Peanut allergy and school

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Peanut allergy and school

http://www.clickorlando.com/education/27139755/detail.html

EDGEWATER, Fla. -- A first-grade student at Edgewater Elementary School is struggling with a rare life-threatening peanut allergy, and it's causing a controversy among her classmates' parents.

"We're not talking about she will break out in a rash. We are talking about she will die, stop breathing," said Tracey Bailey, the mother of the 6-year-old girl. The condition affects only 2 percent of the population.

Because of the condition, first-graders at the school are required to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths to avoid bringing peanut particles into the classroom.

"I don't think my child should have to rinse her mouth out three times a day. Nine times out of 10, peanut butter is not coming out of her mouth," said Carrie Starkey, whose daughter is a classmate of the girl.

"Teachers and parents are walking on eggshells," said Laura Burr, a mother of two children attending Edgewater Elementary.

In a letter sent in August, Principal Lynda H. Moore informed parents that the girl "has very severe reactions to even the slightest exposure." The letter stated that the girl can be affected simply by sitting at a table with someone who has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or being touched by someone who has eaten a product containing nuts.

Parents said they feel their children are being stripped of their classroom rights and the girl's condition also prevents students from having holiday parties in the classroom with outside food.

"They shouldn't have to lose out on what they should be able to experience at school," Starkey said.

Parents said all the rules are taking time out of the learning process, and they protested Thursday morning outside the school with signs.

"On average, it's probably a good 30 minutes taken out of the day. That's my child's education. Thirty minutes could be a whole subject," Starkey said.

Protesters handed out fliers that claimed their children were wiped down with Clorox wipes. The fliers also said peanut-sniffing dogs will be at the school and snacks are not allowed in the classroom.

Nancy Wait, of Volusia County Schools, said Clorox wipes are used to clean desks, not students. She said federal law and the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate that the school ensure a safe environment for the girl.

"It is an inconvenience and it might seem like it's a bit overboard," said Wait, "but it's what is medically necessary for a particular student and has been sign off on by a physician."

Wait also said the students wash their hands and wash out their mouths in another classroom twice a day before entering their room. Wait confirmed that a peanut-sniffing dog will be at the school on Friday to search for areas that may contain traces of the allergen, and she added that the costs are not paid for by taxpayers.

The girl's father, David Bailey, admitted the condition is an inconvenience.

"Is it taking away from her education? A little bit, because there's so many things we have to do to keep her safe," Bailey said.

The Baileys apologize for the disruptions, but said it's their job to protect their child.

"I would love everything to be normal and everyone else to have a normal life," Bailey said.

Protesting parents said they hope their message gets school officials to loosen the restrictions in place.

What should happen in this case? Is it reasonable for students to have to rinse their mouths out and wash their hands even if it takes 30 minutes of instructional time? What about bringing in the peanut-sniffing dogs? Do you agree with the protests?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

I agree with the protestors. It is not reasonable accomodation to force other students to go to extreme measures. What if a child refuses to rinse their mouth? Will they be punished or not able to enter the classroom? Reasonable accomodation would be to provide a tutor for the child in their home, or put her in a classroom by herself.

Joined: 01/06/03
Posts: 1175

I can't tell from the article... are they banning peanuts/nuts from the school? If so, then it's probably unnecessary since the children will not be handling/eating any of these products during the school day.

However, if the nut products are NOT banned and other children will be eating/handling peanut butter/etc. at school then I don't see it as out of line to ask them to wash hands/rinse after eating them. Schools should be able to provide safe (as possible anyway) environments for ALL students. It is NOT affecting the non-allergic childrens safety by asking them to wash their hands. Actually, in my ds's kindergarten classroom they have the kids line up to wash hands before and after they eat their lunch anyway... no reason other than good hygiene Smile

Our schools are all nut-free within our school board so it's not a big deal to me to ban nuts. In my ds's class there is also a child who has a wheat allergy. They don't ban bread or anything like that but to help accomodate this child, when we volunteer to make playdough for the class the teacher provides us with rice flour rather than having it made with regular flour and when there is a class party, the teacher just asks that if we are planning on sending a treat to let her know ahead of time, she then lets the mother know what is coming and the mother sends a similar item specifically for her child. I guess some people could get bent out of shape over stuff like that but I see it as not a huge deal.

If it were my child with severe/life threatening allergies I would want others to be considerate about my child... so why can I not do the same for someone else's child?

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

One of the articles stated the kids couldn't even bring stuff to school that was manufactured in a place with nuts. Not sure if it's true or not.

I try to look at it from the girl's parents point of view, but I still can't imagine having to do that with my kid. I think it would be harder to try to make her feel normal with them having to go through all of this extra stuff. I'd hate homeschooling, but I think I would in this situation. Some things are just not meant to be and even if the school goes through all of these extra measures, there is still going to be opportunities for the kids to mess up and it's not worth the risk to me. Obviously her parents feel differently, but it's too much to expect the other kids to do all of this every day.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

I'm thankful my girls' allergies are not life threatening. I feel on edge when we're out as it is, so I can't imagine if their reactions were severe how I'd be. I sympathize with this girl and her parents.

