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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
My daughter is allergic to dairy, eggs and peanuts. She is anaphylactic to all three. Milk protein is especially nasty being her worst allergy and has landed her in the ER numerous times. She is getting ready to go the school for the first time this year. She's only 5. We had a preliminary meeting with the vice principal of the school and many things were discussed. The main issue is that although the kids eat lunch in the cafeteria, they eat during recess as well. However, recess takes place in the classroom. They said they do not wash hands after recess and they do not wipe. They will not take the kids out of the classroom during recess. The alternatives they have given me is that either I buy the wipes for all 25 kids everyday or I buy the food for all 25 kids for recess to make sure it's safe for my daughter, which would eliminate the need to wash hands or use wipes (from the school's perspective). My personal preference is to have the classroom food free. I don't want to ban any foods. Let them eat and drink milk and eggs, just do it outside of the classroom please. School is not interested in that idea and is asking me to look into additional funding if I cannot provide the cost of wipes or food.

It is going to cost me roughly $1000 per month to feed 25 kids 5 days a week. It is going to cost me $500 per month for wipes 5 days a week. I cannot afford either but having them eat goldfish crackers (cheese!) and drink milk or yogurt tubes is not acceptable given that they will not wash (claiming it takes too much time to wash hands of 25 kids) or wipe (claiming it costs too much money to buy wipes). It's like sending my daughter into a minefield.

I have no idea what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions?

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 641
Location: AB, Canada
I'm so sorry, I know how stressful the start of school is. I can't believe the kids don't have to wash their hands before eating, that's awful from more than an allergy perspective. Most allergic parents I know provide lysol wipes for tables etc to make it easier for teachers. Also, if a child is anaphylactic the school *should* have the classroom allergen free. Since the kindergarten class likely has recess at a different time than the rest of the school (may change daily depending on activities) it is easier to have it in the class, I think this is pretty common. They should do everything they can to ensure your DD is safe.

Something else you'll want to ensure is that she can have an epipen in the classroom, many schools want them kept in the office.

_________________
DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
That isn't right that they ask you to pay for the snacks or the wipes. When our school opened in 2001 they sent letters home asking that anaphylactic allergens for any student in that specific classroom not be brought into the classroom. There is one class with dairy and egg so kids do not bring those items. My friend whose child is in that class just takes her home whenever possible to give her more variety. He just accepts it as fact that they cannot bring those items in.

Is there a support group in Halifax or Nova Scotia? I strongly suggest finding other parents who have already "been there done that" in your city and ideally your school district.

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


Last edited by walooet on Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I am flabergasted! :frightened

It sounds as if the vice-principal has no intention of doing anything regarding the risk of exposure to your daughter's allergens and feels that if you want to make an issue out of it, you can pony up the money. Food allergies have been shown to be considered a disability for the purpose of travel by the CTA.

The NS Ministry of Education Supporting Student Success refers to the Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings for information. http://studentservices.ednet.ns.ca/documents


Quote:
PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Free schools
5 (1) All public schools established or conducted pursuant to this Act are free schools.

(2) Subject to this Act and the regulations and notwithstanding the Age of Majority Act, every person over the age of five years and under the age of twenty-one years has the right to attend a public school serving the school district or school region in which that person resides, as assigned by the school board.

(3) A school board may, in accordance with the regulations, admit foreign students and, notwithstanding subsection (1), fees may be charged to such students as prescribed by the regulations. 1995-96, c. 1, s. 5.

6 repealed 2000, c. 11, s. 2.

http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/eductn.htm

Your school's VP sounds like a bully! Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if Bill c-45 (Westrey mine) shouldn't apply to schools that refuse to take simple precautions!
Quote:
the Government believes that the criminal law can provide an important additional level of deterrence if effectively targeted at -- and enforced against -- companies and individuals that show a reckless disregard for the safety of workers and the public.
:verymad

I'm just shocked and appalled and will have to post more tomorrow! :banghead

_________________
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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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
Susan said,
Quote:
Your school's VP sounds like a bully! Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if Bill c-45 (Westrey mine) shouldn't apply to schools that refuse to take simple precautions!


My DH and I discussed this a long time ago, and I posted this awhile ago.

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=6737
Government of Canada and Bill C-45

grrrrr this is just not right and I agree that the VP does sound like a bully....not surprising, they are everywhere.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Thank you everyone for responding. UPDATE on our situation:

So, currently the VP has agreed to send a letter advising parents that there is a student with food allergies, but will not ask them to refrain from sending those allergens. In order to ask for that, she said we would have to pay for food for at least a month or more. Essentially, we have to give back something to the parents in return - sort of meet them halfway. Apparently, the school is not allowed to ask the other parents to send a wipe with their kid for after food. VP has also given us permission to be able to come in the school and observe recess and lunch. Her ideas to keep my daughter safe so far or what they are willing to do:

