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 Post subject: The Bullying Has Started
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Well....I was really thinking, hoping and was almost convinced that we would be untouched by the allergy bullying. Then, two incidents this week changed all of that.

The first incident was maybe just regular bullying - my son's lunch bag was taken by an older child, dangled over the lunchroom garbage can and then was knocked into the garbage by another boy (with everything dumping out). The teacher intervened and the older boys were asked to take everything out. Naturally, my son wasn't touching anything that was left from his food that day. So that could be regular bullying, but anything to do with my son's food puts me on edge.

The second incident however was definitely allergy bullying - an older boy came up to my son on the playground with an entourage to tease my son about the fact that he can't eat any dairy while they all laughed.

So, naturally we need to deal with this. We sent an email to the school about the first incident with the lunch bag and highlighted our concerns about any students 'tampering' with our son's lunch. On the second incident (which we just learned about this morning) I asked my son what he thinks we should do. His response: "maybe we should go on the Allergic Living site and ask them what they think I should do." How great is that :D ?!! So, I think he and I may write a posting together tomorrow. I think this might help him feel empowered to find a good solution. So nice to know that he feels supported by this forum :happydance !

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:45 pm
Posts: 805
Location: Vancouver, BC
What a great idea by your son to come to the forum for ideas!

I'm so sorry you are both having to deal with this. I agree that the school staff all need to be on board about how serious bullying is, and be prepared to deliver consequences for kids who bully others. No other suggestions, but good luck getting the situation resolved.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:05 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Did they tease him about his allergies? Or did they threaten him by saying they would give him his allergen?

Neither one is good but the second is more serious to me.

How old is your son? Old enough to know that there is lots of good help here!

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


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Good questions Walooet!
Fiona, this is awful! Regardless of allergies or not the bottom line is this is NOT ok behavior! Add in the allergy equation and it is extra hurtful as well as dangerous. No one asks to be different.

I think age appropriate consequences are important but hypothetically if these are grade school kids I would hope the school could use this as a teaching experience for these boys (kids).
What about having the boys all meet, having you or staff explain what allergies are, outline the seriousness no sugar coating. Then have staff explain that friends are there to watch out for each other and ask these boys to maybe help keep an eye on your son when playing and if he ever looks ill teach them protocol for getting teachers etc. I would 'hope' by making them part of the situation it would encourage empathy and friendship. I however would also ask staff present to have these boys to point out something about themselves which they can't help but makes them different. Talk about how these differences are hurtful when teased about yet that they still won't kill them....but by teasing your son not only was it hurtful but scary as he could in fact have a life threatening reaction. If they are old enough maybe they could research and write a few paragraphs on ana allergies. !!!!!!

Just my thoughts don't know if that made any sense or not. Hopefully something will work and some good will come from this.
:huggy hugs to 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: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
And Fiona...you tell your son he is absolutely supported by his Allergic Living community!! :huggy
Smart kid! :lol:

_________________
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: Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
My son is 7 years old, in grade 2. The children involved in the lunch bag incident were 9 years old (grade 4) and the ring leader on the teasing incident is at least 11 years old. The teasing was just about trying to make my son feel bad about having allergies, not to threaten him. The lead boy came up to him at the end of school and started saying how much he loves to eat dairy foods and that my son can't have any dairy because he is allergic (in a mean way, not in a sympathetic way). My son just told him that it wasn't very nice to say, so the bully said it again while his friends (also grade 6) just laughed. My son has a lot of great friends in his grade, so thankfully, this is clearly just older boys trying to be 'superior'. My son did tell them that if they kept insulting him that he would report it to the principal.

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
My son Tyson and I have talked about what advice he is looking for. We are writing this post together. In his words, what he is looking for suggestion on is...

"What should I do or say when someone insults me about my allergies?".

