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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6463
Location: Ottawa
I went to the board meeting. They had established their revised policy and accepted it but I think that I gave them something to think about this summer. One of the board members is a Rn so she was very interested in my statement and asked the Dewputy Director of Education from whom these poicies revisions came (and who happened to be my Superintendent) to comment on my points.
Here is what I said.
Quote:
Thank you for allowing me to speak tonight. I am the parent of a JK student currently enrolled at St. P’s Elementary school, who has anaphylaxic allergies to egg and milk. I wish to discuss the revision of the Ottawa Carleton Catholic School Board’s Anaphylaxic Policy.

As you know, Bill 3 or Sabrina’s law came into effect January 1, 2006. This was as a result of the efforts of Sabrina Shannon’s parents following her death from anaphylaxic shock. It was determined that Sabrina died as a result of exposure to milk allergens at her high school in Pembroke.

I have read the revised policy as well as the current legislation. As I see it, your policy does not comply with the legislation. The legislation clearly outlines that the board establish and maintain an anaphylaxic policy and have strategies “that reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents in classrooms and common school areas. “. 2. 2 (1) Your revised policy places this responsibility on the Principal. (Page 136) section 3. “The board shall ensure that Principals develop appropriate responses to life-threatening allergies including…”

Without concrete plans set by the Board, each Principal is left to their own devises. Some schools have a large number of students with anaphylaxic allergies or vocal groups of parents. These schools will be able to come up with sound plans to protect the students. Some schools with fewer students may base their plans on what has worked in the past. Some students will be better protected and we stand the risk of having an inequality within the district schools. This is unfair and dangerous.

I want to challenge the OCCSB to come up with a policy that will protect all of its students equally. I hope you will accept the responsibility to create a policy that does this. I have read the OCCSB’s’ Support Document for Anaphylaxis: Students with Life-threatening Allergies (pages 141-161). It has some very good points. I ask, are these policy or simply recommendations? Under Administrative Procedures (page 139) A. 5) you state “the plan is to follow the Boards Support Document…” What do you mean by this?

I hope that you consider that:

1. Staff receives EpiPen training prior to the start of the school year.
2. Use of food in lesson plans, celebrations, and fundraisers or as rewards is discouraged.
3. Staff and students are discouraged from sharing food.
4. Students be given time to wash their hands before and after snacks/recess and the appropriate supplies be stocked.

I want school to be a pleasant not scary experience.
Thank you for your time and attention.


I spoke to both afterward and I mentioned Busimom_2000 who's school could not find her childs' EpiPen. I told them that I understand that this is a huge earning curve for them and that the legislation has not been in effect for 1 whole year yet, but that I did intend to do everything to ensure that my daughter was kept safe.
I also was able to make contact with the Chair of the Ottawa Carleton Catholic School Council Parents Associaton. Wow! so many peope to contact and so little time.

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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: Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Susan -- I can feel a sense of relief in your post (if that's possible). It's great that you were able to speak at this meeting to share all of your ideas and have your voice heard! Your words will make a difference! Thanks also for keeping us posted on the process -- moms with preschoolers like me are learning a lot from all of you who are paving the way for safer schools for allergic kids! You should feel proud that you're advocating so well for your daughter (and so many other allergic little ones!). Congrats! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Well done, Susan. I think you were very smart to have your short list of things to consider so as not to overwhelm them, but at the same time pointed out the shortcomings of what they do have in place.

I hope that they listen and act accordingly...

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: Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:01 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Ontario
Well done Susan,
Entering the school year next year, I will be better prepared to "take on" the issues from the administrative perspective. Last year, I was micro-managing at the classroom level, and with the loss of the Epi-pen, realized that the people that you would think "had it together" (aministrators) at planning for an emergency really didn't have a clue.

Many years ago (looong before children) I worked as a teller in a bank. When I was actually robbed, (upon reflection) it was interesting to see how training and stress affect people. Because I was in a position that did regular training, the staff at my level acted according to plan. The management staff had no clue what to do at the time, and seemed to take too long to make a decision, as they did not participate in the on-going training - they just had the "plan".

