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  1. #141
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    I think there has to be a fair balancing between the needs of all the kids/families. Drawing that line is tough, that's the problem.

    If you're poor and/or live in the city it can be VERY hard to find "_______-free" foods, and when you do they are frightfully expensive. I am blessed to have the resources to shop at places like Whole Foods and Wegmans. If I had to shop at Bottom Dollar in West Philadelphia... I would NOT be able to assemble lunches absent a list of 5-6 common ingredients like gluten and egg products. It is very very difficult.

    I do feel for people with allergies. I have a family member who is Celiac's AND allergic to peanuts AND eats the McDougal's diet (so vegan and no fat). Finding things is challenge but it works because basically ALL fruits and veggies are ok. Removing 2-3 common fruits from that already restrictive list would make it really, really hard. Also, we are affluent enough to be able to buy things like rice crackers and gluten free wraps etc. etc. which makes everything MUCH EASIER. But not everyone is. And she is gluten intolerant but won't have an anaphylactic reaction-- so even if something slips in-- it's not a matter of life and death. And she's an adult

    Trust me, I know how hard this is... I just don't think it's realistic to make a "no __________ zone" in an elementary school for a diverse list of foods. Not when those foods are in virtually every packaged good.
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  2. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by trubandloki View Post
    Punkie, I totally get that you have a pretty serious allergy and thankfully so far in your life the whole world has bent over backwards to accommodate you. I am curious about what the size of your school/class was?

    Another thing I noticed from your post is that you are clearly in a very different financial bracket than lots of the rest of the world. I personally could not afford to feed my family with the menu you proclaim. (And to add, the idea of mixing salted meat with melon makes me want to hurl.)

    I do think people miss the fact, when they are insisting the world revolve around their issue, that there are people out there with other issues that are not being accommodated. There has to be a line somewhere. I think that line is crossed by insisting an entire school remove almost all food options.
    I want to clarify something. The whole world most certainly hasn't bent over backwards and I was not the only child in this serious position. The only setting where this was implemented was at school (or as I refer to it a "forced communal setting"). I had to go to school and I had to eat. So did my classmates with allergies. My school sizes ranged from 100+/- kids/class (the school was for grades 7-12) in boarding school to my regional high school which had almost 1,300 students (grades 9-12). So we're not talking tiny schools here, either.

    At the regional high school, there were probably 30-50 of us at a time who had one or more very serious allergy. We mostly knew each other from the nurse's office . At boarding school, there was an entire dorm of us (18 rooms and 1-3 girls per room) who had food allergies. The school was still restricted overall, but we were dormed together because our dorm mom would make us snacks in her dedicated kitchen (the dorm parents were allowed to make foods with allergens in their apartments so long as they were religious about washing hands before coming out to the common areas) so it was just easier to have us all in the same hall.

    Finances or not, when these rules were implemented by my schools, the schools made the accommodations as much as parents did. Our cafeterias/dining halls (I went to both public and private schools) offered full menus which eliminated the allergens and the lunches were exactly the same cost as the ones at schools in the same area without the restrictions. I cannot speak for Canada or for the OPs friend, but where I grew up in the states, every school offered breakfast and lunch (and of course my boarding school also offered dinner). And while I didn't personally know any kids on food assistance, the school met all the government requirements and offered an assistance/free meal program to those who did need it. So if a parent did not want to deal with buying special food or spend the extra money to feed their kid in a school-approved way, they could always send them with $3.50 for lunch in the cafeteria (and obviously meals were included in our tuition at boarding school).
    Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


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  3. #143
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    Oct. 29, 2001
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    I would thank you not to tell me I have no compassion, a stranger you don't know at all from a BB. I have plenty of compassion. I am also realistic.

    My brother's child, could not live on this list. She would not eat. Period. She is 4. She eats almost nothing. She gags, a lot. My brother and his wife are working on expanding her eating choices, but it's hard.

    I could see things to be different if there was a confirmed child with all those allergies. But as a blanket policy, hell no. And again, if your child has all those issues, perhaps public school is not an appropriate venue for their education, at least not until they're old enough to fully appreciate the dangers. Yes, it is unfair. But for the safety of the child I would think that it would be the best answer. Because as has been pointed, lots of time it's a contact issue.

    Example. Kid complies with list. However, kid had pancakes with strawberries for breakfast. Sits next to your child on the bus. Boom.
    You know, if you took this jello, put it in a mold and froze it, you could be like look....an emerald. Dude, I'd kick some guys ass he ever tried to give me a jello ring.


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  4. #144
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    I'm not opposed to reasonable rules, but trying to make the school environment hypoallergenic for a multitude of antigens is virtually impossible.
    Yes, it is selfish to want to eat peanut butter if the kid sitting next to you could die, but likewise it is selfish to expect the entire population to restrict their dietary choices to a narrow list that (this week, at least) no one at the school is allergic to.

    If a kid could *die* from exposure to milk or wheat or egg protein, then doesn't a separate lunch area trump the "stigma" issue?

    And, if a school does go forward with such a restrictive list, they should be required to provide healthy lunches that fit the guidelines at a low price to the students, rather than putting the burden on families of children who are not affected by allergies.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


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  5. #145
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    My problem with the list of restrictions is that by the time you have costed out the replacements you will probably, at best, break even with the cost of the school lunch program. Maybe this is the school's way of getting everyone to stop sending in home lunches and just buy lunch from the school's controlled lunch program. From their point of view, it would probably be a lot easier for them if everyone just did that.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  6. #146
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    Punkie, I'm sorry your allergies are so severe, but does that mean I should never walk down the street eating strawberry ice cream or some such because we might cross paths?

    And for the parent of the child with a milk protein allergy- should every child in the school (and every other place your child might frequent) be banned from drinking milk, eating yogurt, ice cream, etc?

