Preschool Vehemently Defends Giving Anaphylactic Child Allergens -- UPDATE & QUESTION - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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Riversmum - I am so incredibly sorry for your loss
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Rivermum -- I read about your son's senseless loss in the days following my daughter's incident as I searched for illustrations of how lethal food allergies and asthma can be. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't imagine the cruelty and reckless stupidity of those attending your son. I couldn't, and cannot, imagine your devastation. Your son's experience seared in me to learn from the chilling close-call with my daughter and simply homeschool her. His senseless loss has haunted me. My deepest condolesences. My heart bleeds for you.

My daughter has not been at preschool. The school year ended the day the teachers met with her, which I did appreciate so she could have some closure with the teachers she has loved.

I cannot imagine allowing her to return as long as the Assistant Director continues to work there. Her attitude makes me very concerned she would unhesitatingly and unapologetically offer my daughter risky food without ask me.

Uptown's suggestion to call the licensing agency is interesting. I hadn't really contemplated it before. But earlier today, especially as time passes with the Director still not having met with me or called me, I considered reporting the Assistant Director for child endangerment, with her own e-mails attached as evidence. As Uptown suggested, it's not just my daughter at stake. Who else with food allergies is she going to kill or endanger?
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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Thank you all for the condolences. My point is not to garner sympathy, but to use our experiences to your (collective) benefit. You all know your children better than anyone. Don't let anyone (experts included) try to dissuade you from putting your child's health at risk. Be an overprotective, hysterical mom if necessary, especially when dc is unable to speak for themselves.

Purple Cat - there are many, many programs/schools out there that will take your dd's allergy as seriously as you do. I don't want to be a scaremonger and tell you that you should never let her out of your sight. However, if homeschooling is what is best for you and your family, go for it. Please do use Nathan's death to your advantage whenever you need to. Are you aware of the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network? Peanutallergy.com and the Food Allergy Initiative are all very good resources as well. Heck, I can talk to anyone you'd like, if you feel like someone isn't taking you seriously. I'd be happy to help if I can. I testified before the U.S. Senate last year and have spoken to a number of school administrators. Let me know.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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Unacceptable and, if it were my child, he wouldn't be returning. The actions of giving a child something they're allergic to are bad enough. The fact they are not contacting you IMMEDIATELY is NOT OKAY. I work in a daycare. This would never ever ever fly. If this were our daycare the child would A) not have been given the product, B) you would have been contacted if we were unsure of whether he could eat it, C) you would have been notified IMMEDIATELY if he somehow got it (licked another childs, whatever), D) you would have been contacted IMMEDIATELY by the director and had a meeting set up ASAP to discuss how to prevent it in the future and E) ALL staff would be retrained on allergies.

Did any of this happen at your preschool?

I would not trust my child with those people, which means he would never return. A life is not something to play around with.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 06-16-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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Since the director is there I"d go to the school & request a meeting right then & there.

Quote:
I told the teachers that handling food allergies is complicated, which is way asking the parents before giving questionable snacks is so pivotal. I know they are now strong advocates of strictly forbidding any fruit juice pops.
If you keep your dd in, is it possible to have SAFE fruit pops at the school just for your dd. Then if something comes in she can still have her treat.

At the playschools here the kids have a schedule on when they bring snack for everyone, there were always kids who had severe allergies & brought their own snacks in instead.

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Your lableing laws are different then here, everything here is labled very clearly where there is an allergy risk.
I'm surprised that they don't have a school wide nut ban, here anything but private schools and daycares have nut bans in place - that means trace/cross contamination risk products as well. Each school year we get a list of about 100 of the most common lunch contents that are NOT allowed - and suggestions for stuff that is OK.
At our schools they're no nut(including the private playschools), BUT unless your child is in a class with one of the nut allergy kids stuff that may contain a trace/cross contamination are okay. This is only the 3rd year our elementary school has had these restrictions. The kids all bring their own lunches in(except hot lunch day once a month) and eat in their classrooms.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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oh mama, all three of my kids have LTFA and what you describe is just deplorable I am so so sorry! I work with children and I just can not believe how cavaleir the AD is being at minimum she should be fired. When I read stories like Nathens or even close calls like yours I am so deeply saddened that others pressume that allergies are to be taken lightly and that they in their uneducated POV know better.

