open letter about our school going peanut free


I know what you're thinking.
I'm a hypochondriac mom.
Or I'm a helicopter mom.
Or I'm a stay at home mom who has too much time on my hands and likes to try and control everything having to do with my children.
Or I'm an attention hog who just wants everyone to focus on me and my child.
Or I'm a food zealot jumping on this "food allergy" bandwagon on a mission against peanuts.
Or I'm just selfish & like to throw my weight around because I can.
I'm probably even making up or exaggerating my child's condition to get my way.
Go ahead, pick your stereotype - I've heard them all.
And none of them are true.
I have five kids, aged 3-11. I don't have time to be a helicopter mom. In fact, I have hardly been involved in any school activities or functions of any kind during the seven years and three children I've already had in school.
I'm not a hypochondriac mom - I've seen my kids have seizures, high fevers with hallucinations, night terrors and sleepwalking, sepsis from skin infections, chicken pox that got infected, failure to thrive, a broken bone, more stitches than I can count, a near drowning and anaphylaxis from allergic reactions several times, to name a few emergencies. 911 has been called to our house exactly twice in eleven years of parenting through all these emergencies. Trust me, I'm not prone to becoming hysterical nor overreacting after this many kids.
And I definitely don't have too much time on my hands.
I'm not an attention hog, either - I don't feel the need to have other people focus on issues that are painful, or personal - especially when those other people are strangers to our family and circumstances.
I'm also not a food zealot because of food allergies - well, not willingly anyway. If you knew me before food allergies, you'd know I raised my kids on mac & cheese from the box, fish sticks, ramen pride noodles, boiled eggs and LOTS and LOTS of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.
I'm not throwing my weight around because I can, either. In fact, I couldn't - this wasn't my choice and this was forced on me just like it's being forced on you.
And I only wish I were exaggerating my child's condition.
Four years ago I sat in my childrens' Allergist's office with my mouth hanging open.
"NO peanut butter?! As in, like EVER?!" I repeated, astounded and dismayed.
"That's right", He confirmed.
"But what about my other kids, they can still have it, right?"
"It can't be in your home at all, ever." He told me gently.
"What if they eat it outside and come in after?"
"That's really not a good idea either, they will have residue on their hands & clothes & mouths and if they hug or kiss or play with her...it can trigger another reaction.", He explained.
"But, but...what if I wipe them down after they eat it?"
This was the conversation I had where I tried every way I could think of to compromise with what my child's Dr. was telling me. A few days before, my three year old son had given my eleven month old daughter a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a common occurrence in our family of no food allergy history whatsoever.
I'd gone downstairs to throw some laundry in and when I came back to the top of the stairs, she was holding onto the gate and making strange noises. It also looked like she'd gotten into some blueberries, because the corners of her mouth were bluish. As I was trying to get the gate open, I noticed the strange noises were her trying to cry and gasp at the same time. I saw her bare stomach sucking in and out and exposing her ribs while she tried to breathe. I scooped her up and noticed hives sprouting right before my eyes, all around her mouth and eyes. Her face was swelling, she was drooling all over both of us and her mouth was still tinged blue at the corners and it wasn't blueberries.
This was her first anaphylactic reaction. I wasn't even sure until we went to the Dr. later and had her tested that it was from the peanut butter in the sandwich. I'd also given her antibiotics for an ear infection about twenty minutes earlier, I was sure (and hoping!) that was the cause. Luckily the Benadryl I had on hand seemed to take effect almost immediately and she recovered quickly.
Our lives changed after that. The Dr. told us the new rules we had to live by which included making her wear a Medic-Alert ID tag at all times, asking people to wash their hands upon entering our home and always keeping an Epi-Pen near or on her person. Despite all of these precautions, she's had three more anaphylactic reactions in her five years. One was in the grocery store, after touching part of the grocery cart and then her face, and one was in a movie theater (even though we covered her seat with a blanket from home). The most recent one was in our home.
Each episode was absolutely terrifying and followed the same pattern. First she gets itchy and breaks out in hives. Then her face begins to swell. Next she says her throat is tickly, then her stomach starts to cramp and she vomits - then she begins to have trouble breathing. I've researched enough to know that the Epi-Pens don't always work, especially in cases where the allergy is very severe. We're told that our daughter's is the rarer and extremely severe kind. I'm terrified the Epi-Pen won't work for my child one day.
So we lived like quarantine patients for a long time.
My five year old daughter has never spent a night at her grandmother's house.
She's never been on a playdate in another home, nor a sleepover.
She's never allowed to step into a neighbor's home for a drink of water while playing outside in the summer. If neighbor kids congregate at our house, we have to ask if they've eaten peanuts or peanut butter recently before she can play with them and they have to wash their hands if they're coming inside.
She doesn't go to friends' birthday parties.
She can't eat bakery cakes or treats.
She can't have chocolate unless it comes from a dedicated, nut-free facility.
She can't play at the mall play areas.
We just tried letting her trick or treat for the first time in her life last year, with gloves on, and then gave the candy away. Every other year she's had to stay in while her brothers go trick-or-treating.
When she joins gymnastics, we ask the studio to go peanut free. They post signs, remove nut foods from their vending machines and have the other students in her class wash their hands before starting the lesson. Her dance studio does the same. When traveling, we notify the airlines and they make our flight a peanut-free one. When we take her places like Disneyland, they work with many food allergy organizations to ensure a safe and fun trip for even life-threatening level peanut allergies. When staying at a hotel, we ask for food allergy rooms and considerations.
We've learned to live with it. We're finding out she can still do normal things and have normal experiences, with planning and care. Sometimes this lulls other people into thinking we don't have to take special steps for her, because they might not realize all the planning and precautions that have gone on behind the scenes.
The biggest hurdle we face in raising her is people who just don't want to get it. Or who don't want to set aside their annoyance at how this inconveniences *them* to try and get it. I've had more people tell me than I can count how their child "won't eat anything else" but peanut butter and this would be an incredible hardship on them and their rights shouldn't be disregarded like this.
When faced with being told that my daughter's life is equal to a favorite convenience food, I just never quite know what to say - I'm astounded. As I mentioned, I have five children - and actually two of them are food allergy sufferers -and the total restrictions these food allergies place on us are nothing short of mindboggling.
Because of this, I've learned that kids will eat what is available to eat, eventually. There are also great alternatives today, like sunbutter (from sunflower seeds) and tahini (from sesame seeds). If my kids truly would not eat anything but one food item and their school suddenly told me that one item was no longer allowed to be brought to school because it could harm or kill another child...and they didn't want anything else...then I guess my children just wouldn't eat until they got home from school, if that was their choice. I doubt they'd choose that option for very long! No kid is going to starve to death without peanut butter. They'd find another option rather than go hungry, trust me on this.
I know people are going to be angry that our school is being made to go peanut free for my daughter. I know there's a lot of confusion and misinformation out there about food allergies. I know everyone knows somebody who says their child is allergic to a food and then sees that child consuming it, only to be told "It's okay once in a while - or in small amounts". This isn't the same thing. This is a true, IgE mediated, multiple test verified anaphylactic allergy. We tested her at eleven months and we tested her again at five, skin and blood tests each time.
The Dr. tells us with a case as severe as hers, there is no chance she will ever outgrow this. It's an incredibly helpless and terrifying feeling to know that my daughter can die from just touching something and then touching her face. Some days I don't even want her to leave the house, ever.
When her Dr. retested her at five and instructed me that her school would have to be peanut free, I was met with resistance. I was told how "inconvenient" the other parents would find it. I had questions fired at me like,
"How can you take her out in public, then?"
"How do you go to the grocery store with her - do you ask them to go peanut free?"
"I heard you went to Disneyland, how can you do that and ask us to go peanut free?"
"Why can't we just put her in an empty classroom to eat her lunch?"
I felt ridiculed, I felt disbelieved and I felt discredited. How anyone can think a quick trip to a grocery store could pose the same risk as being in a school with potentially 400 other students eating peanut butter, for seven hours a day, five days a week is beyond me.
Then, incredibly, the two school officials I was meeting with began discussing how hard it would be on their children not to be able to have peanut butter. They joked that their children would starve to death - they talked to each other and agreed that it would be awful not to be able to have peanut butter, that they wouldn't consider it a normal childhood without peanut butter. I sat there and wondered,
"If my child were in a wheelchair, would they tell me how awful it would be if *their* children couldn't run? Would they tell me how glad they were it wasn't their problem?"
But by the way, we still just want to discriminate against your child with her medical disability by putting her into a secluded room to eat her lunch instead of making the whole school safer.
Our school is supposed to have "nut free classrooms". One of the school's biggest objections to going peanut free for my daughter was that she will spend most of her time in the classroom, and they are already nut free. Just this past St. Patrick's Day, an assembly was held at lunch time, requiring that all students eat their lunches in their classrooms.
I have three children at this school currently and one of them came home to tell me that in his classroom, a child had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another child spoke up and alerted the teacher that he had peanut allergy. The teacher sent the allergic child to the principal's office to eat his lunch, while the peanut butter and jelly sandwich was eaten in the classroom. Had that been my daughter, upon her return to the classroom if there had been any peanut butter residue anywhere and she touched it and then touched her face, she could have had a life-threatening reaction.
This is a perfect example of why the Dr. and the law can mandate that schools go peanut free for children with life-threatening cases of peanut allergy. Rules like special tables, special areas, special times that nuts are restricted are open to interpretation and subject to change based on changing circumstances. I don't know what happened in this case. I don't know if the rules were being flagrantly disregarded, misinterpreted or if this was an exception, but how would you feel if you were told other students could play with loaded guns around your child at your school? Dramatic example, I know - but this is exactly what it feels like to the parent of a child like mine upon hearing that half-measures will be taken.
I try, but I truly don't understand the objections of other parents, the anger and the protests I have seen in the press lately about cases like this. Before my own child was diagnosed and we had to accommodate another food allergy child in our first son's kindergarten class by eliminating not only peanut products but also egg, we were also annoyed. But we never formed protest groups, we never complained to the school or the teacher.
We asked more questions, we talked to his parents, we learned more about it! The bottom line was we didn't want that child to be hurt. And we certainly didn't want to be the ones that hurt him.
I wonder if people who trumpet and rave about their child's right to peanut butter have ever seen their child view anything traumatic in real life. I wonder if they know what their child is going to have to live with, if another student they care about and spend time with falls down and starts choking, vomiting and crying while scratching at their throat as they wet their pants and struggle to breathe.
I know what is going to happen to those children, because I've seen it happen to mine when my daughter has reacted. They are going to panic, they are going to be traumatized, they are going to feel immense guilt -even if they are in no way to blame - and they are not going to get over it for a long time. They are going to become afraid it can happen again, maybe even to them - they may want to avoid things that are connected to the incident, they could have nightmares.
Would you really rather risk traumatizing all those additional children rather than err on the side of caution and just stop sending something you've been told can kill another child, to school?! I have often had the macabre thought that I wish just one of my daughter's reactions could have been caught on video. One viewing and nobody would question what needs to be done for her.
I hope it helps the parents at our school to know that we do feel badly about this. I've dreaded this day since she was diagnosed four years ago. I hoped and hoped she'd outgrow this against the odds and we wouldn't have to deal with this in a school setting.
I spend my time helping other families learn about living with food allergies. I spend my time coming up with safe foods and finding ways to share them with others. I spend my time finding ways to educate others about this issue. I assure you, every step that could have been taken by us not to inconvenience others has been taken. And now we need your help. We can't keep her safe by ourselves anymore. I know you, you're our neighbors, you're our acquaintances, you're our friends, you're on facebook with me, your kids are in activities and on teams with my kids. You're our community.
I see you stand up for your children, I see you advocate for your children, I see you fight against the odds for your children. I see you keep your children safe and healthy. My husband and I have both always worked in the helping professions. We help keep our community safe and healthy both personally and professionally. All we're asking is that we all work together to keep doing this for ALL our children at school.
I'm 100% approachable on the subject of specifics about my daughter's care and condition, please feel free to email or comment if there's anything further I can answer or explain.
My email is MUMMA2WLDTHINGS@MAC.COM.




94 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are not aware of any elementary school child dying in the United States from exposure to peanut residue at school. The only lethal cases of peanuts at elementary schools are all from children ingesting foods with peanuts in them, not by second or third hand exposure at school. As a parent this is where you can protect your child.

You state in your blog "i have hardly been involved in any school activities or functions of any kind during the 7 years and 3 children i've already had in school.". Well, maybe it is time to get involved, not by forcing others to care for your child but by you taking responsibility. Teach your child about good hygiene, participate in the class room parties to help ensure peanut food is not accidentally provided, make your daughter's lunch and teach her not to eat other children’s lunches, help your child’s teacher monitor the other students’ hygiene and help your child’s teacher keep the classroom clean and safe.

The path you have chosen is to make others take responsibility for your child. If your child is not coordinated and falls frequently on the playground, should the playground be removed? In fact, children have actually died at schools from playing on elementary school playgrounds so you could use real numbers and facts on the true lethal danger of a playground.

The solution is not and will never be demanding your community to live by your roles to pacify your fears. The solution is being realistic about the dangers, using real facts not fear, participating in your child’s school and community (even if it is not convenient for your busy life), and finding a solution that worked for everyone not just you.

