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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
These are the phrase that I hear when I try to get a change at my son's school:

1. "We are following the recommendations of the policy."

2."The policy is based on suggestions from the Vancouver Island Health Authority and it is sound."

3. "We cannot ask for parents to not send in peanut or peanut products. We are not to infringe on people's right to eat what they want. Peanuts are a good sorce of protein and they are not expensive -- some people do not have options for sending in another lunch because of their family budget restraints."

4."Teachers do not have the time to police lunch boxes."

5. "We don't want children to feel bad that they have brought in something potentially harmful to another child. Isolating children because of what is in their lunch is as bad as isolating a child with allergies. Children do not control what is in their lunch - their parents do. And, to reiterate, we cannot tell the parents what to send in their lunch."

7. "The janitor washes down all the desks after lunch. The children wash their hands before and after lunch and recess. There are no traces of nuts after all of this cleaning -- it is an allergy safe classroom. We have the peanut zone - a table in the classroom - so we are containing the allergen."

8. "If you are so worried, have your child eat lunch at home."

These are just a few things that are said -- there are a few more whoppers, but I think you get my point -- I need help! I do have counter arguments but they are not getting through. I am very interested in hearing your point of view.

Caroline

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son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:28 pm 
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Posts: 1054
Reading comments like those just bring up such an anger in me.

It's hard me for to get beyond school officials not wanting to infringe upon others' "rights" to peanut butter (for example) and a child's LIFE. Like that's a fair comparison. First off -- following current policy doesn't mean that current policy is accurate or sufficient. It's a ridiculous argument -- it suggests that when people know better, they should NOT do better. How crazy. Policy is meant to change and improve -- otherwise women still wouldn't have the vote. I suggest that you have your board compare their policy to the policies from other provinces to see how theirs stacks up.

I suggest that you purchase a copy of Allergy Safe Communities -- check it out at: http://www.allergysafecommunities.ca/de ... atsubid=29 It's also got great advice on other topics as well. It should give you some good ammunition. Also take some time and read over others' posts in this forum before you -- some good advice is posted.

One way to not have children feel badly about bringing in something that could potentially harm another child is to TEACH children how to protect each other. Children are a lot smarter and more caring of their peers than adults apparently give them credit for. It's like saying we'll allow child A to continue bullying child B because we don't want to hurt child A's feelings -- ?? What happened to teaching child A that it's not good to bully and showing them how to have compassion for others?

Telling you that your child should eat at home -- urghh!!! This doesn't provide any constructive solution to ensuring ALL children are considered, now does it? Your principal seems very concerned about all of the other children having their rights to peanut butter and their hurt feelings protected, but where does your child fit in to all of this? I think all of the problems stem from administration perhaps not believing that this is a life and death situation. I get the impression all of the ignorant comments stem from this fact. They need to "get" and understand that FOOD CAN KILL some people. I think they don't want to believe this for some reason and it's easier to chalk all of this up to some parent being over protective and wanting to "rock the status quo".


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Thank you -- I finally have some quiet time to really go through all the posts. I guess I am just a little upset with myself for accepting the way things have been at the school -- I thought I had no choice. I thought I was crazy for wanting more protection for my son... that is, until I found this forum. Thank you to Allergic Living and the community support.
Caroline

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son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Don't be upset with yourself. (I know...easy to say...)
I believe that in life, when you know better, you do better.
I'd be upset with myself if I knew better and chose to do nothing to advocate for my son.
You are getting the information you need - and the support you need - to make things different for your son and the countless other allergic children that will come after him.
That's something to be proud of! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Caroline2,
I agree with ethansmom, don't be upset with yourself, BE PROUD! Learning how to advocate for our children can be really hard sometimes. I'm dealing with some similar issues myself right now (although fortunately our school does seem more cooperative than what you related).
Hang in there, and keep reminding yourself that you're not only making your child's world safer, but paving the way so that other families don't have to go through this too.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Previously when my daughter had attended preschool I felt like the school thought I was crazy. As a preschool with previous allergic children it seemed their attitude was "you're new at this we're not". Even though the situation previous kids were in was INSANE (like eating snack prepared by other parents on a daily basis).

I felt like It was me who was unreasonable...until I started coming here. Hang in there.

I know there was a case in B.C. where a teenager had peanut butter used in his class for a science experiment who refused to participate and informed the class why. Then...the teacher had left the room...classmates held the PB to his face and he was *suddenly* not feeling well. The principal phoned his dad to come pick him up because he was not feeling well...and when the dad got there the kid was in anaphylactic shock. The parent IS suing the school (in vancouver I believe) and an allergist is involved in the case. Perhaps finding out what has been going on with that case could be helpful.