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Old 06-16-2009, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm becoming more perturbed that I still have not heard from the Director to set up a meeting. It's been more than a week. I'm becoming concerned that the delay isn't from efforts to work things out, but instead, viewing hte incident as appropriately handled and a very low prioirty to meet with me to discuss something viewed as over and done.

I looked at the accreditation site. They are required to report within 72 hours situations that place a child's safety in jeopardy. They didn't even view this situation as warranting an incident report, let alone an accreditation report. They have a formal complaint process.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to file a report with CPS and their accreditation agencies. For daycare workers, any suggestions in filing a formal complaint? Who would you file a complaint with? I was planning to do it in writing and attach all the e-mails as well as info from FAAN and others showing that their actions seriously violated my daughter's action plan as well as established protocals for handling severe food allergies.

Thank you everyone for your support.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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I would call her back every day twice a day until she speaks with you. My dd has peanut allergies as well but so far not ana. Her teachers have always been great about calling me if a questionable food was involved So scary to think what might have happened.

 
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:35 PM
 
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I'll be very interested to see how this is ultimately resolved.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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I think if you want to get the director's attention, you need to do one of two things, or both:
1) Show up at the school and demand a meeting. Now. This has gone on long enough.
2) Let the director know that you are reporting this incident to their licensing agency. She can deal with you now, or when their license is revoked and their facility fined.

At this point, it's no longer a question of "are they gathering evidence or blowing me off?" This is blowing you off, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Purple Cat View Post
Question

I'm becoming more perturbed that I still have not heard from the Director to set up a meeting. It's been more than a week. I'm becoming concerned that the delay isn't from efforts to work things out, but instead, viewing hte incident as appropriately handled and a very low prioirty to meet with me to discuss something viewed as over and done.

I looked at the accreditation site. They are required to report within 72 hours situations that place a child's safety in jeopardy. They didn't even view this situation as warranting an incident report, let alone an accreditation report. They have a formal complaint process.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to file a report with CPS and their accreditation agencies. For daycare workers, any suggestions in filing a formal complaint? Who would you file a complaint with? I was planning to do it in writing and attach all the e-mails as well as info from FAAN and others showing that their actions seriously violated my daughter's action plan as well as established protocals for handling severe food allergies.

Thank you everyone for your support.
In my state, any parent can just show up at the licensing offices and make a report in person. I think that's usually most effective. No worries, though. In most places, it's SOP to do an investigation about any complaint. Sit down one evening and document the whole experience from your POV, with dates and times wherever possible. Take that as well as all the emails about the incident with you when you go to make the report. Include the amount of time you've gone w/o hearing from the director. Take any medical documents you have, too, that detail your daughter's specific allergies and the consequences of exposure. It might also be helpful to have a copy of the label or manufacturer's statement about the juice pops in question, and also the news story about River's mum's son.

As for the accrediting agency, you might be able to contact them and find out who their local representative is. Otherwise, they can at least tell you to whom you should send your documentation at their national offices.

River's mum, I am so very sorry for your loss. I've printed the news story and am requiring every member of my staff to read it this week.

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Old 06-17-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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Question

I'm becoming more perturbed that I still have not heard from the Director to set up a meeting. It's been more than a week. I'm becoming concerned that the delay isn't from efforts to work things out, but instead, viewing hte incident as appropriately handled and a very low prioirty to meet with me to discuss something viewed as over and done.

