Say that you just got word that your son’s school is going Nut Free (snicker, snicker) for the year because a new enrollee has nut allergies.

And your own son, with many of his sensory issues still looming large, will only eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, perhaps the most nutritious part of lunch for him.

And you’ve tried all sorts of other alternatives to peanut butter sandwiches last year just to try and get the kid to open up his freaking mind a little–all to no avail. He won’t eat ‘em.

And this school has strict limitations for what OTHER kinds of food can be brought in (no chocolate, no chips, no colored juices, etc), but you don’t know what they are until your child comes home and tells you. AFTER you’ve packed this *forbidden* item in his lunch.

(and no, I never packed him a Mountain Dew or bag of Cheetos or anything. It was a granola bar with teeny chocolate chips in it. Like squint and you’ll miss ‘em sized)

And you’ve put in 2 calls to the school to make damn certain you get a list of SPECIFICALLY which foods are *forbidden* but no one has called you back.

*OH* And the kid with the allergy is likely not even on the side of campus where your child is, let alone in the same classroom.

How would you feel about this? I want your honest opinions. Go anonymous if you have to.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

118 Responses to In *Your* Honest Opinion…

  • deb says:

    There is absolutely NO WAY I would not send my son with the one and only nutritious thing he will eat because one person is allergic. Even if it’s more than one – you should not have to alter your life for the sake of someone else’s allergies. It’s not right. I think they (the school) should make arrangements for the allergic child(ren) that do not inhibit every.other.child in the school.
    Ask again for the “forbidden” list and even go so far as the superintendent of the schools if need be. But to forbid the kids from eating peanut better – oh HELL NO!
    Ban the kids from carrying knives, cell phones, guns would be great, but they should not be allowed to stop a child from eating a peanut butter sandwich when it is one of the few thigs he will eat.
    Ok, someone help the drunk lady down from her soap box before she falls off.

  • Rachel B. says:

    I would tell them to shove their nuts where the sun don’t shine. Why is the entire school changing to accommodate ONE student? Why is your son being made to suffer for the sake of ONE student? It’s not like Ben will be smearing his sandwich all over the kid (at least, I hope not). Your son has sensory issues and is particular about what he will and will not eat. Why are his needs not being considered in this? I think it is a little short-sighted of the school. It is a slippery slope they are starting down, and before you know it they will only be allowed bread and water sandwiches, and maybe astronaut food that comes in tubes of paste. They should just tell the allergic kid to eat far away from anyone with nuts in their food. Real life is not going to accommodate his nut allergy. Better start preparing him now.

  • Mommy Lisa says:

    Banning food that is actually good for you – and banning small amounts of things like chocolate are INSANE!!! What next, no Jello? Three kids are lactose intollerant so everyone has to drink soy milk, no wait – rice milk because little susie has soy allergies????!!!

    Tell them to go f-themselves!

    Most schools don’t even provide what I call a decent school lunch for kids anyway. If I send my baby with a organic pb and j on bread with whole grains they can s*** it!

  • Badass Geek says:

    I would probably follow suit like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”.

    In other words, go batshit-crazy until I got what I wanted.

  • trish says:

    I would consider switching schools. Seriously. WTF? Is that kid going to ask his employer when he gets a job to tell all the other employees they can’t bring peanut butter or nuts or anything he’s allergic to to work? This is just FUCKED UP.

  • Rachel says:

    That is totally ridiculous. While I feel bad for the kid with nut allergies, his parents need to decide how to avoid him coming into contact with nuts in a nut filled world, including teaching him what he can and can’t eat. Or they should home school him. My couisin’s son has Celiac’s and rather than risk him getting his hands on a cookie or bread, she keeps him at home. Drastic?yes, but more sensitive to the needs of every other kid in the school system than banning bread.

    On a similar (but not really) vein, I work in a fairly large agency, and NONE of us are allowed to wear perfume or scented hand lotion. They have gone so far as to suggest that we use only unscented laundry soaps and hair products as well…to which my clever co-worker pointed out that we tend to buy what’s on SALE, and if they want us to use a certain laundry soap, they should provide it to us!

  • SciFi Dad says:

    I’d send my kid with a pb+j sandwich, a chocolate covered granola bar, and a can of mountain dew AMP (with extra caffeine) and an envelope. Then, when the admin “confiscated” his lunch, I’d have my kid hand them envelope, and inside they would find a $10 bill, and a note telling them to go get my kid something appropriate, and that you’d be doing the same thing every day until a complete “banned” list is sent home with my kid. Bottom line, people don’t so shit until it’s inconvenient for them not to.

  • Maria says:

    LOL. Yikes.

    For me, I feel like it isn’t fair for parents to pass judgment unless they’ve been in the situation where a child with a smidgen of peanut RESIDUE on their fingers could touch a toy, your child could put it in their mouth, and then your child could die. That’s right. Die.

    Genuine food allergies aren’t tummy-ache inducing. Or made up. Or the product of neurotic moms. Food sensitivities? Yeah. Different subject.

    If my son’s preschool were to make genuine arrangements for him to not be around it, it would mean spending at least half an hour in a principle’s office while other kids ate. Then it would mean cleaning each and every other kid’s face and hands thoroughly and disinfecting the tables.

    That sounds more disruptive (to everyone) than not serving peanuts and peanut snacks in the classroom.

    I think it’s reasonable to be pretty damn irked. I’m pretty damn irked I can’t feed my kid anything baked from publix. I’m irked that I have to worry about this and inconvenience other people. I wish I could tell Mr. Peanut to bend over and take it up his peanuty ass.

    But.

    I can’t. I have to live with this and hope people won’t be super A-Holes about me trying to keep my child alive when he’s in the care of others.

  • Maria says:

    PS I know it’s inconvenient but have you tried Sunbutter with your son? I can’t tell the difference but I don’t know how strong his sensory issues are.

  • KT says:

    Well, if no one is responding I’d send him with what you want and put a note in the box telling the teacher to call you. Do it everyday until that teacher calls you.

    As for the PB thing……we’re not allowed to send it. And then they made a room for the kids who did bring in PB and they eat in there. I dunno. Do what you have to do. As for the restrictions..that’s crazy. I’m not allowed to send CANDY, but doritos, juice, a granola bar…these are ok.

  • Ashley says:

    Dude maybe it’s time for the Benner to venture into public school where there will be a whole new list of worries, but no evil supply lists or lunch limitations. THEN you can start sending Red Bull (and vodka) in his lunch…

  • Mrs.Spit says:

    Wow.

    that’s super hard. If munchkin were able to eat other foods, I’d be inclined to use this as an opportunity to teach munchkin that sometimes we forgo things to help others, it’s part of being a community. Sometimes we make sacrafices and don’t do or eat the things they want, because while they don’t harm us, they do harm others. It’s part of how we get along in the community. Communities and families don’t work if everyone inisists on their rights. It’s good for children to learn this lesson early.

    Let me put it in other terms. We had friends show up to our hospital room, 24 hours after our son died, with their toddler and baby in tow.

    Did they have every right to do this? Yep, you bet. They could, and did say “our family wanted to support you”.

    Was it the kindest thing to do? Well, nope.

    Was it “right”? I guess that depends on who you ask.

    Some allergies can be very serious indeed. And young children don’t always take the precautions they should. They are simply too young to know better. And I bet there are parents out their, like the mum above, who are asking all of us to make a pretty small sacrafice to keep their kids alive. Many schools in Canada are peanut free. I was astounded to see PB&J on the menu at Disney.

    The challenge is that your munchkin can only eat PB. So, he needs to eat too. It will be a hardship. Seems to me, you need to talk to the school. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is going to be a good answer. Somewhere, some how, some kid is going to be ostracized a bit, and that’s not fair. And it’s really no one’s fault.

  • Karen says:

    It is BS that the whole school has to change for one kid. If that kid has such horrible peanut allergies he should eat lunch in nurses office or be home schooled or something. The whole world should not be inconvenienced with other accommodations can be made.

    That being said…at my niece’s school, if a kid has anything with nuts in their lunch, they are isolated and forced to eat alone in the office. It is humiliating for the poor kid.

  • Sara says:

    I think this school is NUTS themselves. You need to let the school know (who obviously know about Ben’s issues) that he will ONLY eat peanut butter. If they “have to” accomodate this kid, then the HAVE to accomodate YOUR kid. They can’t discreminate.

  • c. says:

    I’d send him to school with a Nutella sandwich. (Have you heard of it? Google it, if not.) That’s what I would do.

  • c. says:

    Oops. You asked how I would FEEL about it, not what I would DO about it. I think my answer pretty much says how I might feel about it.

  • Stacey says:

    I’d be irritated. I’d be irritated with the lack of response to your questions and to the total school ban. There are ways of adapting besides that, but they require people to oversee them & a lot of schools don’t or won’t use them.

    They have a ‘no nuts’ table or two at my son’s school. You can only sit there if you have no nut products in your lunch and had none for breakfast. Which I think is a reasonable compromise. No one is segregated, allergic people are kept safe & everyone can bring what they want.