The boy in grade 6 comes up to my son and says variations on "I eat/like dairy, too bad for you, you can't eat dairy". :verymad This boy is in grade 6 and apparently this is the fifth time that this has happened, but my son didn't realize what the boy was trying to say the first few times :dungetit .

We have decided that we will be reporting this child's behaviour to the Principal, but Tyson would like to be armed with some constructive and empowering words to say back if this happens again. The last time it happened, he said "Stop insulting me or I will tell the Principal".

Please feel free to reply back to Tyson. :thanksign

Tyson and Fiona

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Hello Fiona and Tyson.

My son is allergic to insects. Some kids (mostly one and two years older then he was) would do thns like say there were bees in the area my son was playinging, so he'd leave and they could play there. :evil: Other times they would go up behind hm and start makng buzzing noises.

The first few years his way of dealing with this got him in trouble, and nobody would listen to why he did the things he did.

Eventually, he handled it well. When two boys ran up behind him buzzing, he went to the teacher on yard duty and told on them. At first the teacher didn't see why buzzing was such a big til, until my son told her he was allergic to bees and showed her his epi-belt.

She called the boys over and gave them a pretty severe tongue lashng that included the terms "bullying" and "zero tolerance". She also told them just exactly how severe an allergic reaction can be.

They never did it again. Partly because the teacher made it clear that it was bullying, and partly because it's no fun bullying someone who just calmly tells a teacher. It's more fun when the kid gets upset, cries, hits, and gets in truble.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6476
Location: Ottawa
So he's looking for come backs to "variations on "I eat/like dairy, too bad for you, you can't eat dairy". This boy is in grade 6 and apparently this is the fifth time that this has happened, but my son didn't realize what the boy was trying to say the first few times ."

I'd be inclinded to say, "Um, yeah, I heard you the first 6 times..." Blow it off like it's no big deal and that you're sort of questioning his intellegence now. Definately tell the principal because he is trying to rub it in. It's not like it should come up in conversation... the school schould be able to nip this in the bud!

_________________
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: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 928
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi Fiona and Tyson, Firstly, I want to say how brave I think Tyson is, and how proud you must be, Fiona, that Tyson has been handling this situation so far. The school will definitely need to be notified of these incidents asap as schools have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying. Step 1 is to ensure the school has the information so they can deal with the child(ren) involved in the bullying. Because you live in Toronto, you might be very interested to hear that the Toronto Argonauts are VERY involved with speaking at schools regarding anti-bullying. Please see this link for their program entitled "Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program" http://www.argonauts.ca/page/huddleupOur childrens school was included in a visit last month for an anti-bullying rally in which one of the Toronto Argonauts along with one of the staff came to our school TWICE - once to talk to the kids, and then in the evening to speak to the parents. It was GREAT and the kids and parents loved it! The evening talk also involved our local constable who goes to the schools to discuss this (bullying and safety on the internet) as well as the D.A.R.E program (a 10 week program delivered to grade 6 children regarding drug awareness.) Even if you are unable to pursue the Toronto Argonauts speaking engagement, it is important to know that the school should deal with the individuals involved. The constable indicated to us that, due to privacy issues, the school may not be able to get into specifics of how they handle the children/parents, but if the bullying doesn't stop, you will need to go to the school again. Stay level-headed (tough to do!) and I would suggest to Tyson that he say "please don't say that to me" and go directly to a teacher/supervisor/principal to report the action. Adults need to handle this, but a simple "please don't say that to me" and walking away and telling an adult is what our school tells the children to do.

Best of luck with it all. Bullying cannot be tolerated. Please keep us posted!

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


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:00 am
Posts: 1119
Excellent that Tyson is seeking information. My teenager felt badly that Tyson was going through this. :huggy The only incidents for bullying with her happened when she was 7 but from a peer. She thought it was pathetic that a 6th grader would bully a 2nd grader about food allergies.