Just another idea...but could your allergist speak with your principal about why this is unacceptable or send a letter to your school about his medical needs in relating to the need for a peanut free classroom. Maybe your allergist even has a "form letter" all ready available or a package of info for schools.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Saskmommy, I was thinking the same thing too, getting your allergist involved, to try and drive the point home how serious this is.

Caroline, you could also obtain a copy of an anaphylaxis protocol from Ontario to show them what is being done elsewhere and how seriously it is being taken here. Mention Sabrina's Law.

Other kids can live without P.B. but your child can't live with it.

Would they let kids spread arsenic around the classroom? Because that's what it's like for your child.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:10 pm
Posts: 44
Location: Clarington
Try presenting the following to administration to ponder

http://www.calgaryallergy.ca/Articles/E ... berty.html


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6475
Location: Ottawa
Number 1. "We are following the recommendations of the policy."

The policy is not enough. The policy needs to be strengthened as it places students at risk. How old is their poicy? Offer to work directly with them and/or provide reliable resources to assist them in reviewing and revising their policy.
Advise them that Sabrina's Law has been in effect for over a year in Ontario and other provinces are ...(help me here, what are they doing?)

Number 2."The policy is based on suggestions from the Vancouver Island Health Authority and it is sound."

I found it difficult to navigate the VIHA website. I did find their mission/vision statement:
Quote:
Care, Compassion and Respect
Of fundamental importance to us as health care professionals/service providers is care, compassion, and respect for the well-being and dignity of all those we serve and work with.

Quote:
Creativity and Innovation
We fill needs creatively and seek new ways of looking at old problems. We support advancements in health by seeking, facilitating and promoting learning, research and education.

Perhaps they would be more receptive to your approach?
Can you write to your Health Minister?

I found this from the BC ministery of Education:
http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/specialed/awareness/9.htm
hmmm...not very strong.

Number 3. "We cannot ask for parents to not send in peanut or peanut products. We are not to infringe on people's right to eat what they want. Peanuts are a good sorce of protein and they are not expensive -- some people do not have options for sending in another lunch because of their family budget restraints."

Perhaps having a proper lunch program would assist all families? Perhaps they can approach the Ed May Social Responsibilty Fund for assistance.
http://pdonline.bctf.ca/opportunities/EdMay/brochure.html

Your school talks of being sensative to the needs of the financially strapped family but has blatant disregard for the heath of other students?
Is it a just lip service? I would challenge them to step up to the plate. With the incidence of allergies on the rise and given the fact that food allergies are more prevelant in chidren, this is an issue that will not go away. I would ask that they take a proactive stance and help to develop sound policies to keep al students safe rather than pass you old policies that are outdated and no longer relevant.


Number 4."Teachers do not have the time to police lunch boxes."

Ok, are they even interested in keeping your child safe? Do they have a lunch program? They have to supervise it. There is the risk of choking, salmonella, spread of infection...and your childs very real risk of death. What on earth is the board's policy?


Number 5."We don't want children to feel bad that they have brought in something potentially harmful to another child. Isolating children because of what is in their lunch is as bad as isolating a child with allergies. Children do not control what is in their lunch - their parents do. And, to reiterate, we cannot tell the parents what to send in their lunch."

Can you describe an anaphylaxic reaction (worst case scenario) start to finish? Ask then to imagine how bady the chid whose lunch caused it might feel. Remind them that they woud be administering the drugs, calling 911, staying with the sick student and... dealing with the numerous upset classmates.
It is because children don't controll their lunch boxes that the school needs to communicate effectively with the parents.

Number 7. "The janitor washes down all the desks after lunch. The children wash their hands before and after lunch and recess. There are no traces of nuts after all of this cleaning -- it is an allergy safe classroom. We have the peanut zone - a table in the classroom - so we are containing the allergen."

I'm trying to picture this. Where are all of the students when this cleaning is going on? How disruptive! Are all classrooms being cleaned? Drinking fountain knobs? Toliet flusher handes? Bathroom sinks? Door knobs? Garbage cans emptied? How long does this take? Isn't it easier and a better use of resources to reduce the exposure of aergens in the school first off?
Peanut safe zone? Is this one step up from having them eat alone in the hallway? Social deprivation or rigid enforcement of whom they associate with does not sound veryrespectful or accomidating given how concerned they are for the rights of other students. See question 5.

8. "If you are so worried, have your child eat lunch at home."