    I only learned this after persistent badgering of the office ladies of their nut policy. DS1 loves PB&J and I wanted to make sure he could have it. No one could tell me anything, despite this special table deal being in place for 3 years. I have no idea if other stuff is forbidden but since DS1 took chocolate zucchini muffins yesterday and nothing was said I’m guess it’s ok.

  • Maria says:

    Still pondering.

    You know, if that’s honestly all your son will eat, they NEED to be as accommodating to him as they are being to the other kid(s).

    It’s such a sticky (hur hur…) issue. My son has developmental issues that right now amount to him sort of being a dickhead when he’s overstimulated. Should I keep him out of school? I don’t know. The teachers are fine with it, the school is fine with it, but I wonder if the other parents will always look at me as the parent of the kid with the weird issues that cause various inconveniences to their kids.

    So I’m stuck being doubly annoying to the parents of “normal” children.

    (For the record, once he’s in “regular” school I’m totally okay with my chipmunk eating his lunch alone in the director’s office or something like that. What I’m not okay with is home-schooling him–I guess unless someone wants to pay me a salary for that? Wait. EVEN THEN. Hi. No. He’s gonna figure out he’s different once he’s big enough to understand the whole peanuts=death issue. Everyone is different one way or another and gets ostracized one way or another in life.)

    But back to your situation. I don’t know what grade your son is in but it feels like they should work with him. And actually, federal law dictates such as well. I’m just starting to learn about 504 plans but you could very well have the law on your side as far as coming up with an individual plan for your son to get the nutrition he needs.

    (All this stuff is such a tremendous pain in the rear, right?)

  • Sunnie says:

    Ummmm…There are people that can die from just handling an object that a nut consumer previously handled just from the peanut residue left behind. I understand your dilemma but I wouldn’t want a child to die. Simply banning peanuts/peanut butter is not going to keep the child safe. They will still be in danger from children that eat something peanut related for breakfast and may have some left on hands/face. So, unless they are hosing them down before they enter school they still run the risk of contamination. I’m not sure what the solution is.

  • giggleblue says:

    okay, they don’t bend the rules for kids who don’t drink milk or are vegan or who don’t eat meat. so why are they bending the rules for the peanut allergy kid?

    i mean, is the kid going to steal your suns pb sandwhich and eat it?? while i think it’s appropriate that they may decide not to serve pb as a lunch item, i think it’s crazy that they are forbidding you from bringing it from home with your own lunch! how are they going to tell you what your kid can and can’t eat for school??

    i could see if you were requiring them to serve pb everyday cause that’s the only thing your child will eat. you are already adapting and packing your own. i say screw them. pack what the kid will eat. and if they give you flack, show up at lunch time and tear them a new one!

    is this mom making sure that no one is serving nuts anywhere that she goes to eat? some kid at the mall could have a pb sandwich and touch her kid. she can’t protect him forever. this is horrible! and i’m not looking forward to dealing with such crap when our children go to school. i’ll be tearing a lot of admins a new one.

  • kbreints says:

    Oh I would be pissed!! Schools now a days are rediculous!! No chocolate chips?? No peanut Butter?? Are they Nazi’s??

  • Kyddryn says:

    Bring the little sprite in one day and go have a chat with the principal.

    Explain that your beloved wee one has food aversions and will only eat certain things. It’s not right that he should be forced to go hungry, but you understand the other child could die if a peanut molecule gets loose in the school, so how about a compromise?

    Create a nut-free (snort) zone where no one may sit if they have nut products. Then create a dairy-free zone, because that’ll be next. Then a berry free zone. And an onion free zone. Heck, make one of those circular diagrams for the kids so they can learn something while they try to parse out where to sit for lunch based on what mum packed that day.

    Meanwhile, let them know that until they print and distribute a comprehensive list of what is not permitted in your little darlin’s lunch sack, you will pack lunches that you know your food-averse, sensory-issued lad will eat and they can go whistle, or THEY can deal with the melt-down, weeping, and vomit that accompany an unsatisfactory meal.

    I know it’s important to take allergies into consideration, especially allergies that can kill (and nut allergies are some of the worst, aren’t they?)- but there’s a balance to be struck between concern for the needs of one child and concern for the well being of another. Banning them entirely sounds less like a concern for the child in question and more like fear of legal action. There should be a middle ground between nuts a-plenty and nut-free existence.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • I would be sending the school a copy of this article and joining(forming) a parent committee to help educate everyone that peanuts are not the enemy, and teaching them safe ways for all kids to co-exist.

    Good luck!

  • ScienceMama says:

    Honestly, I would be irritated about the lack of communication from the school over what are forbidden items, but otherwise I would be okay with this.

    Nut allergies (snicker) are pretty extreme. And knowing how much I love my child, I feel pretty strongly about protecting other people’s children too. Especially when it’s a life or death situation. And honestly, every child deserves to have a safe environment to go to school.

    I also feel like it’s reasonable to keep kids from bringing garbage to school. And if it’s “the rules”, you don’t have to have as many food battles with your child.

    And also, honestly, your kid will get over not being able to have peanut butter sandwiches in his lunch. He might go a couple days stubbornly refusing to eat the turkey sandwich you pack, but it won’t kill him and eventually he’ll eat. It’s like when my daughter refused to take a bottle. Of course she’d rather get milk straight from the tit, but when I went back to work she was drinking from a bottle within a couple days.

    I don’t mean to be insensitive, but honestly? Your son will get over not having PB sandwiches. The nut sensitive child? Not going to get over it.

    Sucks, but that’s my two cents. Also, I’ve heard sesame seed butter tastes A LOT like peanut butter, but it’s not allergenic. Might be worth a shot?

  • ScienceMama says:

    Also, not to be a complete bitch, but seriously I can not believe that so many of the comments indicate that they would send their child to school with an allergenic item knowing that it puts a child at risk of DEATH. What kind of parents are these?

    It takes a fucking village people. Start creating a world in which ALL children can grow and thrive. I don’t think it’s fair to say that this child has the option to either A) die or B) not go to school. Every child has a right to live and learn.

  • WD says:

    1. Write a note to the teacher and principal to explain the situation. Demand a follow up phone call. Your son’s school has piss poor communication. That shocks and appalls me. Don’t be afraid to make reasonable demands. In the beginning of the last school year I was informed of a chocolate allergy in my daughter’s class via teacher-parent letter.

    2. Doesn’t the school have a strict policy against sharing food at lunch? It’s enforceable! Duh! You have cafeteria staff for a reason. My daughter’s school has this policy and no one has died as a result. I send PB with her quite a bit.

    3. Wash your hands after lunch. Most schools have the kids use the restroom before recess.

    I can understand food allergies and bringing in nut-free treats for birthdays and parties, but this sounds stupid.

  • Holli says:

    I have to be honest here and tell you I totally understand about the nut thing. Nut allergies can be deadly. I know first hand. Back in my preschool teaching days one of my students had a peanut allergy. It was so severe that he almost died because a child brought in a snack that had been lifted by the same spatula peanut butter cookies had been lifted with. I kid you not. His throat closed up he couldn’t breathe. We had to call the ambulance. Nut allergies can be very severe.

    Now as far as the other thing about chocolate and chips and stuff. I don’t understand why they even think they can tell you this. I think these days schools sometimes forget WE are the parents. If I want to send my kid to school with chocolate chip granola bars I’m going to.

    By the way, I seriously send my kid to school with one of those granola bars, a bag of chips, and a sandwich everyday.

  • Gail says:

    Ok, the evil corporate side of me says – this is a risk management issue for the school. They are a lot more likely to get sued if that kid dies (or even gets sick) than they are if Ben doesn’t eat. So from that perspective, I completely understand it.

    From the parent’s perspective, it makes me kind of insane. I mean, I certainly understand that this kid is at serious risk. But your kid has to eat too. But I don’t know the right answer. Sure, right now it’s one kid with peanut allergies. Next year, it might be two. Or three. At what point does the tipping point occur? And I know that someone pointed out that there is federal law mandating that every student’s needs must be met as everyone is entitled to an education. But I am not sure those rules apply to private schools – I don’t think they have to accomodate.

    I guess I come down on the side of having a long talk with the school and possibly looking for a different one. Although I can’t imagine the transition would be any easier for Ben.

  • Sara says:

    also? peanut butter’s cheap. substitutes/lunch meats/cheese/tuna/whatever not so much.

    i get why the nuts are banned and i get why the school’s have to enforce but i also always thought that this was a temporary solution until they came up with a better solution. i myself don’t have any ideas but it’s also not my job. someone should get on this one. just not me.

    in the meantime- i’d like a nut subsidy. if i can’t send my kid to school with peanut butter, then i’d like to be compensated for the extra expense. i’m not talking lunchables compensation, just some government cheese or something.

  • Holli says:

    I hope you don’t mind I’ve tagged you on my blog.