I looked at the accreditation site. They are required to report within 72 hours situations that place a child's safety in jeopardy. They didn't even view this situation as warranting an incident report, let alone an accreditation report. They have a formal complaint process.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to file a report with CPS and their accreditation agencies. For daycare workers, any suggestions in filing a formal complaint? Who would you file a complaint with? I was planning to do it in writing and attach all the e-mails as well as info from FAAN and others showing that their actions seriously violated my daughter's action plan as well as established protocals for handling severe food allergies.

Thank you everyone for your support.
If you are even still interested in working this out with the school- go in (in my experience- nap time is the best time) and DO NOT LEAVE until the director talks with you. End of story.

If you are not interested in working it out- go straight to what UpTownZoo suggests.

I would also suggest if you are getting nowhere with the director to talk to the media. But I can be a b*tch like that But I would do anything and everything I could to make other people aware of what is happening.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 06-25-2009, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It took a very long time for hte director to agree to meet with me. I had to write a very direct letter outlining the incident and asking her to prioritize it. She told me she had hoped to push off hte meeting because she was only working part-time until 2 p.m. and had another job, too.

The first words out of her mouth, before finding out anything that happened, was that it was the teacher's fault and hiliary didn't do anything wrong. She then said she wanted to talk to my daughter's allergist because she thought my daughter was just too allergic to attend their school. My daughter had a serious reaction to cross contamation, but has had no inhalation or contact reactions.

She said she thought very highly of Hiliary and had returned only to mentor her to take over hte position. She finally said that Hiliary had "dipped" in her performance, but it was only due to inexperience and not understanding how severe my daughter's allergies were. She asked me if I had thought about homeschooling. She told me the food allergy policy was not designed to handle a child with my daughter's allergy severity.

She primarily emphasized how I just had to put all of this behind me and she didn't want any tension between me and Hiliary and I needed to go into this with a positive, friendly attitude toward Hiliary. She said she would involve Hiliary in trying to determine how, and if, the school could be safe for my daughter. She said she would have the nurse practitioner do another presentation because Hiliary could not "hear me" when I talked about my daughter's food allergies. The nurse practitioner associated with a major children's hospital and my daughter's allergist has made multiple presentations to the school and Hiliary has sat through 1 each year for the last 2 years.

She also said "many" parents of children with food allergies had come back to her and told her that the school had over protected their allergic children because when they went on to private or public school the children were on their own with their food allergies and just weren't prepared for it.

Upshot: the focus was just my daughter is too allergic to attend school and trying to get her out of hte school. (2) protect Hiliary at all cost and (3) they were never prepared for my daughter's allergies (4) totally put aside gross violations of their own policy, action plans, my instructions, basic, basic principles of food allergy protection.

The director "scolded me" for putting this in "writing" and using words implying Hiliary was to blame and actually endangered my daughter.

I refused to sign the release for her to speak to my daughter's allergist.

I called my daughter's allergist. I told her the school was concerned they couldn't protect my daughter because the facility is used by the church, too, and they cannot keep allergens out of hte room. The dr. said if they didn't feel they could keep her safe, that answered the quesiton of whether she could attend the school. The dr. then asked if I was aware they had a nurse practictioner who trained schools on food allergy protection. I told the dr. the school had had her out numerous times.

The d.r then asked what happened. (I won't repeat teh details of what happened).

Her allergist responded that my daughter "cannot attend that school" because Hiliary and the school did not follow the training they received and cannot or will not follow my instructions. She said it might be different if they had not been trained, but they have.

She added -- without me ever mentioning the direcxtor's view that the school "overprotected their children with food allergies -- that my 3 year-old daughter was way too young to be responsible for refusing food her teachers offered her.

I sent the director (and teachers) an email relaying the conversation and asked for a refund of our registration. I highlighted that no new developments have occurred during hte past year in my daughter's health. Her reactions to cross contamination occurred last summer and were told to the school and teacher before school started. I pointed out the only thing new was their total violation of their training, etc. I have received no response so far.

I have ideas of how to proceed from here, but I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. . .

