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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:18 am
Posts: 1
hi all,

i just joined the forum, mostly b/c this thread caught my eye. We haven't yet been able to eliminate pizza days at our school, althought family nights are now "food free." I'm taking the position right now that my son will need to learn to manage these situations, and I absolutely trust his teacher this year to help him do that. I send him w/ his own homemade pizza, they eat in the gym, which is thoroughly cleaned afteward. We have had little luck w/ trying to "ban" foods at his school, and honestly, I'm not sure that's the approach i even want to take.

We have worked really hard at giving the teachers reliable ways to learn about and teach about the importance of being careful, not fearful, and so far this has left our son feeling empowered by his management of his allergies...I'm really proud of him!

In the end, I think I'd rather see him make a decision to remove himself if he is uncomfortable (which he has done), than to never have to manage that situation by himself. To be clear, I'm not leaving the management solely up to him, but I'm beginnign to realize that I'm not sure how much good it does for kids never to encounter their allergens (in managed environments) in teh real world.

this was a bit rambly, but i hope it makes some kind of sense.

_________________
Tracy
Mom to Gabriel (7) - allergies to dairy, egg, peanut
Caius (4)- no allergies
Wren (3 mos) - no allergies, yet


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 Post subject: school pizza days
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:30 pm
Posts: 41
Location: barrie, Ontario
It is so true that when you have a child with a food allergy everything at school seems to involve food!! My daughters school has hot dog day Tuesdays (I send her hot dog in a thermos), Wednesday is now sub day, Fridays are pizza days (I contacted the pizza store and she gets her own small safe pizza -sauce only-every friday which costs a bunch but she enjoys it so it doesn't matter). They also have bake sales, milk program, on Valentines day you can buy a cookie for someone, etc. etc.etc..

I sent Gina Clowes - "10 things every child with allergies wish you knew" to the principal and she is going to put it in the newsletter.

One of the committments of our premier was for healthy schools and schools are suppose to only supply trans fat free foods which I thought may help some of the food being offerred but nothing changed.


My daughter is allergic to soy,dairy,eggs,peanuts, intolerance for potatoes,whole wheat,

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luvmikids

daughter allergic to dairy,eggs,peanuts, soy, intolerance for potatoes, whole wheat


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Our school principal spoke about the trans fat free foods. Apparently the school gets 10 exceptions. So they can serve trans fats 10 times per year.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Our school is the same Susan -- I have heard of a school in another District having to eliminate their "hot dog" day because of the "no trans fat" rule. It's new this year.


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 Post subject: Pizza days
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:59 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Kitchener
My 9 year old daughter has an Epi Pen for milk and when she hit grade 1 they eliminated Pizza Days at her school altogether. There was griping from parents mostly, but the principal stuck her grounnd. Our JK/SK class had been dairy free and all children washed hands after snack time (which they ate off paper napkins) and all tables were washed after snack.

When she hit Grade 1 they just took the pizza out of the school and went into review mode at school. They put a Wendy's hot lunch program in once a month and a Subway lunch once a month instead. I give our principal credit -- she's great! In Grade 2 they brought pizza back with a different supplier who did it for 2 years with a dairy-free crust and no cheese (they'd even let me drop off my pepperoni for her to put on it). The manager of the restaurant would make Gabriellla's pizza first thing when the entire kitchen had been cleaned, then put it in a box and make the rest of the school orders. Each student in the school had to wash hands in their classroom before hitting the hallways after lunch (500+ students!) We did not have one reaction in those years.

This year we have no pizza program (the mother who organized it left the school). Instead we have The Lunch Lady - order form lunches, twice a month. They cater to allergies and are great. I am trying to get the school to adopt the no running-cheese menu (no mac/cheese, no milk, etc.)

Gabriella's classroom is entirely food free. The children wash their hands with the teacher before entering the class in the morning. They are not allowed to send food to school unless it has a label on the box - if it contains milk it goes home. There is no homebaking served unless I make it (they ask me to bake for all sorts of occassions and I'm fine with that--I know it's safe). The students take their lunch in another classroom where my daughter eats at a cleaned table off a special funky tray I have provided and she sits with a friend.