Interesting what experience teaches you...now in retrospect, I'm afraid of having the administrators make up the plans, with no idea how they will work, and trusting that the ones that MAY have received training know what to do. This may be why I research and prepare for everything. Probably why I micro-managed the teacher last year.

OK, my original train of thought got de-railed....I wanted to Thank You, for helping me to see I really need to look at the bigger picture, on a much grander scale. I plan over the summer to review the school boards policies and procedures (I have kids in 2 different school boards), so I can ensure that EVERY school in my jurisdiction has an anaphylactic procedure & policy in place that is thoroughly reviewed and re-visited with regular training. And hopefully, this will "spill" into other jurisdictions to protect others.

Keep us posted on any feedback you receive.
Cheers,
Buzimom_2000

Mom (no allergies) of 4 boys ages 13, 11, 10 (no allergies), 4yr old peanut, egg, shellfish, environmental, asthma
Dad allergic to ibuprofen and environmental


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 6:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6463
Location: Ottawa
I agree, summer is an ideal time for reflection. It's an opportunity to see what worked, what didn't and how we should proceed.
We will meet a week before school starts with the Principal, both teachers, my husband and I. I will ask to review their policy and will offer a mini review of the EpiPen.
We are changing daycare providers at the beginning of August (last one got an office job-good for her/bad for us). This is an opportunity to prepare a short education on Anaphyaxis, food allergies, asthma and the necessary precautions/actions. It's always best to be prepared!
If we can learn and grow from an experience, it is never a bad experience.

_________________
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: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Kanata, Ontario
Wow. I was caught by this heading b/c my son in JK was also fed. not once but TWICE in a week at his school. On a field trip a friendly mom shared her daughter's snack with him and a parent sent in marshmallow treats for her son's birthday and labelled them Safe for Kids with Allergies! The supply/substitute teacher happily handed them out.
I sent a note to the two teachers and followed up a day later. They were both appalled and realized how inadequate prep for supply teachers was. I told them that from now on SOMEONE would be going on all field trips with my son (numbers did not allow me to go) and PLEASE make his treats obvious to the supply teacher. I then explained in great detail to my son that the ONLY food he EVER ate came from home.

As a kindergarten teacher (with the Ottawa Carleton Separate Board) I have found a growing awareness and acceptance of allergies in the classroom. In my early years, no one wanted the 'allergic' kids. I was always willing to take them (not that we really had a choice :D and I sometimes wonder if my good treatment of them was what landed me a son with allergies :?
Anyway, this year in August we had epipen training. I have epipens in my house. I have trained teachers, caregivers, my family and others in thier use. I really didn't feel the need to go and had no intention of going. Boy, was I wrong! My VP infomed me it was mandated and I would be there. And I was.
To end a long story, I live on both sides of the fence and parents of kids with allergies have sometimes told me I know more about their kids allergies than they do. We have to really advocate for our kids and a personal relationship with the teacher, bringing in safe treats BEFORE school starts, (to give a heads up!), volunteering to come in and help when activities are happening (whether they be food related or not) and letting them know of any on going issues ( I had a little guy this year with unexplained rashes that we were on the look out to pinpoint cause) helps. The first time a little girl with a peanut allergy told me she couldn't breathe, I honest to God flew across the room.
Thanks for all the insight - these comments have helped as a parent AND teacher!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6463
Location: Ottawa
I'm glad to hear that the OCCSB has begun their trainings. I was wondering if that was going to happen prior to school starting this fall.
I have a package prepared and will bring it to our meeting.
I do feel that the school is concerned and really wants to keep the students safe.
I really think that they need more than one training session at what I imagine to be one of the busiest times of their year.
I would love to offer them an opportunity for review of the training and a chance to ask questions. I will suggest that we have the issue of food allergy awareness brought up during school council meetings. Currently, parents of students with food allergies meet with the Principal on a separate night and she chairs the meetings. There are no minutes and nothing is established.