I expect my children to accommodate others when possible, even if it means going out of their way a bit. I just think it is a nice thing to do. I'd have no problem with them washing their hands twice a day to help keep this little girl safe. In fact, I hope they wash their hands more than twice a day for their own protection! And rinsing out their mouths isn't such a big deal....probably better for dental hygiene anyway. Once a routine is established it shouldn't take more than a few minutes for this process to be complete. I highly doubt any children were wiped down with Clorox wipes. Furniture and toys, sure. I wipe down everything in my classroom from computer keyboards, to doorknobs, to toys. And if bringing in a peanut sniffing dog will help her, then by all means bring it in. As long as a child doesn't have a serious dog allergy then I see no problem with it.

I think these parents need to pick a better cause and exert their time and resources elsewhere.

SaucyVidel's picture
Joined: 07/20/06
Posts: 634

How far is too far with accommodations? What is too disruptive to the day or the lives of other students, to where it makes more sense to pay for private tutoring to keep one child safe than take preventive measures with hundreds?

I would say this is crossing the line, when it impacts the teaching and time in appreciable ways due to the procedures undertaken. My kids have allergies, the onus of prevention is on me, even if that means isolating or inconveniencing my child. How is this kid going to function as an adult? Walking through a grocery store? In a mall or workplace? She needs to protect herself, because the thousands of people she comes into contact with can't do it for her.

I don't mind nut-free schools, but this is getting excessive. Have a nurse accompany her to administer quick aid, if needed, it's probably still less disruptive to the school as a whole.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

The school district should provide an in-home tutor who is willing to go to those measures rather than subject the entire school to them. Rinsing their mouths out? Give me a break! What happens if someone forgets & the girl has a reaction? The parents sue. Keep her home. Free public education doesn't have to be done at a school building.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think these are extreme measures to go to for a student with an allergy. As parents we all want our kids to have the 'normal' experience, but when it is potentially taking away that much time from everyone else's education, i think its appropriate for the district to provide an alternative.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

How about the Dad in the end of the article commenting on how it's taking away from his daughter's education. What about the 20 some other kids in the class??

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I agree with Spacers, Kim, Taryl, and others. I think it is excessive. I think it is good for kids to be in intergrated classes where they can learn empathy for other's who have different needs and learn to be helpful and go out of their way for someone else. I think that is a fabulous lesson for kids to learn. But it can go to far, and it seems from this article that it has.

I feel horrible for this poor girl, but it is obvious that her allergy is far beyond one that woudl allow for what we consdier a normal life. There are many people who have disabilities of some sort that need special modifications, and though it is unfair, it is the truth. I think maybe a fair compromise would be to home school herand maybe have the kids do these special modifications once a week so she could join the class. IDK, but the way it is now is not fair to the other kids. It is obviously past hand washing when it gets into things like rinsing out their mouths and wiping down with Clorox wipes throughout the day.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

I'm just shocked that so many people think that hand washing (which is just plain ol good hygiene), mouth rinsing (also good hygiene and takes only a few seconds), and keeping the classroom environment clean is "excessive." Seriously, once a routine is established these procedures don't take more than a few minutes. Kids love wiping things down. Hand the first three kids that finish washing/rinsing a Clorox wipe and let them go to town. The other children could file into centers or have some quiet reading time while the washing/rinsing is still taking place. An effective teacher could handle the situation with very little disruptions. Heck, she could even drill the kids with flashcards while they wait in line to wash/rinse. I just don't see it as that big of a deal considering that the majority of these procedures take place in most classrooms anyway.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

I was under the assumption that the two occassions of hand-washing/mouth rinsing were seperate from any other bathroom breaks. I'm not sure if it said in this article, but I remember reaading that this would take away 30 minutes of instructional time each day. That's pretty significant.

Joined: 01/06/03
Posts: 1175

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I'm just shocked that so many people think that hand washing (which is just plain ol good hygiene), mouth rinsing (also good hygiene and takes only a few seconds), and keeping the classroom environment clean is "excessive." Seriously, once a routine is established these procedures don't take more than a few minutes. Kids love wiping things down. Hand the first three kids that finish washing/rinsing a Clorox wipe and let them go to town. The other children could file into centers or have some quiet reading time while the washing/rinsing is still taking place. An effective teacher could handle the situation with very little disruptions. Heck, she could even drill the kids with flashcards while they wait in line to wash/rinse. I just don't see it as that big of a deal considering that the majority of these procedures take place in most classrooms anyway.

ITA.

At the majority of schools I know of, after eating lunch the children go outside for recess. To just randomly send them off to wash/rinse in the middle of the day when they haven't been eating or had any chance to come into contact with nuts doesn't make sense... so I think it would be pretty safe to assume that the washing/rinsing would only be done after eating. After they eat they quickly wash their hands and they go for a quick drink at the fountain and while they're there they rinse too. I don't see how it takes 30 minutes away from instructional time at all... certainly no more time than if you add up all the minutes "wasted" when kids ask to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom.

