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Old 03-18-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
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Teacher Ignoring our Food Allergy Precautions

I really just want to vent, but who knows- maybe some of you have some good suggestions before I speak to the principal and the district.

DD5 was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy back in May of 2011. I still have nightmares about her first severe reaction- from seeing her little eyes swollen shut and realizing the scratching her mouth was a sign her throat was closing to the hours or hives and gastro issues to the days of random flare ups. Thank G-d she hasn't had a reaction like that since that awful day.

She started Kindergarten this past fall and had the misfortune of being paired with a teacher who has 19 yrs of tenure, serious burnout, and no experience with children who have food allergies. We tried to make this very easy for her...DD5 is to have no food unless provided by and/or approved by me or my husband. We told her that all food we send to school would also be tested at home first to further reduce the possiblity of an in school reaction. She also met with the nurse (who has DD5s EpiPen and Benadryl), to get a better understanding of signs to look for with allergic reactions (I also made her a sheet of this info).

We were barely a month into the school year and DD5 had two nights of serious gastro reactions, but I couldn't pin point the source. I found out from the teacher that DD5 was jealous of the class snacks, so she gave her some. She assured me that what she provided was safe, but as soon as I saw the packaging I knew she was wrong. It was a brand of animal crackers we quit buying b/c there is a very clear bolded warning about possibly containing traces of peanuts and tree nuts. I wound up talking at length with the assistant principal about this and they set up meetings with the teacher as well as a refresher meeting with the nurse to try and make her "get it."

Things looked good for a while, but then they had some big classroom food project. The teacher got attitude with me b/c one of her items was totally unsafe and 5 others presented risks if the wrong variety was purchased. I really didn't care how much she disliked it-I went ahead and provided all of the food for my child for this activity. I mean- why take any chances?

Fast forward to last week- right before spring break - I'm packing up DD5's back pack and I find a little ziplock baggie of snacks...ones that I did not provide! At first I figured DD5 was being sneaky and traded off with another classmat, but no- the teacher gave them to her. We had to leave, so I couldn't get the full story; however, I scribbled a note to the teacher reminding her of the precautions- that we'd need to talk further - etc. When I spoke to DD5 about it after school...she informed me that the teacher not only gave them to her, but she insisted she take them. My daughter said she told the teacher that mommy says no, but the teacher still insisted. While I don't think what she was given presents a risk, I can't be certain since I haven't seen the packaging and researched it + on what planet does this teacher think it's OK to force an unapproved food item on my deathly allergic child!!?!?!?!??

The one thing I can't fully get is if this was a one time thing or if it's been happening the whole time. Either way- it just blows my mind that someone so ignorant on allergy issues and fearful of a reaction would be so careless. It almost makes me wonder if it is deliberate. I mean - there have been SOOOOOOOOO many issues with this teacher and her lack of classroom control and common sense - but this goes so far beyond that.

I have a call into the district office and am trying to get in to see the principal of the school tomorrow when they come back from break. Just so scared it won't go well.
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:12 PM   #2
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I would be beyond pissed. Both of my children have allergies and I fear them going to school and getting a hold of something that will send them to the ER. They have epi-pens, but this post scares me.

I wish you Good Luck in getting everything resolved.

Leslie(DW,Mom,40yo), David(DH,Dad,37yo,Ragweed and Crab Allergy), Ryan(DS,5yo,ASD,Dairy Allergy), and Liam(DS,2yo,Egg and Pet Dander Allergy)
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Old 03-18-2012, 05:41 PM   #3
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I am a retired teacher and there is NO WAY your child's teacher should go against your wishes!!!

I once had a child with severe allergy to peanut. A class on the other side of the school made peanut butter and the particles got in the air system and my student had a severe reaction. We didn't even know the other class was doing this. Fortunately, I knew what was happening and got her to the nurse in time!

I completely quit cooking in the classroom because of allergy issues, religious issues, etc. I also didn't celebrate birthdays with food! We had special activities for special occasions that didn't involve eating.

