Since first grade, my daughter has been designated to sit at a "peanut-free" table in the lunch room at school. At her school, each class with an allergic child has its own peanut-free table, so she does have the opportunity to sit with kids from her class.
I feel that this table is a "necessary evil" at this stage, because she is still so young. I say "evil" because while it does prevent her from coming into contact with ever-popular peanut butter, it can sometimes be at the cost of not being able to socialize with some of her friends at lunch.
The peanut-free table has had its ups and downs for my daughter. Sometimes, several children congregate at this table--other times, not so much. It seems to fluctuate like the weather.
Even though I know that being "stuck at one table" is painful for her at times, it is even painful for me to contemplate her being left out or in some way ostracized.
Still, the peanut-free table has had its silver lining. For one thing, my daughter has had to learn to extend herself to others more, by seeking them out and getting to know them. She's found that she has a bigger group at "her table" when she goes out of her way to get involved with the other kids. Not a bad social lesson to learn at any age.
Another nice side benefit: compassion for others. This year, one of the kids in my daughter's class has some developmental disabilities. She has sought out this child from the beginning of the school year, adopting the role of "helper" and special buddy. I praised her for her actions and she said, "Mom, I know what it's like to be different."
I wish that she could choose to sit wherever she would like. However, I'm not sorry that she has learned a few things at this table, things that have to be learned from one's own experience and not necessarily from a parent or teacher.