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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to say right up front that I totally support peanut free schools where an allergic child attends. I even support blanket no peanut policies at schools "just in case" if that is how the school decides to handle things. But here is my issue. My daughter attends a small Montessori kindergarten. The whole school (5 grades) has way less than 100 students. At our initial parent meeting I asked about peanut butter etc. as we are vegetarian and it is our daughters favorite. Also there isn't really a refridgerator handy so p.b. is easy.<br>
I was told that the school had no nut allergic kids and p.b. was fine to send. (thanks mothering! if not for you ladies I wouldn't have even known to ask)<br>
Fast forward to today when dh calls me to tell me that when he arrived to drop off dd he found a note on the door saying that a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy had joined the class and all nut products were now verboten. I told him that he needed to go into dd's lunch box and remove the pbj sandwich AND the granola bar. He asked why the granola and I told him that the bar could contain nut traces.<br>
I am happy to discontinue the p.b., but here is why I'm upset. This particular school offers lunches, but most days they are NOT vegetarian compatible. Todays choices were 1.italian sub 2.sausage pizza 3.cheeseburger and the school only offers milk to drink. I don't understand why every choice has to be so meat oriented.<br>
I also think that the way they notified people of the change is wrong and insufficient. What's with the note on the door! Now my poor dd has only grapes to eat for lunch today. Not to mention that some kids walk to school and some are picked up/dropped off by daycare providers. These kids parents may never know about the change.<br>
My wwyd is this. I'm considering going to the teacher/office and suggesting/demanding that they send home a flyer about the change with students. I also think the flier should list some of the things that also contain nut traces (like most granola bars) and some nut alternatives like sunbutter.<br>
I am also considering raising a stink about the meat intensive/unhealthy lunch offerings. My dh thinks this is a bad idea. He thinks we should mind our own business and not rock the boat.<br>
I should mention that the note was on the door yesterday, but since the door is always open and the kids are picked up from the playground not inside the building it was almost impossible to see. So should I be upset? Would you bring up the poor handling? Would you you push for a flier? Sorry this is so long.
 

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I would have been annoyed by the lack of warning. They should have waited a day to add a student, or supplied extra food for all students, or made an effort to contact families at home.<br><br>
I don't totally understand why you are so concerned about getting the word out regarding peanut allergies. Shouldn't the child's family be the ones worried about this if it is not happening correctly? As long as you are in compliance I would think that would be enough.<br><br>
I do think that it would be okay to talk to the administration about school lunches. Something along the lines of "my kids don't eat meat, and now with the peanut ban I am having a difficult time packing lunches that don't require a fridge. Is there a fridge my kids can use? Or can I help you develop a veggie lunch option?"
 

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I would probably not bring up the handling of the issue because it's finished.<br><br>
The lunch issue would be huge to me. Our montessori admittedly has all its food catered from a company that specializes in preschool menus, but kids can select vegetarian lacto-ovo, vegan, kosher, and halal menus. I would push on that issue, if it were my school.<br><br>
A list of alternatives can be really helpful - hummus wraps, tofu spreads, etc. If you wanted to help spearhead that I think that would be cool. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I think you need to rock the boat a little bit. My dd is also vegetarian and she eats her PBJ sandwich every day. They don't have a no peanuts rule yet. . but if they ever do I guess we'll try sunflower seed butter or almond butter instead. I know a couple of kids with serious peanut allergies and it's very scary, and they deserve to have a safe place to go to school. I mean kids can die from touching peanuts.<br><br>
But yeah, they need to do something about the lunch menu. I am frustrated with that at dd's little charter school, too. They have two non-meat meals per month and that's it.
 

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I think you should talk to them about the veggie lunches, but honestly you need to approach them in a constructive manner and not a hostile one. Maybe you are just venting, but you sound like you expect to need a hostile approach here and that's not going to get you very far.<br><br>
Just approach the director and say 2 things:<br><br>
1. That they may want to send a note or flyer home with the kids making sure all of the parents are aware of the change in peanut policy because you are concerned the note on the door may have been missed.<br><br>
2. You would like to discuss adding vegetarian options to the lunch menu. I'm betting your child isn't the only vegetarian one and all kids could benefit from having healthy options for lunch.<br><br>
As I mentioned though I think you should approach in a very friendly way. I don't see the school as having done anything terribly terribly wrong here. I'm sure they were surprised by this new child a little bit and they didn't approach the situation in the best way, but everybody makes mistakes. Give them the benefit of the doubt and help them find a better way to go forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. I probably sound hostile because I am annoyed at the thought of my dd going hungry today and dh has my car so I can't fix it. Also because the school has ruled out ALL nut butters and nut products even though they don't actually know if the allergic child is reactive to anything but peanuts, and I have a whole pantry full of almond butter, cashew butter, etc.<br>
The (wonderful) principle who used to run this school left three weeks before the term started, the interim principle is kind of an a**hat, and it has been difficult to get anything addressed/decided/done or even answered because no one is really in charge. So I am coming to this a little frustrated IYKWIM?
 

