Article I came across

Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 10:49am
lynn1999_2000's picture
Joined: 11/21/2002 - 09:00

Here is a link to an article I came across. This woman mentions if you have found a good way to handle food allergies or if you have other input let her know. She leaves an email addy. Thought maybe since alot of you here have such wonderful imput maybe you could enlighten her. The picture of her niece showing the food items she could no longer bring to school due to a fellow student who had a peanut allergy, for some reason rubbed me the wrong way. Sorry but can't find it in me anywhere to feel sorry for this girl. At least she is able to eat these items when she gets home from school.



Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 11:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

lynn1999_2000, did you contact the woman with input for her?
I can't. Right now, with what's happening at Jesse's school, that child might as well be the child that they're saying has the *right* to eat a cookie over my son's *right* to live. It's to emotional an *issue* for me right now so I'm not in a rational state to respond to the woman.
I'd like to say something about teaching children, as young as 4 (which I have done and Jesse's teachers and school administration have done) about compassion and understanding and how that comes before EATING but, again, it's too emotional for me right now.
This woman's niece has the right to eat all of those food products displayed (and oh gosh, even the "may contain" M&M's) 18 hours of the day. She's simply being asked not to eat them for 6.
And again, given what I consider my vulnerable state, I can't even pick apart her article like I normally could, about how it's not just about daycare settings, yadda yadda, that my son reacted to residue in the school last year and he's not in daycare but the residue is there regardless.
No, I'm too upset to help the woman. I do think that it's *nice* of her to have researched this and that she has made herself aware and is writing about it and does want input, but I'm not the one to give it to her right now.
Happy Holidays! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 1:37pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I wrote to her immediately. I'll let you al l know if she replies.

Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 1:49pm
StaceyK's picture
Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Interesting that she sign's off in God's name. A fine Christian woman, perhaps, lacking good old-fashioned Christian compassion? She values SNACKS over LIFE. Way to go! WWJD?

Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 4:54pm
lynn1999_2000's picture
Joined: 11/21/2002 - 09:00

How could anyone choose a right to eat a cookie over a childs right to live. GRRRRRRR Thats just immoral.
I feel your stress. I pulled my daughter out of school last year after finding a butterfinger in her book bag after an x-mas party. I handed the treat bag to the teacher and told her it had peanuts in it, she took the bag from me and tossed it on the table. I picked up the bag and got rid of it because I knew this teachers room was so unorganized that it would still be in there after x-mas. Another incident, an aide happen to be eating a snicker bar at a table where my daughter sits in the classroom. I told the teacher that day and asked the aide the next day if she knew this was a peanut free classroom, she didn't, however she was understanding about it. To bad the teacher didnt feel it necessary to tell her.
I remember plenty of times my daughter having to sit and watch kids in her classroom eat their snacks while she had to have something different. She just wanted to be like the others. It did make her feel bad and I felt bad for her. I had to hear on occasions from the teacher how it wasn't fair for the other kids because they had to miss out on food projects, etc. Gosh forbid we wouldn't want the other 21 kids to feel left out. It seemed to be more of an issue with the teacher for the other kids not to feel left out then it did for my daughter. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR Never could figure out why one kid feeling left out wasn't just as important as 21 kids feeling left out. Maybe she thought it was my daughters problem and not the others, who knew what the heck she was thinking.
Needless to say I homeschool. I commend you for doing what you are doing. I wish I could be more like you. Best of luck to you!
I talked to one of the teachers one day recently and mentioned the school needed to be educated on this allergy. She got all defensive and said how it was the parents responsibility and its a good thing I took her out and that it was just impossible to monitor everything that came into the classroom. I tell you I have had my share of stress from this school.
I even asked the principal about hand washing after lunch and she said it would take to many supervisors to see that they washed their hands. Never bothered to try to come up with anything else.
These people will not do anything unless they are made to so when and if I send her back I will have a 504 plan in place and I won't hesitate to bring my lawyer if I have to.
I get too ticked off and stressed out when coming across articles like this, so I figure its best to wait until I have calmed down and have given it some thought before responding.
I can't wait to see if she replies to your email Peg. Thanks for emailing her. I wanted someone to give he a what for but knew I was too ticked at the time to do it.
Good point Stacy, maybe she should ask herself WWJD.
Happy Holidays to all of you!

Posted on: Mon, 12/22/2003 - 8:10pm
williamsmummy's picture
Joined: 03/26/2002 - 09:00