This is just disgusting! Are we teaching tolerance? Are we practicing it? Is this publicly funded education? Does your child nt have a right to attend school and be/feel safe? This is dangerously close to bullying and I suggest they concider carefully their coments because I woud be prepared to go over their heads to school board trustees, superintendants, education officers and ministers and... the media if anyone dared to say such a dumb remark to me!! :twisted:
This sounds like a door slamming in your face! Are they at all interested in working with you to solve this problem? Yo are one perent of many students. If yours is the first student in that school with food allergies they are either a brand new schoo or in denial. This is not a problem that can be swept under a rug.
How very sad...what year is this? 2006.

_________________
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 Sep 16, 2006 10:47 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Excellent points Susan. I wish I'd written that post!!!

K.

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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: Sat Sep 16, 2006 11:13 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
I was rereading these posts this morning and I really believe that until the administration can acknowledge that they understand the gravity of the situation - that peanuts / nuts can kill your son - it's going to be a struggle to initiate change. I think the idea of having your son's allergist in is a great idea, perhaps someone from an allergy organization in your area could also assist. I found this group on the web: http://www2.vpl.vancouver.bc.ca/dbs/red ... /4/47.html ??

http://www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/cpa ... allergy%22
The above link brings you to a pamphlet put out by the BC Ministry for Children and Families entitled: Life Threatening Allergies in Schools and Child Care Settings. It's a poor attempt at "appearing" like they have policy in place to ensure allergic children are protected. They spend time at the beginning explaining an allergic reaction - signs and symptoms - and acknowledge that they can be life threatening. The pamphlet then goes on to outline parent's responsibilities and allergic children's responsibilites -- NOTHING about the school administration's responsibilities -- how laughable.

Quote:
ALLERGY AWARE
In some community facilities, staff may not be experienced in
managing life-threatening food allergies, yet staff at many schools
have experience in providing support to children with this condition. In
some child care centres and schools, parents of children with lifethreatening
food allergies have asked that allergy-causing food be
banned. Agreeing to this request implies that parents and children can
rely upon the facility to successfully implement such a ban, thereby
ensuring their children’s safety. As it is impossible to guarantee an
allergy-free facility, imposing a ban not only creates a false sense of
security for those children at risk, but also creates serious liability issues
for the facility.


As an alternative to banning specific foods, many schools and child care
settings are developing affirmative plans of action that recognize:
• Children in their care have life-threatening food allergies.
• Banning allergy-causing foods is very difficult and means
limiting foods which other children may bring for snacks and
lunch (e.g., peanut butter).
• It is impossible to guarantee an allergy-free child care or
school setting.

The current approach is to promote ”Allergy Aware” settings that
reduce the chance of contact with life-threatening foods. Educating
children, parents, staff, and care providers helps them work together to
reduce the risk of exposure to life-threatening foods.

Strategies designed to protect children with food allergies are
more effective when they respect the needs and rights of all children in
the school or child care setting. Because each child’s food allergy and
situation is different, an individualized plan of action must be tailored
to each child and the environment.

It becomes clear that the BC government wants to "appear" like they have a policy in place to protect allergic students but this quote clearly shows that they are more concerned about a school's liability and other children's "rights" to bringing in whatever food(s) they want. They do leave an opening though -- by saying that each child's food allergy and situation is different and that an individualized plan of action must be tailored to each child and their environment... Perhaps you could focus on this -- that in YOUR son's situation - while you acknowlege that you are not relying on a ban of peanuts and nuts alone to keep your child safe, but a ban in conjunction with other safety measures to ensure that your son's exposure to his allergen in reduced. Acknowledge that you aren't under the impression that banning peanut products is the one measure that is going to keep your child safe -- that it's also the motivation and education of his peers, their parents, teachers, the administration to do the best they can - that is going to achieve the best possible scenario for your son. Since liability is their main concern, perhaps focusing on the liability piece will also get their attention -- what school is going to fair better in the eyes of the courts in the event of a tragedy -- a school that did everything they could to work with parents to help create a safe environment for their child -- or one who states -- the rights of other children and their peanut butter far outweigh the rights of the child with a life threatening food allergy. That's it for now.... :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:04 pm 
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Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Ethansmom, I think you have nailed where the policy all stems from. I have also heard the 'false sense of security' argument over and over again -- I will ask the principal her security knowing about those toilet handles and taps that may contain enough peanut product to cause a serious reaction, as peanuts and peanut products are allowed in the school (right now I am fighting to get just my son's classroom free of the allergen, but Susan made a good point). And, although other schools have chosen to keep the allergen out, my principal is going to the policy by the letter -- she is following the liability instructions given by the Vancouver Island Health Authority. She is doing what she is told to do - but I am going to ask about her sense of security about this situation in her school.