  • tash says:

    I have this issue too because PB&J is about the only thing Bella will ever finish. I really need to hunt around.

    Her school was allegedly “peanut free” so we did a bunch of other things, and then picked her up one day and espied a kid eating PB, and then another day another kid, and finally I just gave in and did it, and no one said boo. I half wonder if the kid wound up not staying for lunch?

    I guess I get it — they can be serious allergies, especially among young children. And I’m happy to oblige most days, because I know I’d want the same if the situation was reversed. On the other hand, making your airplane peanut free and stuff really starts getting me — at some point people are going to have to go out there in the big bad peanut world and learn to adapt.

    We’re all going to be eating out of intravenous bags in about 30 years, aren’t we. Sigh.

  • g says:

    I would get pissy with the school. I may sound like a total asshole here, but why should the whole school have to worry for one kid? Nuts are very nutritious, peanut butter form or whatnot. If it were my child with the extreme allergy, I would probably make different schooling arrangements.

  • niobe says:

    One Halloween, my kid said he wanted to dress up as something so scary that all the parents would run away screaming in fright.

    I suggested a jar of peanut butter.

  • Jenn says:

    Having a son with a peanut allergy (life threatening) I can see where they are going with it. Basically though, a kid that age should KNOW that they have a peanut allergy and know what to avoid (or to avoid something if they are unsure). I mean, even my 4yo knows to ask if there are peanuts or peanut butter in anything before he eats it!

    At most schools they just have a peanut-free TABLE and I would think that should be enough. I don’t know.

    They do have SunButter which tastes almost exactly like peanut butter (and even smells like it, really). It’s made from sunflower seeds and maybe Ben wouldn’t know the difference? Just an idea.

  • birdpress says:

    If I ever have a kid, this is one more good reason to home-school.

  • Jenn says:

    Oh and I grew up with allergies (being exposed to chocolate when I was younger used to close up my airways and I would pass out!) and I did just fine. I knew to stay away from triggers and to immediately ask for help if I was exposed to anything. If it was a daycare with infants I could understand. Grade school though? They should just know better.

    Anyway. I can never seem to leave just one comment, can I?

  • Heather says:

    You know? I think you may just get a troll or two out of this one.

    And I think Gail’s correct about accomodations and private schooling.

    As for the nuts, I’m no help. My kid only eats chicken nuggets and milk. So if they banned chicken, I guess I’d be carrying my torch to someone’s office. I see your point. And everyone else’s. Helpful some?

  • g says:

    Ok, so I read all of the comments, and I really do feel for the parents of kids with extreme peanut allergies, I do. But I just don’t think I could send my kid to school even if the school promised to make provisions for his/her allergy. Everyday would be too filled with terror because of a small mistake another parent/teacher/student might make.

    And, I have tried the sunbutter, it’s pretty damn good. Although it wrecked M’s colitis.

  • KC says:

    I’m with Ashley. Public School and vodka all the way.

  • electriclady says:

    I would feel frustrated about the situation and angry that the school was not being communicative. But I, too, am a little surprised at how unsympathetic people are being toward the allergic kid. It’s not in any way comparable to being vegan or dairy-free. A child could die. And the parents ARE sending their kid out into the world–eventually the kid WILL be dealing with an environment where there are peanuts. But you have to walk before you run, kwim?

    Children with allergies have just as much right to an education as children without.

  • I actually think the whole thing is shit. why do they try to enforce things at school that the family does not police at home. If I want to give my kid a ring ding I should be able to. if you don’t want your kid to eat junk then teach him the importance of nutrition. It is not the schools job to mandate these things. I would put up the biggest stink. and let the kids with allergies eat in a separate place. Majority rules!

  • Tony says:

    Wait a minute….ONE kid has a problem, so NO ONE can have any? That fucking ridiculous. Really.

    Some of these special ‘schools’ really think they are the shit (and they are right but not in the sense they think). but thats just crazy.

    I have allergies. This is like canceling recess for all the kids just cause I had bad hay fever. If that kid cant have nuts…..why should they all suffer? are they afraid someone is going force peanut butter down his throat?

    Ill put my name on this and proudly: I really *hate* the safety nazi culture that is predominant surrounding children these days. Eventually, we are going to keep them in bubbles locked in concrete bunkers and never ever ever let them move or interact with other children ever because, GASP, they might get hurt.

    When I was a kid, my playground was an ally behind my grandmothers house in chicago and my favorite toy was random rusted car parts I found in the street (often evidence of UFO’s crashing and investigated diligently by my GI Joes). I never got tetanus, never molested by any homeless people, never got hit by a car or kidnapped.

    When I have kids, I WANT them to experience some level of danger in their lives. Its the only way they will learn to cope with it. I mean, what kind of a world will the future be if eating peanut butter or a candy bar becomes dangerous adventure?

    If my kid was in that school, well…they wouldnt be in that school.

  • DD says:

    I’m a little surprised with how many people are down on the announcement of no peanuts. While you may end up being inconvenienced, as well as most of the other parents, you have children who can die because of that allergy. I’d say that trumps the inconvenience.

    And I’m not directing this at you, Becky, but for all those who are indignant over the school’s choice, it is the school’s decision to protect a child’s life.

    If either of my children ended up with an allergy and I had a parent from the same school say some of the things to me that I’ve read in comments, I’d tell those parents to take their kid somewhere else if they didn’t like it.

    Really? The other children are “suffering” because of this policy? That’s silly. It’s the parents who are “suffering” and making a bigger deal of it then it needs to be.

  • Jessie says:

    Hmmm…well this is an interesting thread. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m slightly biased but it sure seems like the parents of kids WITH food allergies are trying to be way more gentle and accommodating in their opinions than parents of kids without. Guess which camp I fall into?

    I am raising a child with Celiac Disease. We have him enrolled in our local public school and have taught him (as best as we can) what he can and cannot have/touch/be around/ingest/etc. However, he is SIX YEARS OLD. You never know what he is going to be faced with and companies are constantly changing how they process things and what their ingredients are. What is safe one day may be unsafe the next. I’m vigilent in the classroom because I have to be. It is not required but I do it because I want to minimize the “inconvenience” to other parents. To TRY to keep him safe. I go on every field trip…to every class party…every child’s birthday party…EVERYWHERE. I also work full time and have a teenager. I cannot be in the classroom all day, nor would I want to be. That would be more unfair to my son than anything else. To the poster who said that the parents need to figure out how their child will live in a peanut filled world, I agree. I don’t agree with your premise but the principal behind it. As parents of kids with true allergies, we are trying. We are well aware of the dangers that surround our children at all times. But to take away their opportunities to interact with other kids, to learn about social hierarchy, to be normal for a little bit? Not OK. Our kids have had enough normal taken away from them. I have spent way too much time with my son explaining away his sadness over why he can’t share something with a friend. Way too much time wiping away his tears because he feels like an outcast because he has been put in a separate place because Majority Rules. (which…btw…WTF? These are little kids!!) Way too many nights trying to take his pain away because someone else didn’t wash their hands before putting their hands on him.

    I agree that you should be ticked that you aren’t getting the communication from the school that you deserve. It sounds like they have a lot of other issues besides peanut allergies. However, to blame the kid and start a torch fight because they are trying to keep a child alive is misplaced, IMO. Get mad at the school. Throw a fit until you find out their reasoning for the granola bar, etc, issues. Explain Ben’s sensory complications. Chances are, if they are willing to help a parent with the peanut allergies, they will be open to helping you with Ben’s sensory issues too.

    /rant

  • My eldest had a kid in his class that had peanut allergies…I don’t believe his were life threatening however..
    His mom kept a small box in the classroom for him just in case there was a question at snack time or birthday treats could have nuts in them…
    They do not have the entire school nut free..I think his mom even sent home notes explaining his allergy and the ramifications of his contact w/ nuts…
    I was careful to send in a snack that was nut free..I think because his mom was so nice about it..ya know?
    That being said,
    I see both sides of the coin on nut allergies.it can be DEADLY to even touch peanut oil..or inhale peanut dust(hence why the airlines don’t give out peanut bags-well, that and they are cheap bastards..)
    OTOH I can also see where there has to be a line drawn in who has to suffer more..
    there has to be an easier compromise than banning nuts all together..

    I am more pissed at the schools lack of communication with you!
    jackasses…

  • I would FEEL resentful. I would FEEL a little obstinate. I would FEEL a little bit like creaing some chaos just for the sake of shouting into the void.

    But nut allergies are not like hay fever (Tony). If my choice is to work a little harder to find something my kid can eat at school, or contribute to creating a dangerous, life-threatening environment for someone else, I’d probably do a little more shopping.

    The kid being old enough to “know better” is a fallacy: imagine I am allergic to, oh, bullets to the head. Well, sure I “know better” than to pick up someone’s loaded gun and put it to my head and pull the trigger. But if I have no choice but to go into barn being used as a firing range (because, for whatever reason, I can’t go somewhere else) there’s a chance I’m going to take a bullet in the head even though I “know better”.