Although Tyson should not have to tolerate the bully I would suggest humour and changing the subject simply to get rid of the bully and then have Tyson report it. Also make sure that Tyson makes note of the bystanders - at high school the bystanders at a fight also got a suspension.

My personal thought for a comeback was "Does that make you feel special?" It is just enough that the bully knows Tyson heard him but it puts it back in the bully's court. If it gets a laugh from the bully's companions it may be more likely that the bully will retreat because being laughed at was not the goal of the bully!

This is a link to 101 Bullying Comeback lines with a disclaimer that they are not always appropriate: http://www.bullystoppers.com/101_great_ ... lines.html

Our questions were:
Why is a 6th grader even near a 2nd grader? (at my child's school they were in different areas of the school and the schoolgrounds.)
How does the 6th grader know about Tyson's allergies?

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


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 428
Location: Alberta, Canada
So sorry you are having to go through this. :huggy
Tyson is being so brave having to deal with someone so much older. It really is bad enough if they are the same age. The school must be told and they must take action. As for Tyson (or anyone getting bully type coments thrown at them) I think a quick comment thrown back at them is best (I don't mean rude). The bully really wants to feel tough and have an effect on someone, show how cool he is. But if you don't show it bothers you he will have no effect, he would give up I think.
How about something like "You can't have peanuts"
--And this affects you how?? Or Do I know you??

or "I really love to eat to eat peanuts"
--Good for you. or thats nice. and walk away.

I think bully's are just looking for a reaction.
That being said Tyson is only 7 and should not have to deal with a grade 6 student. This is an adult issue. I hope it all plays out how you would like.

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
THANKS everyone! :huggy

Tyson and the rest of the family spent some time earlier today going through the responses together.
Walooet, we checked out http://www.bullystoppers.com and copy-pasted a bunch of good (but not insulting) come-back lines in a document for him to practice (ie. "Not getting tired of this yet?"; Real mature!; "I heard that one in kindergarten"). What a great resource! We also added Julie's "Please don't say that to me", Paige's "Good for you" and Susan's "Um yeah, I heard you the first 6 times...! (Love that one :rofl )!

We are also planning to have a meeting with the school administrator this week to discuss how they can intervene/help. I think they need to enforce the "zero tolerance" policy (which I assume they have - but I have never had the need to verify before) and also to ask the grade 6er to do a little homework on allergies and anaphylaxis.

The school is very small (200 kids from K-12), so all the grades mix during lunch and recess. This is usually a great thing as the older kids often help the younger ones outside and they learn to integrate...although as this situation illustrates, it's never perfect. The kids all know which children have allergies as the anaphylaxis plans are posted in the homeroom classes, the gym and near the teacher's lounge. I am fine with this as I would prefer that any substitute teachers and/or parent volunteers get familiar with the affected children and plans.

Thanks so much everyone! :thanksign Wish us luck!

From Tyson and Fiona

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:36 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Fiona and Tyson,

Just wanted to say "way to go, Tyson" for being smart and telling your mom about the bullying. Sometimes kids try to handle it on their own, but it never works because bullies feed off the power of insulting you in front of their friends. e.g. they need an audience.

That's why adult intervention is important. So glad you guys are talking to the school. Best to nip the behaviour in the bud, as others are saying.

Fiona, do you have the Summer 2011 issue of Allergic Living with our big story on allergy bullying? If not, send me a 'pm' with your e-mail and I'll send you a copy of the text.

Also, that Argos program Julie mentions sounds awesome. If you could ever get it to come to the school, wouldn't need to be "because of" Tyson, but rather just because it's a really good session for kids.

Tyson, hang in there, buddy.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Hi Gwen,

Yes, we have been subscribers to Allergic Living magazine since 2006 and I honestly don't know what we would have done without it! I usually read it cover to cover the day it arrives and we have saved all issues for future reference (like now!). I found the bullying article (fall 2011), so we are going to share it with the school at our meeting with them tomorrow.

Thanks!
Fiona

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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