Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No Peanut-Free Table???

I recently found out that the new school that my daughter will attend in the fall does not have an "official" peanut-free table. However, the principal said she will work with us to accomodate her needs and that they have many students with peanut allergy.

Currently, my daughter sits at a peanut-free table with kids who have not brought peanut butter. This has been good from a safety standpoint, and not so good from a social standpoint, at least some of the time.

She is going into 3rd grade and certainly knows to avoid certain foods. I trust her. Also, she does not react if she smells peanut, but she doesn't like the smell. She's repelled by it, which is different than having an allergic reaction from it. I don't know if she'd feel uncomfortable if she sat with kids eating PB & J. She's done this on field trips and I know she's been OK with it. Also, someone watches her and all the staff know about her allergies. Obviously, we're going to have to work out the same deal at her new school.

I'm kind of pysched at the thought of her not being excluded from her friends, while at the same time I worry about her safety. But it got me thinking: with all the other "top 8" allergies on the rise, is it even feasible to have a "peanut-free table?" You'll also need a milk-free, wheat-free, egg-free and soy-free table at some point, right?

I'm not sure what we will propose to the principal. I was thinking of a making a "peanut-free" area of the table, but I don't know if that would make it better or worse for her.

What do you think? How have your schools dealt with these tables and/or multiple food allergies?


Anonymous said...

This blog is looking really good Jenny! Way to go!

:) C

Unknown said...

My peanut-allergic child is not school-age yet. Since my older child is in school already, I have visited the school nurse (point person for all food allergy related matters in the school) to learn more about the set up for lunch. Apparently, the "peanut-free" table is the "food allergy" table. That is the one designated spot for all food allergy sufferers desiring separate seating. I just hope that someone is coordinating with the parents of those food allergic kids so they don't accidentally endanger their lunch-mates with their own "safe" lunches! I'll be looking into this more when my younger child is in 1st grade.

Best of luck with the lunch arrangements!

Anonymous said...

I feel so lucky to have my peanut allergic child in a school that has banned peanuts and nut products completely from the school. Under Sabrinas Law it is the law in Ontario schools now to protect allergic children.
I would be very concerned if I were you. Peanut residue can stick to surfaces like glue and all it takes is a trace amount to wind up in your childs lunch by accident . How many kids clean their hands and surfaces after lunch? Any doorknob, water faucet and lunch table could pose a threat.
We should push for more legislation to make schools safer for our kids wherever we live.

Jenny said...

Thanks for your post! You are lucky to live in Canada, where I know that the laws are somewhat ahead of the States. It also just goes to show that peanuts CAN be banned from schools. I'd be interested to know how your school's parents took the news that peanuts were banned. Most parents I know would really resist that, unfortunately.

I am concerned and plan to meet with the principal as soon as we move into our new home. They will get to know me well--I make sure to speak up on this topic, making a nuisance of myself if necessary. :)

And yes, as parents of food-allergic kids we should all contact our representatives. I've e-mailed and written to many a state legislator and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

It's so important to have consistent rules in elementary school--there is currently a bill in Congress that supports cohesive food allergy action plans in all schools. I will keep you all posted on this.

Dannelly Family said...

My daughter is starting first grade and actually reacts to the smell of peanuts - not anaphalactic (I probably TOTALLY spelled that wrong!) but she does get hives really bad. Eating them is another story. We almost lost her two years ago. Her school is NOT cooperative. They refuse to give her a peanut free table. The principal flat out lied to me and said that she was at one on the first day of school (yesterday). Instead, she sat her at a table where everyone had school lunch, not home lunch. Seems fine and dandy to her, but, to me, it isn't. If the class before theirs had peanut butter and jelly and touched the table, BAM - my kid is sick. I've been fighting this district for three weeks now. We just moved here (outside of Savannah, Georgia) and I'm appalled at their lack of food allergy education. Y'all might just end up seeing me on CNN...