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I think they should have told the parents of the peanut allergic child that their child needed to wait a week (or at least a couple of days) to start school so they would have time to inform the other parents and make the school safe for her before she began to attend. Then they should have sent home notices to all parents stating "on X date a peanut allergic child will be joining the school. For her safety, here's the new peanut protocol" and include info on foods to avoid and safe items to send in.<br><br>
They also should have called every single family in the school with the same information to ensure that everybody got the message BEFORE the new child started school.<br><br>
I'm honestly surprised the parents of the allergic child would allow her to attend without first making sure the other parents were complying with the peanut protocol.<br><br>
What to do now? I'd call the school and be friendly about it, and suggest they send out information on the new peanut free rule to make sure all parents are aware of it. I'd also bring up the veggie lunch problem and see what they can do about it/offer to volunteer to help change things.
 

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As a mom with a kid with peanut allergies, I'd be really unhappy about how it was made known! I expect when dd goes to school there will be a letter sent home before the school year and if we move in the middle of the year, one to be sent home before we start.<br><br>
As for the lack of vegetarian foods, maybe have sit down with the principal and talk about it. Is the food made on campus or shipped in?<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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Wow, as the mother in an omnivore family, <i>I'd</i> be annoyed by the Italian sub option... I think a vegetarian option for lunches is a really important thing, and could even be used as a healthy alternative for <i>all</i> of the kids! If I were in your shoes, that's the battle I'd choose to fight. (You could use the stupid lack-of-warning episode as an excuse to bring it up though, as in "Wow, my daughter was left without a lunch today...")
 

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Just wondering something...<br><br>
If you don't have access to refrigeration why can't you send your child's lunch in a small cooler? (the six pack size is not really much bigger than a lunch box) Would something like that help expand your child's lunch options?<br><br>
I agree with the pps that said to take up the vegetarian lunch issue and let the other issues go. Although I might mention that because of the lack of notice and the lack of choices in school lunch your child only had grapes that day. There are plenty of us omnivore families that would like to see our children offered something besides hamburgers and sausage subs.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> How upsetting to know your kid was going hungry! I agree they should have announced the policy in advance and made more of an effort to get the news out.<br><br>
But the lunch menus are a bigger issue, IMO. They have THREE main dish options, and they can't make one of them veggie??? They have to make ALL of them unhealthy meats+cheese??? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I'd take a week or so to calm down and make a long list of veggie menus with kid appeal, then arrange a meeting. Since the principal is problematic, perhaps you could go directly to the cafeteria director?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The menu they sent home truly boggles the mind. Every day they offer one choice that is billed as the "heart healthy" choice. First, what are the other two choices? heart unhealthy? if so why are you offering it?! Second, todays "heart healthy" choice is sausage cheese pizza!?!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br>
Tomorrow offers as an entree something called "mega-zip chili FRITOS". I can't begin to imagine an institution of education offering my children fritos, but to add insult to injury by offering them as an entree?! I smell corporate sponsership. I am afraid that I will have an uphill battle in changing the menu as this is a small charter school and is (I think) required to follow the districts menu plan.
 

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I think you have every right to say something--and if your dh is upset, he can be reminded that there are ways to make points without rocking the boat! You make suggestions without being the bad guy.<br>
I think that you have two valid concerns--one, the note on the door--I agree that a letter should go home to the parents in the mail, or at least home with the students. Not only for your benefit, but for the benefit of the kids with the allergies--if you can miss it, so can everyone else, and that could be a REAL issue for him/her! So maybe you could say that for HIS/HER benefit, the letter should go home--make it about them, not you!<br>
The lunch with no meatless offerings IS the second concern. If your child cannot have peanut butter and they don't offer a meatless alternative, that's not fair to your child. That would be an issue, especially when it comes to the protein, etc., for your child. Again, that doesn't have to be just about your child--it can be about the welfare of all those who need a meatless alternative. And it doesn't have to be brought up in terms of how lousy all the choices are, but instead what needs to happen to make it better for ALL those children who can no longer have peanut butter. FWIW, my dd has a sensory feeding disorder and won't touch ANYTHING BUT peanut butter--I would want her needs met as well--so I would need alternatives for her, too.<br>
She might eat spagetti noodles if they offered it, but will eat no meat whatsoever...so I know I would say something!<br>
I vote for voicing your concerns.
 