- wash hands after lunch (but not after recess)
- have me take my daughter away for lunch (I don't mind that)
- have me buy wipes for the class for use everyday
- have me buy food for kids for recess
- have me look into donations from stores for food and wipes if I cannot afford it
- have me look into private schools for my child
- have me look into smaller schools as an alternative
- give me 15 minutes during staff meeting (sometime in June/July) to address my daughter's needs
- send letter to other parents advising them that classroom has allergies so "be aware"

On the upside, I just finished speaking to the person responsible for Anaphylaxis Policies in Student Services at the Department of Education. I had put in a call last week. He assured me that was is being asked of me is unreasonable and that he suspects that the VP is unaware of all the policies and plans in place for children with food allergies. He said that he is working with the student coordinator currently on my situation. They will be putting together a meeting to outline a plan on how to keep my child safe at school, a meeting he said that would include my husband and I, the school staff, specifically the teacher who will be responsible for the classroom my daughter is in, our allergist, and student services from dept of education. He's not even on board with any of the other ideas that the VP suggested, such as taking her home for lunch, etc. He will get back to me tomorrow. My fingers are crossed. This almost sounds too good to be true. I am worried though that by going over the VP's head, I will be creating a hostile environment or that she might get defensive. I don't want them to take it out on my child.

He also brought this to my attention: http://www.hrsb.ns.ca/files/downloads/p ... ergies.pdf

How do schools NOT know about this??

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 687
Location: Cobourg, ON
The requests that the school has made on you are unacceptable. If you are attending a publicly funded school then you should not have such barriers to your child's education. Your child should be able to attend a publicly funded school without any burden of cost or danger to his/her health.

My daughter has the same allergies with the same level of severity. We were very fortunate to have a very supportive staff when she started school. The school is "peanut free" as best they can and we have never asked for her other allergens to be removed. Her classmates have always washed their hands after all meals and snacks since junior kindergarten and the tables have been washed also. It probably took some time to establish the routine but overall it doesn't take much time now. Kids finish eating at different times and there was never a line up of 25 kids long at the sink. I taught one period in my daughter's class for 4 years and watched the routine work well everyday. It wasn't a big deal.

Older students helped clean the tables after each snack and lunch while my daughter was in kindergarten and grade 1. The older students loved helping out and readily volunteered to assist. Now the classmates have taken over the job. I do provide the cleaning cloths (15 each week) and I take them home each week and wash them over the weekend. By doing this chore I ensure that there are clean cloths used each snack time. My daughter's desk is always done first.

These routines are well established now (my daughter is in grade 5) and I hope it will help her friends to remember the needs of my daughter as they grow up. These routines have carried over to activities outside of school already. At birthday parties the kids remember to wash up after eating.

Good luck. Your daughter can attend school safely and you should expect the school to provide a healthy and safe environment for her.

_________________
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


Last edited by katec on Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:26 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
May I ask why you are dealing with the VP and not the principal?
Why indeed do they not know about that document? What else do that not know about?
FYI-In our daughter's school (Ontario), each student is requested to send n a box of diaper wipes and they are kept in the classroom for wiping up.
All desks are wiped after snacks (while the students are at recess).
Personally, I send 2 zip lock baggies in dd's lunch box. One with diaper wipes cut in half marked clean; one epty marked dirty. She wipes her hands before she eats and afterwards as well. Her lunch box is the type that opens up so that she can easily see everything and eat directly out of it without having to place her food containers on the table. (unlike sac type bags)

When speaking to the school, as much as possible, bring your spouse or at least another person. You will need support! They will be able to make sure you get all of your points across. Sad but true, many people still give men more credibility than women. One your own, you may be seen as the hysterical over involved mother. Together you present a calm, united unit. Ask open ended questions. Ask them how they would deal with situations and allow them to explain what they have in place. This way, you create a diologue, them the respect and allow them to show what they know and how seriously they take this condition. You can always step in with, "that sounds good, I am still concerned about ---, how would you handle ---situation".

Remember that many people still see allergies as a mild annoyance. They aren't aware of issues of cross contamination and they don't realize that the allergen can be in candy, drinks, moisturizers, soap, paint, playdough etc. they simply think food and these other items are not on their radar.
Your child has a serious medical condition! This condition does fall under the category of a disability. Your child has all of the rights as set out in the Canadian Human Rights Act. To deny her a free public education based on her medical disability is discrimination.
Quote:
The purpose of this Act is to extend the laws in Canada to give effect, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, **, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts ... 1.html#h-2

You have a reasonable expectation for the school to keep your child safe. If they choose to allow your child's allergens in the classroom, they need to take steps to ensure that she does not come into contact with the said allergen and have a reaction.
-Is there supervision during this time?
-What sort of supervision?
-Who at the school has training on anaphylaxis?
-Who trained them and how was it done?
-How often is the training carried out?
-In the event of an anaphylaxis reaction, how would the school respond?
-Where is the epipen kept? Is it locked up? Who has the key?
-What consideration is taken regarding fieldtrips and extra curricular activities?
-Who is made aware of your daughters medical condition? How, how often?
-What is told to supply staff, classroom volunteers?
-What consideration is given to lesson plans, food use in crafts, art, science experiments, classroom celebrations and rewards?