It's really no different than expecting them to wash their hands after going to the washroom... simple good hygiene. I mean, think of all the time that would be saved if little Johnny or Susie DIDN'T dilly dally and wash their hands after a bathroom break :confused:

Joined: 10/22/06
Posts: 1033

I don't find hand washing and mouth rinsing to be terribly extreme and would have no problem with my children doing so in order to protect another child. But at the same time, I think it's a huge liability for the school to be responsible for such a severe allergy. Just think if one kid forgot to rinse/wash one time? I think, as a parent, this is not an accommodation I would want to request from the school. It crosses the line for me, as keeping my child alive is more important than public schooling. I am not at all a home schooling parent (though I have lots of respect for the ones that do it well), but I would definitely consider it (or home tutoring, etc) in a situation like this. I don't think six year olds are quite aware enough to protect themselves. When my child was a bit older, I would reconsider public schooling as less extreme measures would need to be in place with an older child who has more understanding of the dangers and how to avoid them.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I'm just shocked that so many people think that hand washing (which is just plain ol good hygiene), mouth rinsing (also good hygiene and takes only a few seconds), and keeping the classroom environment clean is "excessive." Seriously, once a routine is established these procedures don't take more than a few minutes. Kids love wiping things down. Hand the first three kids that finish washing/rinsing a Clorox wipe and let them go to town. The other children could file into centers or have some quiet reading time while the washing/rinsing is still taking place. An effective teacher could handle the situation with very little disruptions. Heck, she could even drill the kids with flashcards while they wait in line to wash/rinse. I just don't see it as that big of a deal considering that the majority of these procedures take place in most classrooms anyway.

Really it takes seconds? Maybe for one child. But having to have 20 1st graders wash there hands 3 times a day and rinse their mouths one at a time? My son sometimes doesn't finish his center work during the day as it is. And in our school they only wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. Before and after lunch they use sanitizer because of the time and logistics of having 20 6yos wash their hands one at a time.

Maybe as a hypothetical it may sound easy. Flashcards and a few seconds. But realistically, it is not as easyand quick as you make it out to be.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

I'm wondering, if those 30 minutes are taken away froma child who is falling behind and needs that extra time, isn't he/she being discriminated against for the sake of this one girl having her education in a public school? Why is the girl with the peanut allergy more important then the kid with the learning disability or just learns slower?

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

I am torn on this one. I like the idea of the kids as a community doing what they can to help someone with difficult allergies, but honestly, I think Lana is right and it does indeed take a lot of classroom time away. I have nothing but compassion for this girl and her family but expecting the whole school to do something that has to be organized and checked by the teachers (because you can't have a kid NOT do it) and takes up so much time and disrupts so much of the schedule is a real problem, not just an inconvenience. I think private instruction makes sense, video connection to the classroom could help, special days when she comes in and precautions are followed is great. But every day disruption for everybody feels like they are asking too much. It also makes me wonder how this girl functions in the world at all. I can't imagine how difficult that must be, I assume she simply doesn't go to any enclosed space ever. I hope they find a way to manage it.

She is entitled to an education but so are all the other kids. It's a tough situation.

But yeah...there would absolutely have to be teachers (or somebody) making sure that every single kid does what is required each time it's needed, it's not like you can just have the kids randomly wander in and wash out their mouths and trust that it will happen.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

I am also torn on this. Effective hand washing should take as long as singing Happy Birthday or Yankee Doodle. That's about 15-20 seconds per child... so I guess about 3-5 minutes in total? The mouth washing... What kind of mouth wash is this? Only rinsing with water? I don't see how just using water to rinse out the mouth would work effectively to get rid of any peanut traces.

I also wouldn't want my child's education to be jeopardized. Maybe the school can hire a teacher to work one on one with her for math, english, writing, social studies, science, and let her be with classmates during gym, recess, music, art, and any other class similar.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

I am also torn on this. Effective hand washing should take as long as singing Happy Birthday or Yankee Doodle. That's about 15-20 seconds per child... so I guess about 3-5 minutes in total? The mouth washing... What kind of mouth wash is this? Only rinsing with water? I don't see how just using water to rinse out the mouth would work effectively to get rid of any peanut traces.

I also wouldn't want my child's education to be jeopardized. Maybe the school can hire a teacher to work one on one with her for math, english, writing, social studies, science, and let her be with classmates during gym, recess, music, art, and any other class similar.

I've heard that also about washing hands. It doesn't say, but it seems logical that students have to wash their hands and rinse their mouths when they arrive in the morning and after lunch. That's two times a day (three if they have a snack). Thirty kids at 20 seconds each takes 10 minutes. The teacher can try to minimize the lost instruction, but there will still be lost instruction. Realistically, how can you make sure both the child at the front of the line doesn't goof off at his seat and the child at the back of the line isn't wasting time?

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

I do not have a problem taking measures to make sure that a young child is safe. In the vast majority of elementary schools here there are no peanuts allowed. In the my friends daughter's preschool there are so many allergies that it is just standard practice to wash hands immediately upon arrival. The parents make sure that happens. And everyone should wash their hands after eating anyways.