I can see this womans point, however, I do think that peanut butter and whole nut products are best kept out of a school environment, but she is correct about other food alleriges.
Any one sit in front of a child while they open a carton of yogurt?
The age of the school children should be taken in to account, and certain measures should be part of school life when they are young, under 7.
I must agree that keeping food with nut traces out of school would be an uphill battle.
I dont see any harm in an allergic child having a supply of safe snacks to eat when others around are eating 'unsafe'/nut traces. (ohhh, I am sure many of you would not be happy with this!)
In the case of nut traces , there is a risk , but it is small , and handwashing should be a part of an allergic childs daily habits.
I would never entertain the idea of stopping other children from bringing in food from home in lunch boxes that contains nut traces.
Its absurd!
And that woman has a point, allergy avoidance should be a part of daily life.
Home should be safe, step out the door and learn to assess risk yourself.
Its part of being a parent, teaching them this.
Again, as I have said a few times, you teach your child to cross the road, you teach your allergic child other important survival skills needed in life.
There are some battles that are worth fighting, some approaches that work better than an outright ban on food with nut traces.
A child has the right to feel safe at school, but IMO that depends on the care of the adults around him at school, and there understanding of allergies.
Thats mainly my job and the school comummity nurse to get that care.
In all, when I met other parents and adults with food allergy, they dont have stories to tell of having a reaction while others are eating food with nut traces.
It more a case of food from restaruants, or kissing someone (esp chaps with beards!!)
Or coping with being a teacher with nut allergy and having nuts left on school desk by horrid children!
Many of you will not agree with me, and that makes me smile, as I am considered to be rather over the top when it comes to allergy avoidance, because many of the parents I have met with allergic children still let their child eat food with nut traces!

Posted on: Tue, 12/23/2003 - 12:40am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Peg541, I'm glad that you e-mailed her. I'd love to see your e-mail!
As I said in my original post, I don't understand why compassion and caring were not mentioned. I think a child *should* be taught those qualities rather than the importance of what they can stuff in their mouths, but again, it's a touchy subject for me right now.
williamsmummy, as you know, just from your post, I don't agree with you, and that's okay.
What about other food allergies? Well, to my understanding, the reason there is such a hoopla about peanut allergies as opposed to other allergies is the residue issue and how much thicker it is and how much more resilient it is to cleaning. I recently spoke with a member whose child is also milk allergic and she felt that wiping up milk from a table and feeling for herself and her child that it was relatively safe was a lot easier, for her, than it would be with a peanut product.
However, having said that, it also depends on the education of the food allergic parents. I posted about speaking with the other PA parent at my son's school. He's also dealing with milk, egg, and wheat allergy. He just couldn't fathom how he could eliminate any of those products in the classroom whereas he could figure out how to ask for a "peanut free" classroom. Now, since he's dealing with the same school I am, perhaps he would have been faced with a battle and he didn't feel like doing that, which is okay for him.
But, had he been able to provide the school with some guide-lines, his child could be sitting in a classroom where milk, egg, wheat allergens are avoided, if possible. Now, I don't deal with those, so I'm not even sure what his guide-lines would or should be.
And williamsmummy, I don't think you're alone re the "may contain" issue. Last year when I was posting about my year from he** at Jesse's school, MOST people here said to get rid of the "may contain" clause in his written school plan. So, I certainly understand where other people are coming from and why.
I decided to keep the clause, even though the school plan was nixed period, this year. I'm sure I had my reasons and I'm sure I posted about them here. But I also know that it is one area that I am willing to explore as perhaps being unreasonable to others and their *rights*. Just not with this particular school because they just seem so damned nasty about everything.
I understand that I have to teach Jesse to live with his allergy. And you know what? I have. He's been reading labels since he was 4 years old. He is empowered about his allergy. He is knowledgeable.
I know that he has his moments, like freaking out at the Santa Claus parade, but you know what? I think that's okay as well. I will never know the weight of carrying around a deadly food allergy because I don't have one. He freaked out and he freaked out for *good* reason.
But he's surely not some high strung anxious child about his allergy. He's a cool kid (and not just 'cus he's mine) [img][/img] that recognizes that yes, he can't be anywhere near peanut products.
Even the vice principal at the school last week said that she thought Jesse dealt with his allergy wonderfully.
williamsmummy, it is interesting to read your posts prior to you becoming involved with the Anaphylaxis Campaign in Britain. I don't know if you saw it or not here, but I am thinking of getting training from Anaphylaxis Canada here. However, part of that training involves using their materials, and truth be told, if my gut tells me that their materials are not appropriate for my son and how I feel about his school situation, I won't accept the training even though it could be put to *good* use.
lynn1999_2000, I can imagine a teacher being so heartless as the one you posted about only because Jesse experienced that just last week. 25 other students sat and ate ice cream and one did not.
And as far as the food projects the other children were missing out on, my soul, I don't remember working with food in school for crafts. And nowadays with so many beads and other things, is food really necessary? I know my daughter made a Christmas wreath out of paper and it had Fruit Loops on it. Jesse had made a similar one a few years ago. But it also had beads on it that could have been subbed completely for the Fruit Loops.
I still continue to not "get it" as far as all of this food in the schools - two jelly beans for incentive for an 8 year old and on and on, especially when we are being told that our children are getting fatter and fatter (although my picky eater guy isn't).
I did post about the child that was red dye allergic in my daughter's class last year. We were sent home a letter asking not to send any red dye products into the classroom. The principal did this without even any medical documentation.
I posted about another child who had behavioural difficulties when she ate certain foods and even though I didn't care for where her list of foods was placed in the classroom, you know what? I did read the list and remember it. Why? Because I ran the breakfast program and that child came into the breakfast program and I wanted to make sure I didn't give her any of the foods that weren't okay.
It's called compassion, caring and understanding. And yes, williamsmummy, it is done through education of the school and the school community. What I've been faced with this year is a principal that basically will not allow me to educate.
Sorry, lynn1999_2000, now you can see why I can't e-mail the woman and probably never can. I'm glad Peg541 did. [img][/img]
Happy Holidays! [img][/img]

Posted on: Tue, 12/23/2003 - 1:34am
toomanynuts's picture
Joined: 08/23/2003 - 09:00

I sent her a rather long e mail. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a little more compassion for others. I would love to post what I wrote but I'm not sure how. If I can figure it out I will post here. Happy Holidays!

