Laura - posted on 02/21/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )
My son started kindergarten this year. He has a peanut allergy that is life threatening. His school is not peanut free but they do have a peanut free table. At the beginning of the year, we sent a letter home to the parents that have kids that eat at the same time, informing them of the allergy, severity, and asking them to be mindful when choosing items for lunches. The school has been vERY cooperative and helpful in making sure that we feel comfortable with this allergy and his safety. With that being said, they can't monitor everyone, all day, everywhere. We have had 3 situations so far this year that have made us nervous. The first was a holiday snack cake that was going to be passed out in the class, and after reading the box, realized that it may contain peanut or tree nut. They of course refrained which was fine, but it made me realize how much out there NOT nut related could have nut in it and not even think about it. Second was a day that I ate lunch with him, a boy (that didn't have permission to, but at the time I didn't know) sat at the table with us. As he is unpacking his lunch, he pulls out pbj sandwich and peanut butter crackers. I quickly asked him to sit at a different table and explained why, but I wonder how long he would have have stayed before that was caught, had I not been there. Last was recently, a boy in his class apparently thinks it's funny to chase my son around to try and touch or wipe his hands on him after he has had peanut in his lunch. Now we have made the teacher aware, however on the playground or in the classroom with 25 kids all doing something different, she may not have realized that was happening until it was too late.
I realize that it is not necessarily a reasonable thing to ask parents to never send nut to school for various reasons, however, considering the possibility of what could happen, why would you take that chance? After this last incident, I am angry, frustrated, but most of all terrified! I know not everyone thinks the same, but I would NEVER intentionally put a child's life at risk! What if it were your child! Is it that parents are not educated enough in allergies? Is it the thought of losing convenience in lunch making, or do parents simply not care since it's not their child?
I understand some kids will ONLY eat pbj for lunch, or whatever the reasons may be, but I am honestly having a hard time understanding ANY reason that is equal to chancing a child's life! I can't protect him from the world, only educate him the best I can in the chance he has a reaction, but I don't feel like school should be a place I fear him to be.
I am not trying to start debates, or fights with this post. I am genuinely wanting to know what it would take for parents to save the nuts for after school, or weekends and not school. Or what questions do parents have so that they may better understand how serious this is? What ideas for compromises in schools to insure safety? If you are dealing with a similar situation, what do you or your school do?