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Old 09-19-2008, 08:22 PM
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Peanut Free Schools and outraged parents

My youngest just started kindergarten and he's allergic to peanuts/nuts. He's anaphylactic, not just allergic which basically means that for him it is life threatening, not just an upset stomach or vomitting or hives. My son's school is doing it's best to make the environment peanut-free, but I am well aware that that is nearly impossible. Anyway, the school has been very helpful, even asking me if there is anything I would recommend to cut down on contamination in the classroom, and for the most part the majority of the parents are willing to do their part to ensure that the classroom is a safe environment for ALL the kids.

BUT, there are a few parents who have taken on the attittude of "Well my kid's not allergic, so why should he have to be restricted as to what he can bring for snack/lunch just because your kid's allergic?" To say I'm a little pissed is an understatement. I just don't get how other parents think it's more important that their kid be allowed to eat peanut butter than my kid being alive. I know that it's a pain to have to read an ingredient label to make sure that snacks don't have nuts, but most kids' snacks are now labelled with a peanut-free symbol so no reading is involved! For myself I know I would never want to be responsible for someone else's kid being in the hospital because of something my kid brought to school. Maybe I'm oversensitive about this, but I just don't get this kind of thinking! Sorry for the rant, just needed to get this off my chest.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:31 PM
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Does he get a reaction by smelling it? I've always been curious about that. Anyway, from a parent who's kid isn't allergic.....it's a pita sometimes not being able to give my kid a pb&j because he is a VERY picky eater. However, I don't think I would ever break that particular rule. There is also a child at my son's school that is severely allergic to strawberries....so should the school ban all things strawberries too?
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:35 PM
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I don't understand why anyone would have an attitude; it's silly. I'm sorry your son suffers from allergies to peanuts. I can't figure out why any parent would make a big deal out of it. People are just insensitive and stupid sometimes. It can be difficult (none of my children are allergic to anything), but the reaction is so severe...it's tough on both sides. I'm not sure what the solution is; my fourth daughter is still in pre-school, but she LOVES pb&j. It will be tough when she starts full-day if she can't take a sandwich, but we'll have to face that when it comes.

I do have one concern though; I really wonder why so many children are allergic to peanuts these days? I have 4 of my children in school/pre-school, and every year, every classroom in the schools have those signs in their rooms. What is making this happen so much? It's such a shame. I wish doctors could figure out why these allergies are on the rise (at alarming rates) and try and stop it.

I remember growing up and every kid at the table had peanut butter sandwiches.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:43 PM
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I don't understand why anyone would have an attitude; it's silly. I'm sorry your son suffers from allergies to peanuts. I can't figure out why any parent would make a big deal out of it. People are just insensitive and stupid sometimes.

I do have one concern though; I really wonder why so many children are allergic to peanuts these days? I have 4 of my children in school/pre-school, and every year, every classroom in the schools have those signs in their rooms. What is making this happen so much? It's such a shame. I wish doctors could figure out why these allergies are on the rise (at alarming rates) and try and stop it.

I remember growing up and every kid at the table had peanut butter sandwiches.
There's a school of thought that it has to do with everyone being so hyper-vigilant about germs. Since the child's immune system can't attack the germs and build the immunities that it is supposed to, it attacks the things that *should* be fine, like peanuts. I personally wonder if the rush to NOT introduce things like peanuts until a later age has something to do with it. With my pedi's permission, I introduced peanut butter to my son just before he turned 1, with no problems. Granted, no one in either of our families has any nut allergies, but still. Hell, I've heard that it's been recommended to not eat peanuts/peanut butter while pregnant or nursing now Also, I'm honestly not super-careful with my daughter, either. I mean, I don't go and brush my teeth and wash my face after I eat peanut butter but before I kiss her, for example (not that I give her PB at the ripe old age of 4 months LOL) I agree, I knew no one who had any food allergies growing up.