Nancy Cuevas said...

here's one last just last year...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/21/seventhgrader-katelyn-car_n_799633.html

I dont understand what the resistance is about here. You value life over peanuts. You teach your children intolerance when you pick one out to isolate.

So sorry you are dealing with such heartless people.

jack said...

and the young girl who died from kissing her boyfriend, who'd just eaten peanut butter - that one was all over the news.

there are lots of cases, not sure where you get your stats - try checking with FAAN, i'm a member and get their newsletter - i hear about it all too often.

also, i'm not making other ppl take responsibility for my daughter. they ARE responsible for her while she's in school and federal law says they must accommodate her medical condition.

if i didn't disclose it to her school and something happened to her, guess who can be legally prosecuted for her injury or death? me. if my dr. didn't recommend the school to go peanut free, knowing the severity of her allergy, he could be found criminally negligent. and if the school didn't comply w/ the dr.s recommendation, they are legally liable if anything happens to her.

it's out of our hands, all the attending class parties in the world isn't going to change the fact that we parents, her dr. and the school all have to keep her safe and if the medical expert says the only way to do that is to keep peanuts away from her, then that's what has to be done.

Kacy said...

My 4 year old doesn't have any food allergies. She's been in a pre-k class for 2 years and there has been no food allergies in her class until this year after Christmas. Parents always send in snacks to help with costs and before January, we've always sent peanut butter crackers, but we've ALWAYS made sure to ask about food allergies because I myself have a shellfish allergy. I don't see what everyone problem is about going Nut Free!! If it was THEIR child and THEIR child could DIE from just touching residue from it, they would want the entire school to go nut free as well. I just wanted to say, that although I am not in your community, I totally support your cause! ((hugs)) I hope everyone stops resisting and finally realizes this isn't a "mother hen" trying to get her way, but a mother that wants her child to not die!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the 1st post from anonymous. Here is an excerpt from your letter: "Had that been my daughter, upon her return to the classroom if there had been any peanut butter residue anywhere and she touched it and then touched her face, she could have had a life-threatening reaction". The words “If” and “could” are key points. Many kids have died from school sports. Why are they not banned? Another excerpt: "How anyone can think a quick trip to a grocery store could pose the same risk as being in a school with potentially 400 other students eating peanut butter, for seven hours a day, five days a week is beyond me". I would agree with you on the above statement if it was possible to have the potential of 400 other students eating peanut butter, for seven hours a day, five days a week. But is that realistic? When would they have time to study and do work? If the class rooms are suppose to be peanut free and by your statement they are not. How do you expect to have 400 kids checked daily. What if a parent works at a peanut facility and has to pick up their child from school. Look at the seat belt law over time with education and enforcement people have jumped on board. But if a child does not wear one is the parent negligent? If the police do not enforce the law would the city then be liable if something happened to a child? I feel every child should be safe and to a point accommodations have to be made but not at the cost of everyone else. Here are a couple of examples. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/apr/21/allergic-to-grass-and-dirt-oxnard-highs-leilani/ Here is another statement from an article on AllergicLiving.com Although symptoms are usually limited to the nose and eyes, some who are severely allergic to grass and will get hives upon contact with its pollen. In the most dangerous cases, they can experience an anaphylaxis reaction. IF there is the potential of a kid that is allergic to the grass and pollen COULD have a anaphylaxis reaction, should we get rid of all of the lawns and play grounds. As you said, no child’s needs are more important than your child’s needs, however your child’s needs are no more important than anothers. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. As Anonymous said, "Maybe it is time to get involved, not by forcing others to care for your child but by you taking responsibility and teaching her to deal with them".That way, in the coming years, the child isn’t looking to everyone else to solve her problems. She can solve them on her own, as a strong person should.

jack said...

the words "if" and "could" become a lot more significant when you look at an individual child's sensitivity levels and reaction history. 4 anaphylactic reactions in 5 years is a very sensitive, serious allergy. enough to qualify a child w/ said history as having a medical disability under 504 provisions - which grants them federal protections and rights. it's not a matter of opinion, but of medical facts and law.

i do not have the statistics on hand for how many children have died in schools due to sports accidents versus nut allergies, but the important thing to note here is nut allergy deaths in schools are easily preventable.

i hope you do not truly mistake me to be saying that 400 children eat peanut butter for 7 hrs a day, 5 days a week in school ...? i was saying that my daughter is in an environment where 400 children may eat peanut butter...and she is there for 5 hrs a day, 7 days a week. that's a LOT of preventable potential exposure and transference of peanut residue, unlike walking through a grocery store, keeping her hands to herself, for 20 minutes or so every couple of weeks - where people do not sit and eat meals consisting of peanut butter.

a parent working in a peanut factory and then picking up their child from school would not pose a threat as they are not presumably in the school with my child, drinking form the same fountains, sitting in the same seats, touching and playing with the same things she will touch and play with. was that a serious question or are you just throwing out anything that comes to mind now, hoping i'll attack it? surely you must see the difference between reasonable elimination of life-threatening risk and being completely ridiculous about this?

many, many schools have already gone peanut free. when you ask about how to check 400 kids daily, other schools are already dealing with this and i've never heard that any school stands them in line and inspects their lunches. nobody has to. do you know why? b/c most parents don't have a problem with this and automatically just stop sending in peanut butter!!

in some cases i have learned through some allergy organizations that i subscribe to, that peanut sniffing dogs have to be hired by the school under 504 mandates, when a child continues to have reactions b/c other students were non-compliant with the peanut free rule. in other cases, i am familiar with many situations where the schools have been forced to hire a nurse who has to stay with the allergic child everywhere they go and monitor everything the child does and touches while in school, b/c the child continues to have reactions and the school was unable or unwilling to track down the source of the continued exposure. in still other cases, i have learned that a child who continues to react in schools despite all of these other measures can qualify under 504 provisions to have the school district hire instructors and pay for them to be educated at home.

jack said...

your questions tend toward a very confrontational and ultimatum-type scenario. in most cases, this is not at all what the process is like. schools, dr.s, and other parents usually work together to keep all children safe. unfortunately, in today's world, all of us are recognizing that this is beginning to mean limiting peanuts in schools. i don't think most parents are going to have a huge problem with this.

finally, your grass and pollen analogy is just, well, silly. peanut butter is not pervasive in our environment. it is not unavoidable, it is not an inalienable right, it is not a guaranteed way of american life, it is not a vital part of going to school. it is a freaking convenience snack food. and what "cost" is it to other children not to be able to eat it in school? they can have it as soon as they get home. there are no rights or guarantees about what we can send our kids to eat or drink in school - it's whatever is safest, relatively healthy, fairly convenient and not causing a disruption. i have sent spaghettios in a thermos in the past and been asked not to do so again, as it was too messy. should i have protested, called the board, threatened to go to the media? oops, i also forgot to do these things when we were asked not to send eggs or peanuts in for a child with life-threatening allergies a few yrs ago, too. there are other options, who wants to be the one that hurts or kills someone else's child over a SNACK?

i'm not teaching my daughter to only make others keep her safe. she knows more about hand cleaning, cross contamination and prevention measures than any child her age. but if i were to send her to a school w/ peanuts allowed, she'd never even stand a fighting chance. and at 5 yrs old, what the heck is wrong with teaching her that her community should help keep her safe, anyway?

if you saw her get struck by a car in the parking lot and fall to the ground, wouldn't you run to help her? but if you saw her fall down and turn blue because someone left peanut butter on the drinking fountain, what? she's just on her own? she just needs to learn to dal with it?

we're talking about a FIVE YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL. who bites her nails. who picks her nose. who rubs her eyes. and her dr. ordered us as her parents to do these things to keep her safe. we'd be negligent and responsible for her injury or death if we didn't. would you really do any differently if you were us?

Anonymous said...

The sports analogy does not hold up here either--yes, there have been many sports related deaths in schools. But do you know what parents can do if they are concerned about that? They can make their children abstain from sports. What is the parent of a child with an anaphylactic airborne allergy supposed to do? Oh, I know! They can make their child abstain from BREATHING! :::eyes rolling:::

Perhaps if there are children who are so attached to their PBJ's, the school can set up a small "peanut safe" zone for them, where they can sit alone with their peanut butter and feel ostracized by the rest of the school. That is what folks expect for our allergic kids to suffer, isn't it?

Jaye said...

I would love to see just who Anonymous actually is - or are you too afraid to state who you really are?

How dare you or anyone be so rude and inconsiderate? How dare you accuse this mother of making others responsible for her child! Do you know the lengths she goes through to provide her child a 'normal' life while still protecting her from potential death by exposure? No, I don't think you do. Do you know what it is like to watch your child have an anaphylactic reaction and become quickly unable to breathe? Apparently you do not and I am glad you don't because it is terrifying! And yet there you are - condemning her - berating her, accusing her of being irresponsible?? Good grief.

Are you perhaps a parent at the school who is irritated that the life of a child depends on other people's ability to simply NOT bring peanuts or peanut-butter to school? Are you a Parent of the school who just doesn't get it and doesn't want to be inconvenienced? Seriously - try putting yourself in the shoes of a parent who wants their child to have a normal life - and yet in order to do so must put the child in a place, 7 hours a day, 5 days a week where she can DIE because of a peanut.

So why the antagonism? Why the anger and condemnation? I don't get it. But I believe that when someone is that confrontational that there is more going on here that meets the eye.

Bottom line is this: Peanut and other allergies are on the rise. Many many people have (or are developing) life threatening allergies to things that were once totally safe. Peanuts, cows milk, shellfish, airborne pollutants...the list goes on. People are dying daily from these issues, or at the very least being made very, very ill from them.

So - wouldn't the respectful and loving thing to do be to educate yourselves and your children and protect the children in our midst from death by simply eliminating peanuts - even if it may be somewhat inconvenient? I know that if my kids school needed to eliminate peanuts to protect the life of a child I would be more than happy to do so. Why? Because the life of a child is precious - and my kids can eat peanut butter when they get home. It is NOT too big an inconvenience for me...why would it be for anyone? Or is the life of a child not worth it to you?

Jack - keep doing what you need to do to take care of your child. For those who simply want to be combative and rude - take it elsewhere. If you have honest questions and can be respectful then ask away. But if you cannot be nice...what was it my momma always told me? If you can say anything nice...don't say anything at all.

Anonymous said...

This is just a narrow minded view I am conversing with.
Is a grass allergy that could be life threatening not equally as important.
Yes the sport one could be a stretch but truly don't you think more could be done to keep our kids safe while playing school sports. Why comment on everything but the seat belt portion. Do we actually agree on something or you one of those that neglect that very important safe device

Nancy Cuevas said...

to : Anonymous said..."I agree with the 1st post from anonymous."
What needs to be dealt with for now is the SEVERE peanut allergy. The whole argument about other allergies is not up for debate right now. Once a child with other SEVERE allergies shows up and needs special treatment that will be addressed. You obviously do not have anyone in your life that has made you address intolerance and it shows. I hope it stays that way...for your kids sake.

jack said...

grass allergy that could be life-threatening is very important, albeit very rare, i'm sure. however, when you compare grass allergy to peanut allergy it makes no sense b/c peanuts are by no means as prevalent or hard to avoid as grass. so i guess i missed your point there...

same thing w/ the seat belt analogy. your logic is a bit hard to follow, so i left it alone.

Claire Atteberry said...

Really, Anonymous? You're OK allowing a LIFE THREATENING substance into a school where a child could die from the least contact with it? UNBELIEVABLE. And unconscionable. Truly, what's the big deal with getting rid of peanut butter? It's just f'n peanut butter, fer Pete's sake. For this child - and many others like her - it is LIFE AND DEATH. Keeping peanut butter out of schools seems to be a small enough sacrifice to keep a life intact.

Anonymous said...

Yes grass allergies are very rare. But if you followed the link I posted it was of a girl who had 17 severe allergies yet that family choose to overcome her limitations . A great lesson to those with and without disabilities. The seat belt analogy was from another post you have out there. You never toted your kids around in kid carriers but in a I can't remember exactly what you called it a sling maybe" why expect others have to follow Federal laws for disabilities but you feel you can exempt yourself from these basic SAFETY laws. The post with the intolerance. I have dealt with friends that have died of drug addiction - aids - and other life threatening issues and all of the negativity from outsiders and uneducated people on the topics mentioned. So intolerance I have had my fair share. But not one of them asked for anyone to give up anything for them. An open mind is a horrible thing to deny. Comment away intolerance really depends on what side you are on.

jack said...

once again, your grammatical style leaves things a bit hard to follow, but if you are suggesting i have EVER said i do not restrain my children in properly installed car seats in a vehicle, you are very mistaken.

my husband is one of the top NHTSA certified infant and child passenger seat safety instructors in the state, as well as his job as a police officer -i hardly think we would drive around with our children in slings instead of car seats!

what i think you have misread or misunderstood is that i disdain using bucket style infant carriers *outside of the vehicle*. i remove my babies from their carseats and place them directly into a sling, even if sleeping, and never carry those bucket-style car seats around.

however, i'm beginning to see that there is a personal undertone to these "anonymous" comments. you are not someone who happened across my blog and has something to say about the subject in general. i think you are someone local, who has an axe to grind that you feel i may be trampling your god-given right to feed your child - or for your friends to feed their child(ren)-who-won't-eat-anything-else- peanut butter in school, at the cost of my child's safety and possible life.

i'm sorry you feel this way. i've said everything there is to say about my side of it in my original open letter. i'm just repeating myself at this point. i hope others may comment here and help you realize that it's all been done before and ppl have worked it out. that i'm not the only parent with a child like this, having to take this route. that it's not personal, so let's not make it that way.

any other misinformation about myself you post - intentional or otherwise - will result in the comment being deleted.