I did counter my principal's stance that asking people to 'limit' instead of 'refraining' from bringing in nut and nut products is an allergy safe idea. I asked her what she thought of the diffence in the statements, "Please limit smoking" to "Please refrain from smoking". I have not heard back from her on the meaning of these two phrasing, but I did give her a copy of another local school that puts "refrain" in their newsletter. As I see this 'limiting' phrasing is, again, straight from the policy. I get the feeling I am appealing to the wrong person. . . my principal is following the letter of the policy -- but as the spirit is missing in it, she can't act on it. . .

To answer you, Susan, the board approved Policy 5141.21 in 2003. (You can find it by searching for it by number at http://www.sd61.bc.ca/scripting/polregbylaw_menu.asp under the policies section.), As of April 2006, there are now guidelines for individual anaphylaxis action plans, which spell out the responsibilities of each member of the allergy 'team' - the staff at the school, the parents, the child as well as the community. This info can be searched under regulation at "5141.21a attachment". It has the forms and checklists that each principal must complete.

Much of the policy came from a booklet distributed by the Minisitry of Education "Ananphylaxis: A Handbook for School Boards" ( a copy can be found here: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/child-enfant/anaphylaxis-anaphylaxie_e.html) in February. Interestingly enough, the letter from the ministry to the school boards and schools of the province quotes page 20 of the booklet:
Quote:
"Though the present state of law in Canada may not be as clear-cut as educators might wish, it seems clear that school boards that have policies in place to address the in-school needs of students with life-threatening allergies not only minimize their liability, but maximize the ability of anaphylactic children and their parents/guardians to participate in their school communities."

So -- it seems like we need a law to make the policy a lot more clear, don't we... There are policies, but they are not strong enough. (I wish someone had asked me while all this was being written up!!)

But I get away from myself a bit here. I am working this weekend on getting my discussion points in order. Monday is a big day. In the morning, my husband and I are meeting with the school nurse, principal and my son's teacher to discuss the individual anaphylaxis plan and make sure we are all 'on track' according to the policies. I now have the feeling the 'we are doing everything we can' argument is going to come from the morning meeting, and it is more to say the meeting occurred than trying to make change.

On Monday evening, I have the opportunity to address the parent community at the parent advisory council meeting. I know I need to focus on my five minutes at the parent meeting that has the greatest parent attendance. I want to speak well, clear and to have a hand out that they can take home. I liked the one from The Allergy and Asthma Association, "Peanut and Nut Allergies: The Facts" at https://www.aaaai.org/patients/%20advocate/2004/winter/winter04.pdf Does anyone have another recommendation? What have you told your school community when given the stage?

Sigh. This is big but I am strong. Especially strong when I feel the support of this forum, for which I am very grateful.

Caroline

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son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Charter of Rights and Freedoms
http://lois.justice.gc.ca/en/charter/index.html#garantie
See:
6(3)a
7
15

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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 Sep 16, 2006 9:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
Caroline -- check out a previous discussion about presenting to parents: http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... php?t=1159
A one-stop-shop for some good allergy related websites: http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=650

I took a look at Victoria's Anaphylaxis Policy ( http://www.sd61.bc.ca/super/polreg/pdf/pol5141.21.pdf ) Wow, one whole page - very comprehensive indeed :roll:

Also -- wondering if your principal has any children herself: Try asking how she might feel sending her son/daughter off to a school classroom where there was poison left in the hands of eight-year-olds with inconsistent adult supervision. Ask her if she would feel any better knowing that these eight-year-old children would keep the poison confined to one table in the classroom. How would she feel knowing that each and every place the children who had handled the poison touched, they left enough of a residue of poison to potentially kill her child although it was not visible to the naked eye. Ask her how she would feel if upon bringing up this unsafe situation for her child to school officials, they simply replied, well, those children really do have a right to bring in that poison, we'll just do what we can to try to ensure that it is contained and out of your child's reach. (I'm trying really hard to think of a comparable scenario for your princial to come from behind her inadequate policy and understand your perspective for a moment) Peanut butter is poison to your son.

Good Luck on Monday and let us know how it goes!! Don't settle for anything that you don't feel comfortable with -- and if you feel you need time to digest all that was discussed at the meeting, take the time you need. Don't feel pressured to make a decision right there and then. If need be, tell her you'll get back to her in a day or so. I find I'm better able to see all angels once I've given myself time to sit with something for a bit...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Caroline, are there other allergic children in the school? If so, it might be useful to contact their parents and see if they are like-minded. If you approach the principal as a group, it might have more impact. There's strength in numbers.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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