who did not do her job (on many fronts, not just anaphylaxis) and caused a lot of people are lot of stress and frustration, including my husband and myself.

The school nurse might have the best intentions, but she can only do so much about the attitude and actions of the principal. If the school is not willing to help you keep your children safe, how much power does the nurse really have to change things?

In our area (the Outaouais), the school nurse is there 1/2 day a week, as she has 5 schools to take care of (and other responsibilities, I assume). WIth regards to anaphylaxis, she is responsible for providing anaphylaxis training to the staff at the beginning of the year and for ensuring that there is a file opened for kids at risk of anaphylaxis.

When my oldest son first started school 5 years ago, the school nurse (not our current one) met me outside in the schoolyard for about 60 seconds. She confirmed that he wore an EpiPen, told me "that's great" and that was it. I was not happy about that. I have no idea what training was provided to the staff. We got no help from the adminstration in any way (still makes me angry today), and no communication. We were able to work with the teacher to put measures in place to keep our son safe. I never saw the school nurse again after that first meeting.

Kindergarten was an ongoing educational process with the teacher. It was pretty obvious at the start that she thought I was an hysterical first-time mom, but through the year we did manage to keep the lines of communication open and we learned a lot together.

It took me 1.5 years to discover that our school board had an anaphylaxis policy - a rather good one. No one at the school seemed aware of its existence, and the kindergarten teacher told me flat out that there wasn't a policy when I asked. A friend who had contacts managed to dig it up the next year - and she has kids at risk, is francophone and very savvy, so it wasn't just that I didn't know where to look. Either the school did not know there was a policy (sad) or they were hiding it from me (worse than sad).

The next year, when my oldest was in grade 1, we had a new nurse who was quite wonderful. We had a meeting with her and she was actually supportive of the things I had done to keep my son safe (e.g. ensuring he wore an EpiPen, creating posters to be put up in the classroom, ensuring that no sharing was allowed, etc.). I could tell she was an ally, and that was great.

We still had problems with the principal, though, and the stress was incredible. When my son was in grade 2, things came to a head. According to the policy, she was supposed to send a letter home to the other parents informing them that there was an allergic child in the classroom and to not send in peanut or nut products. (In previous years the teacher had taken care of it, but the grade 2 teacher did not.) When my DH and I approached her about this, she pretty much told us she wouldn't do it, hemming and hawing about how "we're not sure the policy is still in effect". I almost lost my mind. I ended up calling the school board and getting confirmation that the policy was in effect (but not before the woman on the other end of the line told me that there were children in school who could die if they couldn't eat peanut butter.... ....) All I can say is, they are all very lucky that all this was going on in French, and my French wasn't that good at the time. If I'd been able to express myself in English... well, perhaps I'm also lucky that it was in French! ;)

In the end, the school board must have called the principal, because she sent the ding-dong letter.

The nurse did the anaphylaxis training that year as well, but she confided to me later that she almost got shown the door during the training session. It was obvious that people were not taking things seriously and that they thought she was blowing things out of proportion. She finally said to them: "Look! If a child has a serious reaction on your watch and dies, you will be responsible." Apparently that got their attention. This was in 2005. Not that long ago. Imagine what would have happened if the nurse hadn't had the courage to do that...

Later that year, in the spring of 2006, we got a new vice-principal who seemed to care, which was good timing, since my youngest was starting kindergarten the following fall. And then right at the start of the new school year (Sept. 2006), we got a new principal who obviously cared and was willing to do his job. (This is the lovely man in the CBC News documentary.) And then another vice-principal came on board, and she is also excellent.

So life has been pretty good for the past 2 years. I will be honest, we were seriously considering moving to Ontario until the new principal showed up. When he told us he was there for 5 years, guaranteed, we decided to stay. I could not have handled another year with that other person.

This year we have a new nurse (#3) who also takes anaphylaxis seriously. She even took the time to meet with me and my youngest at the start of school, as she felt it was important to make contact with the kids. (I have to check to see if she met with my oldest...!)

It is not perfect (there are still pizza days), but we all work together to keep my kids safe. And that is all I really want.

But I can guarantee you - it would not be like that if our original principal was there. Regardless of how great the school nurse is.

