DS Threatened By Another Child At Recess - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 05-27-2003, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS has life-threatening nut allergies and another fourth-grader took a bag of pistachios out of his pocket at recess and waved it in DS's face.
Not entirely sure how the school has handled it; I'm still fact-finding. Child apparently had to call home to tell his parents what he did. I have heard nothing from them; I was expecting a call of apology. Stupid me.
Any courses of action you mamas can suggest?
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#2 of 10 Old 05-27-2003, 10:53 PM
 
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I'm no expert on the way schools handle things, but my daughter is allergic to peanut so I am full of empathy for you and your son.

I would continue fact-finding and I would make the school aware that you consider this to be a threat to your child. Other people will not see it this way because they don't think of nuts as a dangerous substance. If you think it is the equivalent of waving a knife at your son, make sure the administration knows that, and that they communicate this to the other parents and to the students.

If your school is nut-free, you should help the teachers and students be aware of why they need to be vigilant about it. They also need to understand that the playground is part of it. Sometimes people seem to think that food allergies don't count out in the fresh air.

If it is an ongoing issue, you'd be wise to think of it like any other kind of bullying. Barbara Colorosso's book "The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander" is excellent for everyone involved.
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#3 of 10 Old 05-28-2003, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the book rec. I have done all my fact finding and dh is going to talk with the principal and tell her that we consider this an assault, and any court would, also. We really love the school but the kid involved has apparently been a bully for years (we're fairly new in the school). This stuff just flattens me.
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#4 of 10 Old 05-28-2003, 06:51 AM
 
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I agree, if the child knew of the allergy, it was the equivalent of a weapon. I think that this is the kind of thing that a bully will "pounce on" because it is a known weakness of the child being picked on. A bully who doesn't feel good about himself will always be on the lookout for weaknesses to exploit in others.

Good luck with the conversation with the principal! Keep us posted.

 
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#5 of 10 Old 05-28-2003, 10:53 PM
 
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Lauren, you are right about the bully pouncing on such a problem. My daughter had one ugly teasing session at school, and it was handled superbly by her teacher.

Calgal007, it has been hard for me to convince the principal that carrying nuts is equivalent to carrying a knife (despite the fact that at a neighbouring school a child was suspended for 3 days for bringing a plastic knife to spread cream cheese on his bagel!) Good luck with your discussions.
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#6 of 10 Old 05-28-2003, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do believe that if the school is aware of your child's allergy and it has been documented (perhaps by a letter from his/her allergist) that there is a case to be made that it is indeed legally an assault with a deadly weapon. I realize these are children we are talking about, but as I explained to ds's teacher, whether a child realizes the repercussions or not, the result will be the same for my son -- either a "close call"where antihistamine and epi-pen interrupt the fatal reaction, or death. I don't care if the other kids don't 'get it', if they've been told to keep nut products from an allergic child, they'd better do it. (It's 94 degrees here and I'm cranky.)
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#7 of 10 Old 05-29-2003, 12:24 AM
 
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As an educator, if I were asked to give my opinion at the school site (something that frequently happens), I'd recommend an expulsion hearing along the lines of the zero tolerance policy for the nut waver. I'd know that the expulsion would be stayed (meaning, it wouldn't happen), but the child and his parents (as well as the rest of the school) would certainly understand that these actions could be fatal to your child. I'm totally at a loss regarding people's ignorance of the seriousness of nut allergies.
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#8 of 10 Old 05-30-2003, 02:01 AM
 
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how old is your son?
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#9 of 10 Old 05-30-2003, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Fourth grade.
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#10 of 10 Old 06-01-2003, 07:19 PM
 
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a fourth grader is 'the age of reason' IMHO -
I would write a short letter to the classroom teacher and principal asking *what exactly happened, *why was this child allowed nuts to eat during recess, *who was supposed to be supervising them at that time, *how was the child disciplined (and was an apology freely given or not required), and *what is being done to prevent this from happening again. Keep a copy for yourself.
I would also go over a plan for your son to protect himself from things of this nature happening again. I would teach him something to say and something to do, you can not count on adults to protect him through his school years. At the last school I subbed at & at the middle school my oldest had attended - that would not have been assault under the zero tolerance guidelines but a verbal threat which would have resulted in a suspension prob of 2-3 days and a written apology to your child.
For myself, I would not deal with the school if this is a continual problem with that one bully, I would simply call the police - from your cell phone at the school site and report it. That way the superintendent will be involved and the bully, if the staff has been documenting assaults can be easily expelled.
I have one friend whose child has severe nut allergy and her school has a nut free zone and no food ever is brought into the classrooms as they feel that under 3-4 graders are not mature enough to understand the implications of exposing another child and might unintentionally do so.
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I don't care if the other kids don't 'get it', if they've been told to keep nut products from an allergic child, they'd better do it.
as a parent and a former teacher I know that there are many kids who 'don't get it', they just don't and I know that I personally would not count on a child under 3-4 grade to just 'do it' if my sons had a severe allergy to a common food brought into the lunch room everyday.
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