I do not agree with paying for a private tutor for the child. Why should taxpayers pay for that? And why should she have to spend her days isolated from the rest of the world be cause she has a sever allergy? Because is more convenient? Convenience of the life of a child? As she gets older she will learn to protect herself, but she is six. She isn't old enough to ensure that she won't be exposed so it is up to the adults around her to help make sure that happens. So 10 min a day is devoted to hand washing. 10 min spent discussing proper hand washing and hygiene/dental hygiene does not seem like wasted time to me.

Strange_Cat's picture
Joined: 02/08/02
Posts: 41

The problem I have with all of this allergy stuff is that the family is expecting that everybody in the general public is going to be responsible for the health and safety of the child. I think this is totally unreasonable, and it gives the family a false sense of security. This is an incident that occurred in Chicago:

Family sues restaurant over seventh-grader's fatal food allergy

Chinese food at school's end-of-year party had peanuts or peanut oil, lab says

By Joel Hood, TRIBUNE REPORTER
6:43 PM CDT, March 18, 2011


Advertisement


The family of a Chicago Public Schools seventh-grader who died last year after an allergic reaction to peanuts at a school party has filed a wrongful-death suit against the Chinese restaurant that provided the meal, claiming the student's teacher told the restaurant to avoid peanut products.
Gil Ross, an attorney for the family of Katelyn Carlson, 13, said CPS officials told them they had been aware of Carlson's severe peanut allergy. The suit claims that Carlson's teacher, Jack Matsumoto, asked employees at the Chinese Inn Restaurant to make sure peanut products such as oils and sauces were not used in preparing the meals for a Dec. 17 party at Edison Regional Gifted Center in Albany Park.
"The school has advised us that they placed an order for Chinese food as a end-of-the-year party for a class of gifted children and that the restaurant had been advised that there were children who had food allergies, including peanut allergies, and that there should be no foods provided that had peanut products," Ross said.
The Cook County medical examiner's office determined that Carlson died of anaphylaxis, a severe reaction to a food allergy. But the office did not specify what food caused the reaction. Seeking independent verification, the Chicago Board of Education sent samples of the food to a lab at the University of Nebraska, which determined the food had trace amounts of peanuts or peanut products.
"(They) tested the food and determined it was heavily contaminated with peanut products and that this was the tragic cause of this child's death," Ross said.
Carlson's death shocked the North Side community where the family resides. Afterward, parents of Carlson's classmates said that Carlson was seen struggling for breath after consuming the food but that school officials did not give her epinephrine. Epinephrine is often used to alleviate allergic reactions.
The suit, filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court by Carlson's father, Michael Carlson Jr., seeks more than $100,000 in damages. An employee who answered the phone at the Chinese Inn on Friday said the restaurant's owner, Xiang Zhong Mei, was not available for comment.
Officials at Edison have made the campus peanut-free.
[EMAIL=jhood@tribune.com]jhood@tribune.com[/EMAIL]

Copyright © 2011, Chicago Tribune

Who is really responsible for the girl's death? Is it really the restaurant or the school? I think the only way that the restaurant is liable is if they certified that everything in the environment is peanut-free. The parents made the decision to allow their daughter to attend a party with food delivered by a Chinese restaurant. It was a bad decision, and the poor girl lost her life over it. Should the girl herself, at 17, known better than to eat food when the school asked the restaurant to "avoid" peanuts?

I know adults with severe peanut allergies in real life. Most of them choose to eat only food they purchase and prepare themselves. Chinese restaurants almost always have peanuts in some form. If an allergy is that severe, why would you even take a chance?

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I do not have a problem taking measures to make sure that a young child is safe. In the vast majority of elementary schools here there are no peanuts allowed. In the my friends daughter's preschool there are so many allergies that it is just standard practice to wash hands immediately upon arrival. The parents make sure that happens. And everyone should wash their hands after eating anyways.

I do not agree with paying for a private tutor for the child. Why should taxpayers pay for that? And why should she have to spend her days isolated from the rest of the world be cause she has a sever allergy? Because is more convenient? Convenience of the life of a child? As she gets older she will learn to protect herself, but she is six. She isn't old enough to ensure that she won't be exposed so it is up to the adults around her to help make sure that happens. So 10 min a day is devoted to hand washing. 10 min spent discussing proper hand washing and hygiene does not seem like wasted time to me.

10 minutes each time they wash their hands... and I don't believe that 10 minutes includes washing out their mouths.. So if they're washing 3x a day, that's 30 minutes lost each day... plus a little more if you throw in washing out their mouths and then changing clothes because we all know kids end up getting water on the front of their shirts one time or another (and as a parent, I don't expect my child to sit around with a big wet spot on his shirt--- how uncomfortable and cold). Oh and don't forget water getting on the floor, which needs to be cleaned up right away so it's not a safety hazard for slipping. What school subjects would you like to be shortened by 10-15 minutes? English? Science? How about math?.... lots of kids hate math!;)

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

I'd love to know what the rest of the 2% of the population with this life threatening allergy do? How have they survived?