Our original principal is now wreaking havoc in another school, and another family with an allergic child is now banging their heads against the proverbial wall. I know this for a fact because she has been in touch with me trying to figure out how to deal with the situation. And my other "savvy" friend, who had a great principal for years, now has a not-so-good principal who is causing her a lot of stress, but she is afraid to complain too much because she is afraid she will get our original principal!!

So there is my experience. In a rather long (large?) nutshell.

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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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
Great post, Karen. That certainly shows some concerning gaps. You've given the classic argument behind Sabrina's Law. It should not have to come down to the personality/inclination of a single principal.

Quote:
I will be honest, we were seriously considering moving to Ontario until the new principal showed up. When he told us he was there for 5 years, guaranteed, we decided to stay. I could not have handled another year with that other person.


Anaphylaxis policies/procedures/training need to be part of what the modern school has to provide. It's just a new fact of life with an allergy epidemic.

If anyone in Montreal is thinking of starting to organize to get a Sabrina's Law there, feel free to start asking around in this section of the forum to see if there are others also interested in organizing. The B.C. group PACT, before it was PACT, was a group of moms talking on AL's boards. They eventually got to the point of giving themselves a name, setting up a rally and driving the changes that have recently gone through in B.C. (I'll look for and post the link to the new B.C. ministerial order, unless someone beats me to it.)

For anyone contemplating organizing in Quebec: just fyi, Sara Shannon, Sabrina's Mom, lives just over the border in Pembroke, Ontario, and has said she'd be happy to help put a public face on the issue in Quebec, as needed.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 9:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 10:31 pm
Posts: 97
Location: Montreal
Cleo wrote:
Not all schools have a nurse on staff, and most of the time they're part time.
Before we decided to homeschool, the school we had in mind did have a school nurse, but she kept the epipens in her office, and locked away.
On top of that, she was leaving the school everyday during lunchtime to go to a nearby restaurant.


To follow up on Karen's post, when the above happened to us, we went to the principal, and told her we didn't agree with their epipen policy and wanted our son to carry his own epipen. Her answer ? (do remember this was a private school, not a public one)

"if you're going to give us trouble, we'll choose another family"

They have a long waiting list. They can pick and choose. We left..

_________________
11yo boy - peanuts nuts chickpeas
8yo daughter - peanuts, nuts, mustard, eggs, sunflowers (new! ), oral allergy syndrome
husband - pollen of all kinds
me - seafood,, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Wow - that is a scary reply. If she thinks you were "trouble", wait until a child in her care has an anaphylactic reaction and no one can access the EpiPens... that will be trouble.

That principal needs a serious dose of anaphylaxis education.

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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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2943
Location: Toronto
I notice that the thread about the new B.C. framework is in an adjacent thread (or that's the case for now). The link to the new and very good framework is:

http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/health/bc_ana ... safety.pdf

Also, Kim, just noticed your question about the school board survey article. That's a slightly older story - Fall 05 issue - and it was a national survey so it covers a lot of ground, not just on Quebec. However, if you want to consider what is and isn't adequate in the schools, that article does lay out the arguments and some of the gaps very well. It was a fairly ambitious undertaking.

Back issues are ordered under the 'subscribe/renew' tab in the red bar on the home page. You can see the cover of the issue first under "all issues" - also on the red bar.

Gwen

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:43 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:03 pm
Posts: 180
Location: Montreal, QC
Thanks everyone for your stories and replies!!!

Now I know that more could be done to protect our allergic children in Quebec... Since I saw the Sabrina's Law documentary, I feel I have to do something to help my daughter and other kids enjoy 'normal' school life, and for parents, have a little less worry when they leave their kids in the care of others at daycare or at school...

I don't exactly know where to start... :? But if anyone wants to help or back me up, it would be appreciated!!! ;)

_________________
Me - Kim - No allergies
DH Ben - 31 - Allergic to nuts and peanuts, lots of environmental allergies.
DD Anne - 4 - Asthma. Allergic to dairy, eggs, mustard, kiwi, peanuts, wheat and barley... for now...
DS Francois - 1 - No allergies so far...


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