Tell me, how seriously do you think licensing agencies will take this given a pretty reknown allergist at a major children's teaching hospital saying my children cannot attend that school because of their fialure to follow their training.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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Tell me, how seriously do you think licensing agencies will take this given a pretty reknown allergist at a major children's teaching hospital saying my children cannot attend that school because of their fialure to follow their training.
Sheesh, what a mess! Health risks aside for the moment, I don't think my center could possibly stay in business if I treated parents that way!

I think the licensing agency will take you very seriously. What "seriously" means, I don't know, but at this point, I'd definitely make that call.

I wonder if the director has ever had any ADA training?

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:05 AM
 
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Honestly I'm just stunned at the reply of the director. I would escalate this to any licensing board that applies and if it's a chain facility, to the head office as well. I cannot BELIEVE that they tried to place the blame of this entire incident on a 3 yr old child!! Then had the nerve to tell you to "play nice" to the woman who almost sent your child to the ER?? Thing is, ALL that you have asked of them is to call you and verify if a questionable food is safe. That's it. It's a 2 min process that can save the life of a child! Honestly at this point just reading about it makes me so mad that I personally would also be speaking with an attorney about suing them for putting my child's life in direct risk - not to get any money out of it, but to drive home the point to the different childcares out there that is nothing to mess with. Wow, just wow.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:33 AM
 
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is it possible to have SAFE fruit pops at the school just for your dd. Then if something comes in she can still have her treat.
This is what we do for a little boy in our private elementary. I originally would email that boy's mom whenever a kid was having a birthday, so she could bring in a different treat for him. But we found it easier to just store a box of his treats at school, in case we ended up with treats unexpectedly. In any future schools, could this be done?

I am a bit confused - this is a preschool. So she isn't there for a meal, but there is a snack? Does she bring her own snack? With the severity of her allergies/reactions, I'd just send her snack every day regardless of what the school was serving. Then the rule is simple - she eats what you send and NOTHING ELSE. Nothing to look up. No calls to make. She eats her safe food from home.

In two preschool classes (my dd1 and dd2 when they were each three), there was a VERY allergic child - one in each class, both boys though I don't know if that is more common? Both had epi pens, and we (volunteer moms) were taught how to use them but told to call 911 before even trying as there was not a minute to waste. A fire station was just three blocks away, and his mom volunteered half the days he was there.

One boy brought his own snack in his own lunch box and ate it off a plate he brought from home. He ate absolutely nothing other than what came in that lunchbox! The other boy had a long list of allergic foods, and we learned what was safe - although we still didn't give him anything his mom didn't ok first.

I remember once we were having grapes. He asked for some. I called his mom. She asked if they were from Chile. I said "they are from Safeway". We didn't give him any. Another time he swore up and down he could have jello. I told him I believed him but there were different flavors and brands of jello so I couldn't give him any since his mom didn't answer her phone for me to check. And we were just volunteer moms. I don't think expecting as much from the staff is too much.

HOWEVER, I do think it is too easy to have a mistake made, as they are human like the rest of us - and sometimes get busy, tired, forgetful. It is lucky nothing happened to your dd, but I think the way to avoid it here or at any other school she might attend in the future is to send her own food with her.

Like you, I would be unhappy with the response of the assistant director, and the backup she is getting from the director! At least the teachers tearfully apologized! Then the director tries to sell them down the river!

I would find another school for next year, and have her eat nothing that you don't send. I'm sorry for the stress this has put you through.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:33 AM
 
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I wonder if the director has ever had any ADA training?
Yeah, me too. Here's a linky as it relates to allergies, FYI:

http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=22&cont=308

For example, a private preschool can not refuse to enroll children because giving medication to or adapting snacks for students with allergies requires special staff training or because insurance rates might go up.

(snip)
Under Section 504, public schools and programs cannot avoid their responsibility by claiming to have limited funds or resources. Nor can they impose a "disparate impact" on people with disabilities. The ADA requires public accommodations to make changes, except in cases where an "undue burden" would result.