Some of this was a battle with our first principal back in JK/SK. They told me the had never dealt with a milk allergy in our Board. Our new principal is wonderful!

Good luck!
Sharon

Gabriella - 9, allergic to milk and raw egg, eczema
Abigail - 11, asthmatic, allergic to peniicillin & sulpha, seasonal allergies & dust & mould
Emma - 14, allergic to penicillin
Dad - allergic to penicillin & tetracycline
Me - allergic to ASA & sulpha


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
I'm so glad to hear it! I was beginning to think I was the only one.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
Hi Sharon,
I don't understand, do the children have to label all parts of their lunch? Are they not allowed to bring cheese, yogurt or other milk products for snacks or lunch? Where do the children eat snack? Who monitors the labelling?

As a side issue. I have gone out and bought cleaning cloths for my daughter's class. The custodian's room is often locked and sometimes the rags being used on the desks are very dirty. Supplies are tight in schools too. I decided to buy enough cloths for each snack and lunch for a week and then I will take them home each weekend and wash them. I have asked that my daughter's desk is washed first also. Obvious to us but not to nonallergic people. I don't mind doing this. I have asked a lot of the school and I feel I must do my part also.
Kate

_________________
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: Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:59 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Kitchener
Hi Kate,

Now that my daughter is in grade 4 there are no controls on other children's lunches/snacks -- just no food in her classroom. Any treats they send in to share have to be sent in an original package with the ingredients so they can be sent home if not appropriate. That's the only real control parents have to live with.

Currently Gabriella eats her lunch from a funky tray I provided (and the school cleans). She sits at a clean table with a friend, in the same room as everyone else eating their lunch. They put 2 classes in one room (so her classroom never has food in it, she eats in the room next door). Before her classmates go back into Gabriella's class after lunch, they must all line up and wash their hands so what they have eaten is not brought back into the class (desks, manipulatives, etc.). The goal it to keep her room food free at all times.

When she was in JK/SK there was food in the room but it was a dairy free room, period. Now that meant parent cooperation. Parents were sent a letter at the beginning of the year spelling out that they were to refrain from sending dairy items to school for snack (cheese, milk, yogurt, creamy treats, etc.) In JK/SK the parental support was overwhelming! And the little children all wanted to help Gabriella stay safe, so they were all happy to comply.

If a child brought an obvious dairy item to school for snack, they had to put it back in their bag and tell their Mom why it came home uneaten. They were offered a safe alternative that the teacher had on hand. As no one was prepared to sit and read labels on other items, we had some backups:

1 - paper towels were put out before snack time at each child's spot for them to place their snack on

2 - after snack time the children lined up at the sink in the classroom and washed their hands with soapy water. My daughter was not asked to wash her hands after eating (the policy was in place to protect her). She did wash her hands BEFORE she ate to make sure she didn't ingest something by accident. I provided the liquid soap and the dispenser to the class.

3 - after all the handwashing was done the children went to do an activity and the tables were all sprayed down with cleaner and washed off with paper towels (so no dirty cloths used).

It was really a tough fight for me to get that all in place with our old principal and I eventually took it to the Superintendent of Student Services at our Board and they wrote a policy covering Anaphylaxis (we had a one page policy prior to that, this was pre-Sabrina law 6 years ago). It was a 9-month process and we got the policy in place Board-wide just as she hit school that September for JK. It was really important to me that handwashing in the classroom be put in the Board policy so no other parent had to fight for it again.

As a thank you to her class in JK and SK (where parents were really inconvenienced with packing safe snacks). I threw a safe pizza party in class each June. All the kids had pepperoni pizza (no cheese) from a safe supplier and juice. They thought it was great.

