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Author Topic: School issues...need advice ASAP!!  (Read 2594 times)

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Offline IowaMom

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School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« on: September 21, 2011, 08:09:39 AM »
I will try to make this as brief as possible.  DD started K this year.  Had a meeting 2 days prior to school starting w/ nurse/teacher.  The school already has a district policy in place concerning PA.  No food is to be used in the curriculum, snacks/birthday treats are to be brought in from a safe snack list given by the school.  Felt like teacher understood- kind of, from the meeting. Asked good questions, stressed that she wouldn't want to be the one responsible for anything happening to DD, etc.  Nurse epi-trained her (to my knowledge) and epi is in the classroom (and other places in school).  Despite safe snack list I have chosen to have a snack box for her due to substitute teachers, etc and to avoid confusion w/ DD. 

On day 5 of school the teacher gave my child a food item to eat that was part of what she was teaching.  I didn't find out until after the fact, but teacher stressed she read the label and thought it was ok.  I sent a page long email about how it was my understanding food was not to be used in the classroom, and that if something like this comes up again I want to be notified ahead of time. She assured me there weren't any other planned projects w/ food.  I also educated her in the email about how even if a food reads safe, I still may not be comfortable w/ DD having it and why (how labeling is voluntary, blah blah blah).   I also expressed concern about a PTO project involving boxtops.  Number of them brought in = some sort of food party at given increments. Was told by the teacher not to worry about it, but one week later she stopped my husband in the parking lot and wanted to know if a particular gum that she had purchased for the gum party would be safe!  Fortunately it was, but obviously I was given no notice, and DD would have likely been excluded if it wasn't safe.  Also discussed this with her, and she said she would talk to the person in charge of the program.  Fast forward to last night- I find a pack of gum in DD's back pack.  I asked her where she got it, and she says it was passed out by a classmate at the end of the day.  I asked if the teacher was aware of this, and she said "yes".  To give her the benefit of the doubt I did note what brand it was..it was NOT the same brand I approved one week prior.  And, obviously I was not informed. 

My question is this- do I go back to the teacher AGAIN- since like I said before, these situations weren't discussed because it was my understanding they wouldn't happen. Or, do I talk to the nurse- who DOES seem to "get it" for the most part, or the principal -which I assume would likely upset the teacher??  Do I inquire about a 504 for her?  I felt it wasn't needed due to the policy they have in place.  I'm just so new to this- I'm not sure what to do.  Am I out of line for being upset by this??  DD is coming from a daycare/preschool that did NOT allow ANY outside food to be brought in, and all food used in the center (including the lunches) were approved BY ME.  So, right now she is under the assumption that if the food is from school, it is safe.  So one week she was given gum that WAS approved by me (last minute), so how is she to know that gum given to her a week later is NOT safe!  This is too confusing for her and I fear that something could happen if I don't do something about this.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2011, 09:29:45 AM by IowaMom »
10 year old DD - PA only
USA

Offline socks on a rooster

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 09:36:59 AM »
I am in favor of 504 plans for this reason. What you agreed upon is spelled out in a document and you can document by email if the teacher just goes on making her own decisions about what is safe. I would be very uncomfortable and upset about this too. My advice is to request a 504 eligibility meeting. But first, I'd address this safety issue now with the nurse or principal, whomever you feel would take care of the matter with the teacher and emphasize ANY food must be cleared by you prior to giving it to your child. Then request a 504 eligibility meeting.  :console:

Offline ajasfolks2

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 09:37:27 AM »
I would circle back with NURSE directly involved.

Sounds like the teacher "thinks" SHE gets the food allergies enough that she should be able to read labels and decide about a certain food/candy/gum being acceptable.  (WRONG!)

There needs to be a REVIEW of what the RULES are as to NO food (spell out the definition of "food" to include candy and gum for clarity). 

Sounds like confusion on part of teacher (giving benefit of doubt). 