    I think you are right to be critical of the school’s policy, and of the parents’ decision to send their kid into an environment like a school and ask that everyone else change for their child. But if it’s a fact that the kid will be going to school there then all of those feelings, no matter how justified, aren’t going to do anyone any good.

  • Shell says:

    As his parent, my kid and his needs come before another kid’s. Sorry, but someone has to be his advocate until he can do it for himself. Even if it means breaking rules and sending him with his own lunch of peanut butter.

  • Vered says:

    You know that I’m a former attorney, right?

    So, I would not send peanut butter.

    I would try soy butter instead (I know, I know, but some kids actually can’t tell the difference).

    If he refuses that, then I honestly don’t know what I would do (chocolate spread? butter? honey? just plain jam?). I sometimes pack a small bag of pretzels + a yogurt tube + fruit. My kids eat that. Then I give them something more substantial for a snack when they get back home.

    This is frustrating. I wish I could be more helpful!

    Oh, and I would be just as annoyed as you are.

  • kalakly says:

    Seems the political lines have been drawn already…that being said, when a child needs special accomodations at school, it is up to the school and the parents of the child to agree on what and how those accomodations should be met. It is NOT up to other parents, whether it be a minor or major inconvenience, to accomodate that child.
    I have an asthmatic child who has to sit in the office on “bad air” days instead of go outside to play at recess or PE, because that can kill him. I do not ask that recess or PE be cancelled for all kids because mine can’t do it. We have kids at our school with the deadly peanut allergy too. One is my good friends son. At the beginning of every year a letter is sent home reminding parents of his allergy and kindly asking that if possible, we avoid sending in treats, snacks etc with nuts. We are not told we are asked. The child still eats away from other kids because, as many others have already pointed out, a severe peanut allergy can be triggered by peanut residue that transferred from a morning slice of toast, a kiss from mom who ate the toast which was wiped off by a grubby hand that now has, yep, peanuts on it.
    IT DOES NOT TAKE A VILLAGE to raise a child. That’s b.s. in my humble opinion. YOU raise your child and I raise mine. Yes we all need to be mindful of each other and we all should try to support each other but we do not have, in any way, the right to demand that other families make sacrafices, large or small, because our child was born with a disability, allergy, asthma, whatever. It sucks that our kids have limitations but it is our duty as parents to teach them how to overcome those limitations and live the fullest life possible. It’s great when we have the support of others while we do it, but it is not our ‘right’ to demand it or to criticisize others who can not or choose not to, for whatever reason, accomodate it.
    The others who wrote about the schools duty to accomodate you are dead on. Your child has special needs as well and MUST be treated equally by the school. The fact that the allergy may have a fatal potential does not diminsih your rights in the least. And if the childs allergy is that severe, that child should be isolated whenever food is around anyway, just like my child is isolated when the bad air is around.
    Stepping off the Ivory Soap Tower…

  • shelli says:

    when we were on our recent cruise, they had motion sensor hand-sanitizers EVERYWHERE. Remember that noro-virus thing from a few years ago?

    Well, after we all came back on ship afterour shore excursions, we’d all get our hands spritzed as we boarded. I was annoyed at first, but grateful later.

    Even if a school goes ‘nut-free,’ for the most allergic, it never will be, since they are not demanding nut-free homes, you can bet your bottom dollar that SOMEONE has smooshed peanut residue on them. It simply the law of averages. Maybe the school could, instead install mandatory hand washing, or spritzing after meals, snacks, etc.

    Shelli
    (Sent from my phone, ignore typos…)

  • ScienceMama says:

    To those commenters who state they would go ahead and take the risk of sending peanut butter to school when they’ve been asked not to in order to protect the life of a child…

    How are you going to feel when that child has a reaction because your child gives the kid a high five after lunch? How are you going to feel when they administer the epi-pen, and your child is crying watching his buddy swell up like a balloon? How are you going to feel if the child dies?

    Obviously Becky is dealing with a slightly more complicated situation with Ben… but for the average kid? I wouldn’t even call it a hardship if they had to wait until after school to have their PB&J.

    I really am shocked at the number of posters here willing to endanger another child so that they don’t have to be inconvenienced. You’ve obviously never seen a small child experience an allergic reaction to peanuts. It’s terrifying.

    Part of our jobs as parents is to teach our children to see other people and their needs as important, to teach our children empathy and understanding. How are you teaching that if you say “your food preference is more important than another childs life”?

    I am just absolutely shocked.

  • ScienceMama says:

    Kalakaly, your childs situation, while unfortunate, is not the same. Your child can’t always participate in recess. It sucks, but it doesn’t mean that your child can’t go to school at all.

    In the case of a child with a severe peanut allergy, that child might not be able to attend school safely if the school were not nut free.

    How does your child get to be accommodated while another child does not?

  • Io says:

    Honestly? People get really shitty about kids w/peanut allergies and compare it to lactose intolerance or mild allergies to foods that kids can avoid/know to avoid. And it kind of pisses me off because it seems reminiscent of people dismissing infertility as not a “real” medical condition.
    When I was a nanny I knew a little girl who had a *severe* allergy to peanuts. If you had eaten peanuts and then shook her hand she was at risk of going into shock. It was awful. It was not just a mild allergy – it was an allergy that affected everything she did. She belonged to the beach club my employers belonged to and they banned peanut butter after she had an incident where a kid had some peanut butter and then was playing with her – she ended up going to the hospital.
    So maybe the school can try and accomadate by having a peanut butter eating room where they make the kids wash up well afterwards or something – but please don’t just sneak PB in as some above posters seem to suggest.

  • Nissa says:

    So let me get this straight…..1 kid has an allergy so no kid can have any nuts? A vital source of protein and good for you fats. That is some bullshit. I went to school with a kid who was allergic to tree nuts. The kid packed everyday plain and simple. I mean I could see if he was allergic to crack so they banned it from the lunchroom, but this is fucking peanut butter. I would definitely be on the phone post haste and badgering until I got some answers.

    PS Now I just read the comment about triggering a potentially fatal reaction and now I feel bad for my comment. Damn you conscience. Now I am not sure what I would do/

  • Brooke says:

    When C was in first grade we had an open house during the first month of school. One parent mentions that her child has nut allergies, so when bringing snacks, it would be nice if people avoided foods with nuts in them. Another mom pipes up that her daughter has allergies to shrimp and green beans. Seriously?!? How pissed would those first graders be if I didn’t bring shrimp and green beans for Christian’s birthday celebration. Freaking moron.

    I suggest you call/write/visit the school and let them know that you sympathize with the child with the nut allergies, but that you are unfortunately unable to send anything other than a peanutbutter sandwhich for Ben, and you just thought you’d let them know. Don’t pose it as a question, just tell them he will still be bringing it. What are they going to do, take his lunch away from him?!?

  • Lola says:

    In my son’s public school, there are a few severely allergic kids, but all they do is have a “peanut allergy table” for lunch and a strict no peanut policy for snack time and parties in the classrooms.

    They also have every kid scrub their hands after lunch with hand sanitizer. We actually have lunch ladies at all of the doors squirting the kids down as they leave the caf. There has never been a problem so far.

    You know I’m a rule breaker, Becky, but I think I’d try to trick Ben with something else or just send something he will eat, even if it’s not that great nutritionally, and feed him when he gets home.

    Or maybe you should get up early every morning and make him the most incredible breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes, homefries, and then he won’t be that hungry in school. No?

  • Janet says:

    Both of my girls’ schools have been nut free at one point in time. One’s a private daycare that is always nut free and one is a public school. For the older one in public school, she was in a multi-age class last year, and one of the younger students had a severe nut allergy. The kids in all the K/1st classes were asked not to bring in any products with nuts. This was especially important because these classes switched for different subjects and ate lunch/snack in their rooms. It was frustrating, but we did it. The school was very pro-active and sent home lists of peanut free snack items which was very comprehensive. We wound up getting sunbutter and my oldest couldn’t tell the difference. Now that she’s moved up to the 2nd/3rd classes, there isn’t that restriction. There was a student who wound up bringing in something with nuts in one of the schools, and a student did have a serious reaction from coming into indirect contact. So, while it’s frustrating having to deal with it when it isn’t your child, I’d expect the same pro-active response from a school if my child had a life-threatening illness. I think there might be a less restrictive way of doing it, but that depends on what the set-up is for eating lunch. Of course, I’d also expect accomodations if my child had sensory issues and would only eat a pb sandwich. There can be a peanut table in the directors office with hand sanitizer. Kids have to drop off their lunches when they get to school. That kind of thing.

  • This drives me CRAZY!!! I hate that I can’t send my son with a frikkin’ pb&j because of the three kids in the school with peanut allergies AND the fact that they can’t even have candy or cupcakes for birthdays anymore, so instead I have to buy a $10 tee-shirt for him for all his friends to sign on his birthday. Whatever happened to being able to bake something stupid and calling it a day? Why can’t the teachers just make sure to CLEAN the tables thoroughly after lunch and make sure that the kids don’t share food?