Posted on: Tue, 12/23/2003 - 1:38am
toomanynuts's picture
Joined: 08/23/2003 - 09:00

I sent her a rather long e mail. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a little more compassion for others. I would love to post what I wrote but I'm not sure how. If I can figure it out I will post here. Happy Holidays!

Posted on: Tue, 12/23/2003 - 2:40am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

This was my email and her response. I was emotional but I re read it a few times before I sent it and stand by my words.
[b]My son is 19 and has been allergic to peanuts forever.
He has been in the Emergency room three times in Anaphylactic shock. Near death, from accidental ingestion of peanuts. The third time was from being in the same room with students eating Reeses candies.
Peanut is volatile, it becomes airborne. If my son sits next to your niece while she is eating peanut butter then the chance is he will end up in the emergency room and maybe dead. Can you imagine dead from a peanut? I still cannot grasp that fact.
I am a nurse and my husband is a doctor. I have spent the last 15 years educating my son how to keep himself safe and how to treat himself in an emergency.
Do you know a very big risk to a peanut allergic child is an adult who has decided to "wait and see." Most kids die while some adult is waiting and seeing. My son was given permission by his parents to override the decision of any adult. He has known this since kindergarten. He can use his epi pen and call 911 any time he feels necessary.
He is now a freshman at a small college in Southern California. We spent the summer helping the college to get ready for their first student with peanut allergies.
Can you even imagine the feelings of a family with a peanut allergic child when you write an article telling us all of the foods your niece has to eat at home or elsewhere but not at school? Is my son's life worth nothing to you? Are you teaching your niece compassion for others or are you enjoying her seeing herself online and thanking her auntie for standing up for her rights?
Does she know that her peanut butter sandwich can kill the child sitting next to her? Maybe you should help educate her and then see how she feels about bringing her beloved peanut butter to school.
I worship peanut butter but have not had any peanut products in my home for 15 years now.
Whoever rolled the dice and gave my child a peanut allergy knew what he was doing. He looked at two well educated proactive parents and decided our son should have a fatal allergy to a substance worshipped by most of the United States and Canada. We spent every free minute educating ourselves and our son. We missed vacations so we could pay for private schools to increase our son's degree of safety.
He is ready to be a part of this world and knows how to keep himself safe. He is compassionate, brilliant, and a very decent young man. Your peanut butter sandwich can take that away from us as quickly as some hyped up gang member's gun.
So I would advise you to help your niece understand why it is necessary to go along with the peanut ban in her school. I do know that wheat, soy and milk cannot become airborne and cause a reaction unless maybe they are cooked or spilled in the presence of an allergic person. Open a jar of Skippy and a package of Tofu. Sit them on the table and tell me which one you smell.
I quote you:
"And how realistic is it, even for the allergic child, to live in an environment that pretends peanut products are not part of the general landscape of youngsters

Posted on: Tue, 12/23/2003 - 3:37am
Anne Parrish's picture
Joined: 01/06/2000 - 09:00

I am kind of on the fence about this article. It certainly isn't outright *hateful* the way some people can be, but if she was really trying to 'promote an open discussion' or whatever she said, it was certainly not very well done. To do that, she would have had to try to present a bit of the other point of view... and I think focusing on *her niece's* inconvenience makes that argument seem petty... better to have the inconvenienced person be a kid down the street or whatever so it doesn't look so much like she is playing such favorites for her family.
The problem w/ these debates on peanut bans is there is no one *right* answer. I sort of lean towards Sarah's point of view, that removing 'may contain' items is going to alienate more people/support than it will provide additional protections (I see everything from a cost vs. benefit viewpoint) but that doesn't mean there isn't some super-sensitive/allergic kid who in in such jeopardy from 'may contain' items in the classroom that it wouldn't be required.
But I also think that we parents of PA/FA kids should remember that it *is* an inconvenience for these other families. Life would certainly be better for everyone if allergies were not a problem. I think about that when I am planning seasonal activities for my daughters Girl Scout troop. We have some families that are pretty devout in their religion & they do not celebrate Christmas. So the troop just stays away from Christmas activities completely. I am happy to do it, but I have to admit to myself that it would be nicer for many of the kids (& easier for me!) if we did the Santa/caroling/gift exchange kinds of things in December. Sort of seems the same as asking parents not to send in peanut products to school.
Any time that people have to go out of their way for someone else -- especially when they don't really understand the details of the situation -- it is a bit of a sacrifice for them. Some people are going to be able to make that sacrifice more easily/happily than others will.
Just my $.02


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