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"culturedmom" wrote:

Really it takes seconds? Maybe for one child. But having to have 20 1st graders wash there hands 3 times a day and rinse their mouths one at a time? My son sometimes doesn't finish his center work during the day as it is. And in our school they only wash their hands after they go to the bathroom. Before and after lunch they use sanitizer because of the time and logistics of having 20 6yos wash their hands one at a time.

Maybe as a hypothetical it may sound easy. Flashcards and a few seconds. But realistically, it is not as easyand quick as you make it out to be.

I would have a big problem with the bolded. Sanitizer is alcohol and it is not great to use on small children, especially when they are eating. There have been cases of alcohol poisoning in small children who ingested sanitizer. I would rather see my child have proper handwashing reinforced. That in itself is a lesson that children need to learn. It is not wasted time to me.

SaucyVidel's picture
Joined: 07/20/06
Posts: 634

My BIL has a severe peanut allergy, he's one of those people who starts having symptoms if someone on a plane had peanuts an airport back.

He can't expect everyone in a mall or workplace to be peanut free, it's impossible, so the solution was homeschooling him until sixth grade, and by then he knew enough about his own health to refuse food he didn't prepare or that wasn't sent with him and have an epi-pen around his neck at all times. If he started having symptoms he dosed and removed himself from the situation.

Though his reactions are also anaphylaxis and other inflammation (he gets welts and peeling if he comes into contact with peanut oil or peanut traces), he has never had to be hospitalized or had any serious complications because his parents protected him until he was old enough to protect himself, even though it meant keeping him in a controlled environment when he was little. Even if they hadn't been homeschooling already they'd have started for his sake, since the district would provide tutoring as a medical aid. None of the local schools were peanut free at that point, and as I stated earlier LIFE is not nut-free. Nobody can protect his health but him, so the training needs to be in teaching the kids and those immediately responsible for their welfare how to avoid excess exposure and treat if it does happen, not cleaning everyone else in hopes the chain of events won't start. Making other kids aware is great, a little prevention is also helpful, but you can't guarantee the compliance of other children in a matter of life and death. Accidents happen.

Strange_Cat's picture
Joined: 02/08/02
Posts: 41

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I would have a big problem with the bolded. Sanitizer is alcohol and it is not great to use on small children, especially when they are eating. There have been cases of alcohol poisoning in small children who ingested sanitizer. I would rather see my child have proper handwashing reinforced. That in itself is a lesson that children need to learn. It is not wasted time to me.

In my district for elementary school there are 28 kids per classroom, and two sinks. Right now the kids wash after using the restroom, and before lunch. If you have to add a washing every time the children enter the classroom you are adding at least two to three additional washings per child. This is a lot of time taken away from instruction, no ifs, ands or buts about that. It's not a one time deal where you teach a child about handwashing. It's day in, day out, several times per day. They will either need to add 30 minutes to the day, or take away 30 minutes from some other activity.

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

I'm curious...... My kids eat peanut butter and nuts in general ALL THE TIME. In the morning, a very reasonable breakfast might include a piece of toast with chunky peanut butter on it. If DS were to get a little on his shirt and play with that little girl at school, would that cause a reaction for her? What about when we are standing here eating pistachios and the pistachio nut dust gets on his shoe and he wears them to school? I mean, they're just kids. What if she has a reaction to something like one of those scenarios, can you imagine the guilt that those little kids could carry with them, always wondering if it was them or their breakfast that did it?

And what are they rinsing their mouths out with? I don't want my 6 y.o. rinsing with alcohol based products ever and especially not somewhere where I can't supervise and the teacher may or may not be able to watch every single child to be sure they aren't swallowing any.

I feel very sorry for her and this is a crappy situation, but no I don't think this is reasonable. If she were my child, there would be no question, we'd be homeschooling at least until she was old enough to understand the severity.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Strange_Cat" wrote:

The problem I have with all of this allergy stuff is that the family is expecting that everybody in the general public is going to be responsible for the health and safety of the child. I think this is totally unreasonable, and it gives the family a false sense of security. This is an incident that occurred in Chicago:

Who is really responsible for the girl's death? Is it really the restaurant or the school? I think the only way that the restaurant is liable is if they certified that everything in the environment is peanut-free. The parents made the decision to allow their daughter to attend a party with food delivered by a Chinese restaurant. It was a bad decision, and the poor girl lost her life over it. Should the girl herself, at 17, known better than to eat food when the school asked the restaurant to "avoid" peanuts?

I know adults with severe peanut allergies in real life. Most of them choose to eat only food they purchase and prepare themselves. Chinese restaurants almost always have peanuts in some form. If an allergy is that severe, why would you even take a chance?

The article says she was 13. It also says the school officials did not give her epinephrine.

I agree with you on taking chances. As others have said, trying to make a classroom or school safe offers a false sense of security.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I do not have a problem taking measures to make sure that a young child is safe. In the vast majority of elementary schools here there are no peanuts allowed. In the my friends daughter's preschool there are so many allergies that it is just standard practice to wash hands immediately upon arrival. The parents make sure that happens. And everyone should wash their hands after eating anyways.