As far as the OP goes, I kinda agree with Geebs. If you have a child that is a picky eater, and they like PB, and all of a sudden you can't give them PB b/c of another child's allergy, that can be a PITA. I can see both sides, really.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:47 PM
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^ I CRAVED peanut butter in my pregnancies. I ate it, and no allergies so far. I agree, I think we have brought a lot of our immune-deficient problems on ourselves with having everything anti-bacterialized to death. Everything is taboo, and we are killing all the good bacteria.

My downfall is that peanut butter probably caused or contributed to my calcium oxalate kidney stones, but that is an entirely different issue.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:49 PM
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Mmmm, I eat it straight from the jar at least once/day I lurve peanut butter
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:49 PM
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aw, that is a really tough one. i have not been on either side (yet) as my kids are still in day care where they don't allow us to bring food in - they make it all (peanut free) there. I can definitely see how it would be a PITA on either side of the fence.

I did not know that there was a "Peanut free" symbol on foods. Maybe that is one thing you can do is help the school educate other parents on where to look for that!
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Old 09-19-2008, 09:04 PM
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of course nobody wants any child to be made ill (or god forbid, die) because of a food allergy, and i don't think that is the intention of the parents that are upset about the "rules." i'm sure many of them feel that it's unfair to "punish" their children because they don't have any allergies.

some people/families may not be able to afford to tailor their food budget to accommodate these restrictions. for example, if you're a poor single mother who receives WIC (in the US that is) for your family's food, and that's it, you can only buy things off of a list that the government provides, otherwise it's not paid for through the program. are the schools going to provide assistance to those families? i doubt it.
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Old 09-19-2008, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for everyone's input. I think the problem with peanut allergies is that the peanut/nut does not need to be ingested in order to have a reaction. Some people can go into anaphylactic shock just from the smell. As far as my son goes the smell doesn't bother him, but if there are nuts present in the room he will breack out in hives and start wheezing. We also had an incident where someone who had eaten nuts kissed him on the cheek and the residue on their lips was enough to produce a huge red welt on the side of his face and hives all over his body, accompanied by shortness of breath. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that other allergies such as dairy, egg, and strawberries are not "airborne" so to speak.

The school provides all parents with a "Peanut- Free List" at the beginning of the school year that outlines safe and unsafe snacks to send to school, and then each teacher sends another list detailing any specific foods that pertain to their classes. In my son's class he is the only one with a peanut allergy, but there are 2 other kids with dairy and egg allergies...he is the only one in our entire family with a food allergy of any kind.

I get it that its a PITA to have to rule out pb & j sandwiches. Believe me, my daughter was not happy about having to give those up, but she also saw what happened to her brother when he did come in contact with it.

Oh, btw, the school was already peanut free, they didn't become peanut free for us.

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Old 09-19-2008, 09:50 PM
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I'm so sorry your son has to deal with this. I babysat a young child with all dairy & wheat allergies once & I was terrified that I would accidentally give him something he couldn't have. I know it is such a serious thing.

This is a tough one for me though.

I think it's good that the school is trying to do their best with this situation but I'm with the other ladies when it comes to pb. My almost 2 year old is a horrible eater. She only eats a small variety of foods & one staple in her diet is peanut butter. I can see how it would be frustrating to have peanut butter taken out completely but if my child was in your school I wouldn't put up a fuss.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:07 PM
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wow.. i'm shocked that any parent would have a problem with this.
my youngest boy Zachary is in a Nut Free Classroom because his classmate, Clarissa is deathly allergic to ALL NUTS. she will go into anaphylactic (sp?) shock...she could die.
what kind of parent is 'okay' with even a million to one chance of that happening to this little girl?
Zachary was in her class last year too..so, he's used to it.
Z LOVES PB&J, but totally understands the deadly consequences should Clarissa even 'get close' to it.. he has never once whined about it.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:08 PM
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Is the ban only food made with peanuts or any product that has been on an assembly line with peanuts?

Its a difficult situation because so many products I see are labeled 'produced on an assembly with peanuts and other nuts' even if the item has no peanuts in it. I can see how it would be tough for parents to make sure every single item has a no peanuts label especially since I see most of the peanut and gluten free labeled items in the organic/natural foods section. Maybe with more and more peanut free schools it will become the norm for companies to produce items containing peanuts separate from other items.