Go through the rules as you know them on your own.  Really ponder what might be ambiguous to a NON-LTFA parent.  Come up with suggested changes to wording and explanations/clarifications -- keeping everything as straightforward and simple as possible.

Then go to the nurse with your written list and work through this with Nurse.  Possibly work with nurse alone first.  THEN have the 2 of you meet with teacher (and perhaps an admin/Vprin as needed) to be SURE all has been gone over and every possible question addressed.

Remind me (I cannot recall -- what with this move of boards here & not yet caught up) -- do you have an IHCP (indivd Health Care Plan)?  Do you have a 504?  An IEP?

Sounds like there is too much confusion . . . for everybody.  This is how mistakes can be made.  Mistakes with really bad consequences for child.

Work logically and swiftly.  Put your mad off to the side and/or come leave it here if you have to.  We know.  We get it.  We're there too.   :grouphug:

~e
Is this where I blame iPhone and cuss like an old fighter pilot's wife?

**(&%@@&%$^%$#^%$#$*&      LOL!!   

Offline ajasfolks2

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 09:40:52 AM »
I am in favor of 504 plans for this reason. What you agreed upon is spelled out in a document and you can document by email if the teacher just goes on making her own decisions about what is safe. I would be very uncomfortable and upset about this too. My advice is to request a 504 eligibility meeting. But first, I'd address this safety issue now with the nurse or principal, whomever you feel would take care of the matter with the teacher and emphasize ANY food must be cleared by you prior to giving it to your child. Then request a 504 eligibility meeting.  :console:

Socks was posting same time as I was.  Totally agree that you must address the pressing and REAL safety-of-life concern ASAP and then make 504 eligibility request.

Your school district may even have form online you can use to make 504 request.  You may also just put it in simple letter (e-mail and then print e-mail and hand/PO deliver and get receipt).  You want paper trail, either way.  There should be published policy as to 504 process at district.  Print that out & read.  Going from memory, I think they have 10 days to respond to your written request for 504.  (gotta go review law on that -- rusty).

Is this where I blame iPhone and cuss like an old fighter pilot's wife?

**(&%@@&%$^%$#^%$#$*&      LOL!!   

Carefulmom1

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 10:43:00 AM »
I would go to the nurse and not the principal.  Generally speaking, the principal`s goal is to back his teachers, and the nurse`s goal is to keep the kids safe.  Obviously there are exceptions.  I agree with you that this is 1) risky for your child and 2) too confusing for a 5 year old.  The rules need to be followed consistently, or your child won`t know when it is or is not safe to accept food that did not come out of her lunchbox.  I would go to the nurse right away and then move forward on getting the 504.

Offline IowaMom

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 11:39:15 AM »
How odd- I thought I had replied but it seems to have disappeared :-/

Thank you all for your responses/advice.

At any rate, I called the nurse and requested a meeting.  She had time, so I told her over the phone some of the concerns I have had and why I wanted to meet with her- specifically that we need some sort of plan so that everyone is comfortable and DD is safe.  She understood my concerns, and feels that we just need to go the route of DD is not to be given ANY food outside of her snack box and school lunch, period.  I am ok with that plan, except for 1- does that mean food will be allowed in the classroom and she will be excluded frequently, and 2- is it going to cause her more anxiety because that, in essence, is telling her that there is unsafe food in the classroom and she can't have it. 

I also discussed 504's with her. She said she would be more than happy to help me with one for her, but that there are no elementary age LTFA kids with one because with the food allergy policy in place they are extremely flexible and willing to accomodate so they don't feel they are necessary. She did, however, recommend one when she is in Jr High and HS. 
10 year old DD - PA only
USA

Offline ajasfolks2

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 11:53:34 AM »
Of course they "don't feel they (504s) are necessary" -- not for THEM as it is a tool of accountability, among other things.

When you've time, see the thread I bumped with the 504 links -- I'll try to get in there in next few days and I'm sure others will post.  If you haven't read the entire thread, open the link in first post & read the archived thread -- recent conversation from old place.