The law does not define "undue burden." It depends on the organization's size and the real costs of the changes. The business or program must show that it properly assessed the individual's needs and tried to find the necessary .


Holy moly! - I really am
but kuddos to you -- it sounds like you really kept your calm.

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Old 06-25-2009, 02:02 AM
 
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I... I... WOW. I don't know what to say. I am astounded at the director's crappy attitude.

We had our ds1 (aspergers) in a kindergarten that was equally horrible. And it went right to the top; the superintendent was just like your director. We pulled him out to0 homeschool and eventually were able to enroll him in 1st grade in a very GOOD school. (He's still in the better school and we're very happy!)

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Old 06-25-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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I am an assistant director at a child care center, and have been (quitely) following this thread. I cannot believe the way you are being treated by this center!! Thank God nothing happened to your daughter and all of this came to light before she was seriously hurt. I think you do have a responsibility however to protect the children that are still there.

Hillary is obviously negligent. If this is the way she is approaching your daughter's documented allergies what else is she treating so negligently. My mantra (just ask my teachers I say it ALL the time) is that ensuring the safety of the children is the most important thing we do-no exceptions. We may have great curriculum, good interactions and awesome relationships with the parents, but if the children are not safe nothing else matters.

At my center we would NEVER treat a parent the way you have been treated!!

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She told me she had hoped to push off the meeting because she was only working part-time until 2 p.m. and had another job, too.
Too bad!

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Hillary could not "hear me" when I talked about my daughter's food allergies.
I don't understand this AT ALL. It is her JOB to "hear" the parents. And they are grooming her to be the director. This infuriates me!!!

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She also said "many" parents of children with food allergies had come back to her and told her that the school had over protected their allergic children because when they went on to private or public school the children were on their own with their food allergies and just weren't prepared for it.
How is it even possible to "over protect" a child with a life threatening food allergy. IMO, it is NOT the child care center's job to "prepare" children for the real world in this type of case. It is the parents. I would never presume to teach a child about their allergies. I only have a portion of the information. that Has to come from the doctor/allergist and parents. My job is to keep them safe.


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I have ideas of how to proceed from here, but I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. . .
Obviously (as I think you have already done), your daughter needs to never return to that school.

You need to find out what the next level is for the child care center. IDK where you live, but in Illinois centers are required to provide parents with information on the owner, board of directors etc at enrollment. Send an email if you can (so you have documentation) demanding a better response on this situation. If you do not hear from them w/in 24 hours tell them you will be contacting licensing, the health dept. and their accreditation agency and do it.

If you tell me your state and who their accreditation is through I can help you with contact information.

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Old 06-25-2009, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so, so much for all your support.

I sent an e-mail telling hte school that obviously we were following our allergist's advice, and my daughter would not attend the school (nor her twin).

Actually, we are in Illinois, in Chicagoland. The school is licensed by DCFS and NAEYC accreditated.

I'm not sure why you would proceed with the health dept. Would you mind explaining more?

Thank you so much.
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Old 06-25-2009, 05:16 PM
 
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I think the point of notifying the Health Dept and any certifying agency is to get their liscence pulled. Why should they get paid by DCFS to watch lower-income kids if they don't know how to keep kids safe?

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Old 06-25-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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Ugh. I have a daughter with multiple anaphylactic level allergies. I'd be mad too.

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Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
TDoes she bring her own snack? With the severity of her allergies/reactions, I'd just send her snack every day regardless of what the school was serving. Then the rule is simple - she eats what you send and NOTHING ELSE. Nothing to look up. No calls to make. She eats her safe food from home.
This is what I'd do, too. This is how we plan on handling allergies when she starts K4 next year. Yeah, it is more work for you, but at least then you know she's safe, you know? In my daughter's case, the only place I let provide her with food is feeding therapy, and I'm in the room and can verify everything before it goes into her mouth.

Did you have a written plan in place and on file with the school for how to handle snacks that you hadn't approved (call me first, etc)? Because you definitely want to include that when talking to them, and point that out to the state, too.