I didn't realize the allergy was so serious it is airborne and can be transmitted just by touching something such as a keyboard after someone else has had their hands on it.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:11 PM
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for Zacharys class, we have been asked to check all labels for anything containing nuts, or the oil of nuts.
we've been given the Safe Food List
the front of his classroom door also has a huge sign on it..stating that it's a Nut Free Room.
we cannot bring homemade snacks into the room..they must be store bought, with the ingredients showing.
(yes, i keep adding)
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:17 PM
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of course nobody wants any child to be made ill (or god forbid, die) because of a food allergy, and i don't think that is the intention of the parents that are upset about the "rules." i'm sure many of them feel that it's unfair to "punish" their children because they don't have any allergies.

some people/families may not be able to afford to tailor their food budget to accommodate these restrictions. for example, if you're a poor single mother who receives WIC (in the US that is) for your family's food, and that's it, you can only buy things off of a list that the government provides, otherwise it's not paid for through the program. are the schools going to provide assistance to those families? i doubt it.
I agree with this.

I am sure that it will seem insensitive of me, and I am very sorry about anyone that has a severe allergy. However it is entirely unfair to 'punish' the majority with severe restrictions due to one.

Unfortunately, thats just the way it appears to me.
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:20 PM
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i really don't consider it punishing anyone.
it only affects that single class, not the entire student body.
schools provide cafeteria lunches.. and there are school lunch programs for families who qualify..to receive a reduced priced lunch. which is about .30 cents.

edit to add: normally school cafeterias are Peanut Free because of the risk to certain individuals
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:30 PM
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In our school it is the ENTIRE school that is peanut free. They're asking that parents read all labels. In Canada a lot of companies are now changing their packaging to include the 'Peanut/Nut-Free' symbol, and list whether their items contain peanut/nuts or have even been manufactured in a facility that contains nuts. Many companies now have peanut free facilities because they are aware that the majority of the schools are changing their policies, and if they don't change along with it they're gonna lose out in the end.

Because my son is the only one in the class that is allergic to peanuts, I kind of feel like some parents are 'blaming' us for the rules. However, the rules have been in place long before my son even started school. Plus our kindergarten isn't even everyday. They go every other day, alternating Fridays, so as far as his class goes it's only affecting them 2-3 days out of the week.

ETA: Peanut free snacks are no more expensive in Canada as regular snacks. For every snack that contains peanuts, there is a safer alternative.

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Old 09-19-2008, 10:50 PM
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well.. i would go out of my way to insure a child's safety and livelihood.
it seems ridiculous that anyone would have a problem with it.
eat breakfast of choice at home.
eat dinner at home.
geez.. it's only one meal of the day, and only during the school year.
life is full of sacrifices...and this one is petty, imo- considering the consequences for the allergic child.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:00 PM
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well.. i would go out of my way to insure a child's safety and livelihood.
it seems ridiculous that anyone would have a problem with it.
eat breakfast of choice at home.
eat dinner at home.
geez.. it's only one meal of the day, and only during the school year.
life is full of sacrifices...and this one is petty, imo- considering the consequences for the allergic child.
I completely agree. Sheesh. Those parents who have a problem need to put themselves in your shoes for even just one day to see how it feels. My sister deals with food allergies with her sons and it is a lot of work just to keep them alive everyday. I can't imagine how frightening it would be. We are not talking about kids just breaking out here, they can really die from this.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:08 PM
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My children go to a Peanut free school (yes the whole school)

My kids just eat their peanut butter/nutella sandwiches at home.

Have to agree with Nola on this one, it is not a big deal in the big scheme of things.
A child's life (anybody's child) is so much more important.

we also are banned from having boiled eggs
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:11 PM
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My children go to a Peanut free school (yes the whole school)

My kids just eat their peanut butter/nutella sandwiches at home.