I do not agree with paying for a private tutor for the child. Why should taxpayers pay for that? And why should she have to spend her days isolated from the rest of the world be cause she has a sever allergy? Because is more convenient? Convenience of the life of a child? As she gets older she will learn to protect herself, but she is six. She isn't old enough to ensure that she won't be exposed so it is up to the adults around her to help make sure that happens. So 10 min a day is devoted to hand washing. 10 min spent discussing proper hand washing and hygiene/dental hygiene does not seem like wasted time to me.

There comes a point where the public school can say they just can't meet the child's needs. It happens often with certain disabilities - deafness, blindness, Tourette's. So the question is where is that point when it comes to a sever food allergy? In previous debates on this topic, I've agreed with the measures taken by the school. This time, it exceeds what I believe to be reasonable.

I make three PB & J sandwiches for lunch daily. Then I make my 7 YO's ham & cheese sandwich. If I used the same cutting board or knife or reuse a plastic sandwich bag, it could get peanut particles in DD's lunch. If that little bit of peanut dust is enough to kill a classmate, it's more than an inconvenience.

Joined: 09/14/03
Posts: 19

I think one of the parents to that girl should home school. If i were the parent to such an allergic girl i would home school without any hesitance.

I make three PB & J sandwiches for lunch daily. Then I make my 7 YO's ham & cheese sandwich. If I used the same cutting board or knife or reuse a plastic sandwich bag, it could get peanut particles in DD's lunch. If that little bit of peanut dust is enough to kill a classmate, it's more than an inconvenience.

Totally agree with these words, its more then an inconvinience when you have to think about all of these little things.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I would have a big problem with the bolded. Sanitizer is alcohol and it is not great to use on small children, especially when they are eating. There have been cases of alcohol poisoning in small children who ingested sanitizer. I would rather see my child have proper handwashing reinforced. That in itself is a lesson that children need to learn. It is not wasted time to me.

You can take it up with my kids school then. My son knows how to wash his hands and no one has died of alcohol poisoning yet, so I'll take my chances.

Joined: 01/06/03
Posts: 1175

"culturedmom" wrote:

You can take it up with my kids school then. My son knows how to wash his hands and no one has died of alcohol poisoning yet, so I'll take my chances.

Ditto. And last school year with all the H1N1 hype our school had hand sanitizer everywhere for the kids to use. They also asked parents (if they could) to send small bottles for their child's personal use. However, if one is worried about the alcohol in hand sanitizer you can buy non-alcohol hand sanitizer. I had to find some for my dd because the alcohol-based ones were doing a number on her hands.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

10 minutes each time they wash their hands... and I don't believe that 10 minutes includes washing out their mouths.. So if they're washing 3x a day, that's 30 minutes lost each day... plus a little more if you throw in washing out their mouths and then changing clothes because we all know kids end up getting water on the front of their shirts one time or another (and as a parent, I don't expect my child to sit around with a big wet spot on his shirt--- how uncomfortable and cold). Oh and don't forget water getting on the floor, which needs to be cleaned up right away so it's not a safety hazard for slipping. What school subjects would you like to be shortened by 10-15 minutes? English? Science? How about math?.... lots of kids hate math!;)

I already explained how the washing/rinsing time could be used effectively. I honestly hope you're kidding about the changing clothes and cleaning water up off the floor bit. That's a tad ridiculous.

Look, no one can force this family to keep their child at home. All students must be educated in the least restrictive environment (determined by a committee) and if the parents want her at that school it will be nearly impossible for them to force her to go. Parents and students have rights, and should the committee decide that a home-bound program would better suit her needs, and the parents disagreed, the case could go to mediation and possibly court (all on the taxpayer's dime by the way). The parents may even have good reasons why they chose public school as opposed to the home-bound program. Besides the obvious benefits of being around her peers, the parents may work during the day and wouldn't be home with her. Perhaps they can't afford for one parent not to work.

There really is no simple fix here, but I believe that if all parties involved would be tolerant and understanding that the little girl could attend school with very little problems.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

You can't get alcohol poisoning from eating your lunch after rubbing hand sanitizer on your hands. You'd have to ingest a fair amount of it for it to poison you. Licking a palmful could intoxicate a kid, but I'd like to think young school-aged kids can follow instructions to NOT eat the sanitizer.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I already explained how the washing/rinsing time could be used effectively. I honestly hope you're kidding about the changing clothes and cleaning water up off the floor bit. That's a tad ridiculous.

Look, no one can force this family to keep their child at home. All students must be educated in the least restrictive environment (determined by a committee) and if the parents want her at that school it will be nearly impossible for them to force her to go. Parents and students have rights, and should the committee decide that a home-bound program would better suit her needs, and the parents disagreed, the case could go to mediation and possibly court (all on the taxpayer's dime by the way). The parents may even have good reasons why they chose public school as opposed to the home-bound program. Besides the obvious benefits of being around her peers, the parents may work during the day and wouldn't be home with her. Perhaps they can't afford for one parent not to work.