    I think its gone WAY too far, but I am one of those moms that will bitch and moan and never do anything about it, so I can’t complain when nothing changes.

    DON’T feel bad about sending him with a pb sandwich–you didn’t know!

  • It seems like a safe zone for the allergic child would be a nice compromise instead of mandating that the entire school eliminate nuts, esp. when you consider that any child could still be harboring potentially fatal nut dust or oil or whatever from breakfast/interaction with family members. That and all children should wash their hands before and after they eat anyway, it’s just good hygiene.

    I don’t believe the school has the right to dictate parental behavior, only to provide accommodations (on their part) for the allergic child. The onus falls on the parent of the allergic child and school to work together not the entire student body and their families.

  • Heather P. says:

    You know I am going to agree with the other moms who said if they can accomodate the allergy kid they should have to accomodate Ben with his sensitivity issues.
    I do realize that food allergies can fatal. They are nothing to laugh at, but honestly, if my child was that allergic to nuts I would be homeschooling them. Seriously that would be the only way to properly control the environment so that the child could be completely free of nuts and their residue.
    Either that or tell them to shove it and homeschool Ben.
    The whole situation sucks!

  • kalakly says:

    Scimom,
    Just to clarify for you, my childs ‘situation’ as you call it is not unfortunate, it is life threatening, everyday. I can also tell you from watching them administer life saving treatment, (i.e breathing for him when he could not), to him in the ER on numerous occasions, as I stood helplessly by, it did more than ‘suck’ as you call it.
    He has missed more school because of his asthma than any child with allergies, severe or otherwise ever will. He is not being accomodated, he is walking slowly, alone, to the office, when others are running out to play. And we have never asked to have other children forgo anything to offset his inability to participate in what are routine activities for them.
    If I wanted him accomodated like the parents Becky is dealing with, I would ask that on bad air days all children were required to come sit with him in the office because, as you say, they should be taught that my sons breathing is more important than their 15 minutes of playtime. I can only imagine the response I would get from that.
    That being said, my earlier comment did not suggest that Becky or any parent intentionally try to harm the other child, (nor did any of the others who I am sure were using a little something called sarcasm intheir comments), by bringing nuts to school, it suggested that rather than issuing mandates the school would be better off asking parents for cooperation in dealing with the peanut issue and then working with those who, like Becky, can not eliminate peanuts from her childs lunch bag.

    People are always more willing to help when they are ASKED not ORDERED.

    Sorry for the rant on your page Becky:)

  • Jerseygirl89 says:

    You know, in the eight years I taught in the ghetto I had one kid with a food allergy. I’ve always found that interesting. I feel that kids with food allergies should have their own table in the cafeteria because while I get the danger, I don’t get making the entire school miss out on peanut butter – I think it’ll just put things on a slippery slope. Besides, I think most kids with peanut allergies know better than to trade for someone’s peanut butter sandwich. It’s more about the foods where it’s not obvious that I think the danger comes in – and those foods come into “nut free” schools all the time. Unless the school (or, in the case of a classmate of Ironflower’s, the parent of the allergic child) sends out a list of cookies and snacks that are peanut free.

    I think you should send whatever you want for Ben’s lunch until you get a proper list.

  • Emily R says:

    Honestly? I have a kid whose major source of protein is peanut butter. But I think all schools should go nut free. I really do. It is just too scary an allergy.

    Bake whole grain muffins with fruits and veggies in them (I have to puree them instead of grating so the texture is uniform) and pack them in the lunch. Simply switch breakfast and lunch and give him his favorite breakfast foods in his lunch box. Then give peanut butter for breakfast (while he is still in PJs so none gets on his clothing) and scrub him clean before sending him to school.

    Can you tell I have the same situation? :)

  • MizFit says:

    Id be irritated

    b*tch

    lament

    whine

    but in the end Id follow…

  • Megan says:

    I second (third) the SunButter idea – I love the stuff.

  • lindz says:

    I think I am gonna say what others have said but

  • Holly says:

    I get the being careful about a nut allergy but yeah it makes it REALLY difficult for the parents of the other children. A certain level of carefulness needs to be maintained but I also think there are other measures that could be taken. It isn’t fair to other children who have thier own issues (ie your son not eating anything else). Thier needs are important as well. Some would argue but they aren’t life or death. So in other words I have no idea. I wish you luck though.

  • Apple Hubby says:

    I had a friend who’s son is allergic to peanuts, IMHO peanuts should not only be banned at schools, they should remove the stuff from the shelves. I mean seriously people if they sold brown bags to pack lunches in and one out of a million randomly blew up and killed a child we would make damn sure they were off the market. Well peanuts are that friggin scary for some kids. I sure as heck would not send my child to school with a pipe bomb. Do you see where I am going here?

    Sunbutter is almost as good and is just a cheap and Cashew butter is way better than pb.

    I am sorry to hear that your son has difficulties due to his sensory thing, but missing lunch will not make him die. Certainly it should be worth trying everything in your power to make sure that all the children who go to school in the morning return home that night.

  • lindz says:

    it…anyway.

    Well the first thing that jumped to mind is..”That is completely fucking crazy!” the 2nd is: Ain’t that against the law..? Im not sure about the secong one..
    but yeah, why are they changing EVERYTHING just for one kid?
    If this school does it for kid..then other parents are gonna start expecting it for their kid(s) too.
    next thing you know a parent will be coming in saying my kid is allergic to the color red, so no one will be able to wear or use the color red anymore.

    (okay, that was extreme, but you get the point)

  • lindz says:

    Ok, now I have read other comments, and there are good points on each side.

    yes, parents do have to teach their children to respect others and their situations, and so forth.

    I have to say..

    It is not the KID that has put this forth, but the parent(s) of the child, and that they are trying to protect their child from something (allergic reaction) that can be prevented (which as a parent, I would too)

    i can understand that the allergy is an inconvenience to everyone @ the school and the parents of the children.

    Still this child is getting very special circumstances and it is only for them alone. Is this and the parents gonna expect this throughout their childs life, not caring who they inconvenience along the way?

  • chris says:

    Aunt Becky,

    You know that I’m a school administrator right? All I can say is WTF!!!!!!

    Time to find a new school.

  • Oy- They put a limit on drinks at Faith’s school– “clear liquids only”. So that means I can send rum and vodka RIGHT? Hey, yell title 9 or whatnot and say that’s the ONLY thing your kid can eat- let them slurp on that a while.

  • Oh and I hope Apple Hubbys kid has to go lunch-less for a couple weeks… sorry I’m PMSy and violent today.

  • shelli says:

    Science mom – one question for you – what about the “high fives” BEFORE lunch, when perhaps someone had an english muffin at home, that *might* have had peanut butter on it?

    I’m not judging, I’m just sharing that based on the law of averages, peanut essence WILL infiltrate a school. It’s that simple.

    I really think the “hand sanitizer stations” and spritzing kids after lunch is the only realistic way to go.

    (no one got sick on our cruise as a result!) ;)

  • Whitney says:

    I would let them know that their policy is u nacceptable and that you will ensure them that your child will neither feed his food to others, nor will he smear it upon other children.

  • Apple Hubby Says:
    I had a friend who’s son is allergic to peanuts, IMHO peanuts should not only be banned at schools, they should remove the stuff from the shelves. I mean seriously people if they sold brown bags to pack lunches in and one out of a million randomly blew up and killed a child we would make damn sure they were off the market. Well peanuts are that friggin scary for some kids. I sure as heck would not send my child to school with a pipe bomb. Do you see where I am going here?
    I have to say I wholehearted disagree with this…
    There is a severe allergy to prolly EVERYTHING on the planet…can’t outlaw everything that causes an allergy…
    Why not outlaw Latex?
    THAT is a deadly allergy too…
    (on a lighter note, that means spandex would be illegal..and we all have seen an outfit somewhere made w/ spandex that SHOULD be illegal ;) )

  • Emily R says:

    I think people may be missing the point here. It is a deadly allergy. It can kill the child. My kid is allergic to some things, but mildly, and so I don’t worry. But peanut butter is insidious, and this particular allergy is worse than most others.

    Now, my kid will not eat the substitutes. He really won’t. So, I just get him the protein out of school. He may be the pickiest eater for a 10 mile radius, and it is a TOTAL P.I.T.A, but it is really, really important to protect the kids who are allergic.

    I teach my son why he cannot bring peanut butter to school and why he must clean up his hands and face carefully if he has it before school. It is a teaching moment for him to understand that it is his job to protect people around him, just as they protect him.

    Babe, if you want the muffin recipe, let me know :)

  • Natalie says:

    How would I feel? Pretty annoyed, maybe even pissed. Mostly pissed that they didn’t contact me, and that now I’m in a shitty situation because of accomodating someone else. And the taking away his granola bar, wtf? Don’t tell me what I should and should not feed my child!