Have to agree with Nola on this one, it is not a big deal in the big scheme of things.
A child's life (anybody's child) is so much more important.

we also are banned from having boiled eggs
cuz they smell?

you know.. i'm not 100% sure that Zacharys school isn't ENTIRELY peanut free.
i was assuming it was only his room because of the sign placed on his classroom's door.
i know that last year, the Snack Bar used to carry bags of Peanuts.. they stopped this year.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:18 PM
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haha probably

my kids don't like egg sandwiches so they don't care

edit to add: sorry to hear about your little one yummymummy.
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:30 PM
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I don't see how anyone can make a big deal out of this. It shouldn't be annoying. There are millions of food choices for kids (you know what I mean)! Your child having a peanut butter sandwich isn't worth another child becoming ill or even dying. I'm sorry you have to deal with this and ignorant parents. Ridiculous!

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Old 09-19-2008, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by nnnola View Post
well.. i would go out of my way to insure a child's safety and livelihood.
it seems ridiculous that anyone would have a problem with it.
eat breakfast of choice at home.
eat dinner at home.
geez.. it's only one meal of the day, and only during the school year.
life is full of sacrifices...and this one is petty, imo- considering the consequences for the allergic child.

This is EXACTLY how I feel!!! The way I see it rules are put in place to protect the safety of ALL students. For my son, peanuts are life-threatening...period. If you send nuts/peanuts to school with your child because you don't care about the rules, or you can't be bothered to read a label, for my son it's the equivalent of you sending your kid to school with a loaded weapon. I don't send my kids to school with a gun, why should you be allowed to? I would never want to be responsible for putting another person's child in the hospital and it amazes me that some parents just don't care. (I'm referring to the parents at my school, not anyone on the forum )

I'm sorry, but my child's safety is more important to me than someone else's child missing out on their favourite food for one meal 2-3 days out of the week. Sorry if it sounds bitchy, that's not my intent

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Old 09-19-2008, 11:37 PM
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I know at my elementary school they instigated at Nut-Free rule, school-wide, although I know some kids ignored it. I'm sure the rule has been around for at least 8 - 10 years, but I'm not certain. At my elementary school, they have all the kids from 1 - 3 eat in the smaller gym, then 4 - 8 all eat in the larger gym. With the 1-3 group, there was a 'peanut-free' table, where the kids with allergies/a few friends could sit, so there wasn't any worry that Timmy might pull out PB&J because Mom 'forgot' that morning.

I know I always wondered about what would happen if someone had peanut oil on their fingers and happened to touch a common door handle/play equipment/chair/wall, if that would be enough to set someone's reaction off.

Parents of kids with nut allergies, how do you deal with daily interactions? For instance, I work at a thrift store (ironically, a customer introduced me to SFAM, lol, but anyway...) I'd assume that most of our items would be considered off-limits because you don't know what has touched them, but what do you do about money? One of my coworkers (the pricer) regularly eats a PB& banana sandwich as she starts her shift, and the PB is usually noticable on her breath when she comes out to the store front to put items away. I can guarantee that she hasn't washed her hands between eating/pricing, and she'll usually end up on cash at some point, too. Do you just try not to think about the chances of that happening and take it day by day? I'm sorry if I'm stepping over a boundary, I've just always wondered and never known anyone to ask.

Also, wow, I ramble a lot. Whew.

Oh - and re: eggs - there was a kid in one of my Mom's classes that was allergic to eggs/dairy/something else, so they had to be careful about class parties & what they fed them.
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Old 09-20-2008, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnnola View Post
well.. i would go out of my way to insure a child's safety and livelihood.
it seems ridiculous that anyone would have a problem with it.
eat breakfast of choice at home.
eat dinner at home.
geez.. it's only one meal of the day, and only during the school year.
life is full of sacrifices...and this one is petty, imo- considering the consequences for the allergic child.

Thanks Nola! Well stated! I couldn't agree more. I don't see what the prob is... is killing a child worth it so someone else's kid can have some peanut butter for lunch??? Really??
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