I would go to the school board with this one!
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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I would insist your child gets moved out of that classroom and into one with a teacher who is willing to understand that all food must be from home really means all food must be from home. That should be something the principal can do. If he or she won't help, definitely go to the school board, but I would think that the principal would be willing to move your daughter. It's a liability for the school, of course, if something major were to happen and it turned out the teacher had given her the food. You've given this teacher 2 chances already and I'd say with this 3rd one she needs to be out of your daughter's education.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:37 AM   #5
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I would go to whomever is in charge and lay down the law, and the possibility of a lawsuit if something like this happens again. There is no reason for the teacher to go against what a parent tells them about a medical condition regarding their own child.
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Old 03-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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I am a big meanie, when it involves kids safety.

You have already discussed this issue at the school level. Now it is time to find out who is the attorney for the school district. It is a liability to your child, heck you might even point out that it could be considered criminal -depending on your state.

Call the lawyer, calmly tell them the problem--provide a copy of the information you supplied the teacher, demand to have her removed from the classroom and if need be the school.
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Old 03-19-2012, 02:11 PM   #7
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I would go to the building administrator (principal) and relate the issues you have had and as her what needs to be done to ensure your child's safety.

Does she have a 504, if not she qualifies so get one in place. This will give a stronger basis for action if the situation is nto addressed.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:28 PM   #8
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We're making progress...we're working on getting the 504 in place, I asked to move her to a new teacher but the principal wants to try a few things before we go for that since DD5 was bawling hysterically at the idea of this- so they're putting a counselor in her classroom and we're meeting with the principal and teacher to try and hash this out to see if there's any way to make this work, and I now have a contact on the district/board level who will take over the case if we are unable to resolve this on the school level. We've done some legal research, but without the 504 in place it's pretty difficult to tackle it from the legal angle.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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OP, as I read your post I was appalled! What a pitiful excuse of a teacher. I truly don't understand how the teacher can be so dismissive of your requests. I hope you get a happy resolution SOON!
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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I think this is maybe a bit of a "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" situation. Not that you're in the wrong OP..but that if it happened once, it was probably going to happen again. Not that it makes it right but if this teacher basically said "Oh well I'm gonna do it my way" one time it stands to reason she wouldn't see anything wrong with doing it in the future.

My understanding from friends or friends of friends that are teachers is that they get what they consider "stupid" or "ridiculous" requests from parents like "Sally isn't allowed to use markers" or "Mikey shouldn't go outside unless the temperature is a minimum of 73°" (and those are actual requests, I'm not exaggerating). With allergies though, the teacher isn't a doctor, she can't determine if you were exaggerating your kid's allergies or not therefore it shouldn't be questioned.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:47 AM   #11
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Teachers do get some strange requests sometimes. A good teacher always asks WHY the parent made that request. Sometimes there is a very good reason. Latex allergy means some materials are off-limits. Gluten allergy means some materials are off-limits. Some medical conditions mean that going outside is off-limits.

I always took what parents said seriously and asked the reason. Often there was a good and valid reason for the request. I dealt with children with many medical conditions over the years and never ever wanted to put a child at risk!
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:21 PM   #12
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I was just reading this and can somewhat sympathize. What the teacher has done is absolutely appalling.

I have severe food allergies, including nuts. One of my elementary school teachers was convinced the allergies were all in my head. My parents had no idea until I went home one day and told them. A girl who sat at my table had a peanut butter sandwich, realized I was allergic and went and ate in the bathroom (guess who didn't go to the bathroom at school that day!). The teacher got cross with her because she should be permitted to eat at my table, pb doesn't do anything etc, she shouldn't be the one to move.

My parents had to get a full medical report from my allergist to prove to my teacher that I wasn't making it up. My teacher was talked to by the principal and my parents, who tried to explain to her that we weren't trying to inconvenience anyone, just to make her understand what could happen and that if we could get rid of my allergies, we would.

Did it change her mind? A bit - to the degree that she made me sit in a room with two other students who had allergies as well and shut the door of the room and then put duct tape along the bottom of the door. We then had to wait there until she came and got us so that we could go for recess.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TiggerTrigger View Post
I really just want to vent, but who knows- maybe some of you have some good suggestions before I speak to the principal and the district.
I have a call into the district office and am trying to get in to see the principal of the school tomorrow when they come back from break. Just so scared it won't go well.
Talk to the Principal, and ask to have a joint conference with the teacher. The main thing is impressing on them that this is a possibly life threatening condition.
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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I am curious what has happend with the teacher?
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