    As for the peanut allergy… I totally get how serious a nut allergy can be and so I’d feel frustrated but understanding about that policy, in general. And as for those commentors who say that the kids should know better… these are grade schoolers! Of course they’re going to have to deal with the big bad world one day, they’re going to have to be hypervigilant their entire lives about every single thing… but they are KIDS. Kids can sometimes make stupid decisions and forget sometimes. I would not trust my 6 year old to make choices that could have such a severe consequence, no. Maybe as a teenager.

    However, since your kid does have some special issues I would absolutely be requesting them to figure something out for you. I agree with the person who said that implementing some form of hand washing protocol would be seem to be a better step than – or at least in addition to – banning peanuts from the *entire* school. Hopefully you can work something out with the school where your kiddo can eat a pb&j and then get scrubbed down or something, you know? Your kid needs to eat it. The other kid needs to not have even the oils anywhere near him. There’s gotta be a way to fulfill both of those.

  • shay says:

    Do they need to ban it from the whole school? Would it not be better to find a “safe” place for this child to eat and instigate vigorous after lunch hand washing for everyone else? (that might help with all kinds of things actually.) If he allergy is really severe than I guess I wouldn’t mind complying with this rule. I would never want to cause harm. BUT…

    I DO have a problem with the school banning other non-allergens. Come on! If you want to send sprite and Cheeto’s you should be able to ( I know you wouldn’t but ykwim). I don’t think it’s any of their business if you want your kid to eat chocolate and juice. Silly – just silly!

    Of course I’ve opted completely out of the system so I obviously have issues;-)
    Good luck finding something non-choc/non-nut he’ll actually eat.

  • bri says:

    My school is peanut and sesame free. I think some of your commenters are being ridiculously self-centered. Kids could die from getting peanut butter on their hands if some kid smeared some on a locker or a banister or a faucet or something. Maybe you need to know a kid with this to give a shit? OK, I will tell you about very adorable 3rd grader C**** whose throat will close up if she comes into contact with peanut butter and I will tell you about how every teacher in the school had to learn to use an epi pen and how often the little girl ends up having to take benadryl when someone messes up and she gets the beginning of a reaction. It is scary, scary shit. Death shit. Something is seriously going weirdo wackadoodle with our world that kids have this allergy. I don’t know what it is, but it is real. Ask arcane matters Jennifer whose twins burst into hives at their first exposure or ask Chicory whose Sassa reacted the second time she had them after years of avoiding. Serious. Shit.

  • bri says:

    Oh, but they SO should have sent an exhaustive list of exactly what is and what isn’t allowed. And someone should have called you back. That is effed up.

  • bri says:

    Oh, and I APPLAUD any school that gets away with banning crap sugar food. You think parents should be allowed to send whatever? YOU try being trapped with 20 kids when 3 of them (ALWAYS the hell students, anyway) are hopped up on sugar and red dye #78. PLEASE, let your school’s junk ban spread through the world.

  • Jenn says:

    Since I am guessing that I’m the main reason for all the disgusted comments about kids who should “know better” then I figure I should address it.

    I do NOT expect that kids will never make a mistake. But if your child has a severe allergy to peanuts, you cannot just expect everyone else to watch out for them. YOU also have to teach YOUR CHILD who has the severe allergy to never accept anything unless he/she knows exactly what they are eating. And YES I think that a 6/7/8 year old should “know better.”

    My son is allergic to peanuts. If he comes into contact with them and is not treated immediately HE WILL DIE. He goes to a school where peanuts are allowed. I made it VERY clear that he has the allergy. The teachers all know how to use an epipen. But I have also made it more than clear to my son (who is only 4 and yet he DOES know better, so I know that it’s possible!) that he cannot have peanuts. In fact, he is usually the first one to mention it when we go somewhere that they are serving food.

    And to the people who think that a peanut allergy is the same thing as a milk allergy (which my son also has) it is NOT. People hear ‘allergy’ and they think itchy eyes, runny nose. But that is not the case! The reactions are completely different (generally speaking, obviously there are exceptions). Peanut allergies are not generally mild; they are almost always serious and very often life-threatening. Also, with every exposure to peanuts a child’s reaction to them will usually worsen.

    Yeah, it sucks that your kids can’t have peanut butter at school (and even as the parent of a child with the peanut allergy, I don’t completely agree with the policy). But you know what would suck more? Sending peanut butter to school with your child and having someone end up in the hospital or dead because of it. I do think that a better solution would be to have a peanut free area. Where not JUST the allergy kid(s) have to sit but where anyone who doesn’t have any peanut foods with them can eat. That way no one is completely isolated or restricted.

    In the end, what it all comes down to is that as parents we ALL want to protect our kids. We want to give them the chance to grow up to be adults, to be healthy and thrive. EVERYONE has to make sacrifices that they don’t want to at some point in their lives.

    Becky – none of the rant here is directed at you! I know that you, like everyone else, are just trying to do what is best for your son. Considering he has special circumstances as well, I would think that the school should find a way to accommodate him. And that’s really PISS POOR policy on banning foods without being specific. If they want food bans like that then they should make more of an effort to put out a list on it. Otherwise they can just walk up and take anything away from any kid and who is going to do anything? Until you get a list of banned foods, send Ben with whatever and make a stink about it when they take shit away. Without a formal list, how the hell are you supposed to know? … Though with granola bars – did you check the ingredients? A lot of them have peanuts listed as an ingredient (and I mean an actual ingredient, not just the “processed in a plant where foods with peanuts are manufactured” warning) even when you wouldn’t expect them to be. My husband gave a chocolate chip granola bar to my son once without checking the label and he got really sick. Anyway!

    Does Ben eat peanut butter at every meal? (Not attacking, just curious!) Maybe you could do like someone else suggested and switch his breakfast foods with his lunch? I don’t know. The whole thing sucks.

    What would be best is if survival of the fittest had been allowed to progress as normal and allergies weren’t even an issue. Or something. ;)

  • heather... says:

    Hoy shit, I know you got 83 opinions before mine, but you know you only care what I think. And well…this is a toughie. Because on the one hand, if that was my kid, I would want everyone to adhere to the nut-free (hee!) zone. But on the other hand, if that was my kid, I think I would honestly consider keeping him/her home from school. I mean fuck. That nut shit is deadly. So Um…yeah. I have no advice other than it sucks, yo.

    P.S. I am holding you through your fear of VEE.

  • Anon due to fear of allergy 'community' says:

    (I made a point not to read the other 83 comments prior to writing. If I happen to be psychic twins with someone or repeat points already made… apologies.)

    I have a theory: certain allergies seem to strike much more frequently in the upper economic strata. Does that mean that more affluent parents are creating allergies out of thin air, merely for the sake of saying “Our family would NEVER go to McDonald’s… not with our (insert wheat/gluten/nut/dairy/corn syrup) sensitivities!”? Probably not. Ok, maybe a little.

    I’m just sayin’ that when we moved out of the city and into a much more ‘affordable’ (by which I mean people say “Oh….” when we tell them where we bought) area, we noticed a sharp contrast at the daycare. There we no signs saying “McKenna is sensitive to bleach, please use vinegar solution” or “Augustin’s food cannot be prepared near soy products” or “Juliana Will. Not. Sleep. without Verdi.” There were no entitled-acting parents complaining about the literary selection or suggesting more sensory development activities.

    And somehow, by the grace of You Know Who, there wasn’t an allergy alert in sight. In three years, we haven’t seen one “Nut Free Zone” poster at the new daycare. These kids happily share their FDA approved (and yes, that does mean ‘sometimes Tater Tot inclusive’) meals family style. Nobody’s lactose or gluten or nitrite sensitive. They’re just kids eating family style.

    Perhaps it’s because there isn’t a natural food store in our zip code. Perhaps it’s because kids allergies are going undected. But perhaps it’s because less affluent parents don’t have time to spend three hours searching for the perfect Robeez… Might that translate to lack of time to interview naturo/osteopathic doctors about their allergy-detection methods? Yes. Might it also translate to “Quit your bitchin’ and eat your Chef Boyardee?” Also yes.

    Rant transmission complete.

    Now’s the part where I tell you I’m sorry that you have to balance your kid’s needs against an extreme reaction to another kids needs. I hope that the school can arrive at a compromise, but also know that you’ll get flack. Good luck.

  • heather says:

    Tough call on this one. My niece who is allergic to peanuts is starting Kindergarten this year, and my SIL has purchased all kinds of badges and tags for her clothing and backpack that say “NO NUTS” and is packing her lunch. You can’t ban everything that a child is allergic to. Some children are severely allergic to wheat or dairy or eggs. I have a friend who’s son can’t digest protein and if he eats it he could end up hospitalized. Ban everything and kids won’t have anything to eat.

    I disagree with not allowing children to take juice or junk food for lunch. There are limited options for lunch foods for kids, who don’t have access to a fridge or microwave. Why do they have to limit that even more? It’s those restrictions that would cause me to find another school. Or to just send whatever the hell I want in the lunch and tell them you are getting a lawyer and suing them if your kid can’t take a flipping granola bar to school.