Yes, unless nurse stated and wrote down that there will be ZERO food use in class, they expect to use food whenever/whereever and for you to accommodate their food use, via the "safe treats" box . . . and thus your child really is excluded (albeit possibly and supposedly safer).

Read Gina Clowes site and discussions as to how schools use this safe treat box as an "excuse to exclude" and NOT include.

Hang in there. 

~e
Is this where I blame iPhone and cuss like an old fighter pilot's wife?

**(&%@@&%$^%$#^%$#$*&      LOL!!   

Carefulmom1

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 12:37:47 PM »
How odd- I thought I had replied but it seems to have disappeared :-/

Thank you all for your responses/advice.

At any rate, I called the nurse and requested a meeting.  She had time, so I told her over the phone some of the concerns I have had and why I wanted to meet with her- specifically that we need some sort of plan so that everyone is comfortable and DD is safe.  She understood my concerns, and feels that we just need to go the route of DD is not to be given ANY food outside of her snack box and school lunch, period.  I am ok with that plan, except for 1- does that mean food will be allowed in the classroom and she will be excluded frequently, and 2- is it going to cause her more anxiety because that, in essence, is telling her that there is unsafe food in the classroom and she can't have it. 

I also discussed 504's with her. She said she would be more than happy to help me with one for her, but that there are no elementary age LTFA kids with one because with the food allergy policy in place they are extremely flexible and willing to accomodate so they don't feel they are necessary. She did, however, recommend one when she is in Jr High and HS.

My dd is in high school and I think your nurse is way off base with this one.  I believe her intentions are good (unlike some other situations that I have read on this board), but without the "she`s only 5 years old and she has to be kept safe" argument, it will be MUCH harder to get a 504 when she is 12 years old in Jr. High.  As it was, when dd started middle school and high school, they had never seen a child with a 504 for food allergies.  By Jr. High, you will be met with "she`s old enough to know what she cannot eat".  Obviously I am not agreeing with that.  Only saying that it will be near impossible to get a 504 if you wait until Jr. High. As it was, for us, high school tried to take away two of dd`s accomodations.  One was the accomodation of there must be an epipen trained adult on all field trips.  Their stance was that by this age (14) dd should know how to use an epi.  Um, yeah, she knows how, but if she can`t breathe or is unconscious or her blood pressure has dropped, she won`t be able to.  I ended up calling our state DOE and got it worked out.  My only point is that if dd had started high school with no 504, it would have been almost impossible to get accomodations.  Instead she already had the accomodations in place, so it was almost impossible for the school to take them away.  I would get the 504 now.  They have more sympathy for a 5 year old than a 12 year old, and they expect less of the child which implies better accomodations.

Offline CMdeux

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 01:07:33 PM »
I agree wholeheartedly with that.


Additional MATURATION improves the child's ability to successfully avoid exposure--

but really, if they wouldn't rely on "avoidance" as the sole means of managing the allergic student at five years old (when most of it fell to the adults around the student) then they should not rely on that alone when that same student is 12 or 14, either.

It's a fundamental misunderstanding of the level of impairment that anaphylaxis can rapidly produce.

A physician's note should be able to clear that up pretty rapidly, but it's better still if it never even comes up.

I mentioned that proactively in a 504 meeting when my DD was about eleven.  That as long as "avoid" wasn't perfect then "treat" needed to remain more or less unchanged-- and that should always include having someone else present who can treat a reaction.
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

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Offline MamaMia

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Re: School issues...need advice ASAP!!
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 10:32:49 PM »
Use this experience as the basis for the need for a 504 plan and put the request in writing.  Add the accommodation in IHCP that "parent will be notified within 5 business day prior to the food being brought in the classroom to approve the food" or something to that affect.  Answer the who, what, WHEN (business days prior) and where.

When incidents happen, I add accommodations to IHCP and 504 (when applicable).  What are they going to say, "no we wont add it because we don't know if it'll happen?"  It happened and therefore will need to be addressed.