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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
I just opened my son's backpack, and was shocked and upset by his colouring sheet from last week. It was a large smiley faced peanut with the caption 'I'm good for your bones etc, its' good to eat foods like me, and meat and beans'. DS had to colour it in, then draw some foods from the group that he likes to eat.. He drew some different shapes and the teacher (either a sub or nutritionist) wrote 'meat, fish, peanuts'

What the heck? He is wearing a bracelet that clearly states his allergy (whenever there's a sub I remind them of his allergy), I think it's totally insensitive and confusing to have him colour a happy peanut. I know they aren't going to change the lesson plan for 1 student, but they could have made a point of saying that 'not everyone can eat everything' and drawing a red circle/line around his or something.

Am I being crazy? The Canada food guide makes me cringe, but I don't expect them to change it for every food allergy, but I feel that this is over the top.

I feel sick, and am very angry. Any advice about what I should say or do?

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Becky, you are not being crazy. At age 5 I'm sure you are working hard to instill the necessary information he needs to keep safe (peanut awareness etc.). To have the teacher add in peanuts etc. as good food for him is contradicting everything you have taught, peanuts are not safe (for him),not good for his bones. Very confusing for a 5 year old when it comes from a teacher/authority figure in his little world. I would absolutely say something, could he have not colored in an apple or a banana, those are good for your bones too!!
I guess on a positive note you can use this coloring page as an opportunity for you to have another discussion with your son.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:36 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Alberta, Canada
Hi Becky!

I would put a positive spin on this. At least now he knows what a peanut looks like. Last year I was finding shelled peanuts in our flower boxes(empty it was fall) and then I figured out squirrels were coming into the yard and "hiding" them in the flower boxes for later.

I took one and I showed it to my DD and I said, "This is a peanut. This is the shell and inside (I broke it open) these are the peanuts..you are allergic to these, you cannot eat them EVER, you cannot be near them EVER and if you see one I want you to go to a trusted adult and tell them exactly what I just told you, then ask that adult to call me"

I am under the impression that you think the school was insensitive to what your son has to go through and to a certain extent I'd agree but I think as long as you educate your son that is always going to be your best defense.

_________________
Mom Seaonal Allergies, snow mould, pollen, fresh cut grass
Dad Severe Adult Eczema, Asthma, Dogs, Cats, Horses, Hay
DS Penicillin
DD Peanuts,Treenuts,Seafood, Shellfish, Dairy, Eggs, Any Hairy Animal Latex, Penicillin, Controlled Moderate Asthma


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Dollysmommy - positive spin is always great, but I can see Becky's frustration.

With a boy of 5, you're trying to make sure the food rules are instilled as he first stays at school.

To me, it's not the part of showing the peanut that's so concerning, but more the emphasis on this being a food that's "good for you". So Mommy tells you one thing at a brand new authority figure tells you it's good for you with a big smiley face. That's confusing. Someone needs to tell the nutrition sub that while she may be well-intentioned, she needs to start the class with: "Is anybody here allergic?" Then if there are peanuts, nuts or dairy allergies, perhaps the child could draw in their own favourite food. Or say the milk picture is soy milk ... Maybe get to draw a red circle and an X through the peanut to show 'not good for me'??

Becky, sounds like a call to the school principal or vp to me.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
I think there must be many ways to cover the food pyramid without resorting to smiling peanuts representing the meat and meat alternatives! I think that giving the climate we are in when companies are billing themselves as school friendly because of their lack of peanuts, it is outrageous to force the children to colour in a smiling peanut that says "I'm good for you." It is insensative on the part of the teacher and sends mixed messages to a 5 year old.

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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: Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
I can see your frustration, but in the long run I don't see any harm coming from this 1 teaching moment. Peanuts being part of a healthy food group is fact, and he's going to learn this sometime. As long as he knows it's not safe for him then I think it's OK. My son has been anaphylactic to milk and nuts for 9 years, and has always had to endure tons of commercials about how great milk is. The only one that ever really bothered him was one where there were happy children floating on top of huge pieces of cereal in a giant ocean of milk!! Can't remember what cereal it was for, but although it made him queezy just watching it, he never internalized the message that they were sending that it was good for him. I don't want him growing up thinking all the foods he's allergic to are the enemy, because that would just make him so much more anxious than he already is.

So for me, I have never had a problem with him doing school assignments on healthy eating and the food groups, but I would absolutely draw the line at actually utilizing these foods in the classroom for art projects - no painting happy faces on actual peanuts, nuts, or using milk or yogurt as the paint!