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I would do both things you suggested - a flyer with info, and healthier lunch options.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't totally understand why you are so concerned about getting the word out regarding peanut allergies. Shouldn't the child's family be the ones worried about this if it is not happening correctly? As long as you are in compliance I would think that would be enough.</div>
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Because she's concerned about a child's health. It's a nice, caring, right thing to do, and very thoughtful.
 

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Sounds like they'll be serving Frito Pie tomarrow, which is considered a main dish around here. Has been since I was a kid. Basically you take Fritos, canned chile and cheese and you got a meal. I never had that in my California school and was shocked to see that on the menu as a 10 year old. Sooo yummy, but not healthy.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I would definitely say something about the lunch choices, because that's totally not cool. You can't be the only veg*n family at the school, and what about the Jewish or Muslim families that might have dietary restrictions, or the kids who just don't want meat that day? In our district, a meatless option was a requirement, and sometimes it was cheese pizza or a "chef salad," not the best but at least it was meatless.<br><br>
In the meantime, since it seems you're a little strapped for ideas, I want to make a plug for <a href="http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Vegan Lunchbox</a>. Jennifer made a healthy vegan meal for her son every day, only resorting to PB&J once, posted about it in her blog, and published a book with many of the recipes. You're vegetarian, so I assume you eat dairy and eggs, which opens your choices up (using real cheddar instead of the fake stuff, for instance). As for not having a fridge, what about an insulated lunch box that you can stick in the freezer the night before, or those reusable freezer box things? Soup or spaghetti or rice & beans in a thermos?
 

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As a parent of a kid with a peanut allergy - a note on the door is NOT enough. They need to notify and educate parents - thankfully you were educated but many parents are not and would not have thought to take out the granola bar.<br>
A letter needs to be sent home with the kids and sent via the mail. Stating the change and detailing what "nut free" means. I would make it a point to let the school officials know your child only ate grapes for lunch due to their lack of notification. Specifically since you asked ahead of time.<br>
Try asking the teacher for the name and number of the parents or how to arrange to have them call you - say you just want to make sure you are doing everything to help keep the child safe - and then tell the parents themselves that you are really concerned with how poorly this is being handled. As a parent of an allergenic child - I would really want to know. Sometimes you have to trust that the school is following thru on the action plan you agreed upon and don't have the means to determine how and when parents were actually notified.<br><br>
Also the lunch menu needs to be addressed - it is not healthy. And it is discriminatory. With that many options being offer, it should be possible to offer a veggie friendly option. There was a thing just released about the huge problem with obesity in children and the role schools play in it - ie lunch options, snack options, and vending machine. Maybe print out that article and study on it (also one ranking the fattest states). Also a list of foods that are healthy and veggie friendly - like pasta with non-meat sauce.<br><br>
also have you tried sunbutter? it is super yummy and made in a peanut and nut free facility. No risk what-so-ever of reaction, unless the child is allergic to seeds as well. Many docs will tell you to say away from seeds if you have a peanut allergy - but it is due to cross contamination with peanuts during processing. The school should have included it as an option in the "safe" foods list.<br>
Also try a lunch bag that is insolated and the little mini ice packs - that helps dramatically when it comes to keeping things cool.<br><br>
GL! and thank you sooo much for caring about the other child - it is mamas like you that make my life a little easier, and a lot more encouraging.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>absinthe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9021399"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks for the replies. I probably sound hostile because I am annoyed at the thought of my dd going hungry today and dh has my car so I can't fix it. Also because the school has ruled out ALL nut butters and nut products even though they don't actually know if the allergic child is reactive to anything but peanuts, and I have a whole pantry full of almond butter, cashew butter, etc.<br>
The (wonderful) principle who used to run this school left three weeks before the term started, the interim principle is kind of an a**hat, and it has been difficult to get anything addressed/decided/done or even answered because no one is really in charge. So I am coming to this a little frustrated IYKWIM?</div>
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Thats because they can't tell peanut butter from the other nut butters. Whats to stop a parent from saying oh its sun butter when its actually peanut butter and some kid ends up dead? Yes they should have give you notice but I'm not sure I understand why you need a fridge? I just throw in a reuseable ice pack and it works just fine.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Satori</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9075883"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thats because they can't tell peanut butter from the other nut butters. Whats to stop a parent from saying oh its sun butter when its actually peanut butter and some kid ends up dead? Yes they should have give you notice but I'm not sure I understand why you need a fridge? I just throw in a reuseable ice pack and it works just fine.</div>
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It's also because cross contamination is so common with nut butters, and because children with peanut allergies frequently do have severe nut allergies that are undiagnosed.<br><br>
I know at the school I work at we don't allow nut butters but we do allow soy and seed butters as long as they're labelled (e.g. written on the sandwich baggie). You could ask about that.
 
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