Anonymous said...

I have no personal interest in this or any other blog I choose to play devils advocate in. I just like a good debate on all topics to learn human responses. Nothing personal. PS You may want to check some of your own grammatical errors. Mine are do to the small key board. Have a great night

Anonymous said...

Anonymous~You are ridiculous!! Really, are you serious?? I hardly even know where to begin with you.....Are you suggesting that children having to give up peanut butter will some how "cost" you something, your words- "at the cost of everyone else". What cost??? Is your childs peanut butter sandwich more important then a childs life??? That is the "cost" that Jackie and her husband face~THE LIFE OF THEIR CHILD!! How is asking the school to take precautions so that this child can go to school safely "forcing others to take care of her child and not taking responsibility"?? You make NO sense at all. Do you not ask the school to take care of your children when you send them to school, do we not all expect our children to be safe while attending school?? The whole grass allergy analogy that you pose, is just ludicrous! It doesn't even warrant a response. Seriously what is your problem? How can you be so callous towards the needs and safety of another child. There is so much more that I want to say to you but I fear that you are just one of those people that I would be wasting my breath on. I hope you don't have a child that one day needs the support and help of his community....it's shameful that you cannot find it in your heart to be kind and understanding towards the needs of this child. I just shake my head in disgust and amazement that I might actually know a person such as you.......Cherie

Anonymous said...

Oh the personal human responses. So high strung where is the compassion?  It is a blog open to anonymous commentators all over the www. Nothing personal I am sure you are all very nice ladies. The responses  I received  on here are some of the best I have received in the last 10 blogs I have commented on. Have a great night and good luck.

PAMOM said...

I would like to add something to this discussion that has been left out. As a parent of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy, I struggle with these issues every day as well. My daughter does not attend school yet because she is only 3 but I still worry about when she will be starting school. To be honest, I don't expect everyone to care like I do nor understand this the way I do, I didn't know anything either before it happened to us. You really have to be living the nightmare to fully understand the severity of the situation. What concerns me (among many other things) is the fact that there will never really be a "peanut free" school. The possiblilty of exposure will exist no matter what is in the school because of what goes on at home. Peanuts are in so many foods, foods you would never even think of. There is always the chance another student could eat something for breakfast that contained peanuts which could somehow come into contact with my child. That is why when a school goes peanut free they have the children wash their hands before entering the classroom. In my opinion, keeping the peanut products out of the school will atleast significantly reduce the possibility of exposure. It is so upsetting to read comments that are negative on this topic. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but somehow I feel like if people could just take a minute to really try and put the shoe on the other foot, they might have a different attitude towards things. I would never want to take away anyone's rights or put a burden on society to protect my child. I just feel like in today's day and age, people only care about things that directly have an impact on their life or the people they love. Wouldn't you want people to be in your corner if this was your child? We should all be in this together. If there was something I could do that was so small to me but had such a positive impact on someone else's life I think I would. By taking one thing out of your child's diet for the time they are in school you could save my child's life. I know it sounds dramatic but if you could only spend a day in our shoes you would understand....it's too bad we are not all built to love one another and lend a helping hand. This could be a valuable lesson being taught to our children as well. Nobody ever talks about how this could teach compassion for another human being to these precious kids who deserve the best examples from those they look up to. Don't teach your kids to be argumentative and selfish, teach them to help and protect each other. This world has enough hate in it.

Anonymous said...

Why should 99% of other kids be inconvenienced because YOUR kid has a problem? Sorry honey life doesn't work that way. Why don't YOU treat YOUR kid i.e. by introducing her to nuts in a medically controlled environment. Reading your blog makes me want to go and buy some Reese's Peanut Butter cups. Why? Because I can and you won't ever control what I or my kids eat. So deal with it.

jack said...

pamom,

love your perspective, thank you for posting it. it puts me in mind of the recent tragedies in japan. i read that there has not been one case of rioting or looting during all of the disasters. if those things happened here in america, do you think we could say the same? no, b/c here it is every man for himself and ppl think their rights to a convenient lifestyle should come before other ppl's health and safety. just try to walk inside any public building crowded w/ smokers around the entrance and you'll know what i mean! i wish you well in navigating life with food allergies.

jack said...

anonymous, thanks so much for perfectly illustrating my point in my last comment.
i have no interest in controlling what you eat. you should also know that some children are way too allergic for the peanut sensitization protocol and no dr. will even try it on them - like my daughter.
be sure not to choke on that peanut butter cup and let's hope karma doesn't catch up w/ your oh-so humanitarian views on human compassion.

roberta said...

anonymous,

Your last comment just proved how ignorant you are. You obviously know nothing about the severity of nut allergies. I hope that no one that you love ever happens to develop any of these issues. I can not begin to tell you how much of a nightmare it is dealing with this. Do you have children? I am starting to think that you do not. Do you realize that if you do, they can develop a life threatning allergy at any time? How would you feel then if that were to happen? I have a feeling things would be very different. I do not, for the life of me, know why you are being an ass when it comes to the life of a CHILD. I work in a children's hospital and i see this horrific allergy kill these innocent children. Imagine seeing a child on life support...because he ate something that contained peanuts/nuts. It's heartbreaking. My 3 year old has a severe nut allergy. It scares the hell out of me to know that he has to go outside of our safe zone to preschool this fall. His family won't be there to protect him. He has to rely on people we hardly know.

Anonymous said...

I like what PAMOM said... "What concerns me (among many other things) is the fact that there will never really be a "peanut free" school. The possibility of exposure will exist no matter what is in the school because of what goes on at home." Well said. I Like what Jack said about Japan. That is great, but you are in the United States of America. Many of us have given up so much to fight for the rights and freedoms we have. Not to mention the ones that were killed fighting for the rights and freedoms that they themselves never got the chance to enjoy. I know it is your right(Thanks to a solider)but how can you compare one situation of another country to the greatest country out there. If you like how Japan is feel free to move there. Let us know how all of your freedoms and all the other great things we take for granted as citizens of the USA are not offered or given there. We all talk about the peanut allergy and kids. The families that I know that have to live and deal with peanut allergies day in and day out have taught their kids by age 6 (and the kids fully understand)what they can or cannot eat, touch or be around. Oh and Jack the compassion comments through out. Really just because some people may not show compassion or have any do you really wish for someone to chock on a peanut butter cup. Are you that one sided. If you talk about compassion it should be for everyone no matter if you agree or disagree with them or how much of an ass they may be. Compassion is not for those who only agree with you on your beliefs or topics. Since we all use compassion so openly I have added some info on the word compassion. In Latin compassion means:"co-suffering"
I do not wish to share in your suffering it is a choice. In Christianity Bible's Second Epistle to the Corinthians [4] Jesus assures his listeners in the Sermon on the Mount that, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." In the Parable of the Good Samaritan he holds up to his followers the ideal of compassionate conduct. True Christian compassion, say the Gospels, should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one's enemies. I like the part TRUE CHRISTIAN COMPASSION to all, even to the extent loving ones enemies. I am christian but I do not want to say I did not give more than one point of view.Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. - The Buddha. So if you want to keep throwing out the word compassion maybe everyone in here should take a second look at themselves and the real meaning of compassion.

jack said...

dear "anonymous", i do not actually wish for the previous poster to choke, it was my way of insinuating the idea of karma to the poster, albeit sarcastically.

as for this being the greatest country in the world, that's a bit ethnocentric for me. i prefer to take a broader view. there is no one greatest country in the world - but many different ones have the greatest aspects for certain categories. we are the sickest. we are the fattest. we have the most kids on prescriptions, the most kids with disorders and diagnoses and mental and emotional problems, one of the poorest rates for breastfeeding. these are the areas my life's work is about right now, so i look to other areas of the world to see how they avoid or remedy these issues.

as for you knowing allergy families who have completely self-sufficient children by age 6 w/ life-threatening food reactions - this i frankly do not believe. my daughter has been carrying her own epi-pen responsibly since she was 2.5, asking people if they've been in contact w/ peanuts before touching them almost as long, asking them to wash hands upon entering our home, been potty-trained since 18 months, very smart, very independent - but there is no way to put her in an environment w/ 500ish other kids and tell her to keep herself safe if they have peanut butter around her. no way.

i do agree w/ you on one point: it is almost impossible to guarantee a totally nut free environment. i prefer to think of peanut free schools as "peanut banned" or "peanut reduced". no more nuts may be brought in than what is most likely already there in trace amounts. as i mentioned in a previous comment, if this is not enough for some allergic children, then even more drastic steps can be taken to make the school even more peanut-reduced, like hand washing & face wiping before school. much as you hate to concede, this and more is already being done all over the country.

it's interesting also that if you check our local high school on google by inputting "ROHS peanut free" you will find many articles stating that it is a totally peanut free school and no nuts of any kind may be brought on the premises. i wonder if you will form a protest group and find out which allergic child's parents implemented this at that school and frequent their blog, as you do mine?

contrary to your previous claims of having no personal interest here and not knowing me, i know who you are. you ARE local and you DO know me and this IS personal. thanks to google analytics, i see that i have you to thank for being one of the most frequent visitors to my site, Mr. C S A in Novi (your employer, i assume?) who has kids attending the same school i am asking to go peanut free.

how does your christianity sit w/ lying, sniping at someone from the cowardly name "anonymous" and trying to work to keep my child in danger? you must know what you are doing is wrong or you would do it under your name instead of denying any personal interest, just as we are standing up openly to face the community that we are asking to make a change.

you're getting a little creepy and stalkerish, if i were you i'd stop now.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, I am sure I am not the only anonymous on here. This is a blog you have made open to the public to comment on. I have made no threatened or belittled anyone. You have a choice as how you have allowed for people to identify themselves. Anonymous is the one I choose. Just like you choose to go by jack instead of Jackie.
If you look in the ROHS Parent Guide page 11. You will find the school is not a peanut free school. It strongly inforces peanut/nut free areas. If you do not want me to post on your blog let me know. But to simply state I am the only person
going by anonymous is simply not true and I find it abit slanderous to insinuate. The tittle to the blog is peanut free should it not be peanut reduced. I would never send peanuts to school with my kids if it would help keep another child if safe. I have made many of comments on the blog of The Nut - Free Mom on Facebook. That is a blog/ page that helps see both sides of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous~I'm continuning to address you as anonymous although we have confirmed who you are. I say confirmed because we knew all along it was YOU, who else would have such a personal interest in R.O. schools and what happens there but a parent within that district?? It was obvious that it was you but when asked why you were taking this so personal you chose to lie about it! Christian behavior.... I think not! You speak of compassion.....that's interesting! Where is YOUR compassion? Jackie and her family have been nothing but professional thru out this whole process. They have done everything that the school has asked of them and offered to talk to anyone that has questions regarding peanut allergies, including yourself!! If you REALLY wanted to be educated and compassionate towards a child with life threatening allergies, then you would have picked up the phone, sent an e-mail, or walked the few blocks over and had a face to face conversation with the family! They have been more then willing to talk about this with you or anyone else. This cowardly, behinde the scenes game that you have been playing is childish and mean spirited. Is that what you call compassionate?? Do you not believe that this child has an allergy? The school sent this child to Childrens Hospital to one of the top (if not THE top) allergy specialists in the state.......what more do you need?? I KNOW that this family would support your child or any other child that was facing a handicap, allergy, disability etc. That's the kind of family they are~ COMPASSIONATE!! Maybe if you got to know them, you would find that out! Instead you atttack anonymously and your attacks are against a child! You remind me of a bully. I know who you are and you know who I'm and I'm very dissapointed. I can't imagine that your wife is aware of this because I don't think she would agree with this kind of behaviour~but maybe I'm wrong, been wrong about people before.
Cherie

Nancy Cuevas said...

Thanks Cherei,My sentiments exactly :)

Dear Anonymous,
Google analytics lets a blog owner see exactly who is on their site, on which page for how long, when, how often and where from and that YES the blog owner can see EXACTLY which anonymous posts are by one person... things aren't as anonymous as you would like to think. So in this light any anonymous posters should take care in what they comment because some of the comments sound borderline threatening to me.

Anonymous said...

I personally do not think anyone has handled this topic like adults. How I understand  it, this all started was from jack posting on her facebook page, that the school was either going peanut free or that the School Board made their decision to go peanut free. Then the rumors went from there. People questioned the school as well as the School Board and found that a decision had not yet been made. I maybe mistaken but I do not believe a final decision has yet to be made as of last week. Calling people names, posting where their IP address shows up  or hoping they chock on something seems a bit bullish and slanderish to me. You can say you did  not mean it that way but the way you wrote it is how people take it. I  do not think anyone disputes the fact that this is child has a peanut allergy. But I do question some of the other statements made in this  blog by various people. It states that this girl will be going to school for 7 hrs a day with 400 other students.  Does Royal Oak have full day kindergarten at this school? It has also been mentioned the ROHS is peanut free. Upon doing a search it does look like it is in fact a  peanut free school, that is if you go by the first couple of search results. But if you  go to the  ROHS Parents Guide 2010/2011 on  page 11, you will see that there are peanut free areas . Nowhere in the ROHS Parents Guide 2010/2011 did I see that the whole school was peanut/nut free.  I think playing the villain or the innocent  victim will not get anyone anywhere with this.  This is being made into something that it does not have to be.  We should deal with this when the School Board makes their decision. As for the parent being willing to answer any questions.  I have heard people say they have tried but got no response back. I am not sure if this is true or not but I have no reason not to believe these people as they have always been honest to me.  

