Don\'t Tell Policy ??

Posted on: Wed, 04/12/2000 - 2:00pm
FromTheSouth's picture
Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

I am curious ... I believe that FAN recommends that school staff only (not students) be informed who has life-threatening food allergies. This is to prevent alienation/ridicule by other students and privacy, I am assuming. Do you agree this "don't tell" policy is best? I read this is one of their newsletters.

Posted on: Wed, 04/12/2000 - 11:03pm
Lola J's picture
Joined: 02/23/2000 - 09:00

pThank you for bringing this topic up. I have thought about this subject a lot over the past few weeks after reading about how other parents of PA children retell stories of their children's alienation./p
pMy son is not quite 2 yet, so school is still not quite in my sights yet. The logical part of my brain tells me to inform all the teacher, nurses, principal AND classmates of Joe's condition. But deep down, I don't think I want his classmate's to know, at least, not after the third grade level (if I chose not to homeschool)../p
pDo all of you remember how difficult being "different" was when you were in school? If you weren't the one being tortured, do you remember the one classmate who was constantly picked on? School was a nightmare for me. School was a nightmare for my friends who chose to be seen with me. /p
pAnd the children who were chronically "sick?" Who carried medications? Who had braces or crutches? I've seen 9 years olds have nervous breakdowns because of the constant abuse. /p
pTo tell or not to tell? I respect the decision of the parents who chose to tell classmates. I respect the decision of the parents who don't want to tell./p

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 12:37am
Christine's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

pI feel the way Lola does about this. Right now, 5 year old is in preschool and it is very important that everyone around him know about the allergy. Because of the young age, he requires strict supervision at mealtimes and there is no way to do that without the kids knowing. Even in the younger grades, it will be necessary for him to sit at a separate table from the kids eating peanut butter. I probably don't need to tell you how sloppy these kids are at lunch. My 3rd grader (no allergies) comes home at least once a week with some sort of "lunch" on her that some kid has spilled or dropped. So, while I may not want the other kids to know, I think it is important for safety. Once they get into middle school; however, that need changes and I think keeping it hidden might be best. The kids are too mean at that /

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 3:05am
Greg's picture
Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

pOf course on the other hand if you tell the classmates up until middle school, these same classmates will be in middle school with our children. Seems like it would be hard to keep the allergy secret. And while it is true that kids at that age begin acting more cruel than before, it's not the case for the majority of them. Usually only a handfull(yes I know, that's all it takes to make life miserable). It's possible that if we were all upfront about PA then our children wouldn't seem as "different" as it would appear(currently there are about 6-8 children in my daughter's school with PA that we know about). Also there are a number of possibly serious side effects of hiding the peanut allergy from classmates. One, if your child is having a reaction and there is no teacher around,which can happen more often than you think, the other children will be clueless as to what is happening and it could cost precious time. Two, just indirectly pointing out that a peanut allergy is something to hide is enough to make a 11-13 year old think it is something to be ashamed about. Three, if you do manage to succesffully hide the allergy from the other children it opens up a whole can of worms. For example the ever dangerous "peer pressure". In the attempt to cover up the allergy would your child eat an unsafe food? If a classmate offered a home baked good their mom made, how often could your child turn them down? Imagine a well intentioned classmate saying "cmon just have a piece, my mom's a real good cook..." or worse "why don't you want a piece of my snickers bar?..." Whew, I could go on and on but it almost seems like a damned if you do,damned if you don't situation. You can see the good and bad in both options, something me and my wife are sweating over right now since our daughter ,9, will be heading to middle school all too soon./p
p[This message has been edited by Greg (edited April 13, 2000).]/p

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 4:40am
Rae's picture
Joined: 03/28/2000 - 09:00

pMy daughter is in K and her classmates all know. The teacher, when she feels the need, educates them on how serious PA is. I feel fortunate that she goes to a small K-12th grade school. So, these kids will be with her throughout school. I know they are still young, but several of them have had their parents call and check with me about the snacks they bring so Jenna can eat them./p

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 5:15am
ColleenMarie's picture
Joined: 03/04/2000 - 09:00

pI totally agree with Greg - While I worry about teasing, etc., I have no intention of ever keeping my son's pa a secret from anyone. Should we ignore an orthodontist's advice to put braces on our child because it would look geeky? Should we spend hundreds of dollars on name-brand clothing? Should we allow our children to stay out until midnight and drink beer with older friends so they'll be considered "cool"? Should a teenager with bad acne skip school for a week while the treatment kicks in?/p
pUnfortunately, we can't hide from society - as much as we'd like to some days. We must educate others and try to instill confidence in our own children. Of course, I will try to help my son to be "cool" (I too remember the feeling of being picked on at times) but not to the extreme of risking his safety./p