-sarah-
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:38 AM
 
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I can't believe the director's response! I can't imagine what person in their right mind could defend what happened.

No expertise here, so no advice to offer. Just support -- go get 'em, mama.

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Old 06-30-2009, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE

I sent packets to CPS reporting child endangerment and medical neglect of a disabled child. I also sent a separate packet to CPS reporting licensing violations. (I had a letter I had sent to the school previously pointing out the discrepancy that CPS required I know in advance if grape or apple juice was served, yet hte school was permitting other foods to be brought in for celebrations with no notice to me or other parents). I also sent a complaint form with the packet of supporting documents to NAEYC, a voluntary and supposedly prestigious accreditation of early childhood programs.

The packet contains all the school's letters as well as earlier letters from me informing hte school that the very brand of snack they offered my daughter was heavily contaminated with allergens and that she could not be given that snack.

We'll see what happens. I would like to think with (1) written statements admitting their egregious actions, (2) the allergist's order that my daughter cannot attend that school, (3) all hte written communication from me regarding my daughter's previous severe reaction to cross-contamination and her inability to have hte snack they offerred her that someone, somewhere will do something.

I welcome thoughts and suggestions on what to do from here.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am posting this link because of the great amount of erroneous information that seems to exist about the requirements of private preschools.

Title III of hte ADA applies to private schools and even private schools located within churchs. (Obviously, the applicaiton to religious schools differs, but a school isn't exempt just because it's located within a church).

This link does a great job of explaining the applicability of Title III of the Americans iwth Disability Act. It can be enforced by the Dept. of Justice.
http://www.ada.gov/childq%26a.htm
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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This is just outrageous.

At our day care/preschool, most of the food for the kids is brought from home. Kids are not permitted to share their food. There is a Friday "pizza party" for the preschool to which any parent must consent before their child participates. Other than that, parents sometimes send in treats for their children's birthdays (cupcakes and the like), and again, parents must consent in writing before their child is given anything to eat that their parents did not specifically send in.

It's really not that hard. I can't believe that they're acting like you're asking for some absurd level of protection for your daughter, or like she's so medically fragile that she can't attend their school. Yes, she can't attend, but because they refuse to handle her allergies appropriately, not because her allergies are so impossible to handle. Ugh.

Writer, breast cancer survivor, wife to Evan, Mommy to Annika (infant open adoption 2/3/06), Adrian (homegrown 3/11/08), and #3 due 6/17/10!
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As I mentioned earlier, I reported this incident to CPS and also to the accreditation agency. The preschool has a very prestigious accreditation. What happens once the accreditation agency initiates an inquiry or investigation into the school? Does anyone in the preschool field know what hte expected result might be, especially if, let's say, the accreditation agency appears to take the incident seriously. Everything is in writing. A debate about what was said or done isn't there. Nor is there any ambiguiity of what was told to the school because it is all in writing, with those documents sent to the accreditation agency.
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Old 07-13-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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Here is the page on the NAEYC website talking about complaints.

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Old 07-13-2009, 04:57 PM
 
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Have they STILL not yet given you satisfaction? I was horrified and very angry to read your post and the subsequent development of the situation. I highly suggest that you cross-post in the Allergies forum. I think those mothers may have a useful perspective to offer. My 5 y.o. dd has been in day care since 6 m.o., and has gone through the baby room, the toddler room, the K-2 room, the K-3 room, and is now finishing up the K-4 room. Every single teacher, plus the director and assistant director, has very cheerfully followed my instructions that my daughter is not allowed to ingest anything that does not come out of her lunchbox from home, except water. I always periodically ask each teacher if the necessary accommodation is difficult for them to do, and they always say that it is fine. In these past 5 years, there have only been one or two slip ups. I know that for certain, especially in the last three years, because my daughter and her classmates have very reliably reported every single detail to me. I am glad that you are voting with your feet. There are plenty of excellent daycares who would be happy to take your child and your money, allergy issues and all.
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