Anonymous said...

I am a new viewer of your blog and find all this information interesting. Why can't a compromise be met where the school has one table desinated for peanut butter. Anyone who sits at this table will be told to wash their face and hands befor returning to class and should be monitored by lunch volunteers to make sure this will happen. This makes the volunteers accountable. I am sure people die tragiclly every day from allergy reactions and accidents happen. I would hate to read on your blog that it was one of your children. But educating your children to deal with everyday life is a burden that you were delt and it seems you are taking it stride. It sounds that your daughter is smart and responsible enough to deal with any thing that comes her way I think that with teachers and staff at your school being aware of her allergies will help keep her safe .Me personally if I were in your shoes I would be home schooling or be putting in a special needs school which is avaliable every where who is better equipped to deal with this. If it were my chid I would not even gamble with risking her life if it is that serious. I konw you want her to enjoy normal everyday childhood and all the joys that comes with it. But everyones normal is different and it is what you create for her and show her. Your daughter did not ask for these issues but neither did the kids at her school is it fair to make everyone adjust. I do not know the answer to that but asking for your childs school to go peanut free is bulling and bringing the kids into your health issue not theirs. No one ask to ban bees when a kid is a allegic to bee stings.I am sure that no one every wish this on you or your family. So I hope that you can lead the way, and set an example for your daughter that when life gives you lemons make lemonade. I hope you do not sink to others level and start making up things about others and doing things that you may regret in the future be a better person., If you have all ready done this make up with people and ask for forgiveness
because you seem like a good person and a good role model for your kids continue to be one and set a good example.. Don't do things you may regret in the future or your kids may be ashamed of if they ever find out that is all I am saying. Good luck in your future endevors.

Anonymous said...

Hate to nitpick, but seeing as how this is written, the word you would use is "libel". Slander is spoken, and slanderish is not a word. Also for it to be either libel or slander, defamation of character would have to have occurred, which has not happened.

My children are not allergic to peanuts, and my son will barely eat anything else for lunch, so he can't eat peanut butter at school. Do I care? Absolutely not. Personally, I'd like my children to learn to accommodate and consider the needs and health of others, even if it is an inconvenience. But really, how terribly inconvenient is it to just pack a different sandwich in your kid's lunch? It's not. Takes the same amount of time.

My kid's summer camp didn't even have a peanut-free code but I asked about it and didn't send him to camp with any peanut butter because I didn't want harm to come to another child in his class. Why on earth would it ever be reasonable for a sandwich to be more important than someone's life?

Me said...

Anonymous.... Have you ever heard of the word compassion? Because you seem to be lacking in it.
I went to a nut free school. We had a girl in our grad who was anaphalactic to all tree nuts and peanuts. Not one person in my 2,000 student high school had an issue with it. We all understood that it would make Emily sick. It was such a minor thing to do to make it a safe environment for her. Explaining to a small child that it is not allowed because it could hurt a friend and they will understand. At least children are still compassionate to their peers. And there is always sunbutter or soybutter if your child is that picky and will ONLY eat pb&j for lunch. Cant tell the difference.
-Ama-

Karli said...

My childrens' school is going peanut free in September, and I for one am happy to comply so that children with peanut allergies can have a higher degree of safety while at school. All children should be welcome at public schools, and public school systems should make it as safe as is reasonably possible. If something as simple as banning nut products makes a safer environment, then i have to wonder at the selfishness and thoughtlessness of families who drag their feet at complying. If someone can't handle the idea of a peanut free day, then serve it for supper, wash up afterwards and go about your life knowing you didn't make school a dangerous place to be for a child who didn't ask to be allergic to anything. You can choose to be an example to your kids and be inclusive and kind, or you can choose to be an example to your kids by being rigid, cruel and dangerously ignorant, over something as simple as a lunch ingredient.

Cyndi said...

I love peanuts. But I'd give them up in a heartbeat to help someone else. I did for 3 months when a very allergic friend stayed with me. I love my friend more than I love peanuts.

I don't agree with making schools (or anyplace else) peanut or tree nut free "just in case," but when there is a real person who could suffer around them, then they should be gone.

It's not just about peanuts. If a student can't be around any particular substance, it's the school's responsibility to do everything they can to make that child safe at school. And as a parent, it's my job to protect my child and to do what I can to keep other children safe as well. If that means cutting something out of my child's lunch diet, so be it.

Seriously, who cares about peanuts? They're easy to substitute for in meals (instead of peanut butter try almond or sunflower seed butter) and no one will suffer for not having them. Sure, they're cheap, delicious, and simple to turn into a sandwich, but they're just a food. No food tastes good enough to risk someone else's life.

Anonymous said...

In this preliminary post, I will not yet debate the topic at hand as I feel that this needs to be addressed first. I do believe that nobody can change the negative views of the anonymous author(s) beliefs no matter the arguments or support. I hope this person will not make or break the school's decision. Reading between the lines, the arguments do not seem to be about the actual allergy. It sounds like a dysfunctional reaction to feelings of oppression - being told what to do or how to do it (in any context that the author doesn't agree with) - that causes the knee-jerk anger and destructive thoughts. Going forward, I think we should all keep a positive outlook, share concrete information, and focus all productive responses to those persons and parents who may read this with a more open mind and not those who come for the excitement of the drama. There are those who may be opposed to the restriction but can begin to harbor a glimpse of compassion and lucidity and rethink their stand, or even have the courage to take one, by reading constructive reasons to comply with this change, drastic and scary though it may be to some. If you don’t agree with Jack personally or her methods – though I cannot fault them from an outsider’s perspective -, I hope each of you who reads this letter and the responses to it remember that the real issue is the danger to a small child if she attends public school without obligatory compliance to 100% peanut-free. The plea of a terrified parent to her village should not be tossed away in scorn and prejudice. Our children should learn compassion and tolerance from our example. The inconvenience of compliance is negligible when faced with a child who cannot take a breath because her peer feels he must eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. On a more personal note: If a child would choose not eating over forgoing peanut butter, that is a sign of an imbalance and there is a deeper nutritional issue that ought to be explored.
~Jennifer N.

Juston Mansfield RN said...

Hi there,
I personally know Jack. She's a great mom. I used to work at her Peds office. I met all of her children. She is an incredible mother. She is what I wish many other parents were; inlvolved, loving, open, happy. She doesn't need to come to school for the 35 hours they spend in school to be a good parent. She works hard with them in the 130 hours she keeps them at home.
The fact that her child is peanut allergic is serious. I never thought it was really all that big a deal until I read about it. But see, that's the thing, I read about it and formed an educated response.
I found something I had never encountered and I decided to educate myself about it. At first I thought how annoying it would be, but then I thought about J. I thought of how I would feel if J was my child and I would expect everything her mother would.
So stop eating fucking peanut butter at school! Your child is there for 35 hours out of 168 a week. You have 130 hours to feed your child peanuts. Stop being such an asshole. This isn't hard. Make tuna fish or ham sandwiches instead.
The anonymous fight against this is either just a troll fighting for the sake of argument or a serious asshole. Why does a peanut ban get your panties in such a bundle? This is small peanuts (pun intended) to the real world. It seems to be an inability to roll with the change. Does change scare you that much? Do you have that little control over your children that you can't stop them from eating a PB&J at school? These are just thoughts that go through my head.
And to the anonymous that said a child with an allergy should be homeschooled. How about you home school your kid? Obviously you have a problem working in a society and compromising, maybe your kid should be removed from society. Because, seriously, that is what you are asking of J. Remove your children from society and interaction with children their own age because of your refusal to not put a fucking peanut butter sandwich in their lunch for 35 hours a week. Sounds awfully like our budget debate lately.
Also sounds a lot like our society of entitlement. The society that thinks they should be able to do whatever they like, no matter who is harmed.
love, juston

Sheryl said...

Children have died due to exposure to food allergens at school. When a child who attends a particular school is known to be allergic to peanuts, the very least parents and teachers can do is to work together to make the school peanut free.

Diana said...

Hey Anonymous,

Have you asked your KID how he/she feels about this issue, by any chance?

My almost 4th-grade daughter has a peanut allergy. She's lucky -- hers isn't the severe kind (anymore). She can touch it, she has even been challenged and gets only a scratchy throat and a few hives after 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter, and her reaction stops completely within minutes if she receives a simple antihistamine.

She's very conscientious about asking whether treats have peanuts, she reads labels to determine whether an item was processed on shared equipment, she asks friends to wash their hands after they've eaten peanut butter.

But you know what? Her friends and classmates have united for her. We didn't ask (we felt very comfortable with the measures that were taken in her small private school as well as in the still-small public school she's in now to keep her safe), but I can't even count the number of parents I've met who've told me their children don't want to bring peanut butter to school because they either want to spend time with my daughter at lunch/recess, or because they would be devastated if something happened to her because of what they ate at school.

They know they can have their peanut butter or peanut-containing foods at home and on the weekends, no sweat. They choose not to endanger my daughter.

Knowing what I do about children, I'd guess that, if your kid knew the extent of what could happen to Jack's daughter if she was exposed to peanut (and believe Jack when she expresses how severe this allergy is ... she's not making this up or exaggerating the consequences), he/she would make the same choice as the kids at my daughter's school -- to protect her classmate. Not eating peanut butter at school isn't that huge a sacrifice. Children aren't governed by their egos ... maybe it's time to let yours go and stop being such a pain in the ass about this very serious matter. Shut up. Get some almond butter, or cashew butter, and spread that on your bread with your jelly. Odds are pretty strong your kid won't notice the difference, anyway.

sfsuki said...

So sorry you have to deal with idiots in addition to caring for your family.
It is completely mind blowing that simple courtesy is not being displayed towards the needs of your daughter. Are these people going to protest that the ADA mandates the best parking spaces for those in wheelchairs?
I have a friend with a 6 year old daughter with a peanut allergy. The 6 yo can make responsible choices about her food and actions. I have a toddler without a peanut allergy. However, when I am with this friend I do not give my child peanut products because I know there is a possibility of him touching her or other things she may come in contact with. Admittedly, this is a toddler, and not a 5 yo, but all children have lapses in memory or judgement some days that could contribute to contamination. Therefore, why is the effort to reach for something else for lunch, for the safety of another child, seen as something that some people are equating with their first admendmemt rights?!
I hope rational minds prevail and your daughter enjoys her school year!

Michele said...

I remember feeling resentful the first time I was told my daughter was not allowed to bring peanut butter to preschool (she's going into 4th grade now). I had already enrolled & psyched her up for that place, and was so angry that I was not told sooner. I thought, "How in the world is my daughter going to manage since she eats PB every day and it's a main protein for her and she needs a lot of protein because of low blood sugar issues?! Why should WE have to change our ways for 1 child?! Why can't that 1 child get homeschooled or do something else?!" Then my daughter started reacting to peanuts. Then I had a son with multiple food intolerences and allergies. Suddenly, I understood a little better. My kids had no food airborne allergies that appeared to be life-threatening, so I was grateful and considered myself fortunate. Sometimes we have to go through something ourselves to truly understand better.

Mostly, I came to realize that it is a small sacrifice to pay to use food substitutes if it even MIGHT save a child from being sick or dying. I've heard several cases of people going into anaphylactic shock from exposure to a certain food (usually peanuts &/or tree nuts). These people might not have made the news. That is because they were saved before they died. Do we need to wait until another person dies to change our ways? Is giving up peanuts 8 hours a day during the week really that much of a sacrifice?

We have successfully reintroduced peanuts to my DD, so I know she can have them, but I don't buy it or give to her. Peanuts carry a lot of mold. Frankly, I've learned that I don't think they are very good for ANYbody!...lol! It smells pretty nasty to me now...almost funny since it was such a staple in my diet at one time. There are so many delicious nut & seed butters we prefer.

So, basically, I just wanted to support you, Jack, in carrying on this torch to bring your school peanut free. While I understand reasoning for being against it, it's just not worth risking it. I know/trust you are not exaggerating. I can bet that the children have a lot more sympathy and understanding than the parents who are fighting it. Our children deserve to feel safe wherever they are. Unfortunately, it can't be everywhere & the children & parents have to work tirelessly to keep child safe in public, but it should be school. That's what public education is all about. If someone has an issue with accommodating all types of needs, they should send their child to private school (talking to you "Anonymous")...this is what I almost did...of course, you will probably find there that those people have changed their attitudes too. Give it up "Anonymous," please. Hoping you never have to truly understand what it's like even if it would be enlightening. Good luck!

Michele

Jenn D. said...