    However, with the peanut thing, my daughter’s elementary school had a separate “no nuts” lunch table for those with allergies. You didn’t have to be allergic to sit there but you couldn’t have any nut products in your lunch. My daughter chose not to bring any because one of her friends had to sit at that table and she wanted to sit with them.

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  • TheDaver says:

    I’m actually totally OK with the school choosing to eliminate nut products from the items they prepare and serve. I’m OK with them telling parents that nut products are unacceptable as items to send as shared snacks, because of students who face these risks. And I absolutely encourage a no-food-sharing policy for lunches; what I pack for my child to eat is what I want him to eat, not whatever someone else packs for their kid. I also think a hand- and utensil- washing policy immediately after the meal is a great way to help prevent allergic kids being exposed to nut oil/dust accidentally. (and, it’s just good hygiene!) Someone earlier suggested a separate table — this is yet another thing that could help.

    Those measures seem like responsible steps a school can take to minimize the risks nut-allergic kids face in a public setting.

    Making a blanket policy, however — a nut “ban” — which makes every parent ultimately responsible for avoiding nut products in the same way that the parent of a nut-allergic child must — is a sloppy approach. It pushes the responsibility for researching nut allergies and possible allergens on to parents who are not ultimately responsible for a person with a nut allergy(and who do not even have the benefit of a doctor’s diagnosis or information regarding the specific allergens involved). So parents must do internet research and anecdotally decide what is “ok” or not to send.

    In short, it DOES take a village, and we parents need to work together to keep kids safe, but let’s choose ways to do this that are proactive, effective, and teach the children to understand and respect the needs of their nut-allergic (or beesting-allergic, shellfish-allergic, detergent-allergic, whatever! It’s the same issue! Anaphylaxis can be triggered by more than just nuts!) classmates! Then you not only have parents and teachers helping out, but you actually have the whole village.

  • Jen says:

    My husband is your kid, but 31 years old. He eats PB&J every single day of his life for lunch and will not change it up ever. I asked his opinion, and he said, “change schools.” Happy I could help.

    But really, shouldn’t the allergy kid learn how to live around this stuff and be safe? It’s not like there can be a freaking nut ban everywhere he goes.

  • LaskiGal says:

    I’m with everyone who says that some things have just gotten out of hand.

    Ridiculous.

    I’m thinking I’d be showing up at the next school board meeting.

    90 :)

  • Patty says:

    OMG- I am absolutely shocked that so many people feel it is their God given right to send their kids to school with peanut butter! Or that it is the sign of end of the world that a school would ban something. Dear LORD!

    Ok- so I am a teacher. First off, you gotta know that the pb ban was a decision made by an administrator. Teachers DO NOT have this kind of authority what-so-ever. So getting pissy about it with a teacher will do nothing for you except piss off a teacher (who also might be sad she can’t have pb at work anymore).

    Second, I HATE it when people start bad mouthing “schools.” You would not believe the shit I put up with in order to be a teacher. All I want to do is teach kids. I love kids, love education, that is why I went to school to get an expensive degree and in exchange get shit pay, horrible benefits, and am blamed for everything by the media- it is the schools fault there is violence, unemployment, teenage pregnancy, drug use, drop outs, etc… The rules imposed by district lawyers (after lawsuits from other parents) have nothing to do with education and everything to do with trying not to get sued. Lose a few lawsuits and a school district is bankrupt. It is part of a teacher’s jobs to enforce the district policies. Whether or not they agree with them.

    Third, if the peanut allergy is very severe, having a “nut free” zone will not work in elementary school. Have you ever supervised 20-25 kids at once? Made sure none of them traded food? Made sure everyone of them washed their hands? Now multiply that by however many classrooms are in the school. Our lunch room has 300 kids eating lunch at one time. What school district has the money to pay for lunch monitors to supervise what every single kid is eating! Seriously, until YOU have worked with that many kids at once you cannot make any judgements or plans for washing hands every day.

    Finally, if the calls to the school were in the summertime- you do realize that no one is there right? Summertime all the teachers, principals, and secretaries are off and no one is there to return your calls. When they do get back there are probably a gazillion of them to answer and they take them in the order or importance. And sorry, even though it might be really important to you, lunches are probably low on the priority list when getting ready to open school again. Giving your district the benefit of the doubt- perrhaps it will be in a welcome back letter. I know that we have had so many lay-offs in my district that we operate on a skeleton crew…only the essentials get taken care of in a timely manner. Not great customer service I know- but less money for schools= less staff = lower customer service.

    I was in the same boat as you. I made pbj EVERY day for my kid. Then one day, BLAM, no more because a new kid enrolled who had a severe allergy. It helped me understand it to meet the kid and the mom to understand the serious nature of the allergy. Was I happy- NO. Did I start sending other stuff to school, YES. Because if it was my kid I would hope for the same.

    Home school is not an option when you are a single widow parent (like me). Someone has to work. So if my baby ends up with the peanut allergy (please God no!) at least I know that I can have the peace of mind to send my kid to school and not have to worry about having to go to the emergency room or the funeral home because some kid had to have in peanut butter. So saying that the parent of this kid should home school is a strong statement when you have no idea what the family’s circumstances are.

    Really, people would seriously change schools because of this? Good luck with that. If it really means that much to you that you can’t compromise then, yes, go to another school but be ready for a pb ban there too.

    Seriously, he will just have to eat something else. It won’t kill him- but sending peanut butter to school just might do that to another kid. You willing to take that risk? If it was your own kid would you want him eating alone?

    Sorry for the angry tone. I just can’t believe the amount of people who care more about eating peanut butter than they do about other people’s kids. I have had students that have severe allergies and it SCARRED THE SHIT out of me that one day I would have to do CPR on them. If you still insist on sending pb to school then you should volunteer for lunch duty- brush up on CPR, make sure you have your cell phone charged in case you need to dial 911. You can ride with the kid in the ambulance while they try to revive him and then you can meet his parents at the hospital and try to explain to them that your kid NEEDED the pb more than their kid needed to stay alive.

    The needs of the few sometimes do outweight the needs of the many.

  • Anjali says:

    Gosh, I just don’t know. The above comments have been so insightful to me — we don’t have to deal with allergies here, so we are very lucky.

    I just am surprised the school hasn’t returned your calls…

  • Tanya says:

    My big issue with things like this is that it tends to run towards accomodating one group of people but not another. There are plenty of people out there with life-threatening allergies to things other than nuts. I have yet to hear of a school banning any food other than nuts. Have I just missed these articles?

  • Collette says:

    That seems a bit extreme. We have several children in P’s school with allergies to nuts and P takes PBJ for lunch everyday. I guess I feel if your son isn’t going to have contact with the kid why is it necessary. If there was a classroom no nut policy (HA! LOVE IT) that would be different. But the entire school when 95% won’t come in contact with this child extreme.

  • Carlynn says:

    I’ll give you H’s response for a change:
    “Oh F***! What the hell is she going to do?”

    My response is just, “Why on earth is life so complicated?” and “Where were all these nut allergy kids when we were at school?”

  • Sherri says:

    I would tell the administration that if the child isn’t in the same class as my child then they cannot tell me what I can or cannot pack for my child. And if they insist on instituting such strict guidelines, then THEY can fix my child his luch at THEIR expense.

  • Hope says:

    I would still send my child with whatever they will eat. If I have to go up there everyday at lunch time and take my child outside or to the cra to eat I would. IMO that’s bullshit.

  • Candid Engineer says:

    Well, you’ve already gotten 50 million responses to this post, so you hardly need another opinion. But as an engineer, I am all about probability. And the probability that the other kid dies from the peanut butter in your son’s sandwich is infinitesimally low. On the other hand, the probability that you will bitch-slap someone on the cafeteria administration is much more significant.

    Send the goddamn sandwich.

  • Edward says:

    First off…this is some strange school that can dictate what other people put in their own kids lunch.

    2nd if your son has sensory issues…well foods have textures and smells…that sounds sensory related. If all he will eat is peanut butter then they damn well better let you send him with peanut butter. I would not cave or follow the rules on this one at all.

    You know I had a kid with sensory issues, he’s 16 not and it actually turned out he had autism…no don’t freak a kid can just have sensory issues ….and I know what your talking about here. My kid would not eat but maybe 5 things for the first 6 years of his life.

    I would bitch, complain, write letters, fax letters, talk to whoever i had to talk to. Even if you did send him with Mountain Dew and Chettos…he’s your kid and you should be able to choose or decide what goes in his lunch period.

  • We’d be in a pickle since we’ve tried every “butter” out there to no avail, have sensory issues and are on the GF/CF diet. And the only food my son will eat in a lunch type situation is PBJ.

    Wow…this is a tough one. Feel for ya.