There really is no simple fix here, but I believe that if all parties involved would be tolerant and understanding that the little girl could attend school with very little problems.

Oh, I don't know about "very little problems". It makes my palms sweat to imagine sending my child off to school each day, knowing that *one* little mishap could kill him. What if one of those kids eats peanut butter for breakfast and doesn't brush their teeth? I'd want my kid to have as normal a life as possible, but I just don't trust others enough I guess. I'd be home schooling my child until he was old enough to recognize any inkling of an anaphylactic reaction, and also to be able to give himself an injection after realizing he was in trouble.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"daniellevmt" wrote:

Oh, I don't know about "very little problems". It makes my palms sweat to imagine sending my child off to school each day, knowing that *one* little mishap could kill him. What if one of those kids eats peanut butter for breakfast and doesn't brush their teeth? I'd want my kid to have as normal a life as possible, but I just don't trust others enough I guess. I'd be home schooling my child until he was old enough to recognize any inkling of an anaphylactic reaction, and also to be able to give himself an injection after realizing he was in trouble.

I'm sure the parents are frightened, but it is a reality for them. Like I said, their options may be limited if both parents need to work for financial reasons. Really, we can't make that decision for them.

And as far as allergies go, reactions are unpredictable. Just because the reaction was hives at the first exposure, doesn't mean that the reaction couldn't be anaphylactic with the next exposure. I think most parents of kids with allergies worry when they send their kids to school. Sometimes it is just a part of life though.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I already explained how the washing/rinsing time could be used effectively. I honestly hope you're kidding about the changing clothes and cleaning water up off the floor bit. That's a tad ridiculous.

Nope. I wouldn't want my kiddo to slip and fall on water that got on the floor from all the rinsing of mouths and stuff. I also don't allow my kid to sit around in wet clothing, including a wet spot on the chest of his tops.

HeatherAnn817's picture
Joined: 05/28/04
Posts: 139

I do think its a bit much. I would rather see the school go peanut free like so many others, and have the children wash their hands and mouth out when they arrive. Then, they would only need to wash their hands at the usual intervals (after going ot the bathroom or coming in from outside). Yes, I know washing in the morning would take time, but since all the kids usually arrive in small groups (buses), some could be finished before the academic day even begins.

Personally, my daughter would have a very difficult time with the mouth washing. Since water wouldn't help, I am going to assume they are using some sort of mouth wash. We do this nightly at our house, and its a struggle with DD since she hates the taste and feel of the mouthwash in her mouth.

If this were my child with the severe allergy, I would homeschool for sure!

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

Nope. I wouldn't want my kiddo to slip and fall on water that got on the floor from all the rinsing of mouths and stuff. I also don't allow my kid to sit around in wet clothing, including a wet spot on the chest of his tops.

First of all, part of teaching a procedure is demonstrating the proper way to do something (how to wash your hands without flinging water everywhere) and discussing with the kids what a "bad choice" for that procedure would be. Within a week a group of primary students should be able to wash their hands without creating a mess. That's just a basic life skill and Kindergarten teachers spend a great deal of time at the beginning of the year teaching these skills and classroom procedures.

Second, if you think Jace's Kindergarten teacher is going to care that he has a wet spot on his shirt and send him to the clinic to change you're in for a surprise. Teachers don't have time for such nonsense, and a wet spot on a shirt never hurt anyone.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

The district should cover the cost of alternate education for this girl, though. It shouldn't be up to the parents to home school or pay for it.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

The district should cover the cost of alternate education for this girl, though. It shouldn't be up to the parents to home school or pay for it.

What type of "alternate education" are you talking about? Do you mean the hospital/homebound program? In my district this child would qualify (if her physician agreed and signed off on it) but it would require one of her parents to be at home with her every day. The H/H teacher would consult with her current teacher and deliver instruction at the girl's home for 2-3 hours a week. It would be up to her parents to provide additional study time throughout the week. That really doesn't compare to the education she would receive in her current public school with her peers.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

What type of "alternate education" are you talking about? Do you mean the hospital/homebound program? In my district this child would qualify (if her physician agreed and signed off on it) but it would require one of her parents to be at home with her every day. The H/H teacher would consult with her current teacher and deliver instruction at the girl's home for 2-3 hours a week. It would be up to her parents to provide additional study time throughout the week. That really doesn't compare to the education she would receive in her current public school with her peers.

I am fortunate in that my kids go to public school, so I have no idea what programs already exist in this area. But if the public school system can't provide for a student within the school, isn't it up to the district to offer an alternative? Home schooling by a certified teacher paid for by the district?

Maybe that's just my ideal of how it should work.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I am fortunate in that my kids go to public school, so I have no idea what programs already exist in this area. But if the public school system can't provide for a student within the school, isn't it up to the district to offer an alternative? Home schooling by a certified teacher paid for by the district?

Maybe that's just my ideal of how it should work.