Hope that helps.
Sharon


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 Post subject: pizza day
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:09 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Our daughter is as allergic as you can get to milk (6/6, over 100 percent on the immuno cap for three years running -- no improvement that we can see, although her results in other areas -- egg, peanuts, tree nuts -- have improved, so it may just have to do with the fact that the immuno cap can't measure numbers over 100 per cent).

Our school does pizza days once a month and I always freak out inwardly but have done nothing so far to try and change this haloed tradition.

It is frustrating that pizza holds such a central place in our kids culture.

But do I want my daughter to be a lightning rod for the fury that would undoubtedly come our way if we tried to eliminate pizza day? No. We're just putting into place as many strategies as possible for keeping her safe while leaving things like pizza day intact. For ex., no food is ever allowed in her classroom, and we supply wipes so all the kids in her class can (and must) wipe their hands after morning and afternoon recess and lunch, i.e., before they touch any surface in the classroom. So the classroom is as close to a safe zone as I think it can get. Our daughter comes home for lunch (we live close to the school and my husband work evenings, so this has worked fabulously well, allowing me to get my own work done while he takes care of this meal). I do worry about the school and playground being cheesy after pizza day, but we have taken the approach that there are milk products on campus every day, so it's our responsibility to teach our daughter to have bodily boundaries, i.e., no touching her eyes, mouth, nose or ears if at all possible during recess before the kids have wiped their hands; washing or wiping her own hands after touching play equipment, etc.

Unfortunately my daughter and her friends are in a big hugging phase right now, and I'm starting to feel nervous about it. All of her friends at school have milk products. Nothing has happened so far, but I know my daughter still reacts to skin contact with milk, so it's a source of concern. I don't want to stop her from expressing affection. Has anyone else thought about this or had experience with this?

Sorry -- this is a ways away from pizza day.

Thanks,
Lee

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Lee Parpart
Toronto


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:24 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Hi Lee, yes, I worry about the backlash on my daughter by her classmates at the loss of their beloved Pizza Day. They still get to keep the fun part (it was also Pajama day or Crazy Hair Day or Sports Jersey Day etc.), they just get a hot dog and chips instead.

I'm afraid that my daughter is too cautious (if our children canbe such a thing) and is very aware of possible contaminations. She does not let anyone hug or kiss her with out asking if they have been in contact with her allergens.

I send several wipe in her lunch bag so that she can quickly wipe her hands before and after (she insists) eating. Perhaps your daughter could offer her friends a wipe after they've eaten?

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Our school council has decided to initiate a hot lunch program for those who wish to participate.

The Lunch Lady comes weekly and parents can order as often as they wish (or not).
The lunches are peanut free but I don't order them because I have concerns about cross contamination for her other allergies (she is not ready to trust others either).

Well, this has opened the door for complaints about lack of Pizza Day because dairy products are offered in the hot lunch program. I had a parent ask me yesterday why it was OK for students to eat yogurt or macaroni and cheese but not pizza. She mentioned that with the boomerang lunches program (bring your trash home), students were rincing their containers in the bathroom sink.

I must say that I'd rather see 7 students/class eat dairy items with utensils instead of school-wide consumption of pizza eaten by hand! Neither I nor my daughter hold any belief that the surfaces in washrooms are clean. Coming from a healthcare background, I teach her proper handwashing techniques which include not touching taps with bare hands after washing (dry your hands with paper towel and use it to turn off the tap or use your elbow to push the lever).

What got me was that this mother gives me the old, "I'm quite aware of food allergies as I have an allergy to tree nuts." So further discussion notes that she thinks she might have outgrown her tree nut allergies (perhaps this is why she ate the hot dog lunch without questioning the ingredients-ate the regular hot dog and bun and not one that was identified as free of peanuts/tree nuts).