  • LilSass says:

    Um, I can’t read through 99 comments but my first reaction is …. do you live in Beijing? Communist Russia? Behind the fucking iron curtain? This isn’t right. Your kid can eat his peanut sandwich with all it’s nutritious goodness and the other kid can eat his carrots in a bubble. Allergies are sad. It’s unfortunate for him. Uuugh, but this is a public school and somehow the school has to make it work for EVERYONE!

  • Alex says:

    Hmmm.

    If there is a specific kid with a specific allergy or allergies I might be OK with banning (only) those products. Peanuts aren’t tree nuts, and I don’t think an allergy to one necessarily means an allergy to the other, so I’m a bit confused about how a kid being allergic to peanuts led to widespread nut bans. Did these somehow include chocolate chips, too? That makes no sense to me.

    If I were the parent of the kid with alleries and the only thing the school was doing was instructing other parents not to send lunches with allergens, I’m pretty sure I’d homeschool or change schools. Of all the strategies that might be employed to protect my (allergic) kid, such bans sound to me like among those least likely to work. Obviously this is particularly true if the school’s not communicating the list to parents.

  • Becky says:

    Well first let me say I just love your name. :-)
    Second let me say that that post cracked me up. I thought I was the only one with really picky kids that are very picky eaters. Schools are making it harder and harder. I don’t know what I would do if I was in this situation, but I would be irritated with the school for not calling back.!!!!

  • Painted Maypole says:

    i’d be really frustrated, although I know that peanut allergies can be really dangerous. but the WHOLE SCHOOL????!?? it seems that if they are going to be such hardnoses about it they would make it a bit easier on you by providing you with an actual list.

    and dude, my daughter’s healthy lunches occasionally include a small baggie of cheetos, alongside her sandwich and slices of green pepper. yeesh.

  • Gail says:

    I already commented, but having read some of the other comments, I do feel compelled to comment again.

    Some of you seem to be under the mistaken impression that a private school has no right to dictate what can and cannot come on to its premises. Newsflash – it can.

    Some of you also seem to think that everyone’s needs should be accomdated by the school. That’s not really feasible for a private school. If these kids were in public school, they would need to be accomodated in accordance with federal law IF THEY HAVE A DIAGNOSIS that meets the criteria set forth by the ADA. I guarantee that the peanut allergy meets that criteria. Given that I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong Becky) that Ben’s sensory issues come with a diagnostic label, his need for peanut butter doesn’t have to be accomodated in any circumstance.

    Personally, I’m pretty disturbed by the number of people saying to just ignore the ban and send your child with whatever you want. First of all, that could result in your child being expelled from this school, and you having to find another one on short notice. Secondly, society only functions properly when we all follow the rules. Don’t like the rules? Work to change them. But that doesn’t give you the right to ignore them when it suits you. When somebody else’s child ignores the “no guns in school” rule, you won’t be very happy, will you?

    Democracy is about choices, and you have a choice where to send your child to school. But that same choice doesn’t give you the right to simply choose which rules will apply to you and which will not. There are consequences for breaking the rules, and you probably wouldn’t like those very much either.

    (Becks, honey, please understand that this is not directed at you but at some of the people commenting here).

  • Mumma Boo says:

    Wow, Aunt Becky! You really know how to get a *ahem* debate going! :) You’ve already gotten opinions from all sides, so no soapbox here from me. Cheeks’ daycare & kindergarten were both nut-free, but her elementary school has a special table in the cafe for kids with allergies. No nuts are allowed in the classroom for snacks or parties, but pb sandwiches are ok for lunch. How that works, I don’t know, because the lunchboxes are kept in the classroom until it’s time to eat and the snacks are kept in the same lunchbox, so the potential for contamination is there. In your situation, I would hound the school for the “acceptable” list of foods, and demand to know what they are going to do to accommodate Ben’s sensory issues, (like cook him his other favorite foods for lunch, since he can’t bring pb). His well-being is as important as the child with allergies. Although not as life-threatening, his needs have to be considered, too. Good luck – and please let us know the outcome. You’ve certainly got me interested in how it plays out.

  • kim says:

    just be sure to let us know how it all pans out. All my feelings have been displayed here by other posters.

  • Melissa says:

    I have to say… with a husband that has severe allergies and has stopped breathing twice… not my idea of a fun evening out. But let’s get real… one person’s challenges shouldn’t deter an entire school. He doesn’t tell his co-workers to keep nuts at home. Yes, he is an adult. Most of the time, but I digress.

    I love what my child’s class has done. They have a sign on their door which says “Peanut free classroom”. What this means is when someone sends snacks for the entire class, no peanuts. (Peanut butter) That is doable. The kids aren’t allowed to share their lunches. They can bring whatever they want in their lunch. You have to teach that child not to eat other people’s lunch. And let’s be honest, that’s just good manners. After all, I can guarantee my Diva will not be sharing her peanut butter with anyone – PB is gold to her.

    As far as the no response from the school. You need to pull out your can of whoop ass and go in there personally. That is just unacceptable. And to deny kids food that is commonplace for them at home, well – I would have to give a big KISS MY ASS.

    That’s all I’m sayin’. I need another drink…

  • bee says:

    I’m not a fan of all the food rules. I mean, I understand if someone in the class has a nut allergy and all that. But the no chips and chocolate thing… I just don’t like it.

    Just my humble opinion.

  • Sorry I’m late to this party…I would be seriously annoyed initially but I ultimately if it were my kid and it were life and death I would think it was perfectly reasonable so I can’t blame the parents of the allergic kid to keep nuts as far away as possible…

  • Lauren says:

    I’d mainly be frustrated with the lack of communication from the school, and would try to get them to create & send a list of okay vs. evil-horrible foods to all the parents.

    It sounds like you’re dealing with a few different issues: 1) a schoolmate with allergies, 2) the school’s preference for snacks/drinks that are less likely to stain if spilled/smeared, and 3) maybe a hope to keep sugar-rushes to a minimum? Issues 2 & 3 are pains, but hey private school. Issue 1 is something that, as other people said above, sucks more for the kid with the allergies than for anyone else. Making sure that no one dies would be my top priority.

    If I couldn’t send something else for my kid to eat, I’d talk to the school about making some kind of compromise — nut-free zone, nut-OK zone, lots of sanitizer, I dunno, whatever cicumstances allowed. And either way, I’d talk to my kid about why the situation is so serious and why caution and compromise are necessary.

    And hey, to all the posters who think just sending peanut butter sandwiches anyway would be a lark, take a couple minutes and educate yourselves. Bonus points for imagining that it was your kid who might die and having a little bit of sympathy. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peanut-allergy/DS00710

  • Heather says:

    Wow… what a response. They have banned peanut butter at my son’s daycare and I think at the elementary school he will be going to.

    I know that it sucks to not be able to send it and I would completely be frustrated but peanut alergies are VERY serious and kids can die from them so I understand the need to ban them.

    Now chocolate… that is an entirely different story!! :-)

  • Handy_Andy says:

    I would not send my kid to school with pb or nutty junk food. PB isn’t oxygen for god’s sake. Kids will eat other things and I think people should be more creative.

    I’ts just one meal without peanut butter. Get a grip and be reasonable. Someone could die.

  • Handy_Andy says:

    oh, and if the child with allergies were YOUR kid, your tune would be very different I suspect.

  • Wow, you have a lot of comments. Well my husband is a teacher at a private school where they make a meal for everyone (pre K to 9th grade which is about 200 kids totaly). My husband who is somewhat veggie, he eats fish, has a hard time on the meat days. And they will have meat soup with meat meal. So they have a salad bar which has bread with fixings for PB & J and tuna fish. Granted, he tends to eat at this a lot, and last year they got rid of the peanut butter, which now limited him to just tuna fish or salad. Just because of one kid. Now granted, he was pissed. He already can’t eat the regular meal being made, and now has no options.

    I think if it is ONE kid that has the issue, make sure he is eating one special meal or have the mom pack him a lunch. Trust me, these kids are not poor by any means, so the nanny could easily send him off with food.

    So from a teachers point of view, yes that was a year of hell for him and a bit much.

  • mandy says:

    I really agree with exploring the option of public schools after being treated poorly. I would also say, let the private one know why they lost you. I hope he has a great year!

  • Jesus Ross says:

    well we do have some lactose intolerance in our family and we just cut out on dairy products. ;:,

  • Jule D says:

    I had this exact thing happen to me. My son brought peanut butter sandwiches for school. The little girl next to him was “allergic” to peanuts. Now BEFORE you bombard me with negative comments for using quotes, I would like to let you know the mother of this child caused MANY problems for the school system. The mother even told me that nothing very severe had ever happened, but the young girl “coughed alot” after eating peanuts. The school made may son sit at the other end of the table and wash his hands very thoroughly. The funny part…another parent informed me that the kid right behind her at the next table ate peanut butter everyday. This kid would have been about about a foot behind her. The problem isn’t the real and very serious allergy, it’s the parents that believe the world should be ideal for their children and their children only.

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