Last year his class won an ice cream party for selling the most magazines in the fundraisier, and rather than keeping him home that day, I worked with the parent council and had them bring in some soy frozen dessert, with milk & nut free toppings so he could enjoy the day as well. I then volunteered to serve the ice cream to the class to make sure that everything was done safely for him regarding cleaning desks, using separate ice cream scoops, etc. I know many parents would have insisted that the party be changed to a milk-free, nut-free food, but then the other parents would have been ticked off, and then it would trickle down to their children, and my son would end up being disliked and bullied because he denied them their fun.

I guess I've been at it with the schools longer than some here, but I can say that what works best for us is not trying to challenge the teachers on what they teach, but rather just ensure that when food is in the classroom, it's a safe environment for my son. Other parents REALLY do not understand what it's like to have a food-allergic child! It's a delicate balance between keeping these kids safe and putting them in the line of fire from the wrath of uneducated parents.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 933
Location: Oakville, Ontario
I hope this colouring project included a lesson and a sensitive discussion about how some children are allergic to some of the foods in this food group - including peanuts, nuts, beans, chicken, beef and pork!

On the other hand, I have to say that I think "Momtobunches" has some very valid points. I think these situations can be used as important learning opportunites. I don't think it's possible to shelter our allergic kids from all of these situations, and I think we need to help them to understand that people do not mean any malice (we don't want our children to grow up thinking others intend to harm them.) We have taught our son that the foods he is allergic to are healthy foods, and most people can eat them, but they are not safe for him. We teach him that these foods are not "bad" and the people that eat them are not "bad", but he must not ever eat these foods. Our son has multiple food allergies, including many common foods which are in the classroom. The only foods that are restricted at his school are peanuts, tree nuts and sesame. Other than that, he is often near food that is not safe for him (particularly at school), and we are faced with continually educating him and others around him. Our son is now 7 years old. Just last week, his class was learning about fractions, and the teacher was using apples for the demonstration (our son is newly allergic to apples). The children were then invited to eat the apples, and of course he could not take part. (Fortunately, our son is dealing with this in a mature fashion, and he simply stated, very matter a factly, that he cannot eat the food). He has a "treat" box at school (healthy treats) for the occasions when food is brought into the classroom. At his school, they permit fruit, cheese and veggie trays for birthdays, but he is not permitted to eat from them (he is allergic to several fruits, plus we do not want him eating any food that did not come from home). Our son has coloured pictures of eggs, fish, nuts, sunflowers, etc. when the class is learning about healthy foods and Canada's food guide and other class activities. We think our son's school has been extremely diligent and considerate of our son's (and others) food allergies, but it would be too much to ask for them to eliminate all the unsafe foods and activites (eg. egg or tuna sandwiches are permitted, as well as all fruits). They would never dream of bringing in the unsafe foods for a craft activity, but he has coloured pictures of his allergens and talked about them as being "healthy" food choices. I feel sad that he cannot eat those foods, but we cannot ignore that others may safely eat them, and he may safely discuss and learn about them, but he cannot eat those foods that are not safe for him. By the way, our son has other health issues besides food allergies, so we definitely want to raise him (and his sister!) with an optimistic and positive view towards life with a view to making the very best of any situation. We want our children to be resilient and realise that others may have health issues (or other concerns) as well. We want our children to have the strength to handle their situation, but also to have compassion for others with any health issues of other problems they might have.

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, peas, carrots, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 650
Location: AB, Canada
Thanks so much for all of your replies, I've been mulling over this all week.

I can see the side of 'it's a learning experience, peanuts are a part of the outside world', as well as the other momma bear 'are you kidding me?'.

I think the colouring exercise COULD have been a learning experience, but there was no mention of allergies (him in particular).

I did talk with the teacher, and it was a new teaching assistant who labeled his picture as 'peanut', but she didn't really see any problem with colouring a happy peanut til I said it could be confusing to him.

She took the sheet, talked to the TA and went over it with DS, explaining that although it was safe for other people, it wasn't ok for him, and had him draw red Xs through both peanut pictures. I'm ok with it, and I'm glad I caught it. When I saw her at the end of the day, she had thought about it and agreed that it could send mixed messages.

Thanks again for all of your replies, and points of view.

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6491
Location: Ottawa
Sometimes I think that our children are going to grow up into really remarkable people because they have opportunities to watch their parents advocate for them over and over again.

I think society is bound to be better because of them I think the vast majority of parents love their kids but our kids often see us going to bat for them in ways that other children don't get to see.

Our children (I hope) will grow up understanding that it's OK to ask questions and educate those who should know better but don't. They learn that authority figures are fallible but mean well. They learn that they need to respect themselve and command that same rspect from others.

That has got to make them amazing adults! :popcorn

_________________
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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