Join the school council. If you can't commit the time, at least turn up as often as you can. Every parent is entitled to atend the meetings, you just can't vote on issue if yo are not a member-but you can still weigh in and give your opinion, present facts.

Do what you can to help the school, be a face that they come to know. You don't have to be the teachers best friend, you just want them to be able to remember who your child is. Offer to volunteer what you can, don't just be the allergy mom, become a resource. :huggy

_________________
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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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:27 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Noha wrote:
How do schools NOT know about this??


Either the VP has never encountered another student with anaphylactic allergies or the bully approach worked and scared parents away.

You didn't go over the VP's head technically - you called for guidance which was reasonable and when you told them of the requests they were the ones that said the VP was out of line. That VP was not going to listen to you --- wonder how the Principal would have been.

You now have a powerful ally. Good for you to advocate for your child! By doing this you will now help other students who don't even know it...

_________________
me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 11:08 am
Posts: 78
Location: Halifax
Susan.. to answer your question, when we first tried to contact the principal, my husband had sent an email to him since no one ever answered the phone at school. Two weeks later we got a reply by email from the VP. Her email included the forward from the principal, which just stated "XXXX, could you please deal with this?"

That's the extent of his involvement with our issue. Though I just found out that recently there is now an acting principal because the original principal is away. The acting principal has made no effort at all to be involved in this. I am not sure if he was even notified that we would like to have a meeting about addressing our daughter's allergies.

The school has an emergency plan for anaphylaxis and VP says that staff are trained to use epipens. There are rules in place in case of a reaction, which all seems fine. However, there is no supervision in classroom beyond just the teacher. I still have not gone in yet to see how recess and lunch are managed currently. My husband and I cannot do that until the criminal record check and child abuse registry check are complete. School will not give us the pass without those.

I do like the idea of two baggies for a clean wipe and a dirty wipe, and also the lunchbox that opens up. We were already looking into those and preparing to do just that.

The wash cloth idea is good too. I don't mind doing a bit more laundry. I am willing to work with the school. I just feel like I am not getting enough information talking with just one person. Perhaps I should bring that document to the attention of the VP.

_________________
Daughter: ana to milk, eggs, peanuts, allergy to pet dander, asthma, eczema
Husband: ana to aspartame, shellfish, allergy to pet dander, eczema
Myself: asthma
http://www.allergymom.ca


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
I would bet money if Nova Scotia had "Sabrina's Law" or anything like it ( with the word "LAW" in it) this would not be happening. As far as dealing with the V.P. instead of the Principal.....probably the V.P. is the "designate". Wishy washy procedures due to ability to read differently by different people.

and the bullying....I would bet money that the tactic has definitely been tried and worked in the past, and not with just the adults... :verymad

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Noha, :huggy this has got to be incredibly frustrating for you!
I'm so glad that you have the Dept of Ed and student coodinator on your side. I suggest that you hold off doing much more (if your daughter's not in school yet-is she?) until the 'real' principal returns. It sounds like th eacting principal wants to do as little as possible. Let the school gather and aabsorb the documents. Then return. Have your "list of demands" in your head and tick them off as they answer your questions. Then you'll only have a few points to request. :thumbsup

_________________
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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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
I would agree with Susan on everything & :huggy too ....except that I would do the paper trail.....hindsight as I think how the Alberta government handled the whole thing since 2005 and looking at their and school division paper trails.

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Noha, have you thought about getting in touch with Ruth Roberts at the AAIA in Halifax? Ruth might have some Halifax-specific examples of working school programs.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
Wow, just arriving - haven't had a chance to thoroughly review the whole thread yet, so just a few points...

Like Susan said, find your local AAIA person http://www.aaia.ca/en/contact.htm Looks like she's in Bedford.

My ds is has milk / nut ana, and the milk is the worst. Similar to you, I did not want to ban the foods. I also didn't want to "rattle" too many chains early on in case they labelled my son as that kid from the problem parent.

The easiest solution was to bring him home for lunch. We did this every day until he was in Grade 3 at which time he felt comfortable looking out for himself, and all his classmates also knew about his allergies and wanted to protect him. They do eat in their classrooms, but he is careful to spot anyone with yogurt tubes (HATE THEM!!) or milk and makes sure drops / smears are wiped up. I also taught staff directly involved how to recognize and manage his allergies. I really enjoyed our daily break together and kind of missed it when he wanted to eat lunch at school with his friends.

Now he's in Grade 6 I've had to teach the whole staff since Grade 6 is much more independent around the school.

I did join parent council, and got involved in many areas to get to know other parents. Now with any food celebrations they always ask for my input on how to handle kids with allergies.

You should get your hands on the consensus document "Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Settings" as well - it's available from the anaphylaxis Canada website. There are specific steps in there regarding handling milk / egg allergies, sample letters etc - and wiping the desks is one of those steps.

Lastly, at the beginning of each year each child has to bring a box of tissues to school as the school doesn't provide those ?! I don't think it's unreasonable to ask parents to send a container of wipes to school and have the kids wipe down their own desks after eating? I think even kindergarteners can do that!

Good luck.


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