My kids have no allergies. We go to a school that has some nut allergic kids, some classrooms are designated "nut free" though not the entire school and not in my kids' classrooms. Even still, I refrain from providing my children with any type of nut products in their lunches. I just feel that as a community, we ALL have a responsibility to protect our children. Not just the parents of that child, not just the teachers and volunteers at the school. All parents have a duty to protect all children. That's what makes us a community. That's what makes us neighbors. It doesn't matter what the threat is . . . child predator, wreckless drivers, drug dealers, deadly allergens . . . I am looking out for the kids in my community as much as I would look out for my own.

My kids can eat peanut butter anything in the comfort of our home. And that's good enough for us. I understand picky eaters because I have one, but this issue isn't about food or freedom, it's about safety. It's really THAT simple.

Sonya said...

We have no peanut allergies in my family. When my eldest started at a small private school, there was dismay among the other K parents that the school was going nut free. Some kids existed solely on pb & fluff sandwhiches. It was an inconvenience for those families to figure out what to pack for lunch, but one they happily complied with once they realized a simple inconvenience for them was a life or death matter for a child.

My youngest has always been at public schools with nut free classrooms and nut free tables in the cafeteria. She has chosen, since the first day of K, to be nut free at school so she can safely play with everyone. When there is only one or two children at the nut free table, she will go there to keep them company.

We rely on nut butters and almond milk a lot at home due to other food intolerances, but it's a simple matter to find different foods for snacks & lunches at school.

Jack, I truly hope that your community will rally and support your child in creating a safe place for her. I do have to admit that the idea of a peanut safe table, strictly monitored, might be a viable solution for those that insist pb is more valuable than another's life (what a mind-boggling attitude!)

Inanna said...

Looks to me like "anon" gets off on playing devil's advocate. Some people just can't resist temptation I guess.

Would it be a mild inconvenience for my child to forgo peanut butter in school? Yeah, it would. They love the dang stuff, as do I, although our entire world would probably be better off without it, and lots of other processed crap.

Would I have a fit because an entire school went "peanut-free" simply because my kid couldn't eat a PBJ? Uh, no. Let them eat PB at home if they want it. I'd much rather potentially save the life of one child than make the lives of 1000 others "more convenient."

And peanut butter is just a convenience. It's the ULTIMATE lazy-ass convenience food. Believe me, I'm a mom of four and I've take the lazy-ass way out before lots of times. Peanut butter is lazy. Make a pita wrap. Actually cook something for your kid to take to lunch.

Heck, I think EVERY school should go peanut free. Maybe some lazy-ass parents would start actually caring about what their children are ingesting every day and the whole WORLD would be a better place! :PP

Claire Glenn-Atteberry said...

The idea that some parents would rather insist on "freedom to eat peanut butter" is more important than "the right to not be in a life threatening environment" is truly mind boggling.

I have no food allergies, save avocado, in my household, we have plenty of people in our lives with peanut and tree nut allergies. I would be loathe to lose any of these people simply because I could not get rid of a jar of peanut butter.

Have I ever been inconvenienced by other's allergies? I wouldn't call it an "inconvenience". I would call it an education. My daughters have both had girls with allergies on their softball teams over the years. It's not been a big deal to snack these kids with fruit and waters - or to make something healthy for them. In reading labels, I find that the "shared equipment" issue is HUGE. I've even gone as far as to store peanut butter in my travel trailer and voraciously wipe everything, including my pantry shelves, when kids with nut allergies are coming. I like having them here MORE than I care about having the nut butters on the other end of the property, in my trailer.

In the end, it really is about being able to look outside ourselves and our tiny, little realities. It's about consideration and manners and empathy and selflessness. As many before me have commented - Has anyone asked the kids if THEY are willing to give up peanut butter to give all the other kids with peanut allergies the safety they need?

In closing, how interesting is it that the kids would willingly give up peanut butter, but it's the parents - who should be providing the example of how to be - seem to be the ones really causing the lion's share of the problem. That is the saddest part of all.

jack said...

to the "anonymous" who wrote the following:
"I hope you do not sink to others level and start making up things about others and doing things that you may regret in the future be a better person., If you have all ready done this make up with people and ask for forgiveness
because you seem like a good person and a good role model for your kids continue to be one and set a good example.. Don't do things you may regret in the future or your kids may be ashamed of if they ever find out that is all I am saying. Good luck in your future endevors."

i have no idea what you're talking about here. i have been absolutely, completely professional throughout this entire process. i view myself as somewhat of a reluctant educator on the subject of food allergies - both via my lactation work and in my allergy cookie marketing endeavors. i am trying not to take any of this personally- i think this is a case of a total lack of understanding or experience on the part of a cpl of disgruntled parents.

any attempt to make this personal or to retaliate on a personal level has NOT been made nor instigated by me, i give you my word.

if you continue to have concerns in this regard, i invite you to please email me and clarify what those concerns are, b/c i honestly have no clue what you could be referring to.

Anonymous said...

This should be so simple.... A Child's health & well being vs. peanuts. A no brainer to me, as a community we should do everything possible to keep ALL of our children safe.

Darla said...

Hello! I am not sure how some people can be heartless, but I have heard it all, and witnessed it all. The fact that you child is in danger because of something that cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled, is a reason to ban peanuts from the school. You are a citizen of your community as much as the mom screaming from the top of her lungs at a football game. Just because you do not participate in tons of activities, given you do have 5 children, does not make your concern less of a concern!

Your school board should be thinking about the well being of your child,the other children who can possibly walk through those school doors with a similar allergy.

In reply to this Anonymous person, you are going off the edge with the whole sport incidents, etc. Her child did not choose this allergy, her child did not choose the rules of the school board, and their family has the right to be protected as any other family does.

Your school board should be concerned about what can happen if they do not put a ban on peanuts or nuts in general. Can we say law suit, negative media presence, etc...

My thoughts are with you as you battle this!

Sincerely,

The woman whose mom had to call manufacturer's to make sure peanuts were not present!

Darla

Jana said...

I don't care to address any of the horribly negative, heartless and callous responses on here. I can only hope those who are so critical never have to deal with a life-threatening condition in their own families. Those afflicted would probably get bumped to the curb rather than getting any assistance or care from these cads. I've got two kids with special needs of various forms and I just want you to know that you have the support and care of many, far and wide. Do not give up, do not give in and continue to fight for all that you know you must to keep your child safe. If the school continues to resist your child's needs, don't hesitate to get an educational advocate and push for private placement at district expense. They have a legal obligation to provide appropriate and safe placement for your child, regardless of what these ignorant commentors think. Best of luck to you and your family.

Vicki said...

My family has no food allergies of any sort. My son attends school with a number of children who have nut allergies. None are life threatening, therefore they have nut free classrooms and nut free lunch tables. Snacks must be left outside the classroom. Every child must wash hands when they enter the classroom. In his school, most tables are nut free, and it is the children who bring nut products who are basically isolated from the rest. Most children prefer to just leave the nut products at home, and sit wth who they choose at lunch and snack rather than have to sit at a designated table themselves. Our school is considering going nut free because the majority of the population prefers being nut free over the various means used to isolate those with nut products from those without.

My husband is a middle school principal. His school is nut and latex free.

I don't understand the problem people have with nut free. Why would you even argue about putting a child at risk? I could see, maybe, if someone was saying your child could never eat peanut better or nut products anywhere. But only during school hours? There are a number of foods that we sometimes enjoy that I won't allow my children at school: coffee, soda, and candy being a few. They may have all those things sometimes, but never at school. Now my son never has nut products at school. Oh well. If he wants a peanut butter sandwich when he gets home, at least he can have one. Kids with nut allergies can never, ever have nut products. I consider us lucky to not have to restrict our diet that much!

Venetia said...

Such a simple request: "Please do not pack your child a snack or lunch for school that contains peanuts or peanut products." Why the opposition? My answer is a yes! My children do not have peanut allergies and we will brave the peanut free world for the safety of another child. Shame on those who would'nt. By the way, I know Jackie as a wonderful, professional, skilled, and completely likable lactation consultant. Obviously, there are people posting to this blog who are not aware of her absolute devotion to the welfare of children - and not just her own.

Kathryn said...

I do know know where to begin.... I am astounded that a parent would prioritize their child's snack food over the wellbeing and life of another child. It is such a myopic and selfish position that I can only assume it is based in fear and ignorance. I hope that "anonymous" never meets such critical and hostile opposition when s/he goes to their community and expresses a need.

A school is a community. When one child has an anaphylactic reaction to trace amounts of a food, it cannot be safe for that child unless the community participates in creating and maintaining the safety of that environment. Excluding the child, might be more convenient, but is really a detriment to the whole community... we all need some compassion and support at some point in our lives. How we choose to treat people at the moment of need indicates something much broader than just whether a kid can bring a pb&j. We are teaching our kids to be global citizens and we can teach a lesson of exclusion and ridicule or a lesson of reasonable accommodation and support.

What does it say to children if we tell them that the convenience of their snack is a priority over the basic welfare of one of their fellow humans?

No parent asks a school to go peanut free lightly and no school accommodates without clear and documented anaphylaxis. At the point that the school agrees to pursue a peanut free status, the question of the severity or existence of the allergy is a settled point. Argument to the contrary is simply to distract from the real issue: are we compassionate enough to protect a child that is not our own at the expense of a small token of our convenience? The answer for my family is a resounding yes.

Angel said...

as a mama of a disabled 13 year old..living in a town that treats disabled children like they have the plague.. I would with no questions ever asked.. have no issue going peanut free in my own home if one of my kids has a severe allergy.. people should be more considerate.. this shouldnt even be an arguement.. you have folks behind you jack.. keep fighting.. I am here if you ever need anything.. wish I could make your childs world peanut free :)

Unknown said...

It is hard for me to imagine, putting FOOD above a child's life and think that they are "christian." It actually saddens me a great deal. It's food! Any child with a life threatening allergy, should be accommodated as best as possible. If your child is disabled in any way, our tax dollars pay for special teachers, equipment, bus rides, etc. So, why is it such a big deal to teach your children TRUE compassion? To sacrifice for another. After all, it's peanut butter!

Nicole said...

Hi there,
I just read, with tears in my eyes, your Open Letter About Our School Going Peanut Free. My son is 5 and is going into kindergarten....I've been pushing our district on this, trying to make them peanut-safe....I'm so weary from fighting that I find myself struggling to give you the long and lengthy details...I'm sure you know them firsthand. I just wanted to say thank you for posting that letter. I am thinking of reading it aloud at our Parent Night at my son's school in an effort to reach out and explain the plight we live with, and to help establish some social responsibility, empathy, and understanding amongst the parent and teacher community. Our school has agreed to make his classroom peanut free and his classmates' lunches peanut free. A big step in the right direction, although still seriously flawed as a model for safety with the rest of the school eating it. After speaking with my son's teacher via phone tonight about his allergy, I am as discouraged as ever. She stated (completely unsolicited) that she disagrees with this policy, and that we are discriminating against the other children who can now not bring peanut butter to school. It's funny, no matter how many times I hear people say that, it just still makes my jaw hit my feet. The fact that it's the teacher who will be caring for him actually makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Anyway, I could go on and on...Again, I thank you for your words of wisdom at a particularly low point for me in our battle to keep our son and other children with peanut allergies safe at school.
It's always good to hear about success stories in getting schools to act responsibly about this issue. WELL DONE, my fellow food allergy Mom. Well done. We're fighting the good fight here, too. Wish me luck.

Kelley Holloway said...

First off - kudos to you Jack! You are one tough cookie and I am glad you are on my side. Since I can only assume that I am the mother of the family you discussed with the egg and nut allergies, I thank you for your past and present support!

When I finally had a diagnosis for what my poor son was suffering from, I was so overwhelmed. Happy to finally have a starting point to try to get our life in some order. Fear for what I did not know. Terror that my child could die from something as innocent as an egg or a nut.

I have prided myself in my efforts to be a "good" mom.

I am sure like most others, I made sure that my child slept in the correct position to prevent SIDS. I made sure to use a crib that was safe. I had my children in rear-facing car seats until they were big enough to sit forward. I then made sure that they stayed in those seats until they were big enough for a booster seat. They were never allowed to cross the street by themselves until after age 8. Helmets while riding bikes, etc and on and on. We have all done it. We have all done what is right. We have all cared so deeply for these little souls that we love more than anything in life. So why now would we stop?

For those of you struggling to understand food allergies and the need for community support, I ask you:

If you knew your child was leaving for war in the morning, how would you feel? I am sure I know the answer. I am sure that you are rolling your eyes and wondering how I could possible compare a child with food allergies to a child off to war. Quite simply. I know there are foods that will absolutely kill my child. This is my family's war. My child cannot go anywhere without me thinking about him dying. Do you ever have to cope with that burden? Do you worry your child will stop breathing in a school bathroom and no one will know? Do you worry that your child will have a secret first kiss after school and die? If you don't - please, please pretend for a moment that you do. Pretend it is your baby. Sit and quietly imagine your child gasping for breath. Now, I ask you. Do you still want that F***ing Peanut Butter or Egg Salad Sandwich?

ecowahm said...

I posted this on my profile and just had to repeat what a friend of mine said-- and I'm pretty sure him or his kid don't have allergies--
"I'm pretty sure I've read the Bill of Rights and I don't remember it saying that everyone has the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of the perfect PB&J sandwich..."

Atlantic Car Seat Safety said...

It can happen so easily too. My sister and niece have the allergy and our home is nut-free, but this week we had a flood and were staying at a hotel. My husband decided to have a banana nut muffin because we were not at home and then my niece came to go for a swim.