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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: Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Kanata, Ontario
The training I spoke of was last year. That's when everything fell into place. We used to have a much more vocal parent voice, but the child has since graduated. ANother one has taken her place. We have two sessions - one in June where a parent speaks and demonstrates and the epipen 'dummies' are available.
Then we have training by the end of September (I think) with a RN. We have a student who requires an RN on site, so she is always available for queries.
I have always mentionned the allergies in my meet the teacher spiel.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
That's sad that no one wants to take the allergic kids. I hope the kids don't sense that.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
It broke my heart to read that too. Can't help but think of my son -- if teachers are really that scared and anxious being around allergic kids for fear of having to use the epipen, I'm sure the kids can sense it. I really hope that training would help alleviate some of the fear and dispel misinformation about it. I think if every teacher got a trainer to take with them to practice and familiarize themselves with it they'd feel better about having to use it.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Kanata, Ontario
The fear sentiment was prevalent about ten years ago. Now it is a non-issue. The training provided by the school and the awareness has increased dramatically.
When I first had kids with nut allergies, I had a little boy who brought p/b sandwiches daily. When I spoke to his mom, she was indifferent.
Nowadays, if you packed that for your child's lunch, it probably wouldn't make it to school. You would get 'heck' from your kids cause so-and-so has an allergy and we can't it that OR it would come home uneaten with a stern lecture. Awareness makes everyone's life so much easier. The other students are the best advocates. I have jokingly said to my son's teacher - You have everyone's favourite the kid with nut allergies. And the response has been a blank look. It is no longer an issue.
In fact, it is so commonplace, sometimes our kids get fed when they shouldn't be...
:D


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Helen wrote:
That's sad that no one wants to take the allergic kids. I hope the kids don't sense that.


I think we are experiencing that with my youngest, who will start kindergarten (full-day) this fall.

I started talking to the school in April, trying to avoid having everything happen at the last minute. My youngest is ana to dairy and peanuts and likely eggs, and avoiding nuts just in case. Plus he has asthma. He looks so healthy and happy, but on paper, I have to admit, it looks like of daunting.

We were initially told that we could find out who his teacher was in June, so that we could work with him/her a bit over the summer to try to strategize for the fall. When I called the VP (who had seemed sympathetic) in June to get the name, I was told that it would be a new teacher... to be named on August 20. School starts on August 31. (And we're away camping the week before that.) We are having a meeting with all the parties on something like Aug. 28, but I hate that it is yet again (memories of my oldest starting school) all so last minute.

There are 3-4 kindergarten teachers in total (it changes every year), which means that the other 2-3 established teachers likely chose not to take my son. And the lucky newbie not only has to deal with ramping up at a new school, but also the challenges of dealing with my little guy.

I'm trying not to take it personally, but I do feel this is likely what has happened, and it makes me sad when I think too much about it. Someone sympathetic said to me, "Well, at least you get someone new that has no preconceived notions". I hope it works out this way.

I really have never been quite so stressed in all my life. :(

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: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Kanata, Ontario
First of all I would like to reassure you that teachers do NOT get to choose their class! And just because a teacher is new does not mean she is brand new - might be new to the school.
Also, new teachers tend to be over achievers, so she may actually be MORE aware and more helpful and more open with this new situation.
I wish I had never mentionned the reaction from 10 years ago - it is so not the norm anymore.
Just be aware that you may have the opportunity to train this teacher for other students with allergies - thisnk of the power you have to train her properly! :lol:
Let me know if you want any info from what I have done as both teacher and parent!

stefanie


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Thanks Stephanie. It helps to hear from people who are in the system, and I do know that things have come a long way. But I still think there is a long way to go as well. We have been with this school for 3 years and while there have been improvements, there have been moments of frustration as well. (But I'm sure all parents feel that from time to time with their schools!)

I do know that one teacher at our school has been able to sort of choose some of her students, in that she has requested the siblings of former students. This was my oldest's kindergarten teacher, and she herself told us this, and implied at the time that she would be having my youngest in her class. This isn't the case obviously. Perhaps she isn't at the school this year, but if she is... well, I would find that very interesting.

But really, no matter. I will work with whoever my son ends up with to make sure he stays safe.

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: Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Kanata, Ontario
Lots of times we do follow siblings through their school career as it makes life easier for parental communication (providing you got along well the first time!)
Be aware that you can always speak to the principal, in about May, to discuss placements for the next school year. You may need to put it in writing and have a good reason...

I am telling my VP about the horror stories I am hearing here and congratulating her on a job well done. I assumed all schools wre as great as mine :lol: but I guess that is not always the case.

Stefanie


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