The hospital/homebound program is the alternative. Unfortunately the teacher is only able to spend 2-3 hours with the child a week. The parent must be present during the schooling (meaning they can't go out to lunch with friends and leave the kid there with the teacher) and must complete the required coursework with their child throughout the week.

Here is a link with info on my district's H/H program: http://www.polk-fl.net/parents/generalinformation/studentwellness.htm
(Scroll to the bottom)

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

First of all, part of teaching a procedure is demonstrating the proper way to do something (how to wash your hands without flinging water everywhere) and discussing with the kids what a "bad choice" for that procedure would be. Within a week a group of primary students should be able to wash their hands without creating a mess. That's just a basic life skill and Kindergarten teachers spend a great deal of time at the beginning of the year teaching these skills and classroom procedures.

Second, if you think Jace's Kindergarten teacher is going to care that he has a wet spot on his shirt and send him to the clinic to change you're in for a surprise. Teachers don't have time for such nonsense, and a wet spot on a shirt never hurt anyone.

If my kid is uncomfortable because he has a wet spot on his shirt and wants to change, Miss Kindergarten teacher sure as hell better send him to the bathroom so he can change.

Back to the debate, what if a child is very picky and ONLY likes to eat PBJ for lunch? Now they're not allowed to because of this girl's condition?

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3189

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

Back to the debate, what if a child is very picky and ONLY likes to eat PBJ for lunch? Now they're not allowed to because of this girl's condition?

I don't think it's unreasonable to have students not bring actual peanut products into the school. I'm glad we are still allowed to send peanut butter with my son, but if we couldn't we would just deal, inconvenient as it would be. (My son's classroom is a peanut-free room so he can't bring snacks with nuts.)

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

If my kid is uncomfortable because he has a wet spot on his shirt and wants to change, Miss Kindergarten teacher sure as hell better send him to the bathroom so he can change.

Back to the debate, what if a child is very picky and ONLY likes to eat PBJ for lunch? Now they're not allowed to because of this girl's condition?

Tell me you're not serious about the shirt. Seriously? Talk about taking time away from the educational process.....

At my school children with severe food allergies sit at a special table at the front of the cafeteria. They are allowed to choose a friend to sit with them (as long as that friend's lunch doesn't contain the dangerous allergens). If this girl's allergies are as severe as the article states I'm assuming she eats in the classroom or away from children whose lunches could possibly contain traces of peanuts. Maybe she eats in the classroom since they've taken extra precautions to make it "safe."

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

If my kid is uncomfortable because he has a wet spot on his shirt and wants to change, Miss Kindergarten teacher sure as hell better send him to the bathroom so he can change.

Back to the debate, what if a child is very picky and ONLY likes to eat PBJ for lunch? Now they're not allowed to because of this girl's condition?

Yes. I'm sure in our lifetime all schools will be peanut-free. A ton of them are already.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

CNN reported that the parents who protested only gave the principal one day's notice and then started picketing. I agree with the newscaster here when he says this is a little unfair. It makes me think they saw an opportunity or drama and took it. At least give the administration and the parents of the allergic child a chance to work it out.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/03/11/exp.HLNPeanutAllergy.cnn?hpt=T2

momW's picture
Joined: 09/29/09
Posts: 5634

I thought the protest was going way too far, I mean, she's just a little girl for heaven's sake. It's not like these 6 year olds are going to miss out on that much had they given the school a little time to try to work something out.

I was really curious about this so I looked online and tried to find more about rare fatal peanut allergies, anyone else? I haven't been able to find anything except some that say it's more a parent taking an allergy warning to the extreme. Like the risk that all food allergies could be fatal if certain steps aren't taken, kwim? I don't know if I'm not googling correctly tonight or what. I have never heard of a food allergy being so severe. Her dad makes it sound like she will drop dead on the spot if she touches someone who has recently ingested a nut. I'm just curious.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"daniellevmt" wrote:

CNN reported that the parents who protested only gave the principal one day's notice and then started picketing. I agree with the newscaster here when he says this is a little unfair. It makes me think they saw an opportunity or drama and took it. At least give the administration and the parents of the allergic child a chance to work it out.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/03/11/exp.HLNPeanutAllergy.cnn?hpt=T2

"Our Kids Are Special Too"? "No to Clorox Wipes"? Are you kidding me? These parents should be ashamed of themselves......

Thanks for sharing that video Danielle. After watching it I feel even more strongly about the issue.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"momW" wrote:

I thought the protest was going way too far, I mean, she's just a little girl for heaven's sake. It's not like these 6 year olds are going to miss out on that much had they given the school a little time to try to work something out.

I was really curious about this so I looked online and tried to find more about rare fatal peanut allergies, anyone else? I haven't been able to find anything except some that say it's more a parent taking an allergy warning to the extreme. Like the risk that all food allergies could be fatal if certain steps aren't taken, kwim? I don't know if I'm not googling correctly tonight or what. I have never heard of a food allergy being so severe. Her dad makes it sound like she will drop dead on the spot if she touches someone who has recently ingested a nut. I'm just curious.

I like this website: http://www.aaaai.org/media/statistics/allergy-statistics.asp

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