I saw something by her blanket that looked like dirt and it was a piece of a nut! I couldn't believe it at first. She is 3 and sucks this blanket still. It can happen that fast folks - that fast! Nut free is the only way to go. Convenience food is no longer convenient if it could kill children.

jack said...

thanks everyone for the support and for sharing your experiences. i hope that it will help to depersonalize some of this for ppl who might have a hard time understanding that this is a growing issue all over our nation and not just a personal inconvenience aimed at them.

kelley, yes - it was you i wrote about. your family's struggles w/ food allergies are what keeps me humble and reminds me that once upon a time i also didn't know what i didn't know. then it happened to me. and my child. and now i know! and i respect you even more and am even gladder that i chose to open my mind and heart to learn and do whatever it took to help keep your child safe. i can't imagine looking back on our kids being in kindergarten and r/ming that i fought against your son having the right to be as safe in school as my sons were.

Atlantic Car Seat Safety, thanks for your reminder about how easily slipups can and do happen. it illustrates perfectly for me how i feel when opponents of nut free zones say,
"but it will give a false sense of security!"
there is NEVER a false sense of security when you have a child w/ life-threatening food allergies. never.

Jen said...

You have completely described my worst fears. I'm the mother of a six year old with no food allergies (He is lactose intolerant. If only we knew then what we know today, I'd have laughed at that diagnosis!) and a twenty month old that's allergic to peanut, milk (cow), egg, and soy. I'm terrified of my younger son starting school.

I wish you and your family the best, it obviously has been extremely rough and I'm willing to bet judging by the comments here that it's not going to get any easier for you anytime soon.

I really liked the comment above about the Bill of Rights and the pursuit of the perfect PB&J!

Liz said...

You go, girl! I have a daughter with a level 6 egg allergy. Reading your post is like reading my mind. I don't understand why people react so strangely. It seems so obvious.

School doesn't start until next week, and I'm already hearing rumblings...I wrote this today.

http://secretsofmoms.com/2011/08/26/life-threatening-anaphylactic-food-allergies-at-school-unnecessary-drama/

I'd LOVE your input!!

Liz

Missy Ashley said...

Dear Jackie: I posted your blog on a few of the fantastic allergy sites in FB! There are advocate/expert sites, allergy mom sites, and sites that share information about their children going through desensitization treatment! I have read many blogs and sites, and LOVED yours. Ladies are asking if you have a FB page! Please join us and weigh in if you would like. I believe the ladies will definitely do the same on your site. I know we can learn from each other and support in a "knowing" manner! My son will start treatment in Dallas, TX in the near future. And others I know have already completed treatment on the East coast. We talk about everything and anything ;). Friend me at Missy Herrin Ashley and I will point out some fantastic sites...you may already know about...but all I see is that you are on MySpace...is that correct? My 3 1/2 yr old twin son has a severe peanut allergy. Yes, it changed our life overnight. Come check us out, I know you will be very pleased with even more support; many knowledgable families. (((())))

jack said...

missy,
thank you for the info & support! my daughter is a rare case of a child who "outgrew" the peanut allergy by 4, went on the protocol of consuming small amounts weekly to stay immune to it and then became immediately resensitized to a much higher degree, so i have been told by all the top experts in our state that she is absolutely not a candidate for any form of desensitization therapy. you have no idea what i would give to be able to try this therapy and have it work for her! i would love to connect w/ you and hear how it goes for your family - and learn more about it in general. you don't mention your blog or website, feel free to email it to me @ mumma2wldthings@mac.com.

jack said...

liz,

i read your blog entry and could relate to it completely. also love the name of your blogsite - very enticing!

i am just curious as to why you aren't doing a 504 plan with the district for your child, if her anaphylaxis is sensitive enough to have been triggered by eating near other children consuming her allergens. she is federally protected by law to eat in an environment free of things that can kill her. are you aware of the process and how to begin it? there is a great page on FB w/ lots of info you should check into.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/504-Plan-Severe-Allergies-and-Anaphylaxis/197650320295315

let your daughter's dr. and the school district handle it and leave the drama behind. ppl who don't have to live with it and have never seen it are just not ever going to understand. you can't compromise your child's health or life because of that.

as for the peanut free table, that is a pretty widespread practice. my understanding is that if a parent requests this for their child, the school may do it, but if the school offers it as the only option and a parent doesn't want it, it is discriminatory, at least under michigan educational law. but usually the rule is that ONLY children willing to eliminate the allergens that can harm other kids can sit there. in our schools, the classmates take turns sitting there so the allergic child(ren) are never sitting there alone.

in a case that sounds as severe as your child's, though - i wonder why your dr. has not recommended an egg free school or at least classroom (if she can eat there) to your school district. then the district does what it has to, to keep your child safe and it's really out of your hands.

the way i look at it, my dr. told us we had a duty to inform our school of our daughter's medical condition through the 504/disability office. we did so. the district then reviewed, examined and even asked for more evidence about her condition and then handed down their decision on how to accommodate it. we actually got very little sayso in the matter. the dr.s and the school district followed the letter of the law and the medical facts and came to the logical and safest plan.

a few families took it personally for some strange reason, but it was never personal. we did what any responsible parent would do - the same thing i know they would do in our place. beyond that, you just have to walk away from the drama. b/c it's always going to be there.

esp in this economy, i think ppl are already feeling like so many things are being taken away from us and then to add restrictions on a beloved food - well, you're just going to be a villain to some ppl. don't take it personally and document very carefully any backlash that starts to get too personal against you.

so many ppl turn their views around completely when they get a chance to openly talk and hear about why this is needed, i love that you're blogging about it and trying to educate and share info about it - and that you've managed to keep your child safe by working with the teacher and other parents so far - but if you need to take the next step, don't hesitate. your child is counting on you to keep her safe and those parents don't know it, but the guilt they would live with if they caused the death of your child is something you are sparing them from.

good luck to you & continued best wishes for your daughter's safety & health!

PAMOM said...

Just for the record while my quotes are being taken out of context I would like to clarify something. I was not suggesting that schools will never really be peanut free so why ban peanuts in the first place. I was trying to point out that we have to worry about this no matter what. All we are asking is to take one of the most obvious and dangerous factors out of the equation by not allowing peanut butter in the school. There are still risks of cross contamination in everything from the cereal they serve for breakfast to the gravy on the turkey for lunch but atleast my daughter wouldn't accidentally touch pb that was on another childs hand and got on her desk. I know all of you reasonable people out there understood, just had to get that off my chest!

Louise Larsen said...

Hey, "Green and Bitchy," I am your newest and biggest fan!

You go, Girl!

Louise Larsen

http://www.facebook.com/groups/8416897875/

GotEpi said...

June 28TH "Anonymous" gave Allergic Living magazine credit for a quote on grass and pollen allergies. Here is the link to the article: http://allergicliving.com/index.php/2010/07/02/outdoor-allergy-grass-allergy-attack/

You will notice that nowhere in the section titled How to Cope, was there a suggestion to ban grass. There was mention of allergy shots because this is sometimes an option for grass and pollen-not so for peanut allergies.

The article ends with this quote from Dr. Harold Kim, an allergist based in Kitchener, Ontario and an assistant professor in the department of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University.

“They should play sports. They should do any activities they want,” says Kim. “They should see their physician to be treated, if they’re having difficulty with [grass allergy]. With some very simple, safe medications, the majority of people can lead a very normal life.”

Anonymous said...

LOVE your blog. Ihave a child with a severe PA as well. Our school serves PB&J and will not remove it from the menu. I am amazed how many people find it inconvenient, just as you describe. thank you for sharing your experiences and enabling all of us who are affected by life-threatening food allergies to see that we are not alone.

Nerd Mom said...

I have 5 children between the ages of 14 and not quite 2. Two of them have food allergies, both are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

While I have never asked for a school-wide peanut ban, I can understand the appeal of one.

No one is going to die if they don't get a peanut butter sandwich for 7 hours. Some of us have kids that can have a serious allergic reaction to a smudge of peanut butter left on a door handle.

In my 10 years of sending a food allergic kid to school, I've found that the kids are generally more compassionate and considerate to their food allergic peers than their parents are. It's the parents that get nasty and indignant about it.

My oldest food allergic kiddo is a freshman in high school now, and he's pretty good at self-managing his allergies. Most of that I attribute to his own caution and good sense than any accommodations the schools made for him.

His younger sister is less cautious about her supposedly less severe allergies. She's the one I worry about.

Anonymous said...

Green and Bitchy
After reading your blog I am wondering why you ate peanut butter while nursing?? The AMA clearly states that you shouldn't eat PB while nursing and you, as an educated woman, should know that too....
So do you feel guilty for doing this to your child?

jack said...

the AMA clearly does NOT state that. it states that you may not want to eat pb while nursing *if you have a family history of food allergies*, which neither my husband nor i did. you absolutely can not MAKE someone be allergic to something by exposing them to it - they either have a genetic predisposition for it or they don't. exposing a baby or child to peanut proteins in breast milk *who was already going to be allergic* simply sensitizes them earlier and ensures reactions at a younger age.

which can be more dangerous b/c they are less able to communicate what is happening to them. so do i feel guilty about that part of it? sure. but i also feel guilty that my other son has seizures and my oldest got my frizzy hair. all mothers have guilt. it's what you do with it that makes you the kind of mother you are. i use my guilt to help raise awareness and help other mothers learn how to live with food allergies. what do you do with yours? assuming you have any for getting online and bashing other mothers anonymously, that is.

below are some excerpts on studies for you on the actual correct & up-to-date recommendations on breastfeeding and peanut consumption. i sure hope you're not in any branch of the medical profession :::wink::: with that misinformation and propensity to blame a mother for her child's medical condition you seem to have.

jack said...

from kellymom.org:
Is it safe to eat peanuts and peanut butter while nursing?

Current research indicates that avoiding peanuts during pregnancy or breastfeeding doesnot help to prevent peanut allergies in your child.

Until recently, allergists recommended that children not get peanuts or peanut products until at least 36 months old, but recent studies tell us that this delay does not help to prevent peanut allergies..

More information:

Peanut allergies, children and pregnancy from the March of Dimes

Greer FR, Sicherer SH, Burks AW; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology. Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas. Pediatrics. 2008 Jan;121(1):183-91.

Thompson RL, Miles LM, Lunn J, Devereux G, Dearman RJ, Strid J, Buttriss JL. Peanut sensitisation and allergy: influence of early life exposure to peanuts. Br J Nutr. 2010 May;103(9):1278-86. Epub 2010 Jan 26.

AMA recommendations:

Nursing mothers who have a family history of peanut allergies may want to consider avoiding peanuts and foods that contain them while they are breastfeeding.

New research has shown that peanut allergens, which can cause severe and life threatening allergic reactions in some people, can be passed through a mother's milk to her baby. It is believed that many children who develop peanut allergies had prior exposure to peanuts earlier in life that went unrecognized. That initial exposure, which some researchers now say could have been through their mother's breastmilk, may have led them to be sensitized, leading to an allergic reaction later in childhood.

Dr. Peter Vadas of St. Michael's Hospital at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada and his colleagues wanted to determine if peanut allergens could pass from a mother's diet to her breastmilk and ultimately to her baby. The researchers studied 23 healthy, lactating women aged 21 to 35. The women each ate 50 grams of dry roasted peanuts, then researchers tested their breastmilk at hourly intervals for peanut protein and the two major peanut allergens. Peanut protein and the allergens were detected in 11 of the 23 women.

The researchers published their findings in the April 4, 2001 edition of "The Journal of the American Medical Association." It is important to note that the study was funded in part by the Peanut Foundation, a nonprofit industry group, and Nestle Canada, a maker of infant formula.

"We found that peanut protein is capable of passing intact from a nursing mother's diet into her breastmilk," Dr. Vadas told CBS HealthWatch. "That constitutes a potential route of unrecognized exposure of the breastfeeding infants to peanut protein and allergic sensitization to peanuts in the infants."

While not all children exposed to peanuts will develop an allergy, the researchers recommend that nursing mothers who have a family history of peanut allergies avoid peanuts while they are breastfeeding.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am truly horrified at some of the comments from people. They are obviously selfish, uneducated and unable to be educated people who do not value the gift of children or life. My godson has severe anaphylaxis to peanuts and other tree nuts and for that reason we have made our home a safe haven for him. Although my children are not allergic to peanuts we have banned all peanut products from our home to do everything in our power to keep him from harm. At least my best friend knows that there is someone who can babysit, some parties he can go to, and somewhere they can all relax, safe in the knowledge that our home is as safe as theirs. I fail to understand how anyone could possibly believe that their "rights to consume peanut butter" should be considered over and above the life of another.

Juli said...