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 5:55am
CVB in CA's picture
Joined: 10/15/1999 - 09:00

pThis came up when I was discussing my son's kindergarden enrollment. The district's policy is to maintain confidentiality on medical conditions. This seemed to be an outgrowth of various lawsuits about AIDS confidentiality across the country and discrimmination children faced in schools due to AIDS and HIV. They were pretty evasive about this, but this was the implication. /p
pShe said we have children with athsma, allergies, diabetes, cancer and "other" serious conditions...It was just the way "other" was said and the way her eyes slid away that made the lightbulb go off in my head. Also, she did not contradict me when I said "AIDS!?", just did not answer./p
pI would think a distinction would be drawn here between various sorts of medical conditions but not in the policy. I was told, though, that whatever I wanted to reveal to other parents or his classmates was up to me./p

Posted on: Thu, 04/13/2000 - 10:58pm
Lola J's picture
Joined: 02/23/2000 - 09:00

pExcuse me Colleen, but I think you have completely missed my point./p
pExactly where in my post did I say children should drink beer, not wear braces, skip school b/c of acne, or spend hundreds of dollars on clothes to "be cool?"/p
pI'm not a terribly good communicator, and I apologize for that, but please tell me what part of my post gave you the impression that I am some materialistic, reckless, lout?/p
pMy decision is my decision and I can change it whenever I want to, IF I want to./p
pI believe I have gained some valuable material from this sight, namely, the HU901 treatments, food allerts and recalls. The level of anxiety, frustration, despair and back-lash that I read about here is affecting my life. /p
pThis has been an insightful site, and I wish you all the best. /p
pThis is Lola J and son, signing out./p

Posted on: Fri, 04/14/2000 - 1:08am
Christine's picture
Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

pLola,br /
I hope you are still reading this board and have not dropped out. Please don't leave. Everyone has differences in opinions and sometimes these "debatable" posts can get pretty sticky. I don't think anyone was attacking you, although when people voice a differing opinion sometimes, in e-mails, in can come off that way. Like you, I haven't really made my decision on what to do, but with the "meaness" I see in kids these days, I do think it is best to keep as quiet as you can in the older grades (really JUST middle school). I think, as adults, we really DO forget what it is like to be that age and how skewed teenagers see things. I am not a secret-keeping person and hate to do it. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I told everyone about it--but just about everyone in my circle is a rational, compassionate adult. I remember middle school also and I remember all too clearly how cruel children were. Fortunately I was never the victim of it but I saw it. I think parents and teachers like to think it doesn't happen as often as it does. Of course, when my son is that age I will expect that he will share this with his closest friends, but I don't expect that I will make pitches to all the children about his allergy. The school staff will be aware as well as his close buddies. After that I don't think it needs to be broadcast. Not because it is shameful, but I would almost bet that SOMEONE will do something mean to him. Yes, in a perfect world we should be open and try to educate the public, but the way I see it right now, I don't think some children can be accepting--and it only takes ONE to make your child's life a living hell. In my daughter's class they have "discovered" that one of the children is a diabetic and they are all freaked out about it. I've tried to encourage my daughter that many people have conditions (and used my PA son as an example) that may threaten their lives but don't change the kind of person they are. My daughter seems okay with it, but they are still all a little skittish about it. But I bet there are parents who aren't "cool" about it and don't give their kids a good talk. Just as there are parents out there who feel threatened when their kids might have their peanut butter taken away. They are raising children with no compassion!! Anyway, I just was hoping that you wouldn't leave this group and that it is okay to have differing /

Posted on: Fri, 04/14/2000 - 2:08am
AnMaMc's picture
Joined: 01/25/2000 - 09:00

pThis site was an absolute blessing when I first found it, but I am now also feeling that some posts are getting too preachy. We all have to handle the PA situation in the best possible way for the good of our children. If the poster feels it is necessary to keep the allergy quiet that is their business and all they are looking for is advice not preaching!!!!/p
pWe all have been educated in PA. We all know what's best in our particular situations. We must not try to push our beliefs on others just because we feel they're the "right" way. /p
pI have noticed this before on this site and have kept my feelings quiet until now. I will also continue to browse the site for alerts and recalls and products, but I also will no longer be posting. /p
pPeanut allergy is a small part of my child's life but, it is not all that he is about. Stay Safe Everyone!!!!/p

Posted on: Fri, 04/14/2000 - 2:25am
michelle's picture
Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

pMy son is in 3rd grade and there is a little teasing and resentment already. This will likely get worse as he advances up each year. I have wondered if my son requested for the information to be hidden what I would do. Right now he is happy and has lots of friends so I will keep things the same for 4th grade. When he gets older I hope I can follow his wishes, but only if we feel he will be safe. If not we would home school if need to. /p
pI enjoy visiting this board and have found such good information. And I find it interesting to read different parents opinons on how they handle the same situations that my family has to handle. It gives me a refliction of the real world. I hope that no one including myself every makes someone feel that they do not belong on this board. I hope you all stay!!!br /
Michelle /p
p[This message has been edited by michelle (edited April 14, 2000).]/p


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