Arg! If you push for school bans you are labelled as unreasonible/hystrionic but if you try to meet them halfway, you are just being difficult as it can't possibly be that bad or you'd request a complete ban... :roll:

I discussed this with the principal as I was the parent who made the arrangements for this program (better the devil you know than the devil you don't know). We really don't want to ban every food allergen. We want to work together to create a safe environment for all students by reducing the risk of exposure while teaching them how to live in the real world.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 804
Location: Vancouver, BC
It's so frustrating, isn't it? I'm learning a lot from this thread as my DD goes to K in September, and there are no policies in place currently at the school. The principal has said she has no problem with limiting nuts/peanuts for the whole school, but the health nurse (he belongs to the local health authority, but sometimes comes to the school) has said they usually encourage an allergen-free classroom instead of affecting the whole school. Because my kids (DS will be going to the same school in 2yrs) react on contact, I feel better about reducing nuts/peanuts at the whole school because of washroom taps, playground equipment, door knobs, etc, at least until they're older and know better about not touching their face even if their eyes are itchy. However, I'm worried about backlash as well.

I just heard at the PAC meeting that they do an 'egg drop', which is a science experiment where the kids create a container for an egg so that when it's dropped from the second story window, it won't break. Needless to say, many of the eggs *do* break and I'm concerned about there being raw egg goop getting spread around on people's shoes. My kids are only mildly allergic to egg, so I chose not to say anything. But arrggggghhhh!

_________________
DD 2004 Allergy to peanuts, egg, sesame, and new: lentils and chick peas
DS 2006 Allergy to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, kiwi fruit, eczema


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
I think people think I'm over-protective but they fail to realize we are dealing with life threatening situations here.

Are seatbelts and bicycle helmets over protection? Maybe if they're sitting in the living room watching tv but under the right circumstances, perfectly reasonable.

It's really apples and oranges. They are comparing their life experience to ours but not taking the life threatening aspect into account. So yes, if we were not dealing with a life threatening condition, it could be seen as overprotection.

Do they really not protect their child in a life threatening situation? :shock:

Then factor in our desire to protect our children's psyche (all lengths we go re: inclusion).

If they can honestly tell me that they would not do the same, in a simialar circumstance, I have no time to enterain their comments.

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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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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 pm
Posts: 30
Thanks Susan & Sharon for sharing your stories. It's so nice to hear some success stories out there when dealing with schools. We're having quite a challenging year with my son starting K. He's had 2 different administrators with very different ideas regarding allergy management. There are many days lately when I feel like I've hit a brick wall. He's supposedly the first multiple allergy, super sensitive child they've had. He is contact reactive. I agree with Susan's statement

Arg! If you push for school bans you are labelled as unreasonible/hystrionic but if you try to meet them halfway, you are just being difficult as it can't possibly be that bad or you'd request a complete ban...

What works? I'd love any ideas & suggestions.

_________________
Brenda (asthma)
DH (asthma, environmental allergies, milk intolerance)
DS 6 YRS (allergies - sesame, poppyseed, tree nuts, shellfish, soy intolerance, asthma, eczema)
DD 4 YRS (asthma)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
So far, I find it best to identify the issue and ask them how they plan to deal with it. I'm not sure where you are Brenda, but here in Ontario we have legislation so the school and the school board are obligated to "educe the risk of exposure to the allergen, create an individual policy, disseminate information to staff, students and parents and train all staff on how to recognize anaphylaxis reaction and how to administer emergency medicine.

If the school decides to create a risk (ei. bring in Pizza for the entire school knowing full well my child has a deadly allergy to one of the main ingredients - that will be on the hands of every student), they have a duty to create a plan to reduce exposure.

While they are speaking, you can go through your mental list of requests and tick them off. That way, you appeaar to be listening to all of their hard work in planning and you end up with only a few requests instead of a long list. You can also congratulate them on their fore thought and then point out the issues your have with their plans- it might not go far enough, it might isolate your child too much).

I try to see myself as part of our daughgters team in regards to her academia just as I do with her health care. I am learning that the school may ask me questions about protocal, events or policies not because the wish to introduce her allergens, but because they have to explain it to other parents and they are looking for information to support the policies we have agreed to have in place. We are their resources.

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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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