Hello, one of your blogging friends referred me to your blog. I am the mother of a six-year-old who is allergic to peanuts, milk, and egg. I am so sorry you've had this struggle with your school and your community. We've had a similar experience with our child's school. In our case, the relationship with the school has broken down, and we no longer feel comfortable sending our child to that school. xoxo

jack said...

juli,
i'm so sorry to hear about this - this must be devastating. i need to post an updated article on my experience, because it has gone really well. the comments here are not at all indicative of the way the school or my community has handled this situation. most of the 'anonymous' comments here are by the same angry father at our school - trying to appear to be different posters - and overall, all of the negative gossip, comments and backlash at my school and in our small community were traceable back to the same couple of families constantly (including his) and a few others that got sucked in by them occasionally. everyone else has embraced the change and gone out of their way to educate, support and help everyone else with it. the school district and principal have been stellar in handling the media attention and unhappy parents. i'm very, very satisfied with our experience in asking our school to go peanut free and need to share what worked (and what didn't!) as soon as this blogger contest is over and i can get back to normal posts.
a fb friend posted your blog to my page and i wish i could give you some pointers, but i'm not familiar w/ what options you have there. here, it has to start w/ our child's dr. if the dr. says it is a true disability level allergy, your child is federally protected. we have a federal law called 504 Plan here, which protects all disabled children in schools and guarantees them accommodations, including anaphylactic allergy children. can you ask your dr. if you have anything like that there and if your child qualifies?
if the schools don't provide protection, what about a protection and advocacy agency for children? you could go somewhere like that and ask for legal aid - often it is given for free in cases of discrimination due to a medical condition. i'd also google or FB for anaphylactic food allergy groups in your area - they are going to know allergy children's rights and be able to advise you.
i wish you the best and email me if you think hearing about what works here might help you. i will follow your blog to stay updated!
~jack

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack, Our school is completely nut free. I have to be honest, I find it hard to feed my kids because nuts are such a big part of our eating. We don't eat large amounts of peanut butter but we can't have any kinds of nuts. They don't even want us to have coconuts which I have read is actually a seed. We try to eat really healthy, whole foods so convience to me is a bag of almonds and an apple. However, we don't even buy granola bars because I am sure they all may have nuts in them.

I feel sorry for your situation and feel sad for you and your kids. Your doing a great job and really doing all you can for them. I wish I could do something to help. I noticed you have been getting into healthier food and wonder if you have done much research into RAW and super foods such as green fruit smoothies. I have been trying to get my kids interested for the last few years. I have a raw kids cook book called Monkey Mikes which is availabe on the internet that has great kids receipes. I think support for the immune system would help with the allergies. When I read all the posts here I could not help but wish I could give you a hug and say "don't even bother responding to the totally negative comments" some people will never get it. I hope you can stay positive, I feel very sure that things will improve for you and your kids if you keep looking for answers. You are not the first parent to go down this road, keep reaching out sooner rather than later someone will come along with a working solution. You sound like a great mom!!!! One Mom to Another....

Elizabeth DiBurro said...

Whoaaaa...As I read your blog I couldn't help but nod in agreement with so many things you said. My four year old son has 9 food allergies, two of which (milk and peanut) are severe. He's had two anaphylactic reactions. I know all too well what it is like. I could really relate to your article.
Then I started reading the comments. I began to feel sick and disgusted. I can't understand why or how people could be so cruel. It's very discouraging that so many narrow minded, heartless people are in the world.
Thank you for posting your story and your feelings regardless of how many ignorant people would attempt to rip you apart. You inspire me to speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in.
Thank you,
Beth

Barbara said...

*All* parents *must* read the open letter at SnackSafely.com entitled: "Why your child can't bring peanut butter to school (and what you can do about it)". It frames the issue in a non-confrontational way and provides a strategy for transitioning children to a peanut butter alternative. Find it here: http://snacksafely.com/2011/11/why-your-child-cant-bring-peanut-butter-to-school/

Food Allergy Bitch said...

My son has had anaphylactic reactions to milk as serious as the one you describe with your daughter. He actually had a reaction at school from cross-contamination at lunch.

Do you advocate removing milk from his school?

jack said...

i'm not sure if this was a rhetorical question or not... but since you took the time to write it, i'll take the time to answer it.

personally, i think milk is terrible for humans and especially children. if it were up to me, there would never be milk in schools in the 1st place. i've never drunk milk myself past toddlerhood and none of my 5 children have ever had a single drop of it - and we're all much healthier for it. i have very strong feelings and opinions about how the dairy industry and our government have perpetrated a huge fraud on our country by pushing milk on our kids and telling us all it's healthy when it's anything but. so if you are asking about my personal feelings on milk in school, i totally would love to see it gone!

in my work with breastfeeding moms and allergy babies/children, milk is the most common allergen i see - and causes the most problems, even in children who are not actually allergic. the problems that clear up when milk is eliminated are mind-boggling. behavior issues, bed wetting, mucous, coughs, eczema, constipation, diarrhea, post-nasal drip, acne... i could go on and on.

however, if you're asking realistically if i'd tell another mother to advocate for the removal of milk from schools for her anaphylactic child - i don't know. i don't know enough about your situation to even hazard a guess, frankly.

the road to asking our school to go totally peanut free (and they have done so as of last september and it's a beautiful thing and i'm so glad i did it - and so are all the other nut allergy families at our school) was not without personal strife to my family and community. some other parents flat out told me they considered starting the process for their nut allergy child, but didn't want to deal w/ the fallout from other angry parents. i totally respect that choice. but it wasn't a choice i felt i had.

what has to be taken into consideration is not only how you & your community feel, but what the medical professionals are telling you. every dr. we took our daughter to said she had to be in a peanut free environment when she was going to be there for so long.

the school even asked us to take her to a dr. of their choosing for a 3rd opinion on the matter. i was hoping myself this dr. might disagree and "let us off the hook" from having to take these extreme measures. however, the dr. of the school's choosing also said unequivocally that she had to attend a peanut free school - and also added the stipulation that her classmates must wash their hands upon starting school for the day.

so you tell me - as a parent, are you going to disregard the recommendations of 3 of the top allergists in your state (and the dr. of the school's choosing was THE head of pediatric allergy/immunology at our children's hospital) and NOT inform the school that she needs a peanut free environment?

and where does that leave you morally and legally if you don't and she has a serious or fatal reaction at school?

what we had to advocate for was made very clear to me, we really didn't have much choice in the matter, nor did the school. once all the dr.s attested to the life-threatening nature of the disability, federal law dictates what must be done.

so, the ultimate answer to your question lies therein. what are your son's dr.s telling you to do? do they think he can be safe around dairy cross-contamination for an entire day? you don't mention how old he is, is he old enough to read labels, ask questions and practice safe cross-contamination measures?

jack said...

my daughter was 5 when i started this process and couldn't read. she had also never been in a school setting of any kind before and wasn't prepared for keeping herself alive w/ the massive potential for peanut residue that a large elementary school poses. i have every reason to assume that she will learn how to do so safely throughout her elementary years and her dr.s won't have to recommend that her jr high or high school take these same measures.

what you also might have working against you is that there aren't as many deaths from dairy allergy in schools as there are with peanuts. also dairy is in so many more things. it would be a lot more difficult to eliminate than peanuts.

most of the families i work with find a compromise on dairy allergy in schools and daycares and practice controlling for cross-contamination in specific eating areas rather than attempting total elimination. dairy is also not an oily, sticky residue like peanuts are, which tends to be easily spread, more concentrated and hangs around longer and therefore is easier to control w/ normal cleaning precautions.

how do you feel about the way your son's school is handling his allergy - esp after he had a reaction? did they have an emergency anaphylaxis plan in place? did they follow it? have they modified it since the reaction? what plan are they following for his allergy - an allergy table, eating in the classroom, etc...?

jack said...

oops, just took a second to peek at your profile. i see that your son is 17 and has "sometimes anaphylactic" reactions to milk. i should have checked your profile before attempting to answer your question, b/c the answer would be much shorter - sorry about that!

my daughter is not sometimes anaphylactic - she has ONLY anaphylactic reactions to peanut contact. she is 6 now and has had 4 anaphylactic reactions. the very 1st one was anaphylactic, the very last one was, as well. 3 were to touching it and then touching her face, 1 was to eating it.

her reaction time has gotten faster w/ every accidental exposure, as well.
she is also 6 and your son is 17. i hope by 17 that i will not have to ask her school to go peanut free. in fact, i have the goal of not having to ask past elementary school.

therefore, no - i would not advise you to advocate for your son's school to remove all dairy - i've never heard of it being done even for peanut allergy at his age and without a history of consistent, frequent and/or progressive anaphylactic reactions.

Sharon W. said...

Awesome post--it's informative and compassionate. Thanks!

Sara said...

I really can't believe these ignorant responses from people about your blog, I am just blown away. If a food allergy is not on the forefront of your brain like a parent with a food allergic child, then you will not understand all of the feelings around the day to day interactions in this world. But, if you are human, have a heart and would not want to be potentially responsible for the death of someone else's child then it should be a no brainer. Inconvenience vs. death...like I said no brainer.

p.s. People who are rude and crude here...you should be ashamed of yourself at the very least. Go get some facts!

Beth said...

Hi my name is Beth and I came across your blog in a google search. I have to say that I was searching for ways to talk to parents about the severity of allergies and get them on board with making changes as my son is entering school in the fall and anticipated responses like the anonymous ones listed here.

i have to say that I cried reading this. Knowing how scary it is to send your child to school in the first place, struggling to give them normalcy, protecting them along the way and then having to deal with Nay sayers....

I see these comments were posted some time ago. I hope this has been resolved and blessings have flooded your home. No one will ever understand what us parents go through until they walk a mile in our shoes, but the thing is that we would never wish for them to have to. Yet they wish danger for our children just by being adverse to change.

In the last year have you learned any tips or tricks on how to communicate with this type of parent? Any help you could give would be great!

jack said...

beth,

sorry it took me so long to respond! i have been out of town and couldn't navigate my blog well from a cell phone.

yes, things have blown over completely since these comments were posted. actually, the majority of them were written by the same person, pretending to be different people - as i discovered with google analytics.

all in all, in a school of around 500 students, there were only a handful of parents that were really upset about this. and one of them who commented negatively here actually came to my home afterward to apologize in person and say that their own child has a medical condition that could threaten their life if medication were withheld and they didn't realize they were basically wishing that on my child until they put themselves in our position and thought of their child! we are now great neighbors and good friends.

when we first were told by our dr. that he would be recommending that the school go peanut free, i felt a huge sense of responsibility mixed with a little guilt and dread. writing the open letter seemed like the right thing to do, to be up front and tell people *why* this was happening and who they could ask about it if they had questions or concerns.

in retrospect, i could have never said a word and just let the school handle it. if you have to go through this, this might be a choice you should carefully consider, too. once they had made 100% sure going totally peanut free was absolutely necessary, the school handled it their way. they sent out letters, they checked lunches, they explained over and over that we have many nut allergic students at our school and this is the safest course of action for *everyone*. had i never written my open letter, nobody need ever have known who really instigated the process.

i don't regret it, however. i saw who our friends are, who cares about the safety of children - and who to watch out for and teach my children to stay away from.

i really don't think i could have done otherwise than write an open letter, many many school families told me that it opened their eyes and their hearts to this issue more than a form letter issuing an edict handed down from our district ever could have. many people were very upset when they got the letter, then heard from someone else about my open letter and were completely sympathetic and on board after reading it.

the few angry families persisted in spreading rumors and complaints amongst the school families, so the principal arranged to host a week long q & a session on our school's facebook page to answer any questions and concerns. the funny thing is, not one single angry parent spoke up there. then an irate parent called a news team about the issue, saying that our school was being ripped apart by controversy over being forced to go peanut free. the news reporter came out to interview people on both sides of the issue, but could not find one single person willing to speak up on camera against the peanut ban at first.

jack said...

finally one mom heard there was going to be publicity and she spoke up on camera, but the entire story was actually very fair and well-balanced and featured our school's volunteer food allergy awareness coordinator to great advantage. it ended up being a very educational interview! i heard that the school parent who spoke against the ban ended up leaving our school.

i think it is a feather in the cap of our district to have a completely peanut-restricted elementary school and am proud to be able to recommend our school to other peanut allergic families in my food allergy groups and forums. many families come to our school from varying distances for this reason now. we also have one of the best allergy dr.s in the state literally right next door and a fire dept with full ems team in our parking lot! there couldn't be a better place for children with severe peanut allergies to go now that we are peanut free and our classrooms have already been peanut AND tree nut free for a few years now.

so i guess my best advice would be decide how much you're ready to take on in dealing with really negative people. if you can be strong and confident and speak well for your child's equal right to safety in school, go for it. i hoped and felt sure that my community was full of more supportive and caring people than not. and i was right.

if you have reason to believe your community may not be -like the one in florida where parents picketed against the peanut allergic girl - then discuss with your school up front how they plan to present the need to go peanut free, if they will protect your identity and how they will present the information to other parents. assemblies are good, but i loved our principal's willingness to do an online forum q & a session to help minimize belligerent antagonism and hostile confrontation. which, it turned out there was none, anyway!

above all else, just keep in mind that other people's reactions are never really about you, or your child, or even the controversy over peanut bans. it's about something going on within themselves. their reaction is a reflection of their own personality, life or mindset. if it comes from a place of honest ignorance, sometimes you can help make a difference and educate them. but sometimes you can't, and you just have to move on and let it go. don't take it personally.

and always look to how the other children respond. that's going to be your true indication of how accepted and cared-for your child will be.
:-) the other kids always get it, it's just unfortunately become part of their world in this generation.

best of luck to you and i'd love to hear an update on how things go for you, if you get a chance!

~jack

jack said...

totally redeeming letter written by a non-food allergy parent:

http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1958

I wrote this letter about a year ago because of an uproar in our community.

I freely give permission for anybody to use this should they need it. If you would like it in word format, email me and I will send it. [Note from Karen: the author is no longer a member of KWFA and I have no way of contacting her, but you can always cut and paste from this post.]

*******************************************

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am writing this letter to you because your school has decided to implement a ban on peanuts, tree nuts, and/or other foods that have been associated with life-threatening allergies, and I know the initial reaction you may have regarding such a ban.

I am the mother of a little girl who started school this year. About two weeks before school started I read in a local newspaper that the school she will be attending has decided to put such a ban into effect.

My first reaction was one of shock, but it quickly turned into complete ANGER! I couldn’t believe that the school would actually do something that drastic because ONE child had an allergy. Since when did the misfortunes of one dictate the rule for the majority? I rallied support together, I wrote to the newspapers, I called television stations, and I put up posters expressing my outrage and encouraging parents who felt the same way to attend the next school board meeting and “let our voices be heard”. I even drafted up petitions to have the members of the school board removed so that a new school board could be elected, one that looked out for the needs of every child instead of just one. After all, nobody was going to tell me that I couldn’t send my picky eater to school with a peanut butter sandwich! Then I went online to get some ammunition.

What I got however, was something completely different. I got an education. I stumbled across a site for people with life-threatening allergies and the parents of children with life-threatening allergies. The first thing I found out was that, although rare, it is a lot more common than I had realized, but being angry I posted my question, "Do you really think that a ban is necessary?" I used all my arguments. If a child is allergic to bees, do you keep all the kids in at recess? If a child is in a wheel chair, do you build a ramp or tear out the stairs? I mean after all, there are other allergies out there, and there is no way to guarantee that the school will be completely free from these foods, so where do you draw the line?

jack said...

At first I wasn’t open at all to hear their reply, I was just venting, but then I really started reading what they had to say, and it was then that I started learning. You see… I put my daughter on the bus for the first time in her life. I was afraid she wouldn’t find her classroom. I was afraid she would forget to raise her hand before she spoke. I was afraid she would get on the wrong bus coming home, but what I wasn’t afraid of was that I would get a call from the school saying that my daughter wouldn’t be coming home; she is being rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of a common, everyday peanut butter sandwich. It was then that I realized what these parents are going though. Some don’t have the luxury of worrying about little things.

These parents aren’t trying to take anything away from our kids; they are trying to keep their kids safe. I looked back at my initial reaction so I could figure out what had made me so mad, and when I was completely honest with myself, I found the answer. I was mad because I was going to be inconvenienced. I was willing to put a child’s life in danger so my daughter could eat a sandwich, and what did that say about me? I mean, if I saw a dog attacking any child wouldn’t I do whatever I could to protect that child? And if that is the case, why am I so opposed to eliminating peanut butter from 5 meals out of the 21 she will have in the course of a week?

The fact of the matter is you don’t keep all the kids in at recess, but you don’t put a child with a bee sting allergy in a lunchroom full of bees either.

The fact is EVERY child is entitled to a “free and appropriate public education in a least restrictive environment”, translated that means the school has a legal responsibility to provide a safe learning environment for ALL children, and where do you draw the line? You draw the line when the unique needs of the community served by the school have been met.

It’s not easy to put your child in the hands of strangers when you know that many of them may have just eaten, or are bringing to lunch, the same thing that is poison to your child, and many of these parents would home school if they could, but just like you and I, sometimes that is not an option.

The parents of children with life-threatening allergies don’t expect us all to learn this overnight, and they don’t expect us to shop for our children as if they had this allergy, and while they know that the school will never be completely free from these foods, one less sandwich, or one less snack containing these foods being brought into the schools, will be one less risk to their child’s life.

I am not saying that it hasn’t been a struggle at times, but you have to ask yourselves… Is convenience really more important than life? In my book, that answer is no, so any small inconvenience I have is worth it.

Sincerely,

Lisa Turner

Anonymous said...

Your article brought tears to my eyes. My son is allergic to Peanuts, Tree nuts, and penicillin. His allergies are not as severe as your daughters but I am struggling to find a peanut free school for my son. It is disgusting to see the amount of selfish people who really think you are going overboard and that this is such an INCONVENIENCE for them. Any child who can't go a school day without peanut butter has some issues. They will eat what's in front of them if they are hungry enough. I have read post after post of heartless people commenting on articles about peanut free classrooms. "Why don't you just home school them" was a response that was given often. Our children have a right to a free public school education just like any other child and I wouldn't wish my worst enemy to have a child with a severe food allergy. To think that being able to eat peanut butter at school is more important than another human beings life show just how screwed up this world really is. I hope things are going well with your food allergic children and I will continue to fight to find a peanut free school for my son who will start kindergarden in two years.

Crystal Seibert

MJM,CSI said...

This response goes out to all of the ignorant people out there that think peanut butter is more important than the life of a child, you are a sorry excuse for a human being. I have 3 children two are teens and our youngest just turned 2. That was a birthday she almost never got to see thanks to 4 peanut butter flavored cheerios. I watched my then 1 year old baby girl swell up so bad that under eyes the skin ripped apart leaving open wounds. She just kept swelling and swelling and the skin couldn't take it. She turned blue as she gasped for breathe. I watch my 1 year old daughter fight for her life in the ER as the doctors and nurses worked to keep her with us.We found out Felicity is severely allergic to peanuts, eggs, and tree nuts. I wish people had more compassion, I wish people loved others more and theirselves less...I wish people who say they have religion would truly put that religion to good use and help this world be a better place. Children will not die without pb or snacks that are processed a plants w/ peanuts or nuts. BUT there are children who WILL die if they have it or are around it. Some of these children are young & can't be responsible for their own safty. I hear people say...well what happens when their older and need a job? We're not talking about then people...we're talking about little kids who can't read labels well or just want to share a snack with another kid cause it looks good!!! My family use to eat PB all the time and now we chose to be completely pb/nut free. WE are not a "top shelf family" If my back is turned or I'm in the bathroom and my daughter gets to the top shelf & consumes pb or contaminated snacks then everything I've worked for to keep her self is gone within seconds. Because that's all it takes...seconds and EPI Pens DON'T ALWAYS WORK!!! So it is all BANNED from my house! Some of these comments are so ignorant and you can tell that it comes from a simple minded ignorant person who cares nothing about anyone but their own self. I was always taught to love thy neighbor, to give a helping hand when your fellow man needs it....apparently that doesn't hold true for many anymore. The topic of homeschooling has been brought up. I'm sorry but families who have to work to survive can't afford that option and its discrimination at its best anyways. Shame on you people who think FA kids need to be forced to be homeschooled! If it was your kids...YOU'D want them to be safe, YOU'D want them to be treated as EQUAL. That's why we're BLESSED to be living in AMERICA! Our country was founded on people who wanted a BETTER life, a life of equal oppertunity and tolerance!!! My daughter's life is more precious than a pb sandwich! YOUR child can eat ALL the PB he or she wants at home. Do you really want your child to see another child die at school or your child's sandwich be the cause of a child's death??? How do you think your child would feel then??? It's not rocket science people! The world has obviously changed since back in the day and over 8% of the population has food allergies..WHY??? WE need to stop fighting each other, WE need to work together, WE need to find the reason behind this food allergy epidemic, and WE NEED TO FIND A CURE!!!!

holly kapela said...

I am reading this for the first time and scrolled thru quickly to get to the bottom because I am so sick to my stomach at this persons comments, I mean anonymous. Your comments shows complete stupidity. We are not trying to control what you eat or your child eats, we are trying to keep our children and other children alive. The fact is my child has a severe allergy to peanuts tree nuts and several other food along with asthma and environmental allergies. If i could out him in a bubble i would. I do go to every school function and every school party and the bottom line is that i can not be every where, no one can so when i send my son to school and i say good bye i also pray that nothing happens to him. And every time the phone rings and i see it say the school nurse my heart sinks. I dont think what you get is that going to the grocery store or the movies is not like going to school because when my son is at the store or the movies i am with him but i am not with him twenty four seven at school so i do have to rely on the school to take care of him just like you rely on the school to take care of your child. Saying stuff like you want to go out and by a reese cup can you can is probably the sickest thing i have ever heard, read, someone say. It makes me cry to think that there are people out there like you, people who just dont give a shit about anyone else except themselves. We are not trying to make your life difficult, you are choosing to make it difficult for yourself. If you want difficult then try to live like an allergy mom. Reading every label, wiping down furniture, praying they will be safe. It comes down to this, we want our kids to be safe, just like you want your kids to be safe. Can people die on the playground, yes, can people be allergic to grass, yes, my son being one of them, do i want to ban outside, no, but do i want to ban food that can kill him, yes, yes i do and i will do everything in my power to make his schools become peanut free because it is idiots like you that make me and my son feel ever more unsafe. Even if the schools were peanut free you would be the type of person that would pack peanut butter just to make your stupid point. We are not telling you to never eat peanuts again, we just want to breath a little easier when our kids go to school. I know my son can get hit by a car and die tomorrow and i can not control that but i can try and control what comes into his school, just like the schools can say no guns cause they kill, well, no peanuts, cause they can kill. You dont get it cause you dont have to deal with it and you are too stubborn and lazy to take the time to even understand what our children our going thru. I never had to deal with this stuff until it came up with my son and my job as his mother is to be his teacher and advocate and to fight for him, and I intend to fit for him until the day i die. Do you think i enjoy worrying everyday? Do you think it is fun spending seven dollars on a jar or peanutbutter substitiue so he can have protein or five bucks for his kind of pasta when pasta is like a buck at walmart, or seven bucks for his bread that if you dont freeze molds in three days after opening. Do you think i want to do that, no, I dont, but you know what, I do it, I do it cause i love him and that is what he needs. I have not eaten peanuts or treenuts in over seven yrs now and i miss them sure, but i think i would miss my son more than i miss a chocolate covered almond or chocolate covered peanut. We are talking about kids lives here. I dont want your child to get hurt and if there was something that your child needed from the school and parents to keep your child safe i would think you would do everything you could for your child. But from what you have said, i am guessing that if your child was allergic to peanuts you would still have peanut products in your house and probably still sit on your fat ass and eat your reese cups. Im sure your child has even bullied children with peanut butter, did you know that happens too

Anonymous said...

I had no idea of the severity of peanut allergies until I started dating a woman who's son is very high on the scale. I believe he is in the top 1%. I have since modified my diet to exclude peanut butter, etc. This has been an easy transition and not an "inconvenience" at all! Sun butter and the other products I am now eating taste great and are probably better for me.

I see firsthand how much WORK and emotional strain it is. I have seen the fear in her face when her son has a reaction. The countless visits to the ER. This is the real deal.

We live in a civil society where we build ramps to help those in wheelchairs, we have audible signals at crosswalks for the blind, etc. Why can't we make places nut free?

I don't know of too many places that allow smoking anymore. Why? Because it is harmful to our health and it kills. Peanuts also kill!

To those who don't want to be inconvenienced....maybe it is to much trouble and inconvenient for me to lock up my guns...do you want your children playing at my house? Wake up people!!!

BrightNights said...

You are being bitchy and infringing on my daughters rights. Lets see, she's borderline autistic (diet almost allows her to function normal), she can not have dairy and she can't have gluten. She lives, absolutely lives on nuts. Starve the child until she eats something else, really? My daughter already has a weight issue and limiting her diet even more wont cause her to eat, but will land her in the hospital for IV nutrition (that destroy her kidneys and liver) and put her back on her nut and vegetable diet.

What gluten does to her is horrible. I haven't asked the school to go gluten free, but maybe I should. You see her breads have nuts in them, her diary is almomd milk (rice and hemp didnt work out) and she can't handle coconut.

So your infringing on my daughters rights to nutrition. But that's okay. Because she will always be covered in nut reside. She eats it on the way to and from school. If I have to, I will check her out to feed her during lunch.

jack said...

i know how you feel. i have 5 children and one of them is allergic to everything (entire top 8 food allergens plus corn, lentils and most beans) . there are about 24 foods in the whole world he can eat. he also has a growth disorder and is failure to thrive and is supposed to get 2100 calories a day. nuts are a wonderful source of fat and protein. almonds are especially good for him. i could bring almonds to school for his lunches, but i know we have several tree nut allergy students and i would never put them at risk like that. (tree nuts are still allowed in our lunchroom).

i'd rather research a little and encourage him to try new things and learn to make foods he can have and enjoy than put someone else at risk b/c i can't be bothered- but that's just me, i guess.

as to the intentional cross contamination you allude to, thanks for the reminder (as if we needed one!) to all of us allergy parents out there that there is really no such thing as truly peanut free. not only did i go through the peanut restriction process at my school, but i also work in the lunchroom now. additionally, i am the food allergy awareness committee chairperson now.

i know that peanuts still get brought in to school. mostly accidentally, sometimes maybe not. it's still a great way to teach elementary aged peanut allergy kids how to navigate the world in a safer environment than if the school were *not* peanut restricted. we allergy parents still teach our kids not to share food or let their friends kiss them or share chapsticks or anything. we all know the danger of ppl like you will always be there - so thanks for helping us to keep our kids safe and aware.

ps - most schools w/ kids and plans like ours also require that the kids wash their hands at the beginning of the day and after lunch, just in case you ever actually worry about the harmful intent you expressed toward innocent children.

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