    I understand the peanut allergy thing, but if no child in the school is known to have one, then why ban peanut products?

    I'll happily accommodate someone's allergies, but I'm not going to restrict myself from anything and everything that somebody, somewhere, might have a reaction to just because I'm in the general vicinity.


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  7. #147
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    Jun. 22, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief2 View Post
    My problem with the list of restrictions is that by the time you have costed out the replacements you will probably, at best, break even with the cost of the school lunch program. Maybe this is the school's way of getting everyone to stop sending in home lunches and just buy lunch from the school's controlled lunch program. From their point of view, it would probably be a lot easier for them if everyone just did that.
    The school in question doesn't provide lunch. Everyone packs.
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  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Punkie View Post
    I want to clarify something. The whole world most certainly hasn't bent over backwards and I was not the only child in this serious position. The only setting where this was implemented was at school (or as I refer to it a "forced communal setting"). I had to go to school and I had to eat. So did my classmates with allergies. My school sizes ranged from 100+/- kids/class (the school was for grades 7-12) in boarding school to my regional high school which had almost 1,300 students (grades 9-12). So we're not talking tiny schools here, either.

    At the regional high school, there were probably 30-50 of us at a time who had one or more very serious allergy. We mostly knew each other from the nurse's office . At boarding school, there was an entire dorm of us (18 rooms and 1-3 girls per room) who had food allergies. The school was still restricted overall, but we were dormed together because our dorm mom would make us snacks in her dedicated kitchen (the dorm parents were allowed to make foods with allergens in their apartments so long as they were religious about washing hands before coming out to the common areas) so it was just easier to have us all in the same hall.

    Finances or not, when these rules were implemented by my schools, the schools made the accommodations as much as parents did. Our cafeterias/dining halls (I went to both public and private schools) offered full menus which eliminated the allergens and the lunches were exactly the same cost as the ones at schools in the same area without the restrictions. I cannot speak for Canada or for the OPs friend, but where I grew up in the states, every school offered breakfast and lunch (and of course my boarding school also offered dinner). And while I didn't personally know any kids on food assistance, the school met all the government requirements and offered an assistance/free meal program to those who did need it. So if a parent did not want to deal with buying special food or spend the extra money to feed their kid in a school-approved way, they could always send them with $3.50 for lunch in the cafeteria (and obviously meals were included in our tuition at boarding school).
    "Forced Communal Setting?" Damn, wish I'd known that terminology when I was in the 5th grade; plus a good lawyer!


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  9. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakeytails View Post
    Punkie, I'm sorry your allergies are so severe, but does that mean I should never walk down the street eating strawberry ice cream or some such because we might cross paths?

    And for the parent of the child with a milk protein allergy- should every child in the school (and every other place your child might frequent) be banned from drinking milk, eating yogurt, ice cream, etc?

    I understand the peanut allergy thing, but if no child in the school is known to have one, then why ban peanut products?

    I'll happily accommodate someone's allergies, but I'm not going to restrict myself from anything and everything that somebody, somewhere, might have a reaction to just because I'm in the general vicinity.
    You're missing the point. This is a forced communal environment; as a kid, I had no choice but to go to school and to eat while I was there. As an adult, I make informed decisions about where I go, how close I get to people, and what I eat when I'm out. Interestingly, processed strawberry is less dangerous than fresh strawberries as my issue is mainly with histamine and not protein. Fresh strawberries are my greatest risk; jam is the least (in all reality, I could probably sit next to someone eating strawberry jam on toast and be fine; most of the histamine has been processed out by that point but I wouldn't take that risk). Ice cream is somewhere in the middle; it simply can't aerosolize like juice from a fresh strawberry can.

    So if I see someone walking down the street eating something pink, I have the option to cross the street. If an ice cream parlor sells strawberry ice cream, I have the option not to get sorbet from there. If a restaurant uses soybean oil to fry their foods, I have the option not to eat there. But a child does not have the option to not attend school (if their parents cannot homeschool). That's the major difference. I have never asked society to go out of its way for me (and nor have any other allergy sufferers I personally know), but when I have no choice but to be in a particular environment, I will make sure to advocate for myself so that I can be safe in that setting.
    Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.



  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    "Forced Communal Setting?" Damn, wish I'd known that terminology when I was in the 5th grade; plus a good lawyer!
    ...I didn't. This was actually a term that the school board in my town came up with when they were implementing the allergen restrictions. It's a term that is succinct and logical and one that I've adopted to try to explain these situations. So while I'm sure they had good lawyers, it's a term we all heard on a fairly regular basis.
    Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.



  11. #151
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    So what could be a solution to this problem that makes everyone happy? Send kids home for a 2 hour break in the middle of the day so they eat in the comfort and safety of their own home? Make school from 7am-Noon, but go year-round?

    I personally do not have any food allergies. Nor does anyone in my family, including my 2 year old nephew. I feel very fortunate for that. I do sympathize with those who DO have allergies, and realize that it's a severe issue. However you can't please everyone with a restrictions list like this. There's got to be a better solution.

    Anyone?
    People call themselves animal lovers, then let their dogs chase the squirrels. You're scaring the shit out of the squirrels, you schmuck!


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  12. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Punkie View Post
    ...I didn't. This was actually a term that the school board in my town came up with when they were implementing the allergen restrictions. It's a term that is succinct and logical and one that I've adopted to try to explain these situations. So while I'm sure they had good lawyers, it's a term we all heard on a fairly regular basis.
    OK, so: Speaking of lawyers, DO WE have an obligation, morally or legally, as non-allergic people to protect others who MAY be allergic in public settings?

    Should I NOT be eating nuts on the train? Should I ask the entire carriage if anyone's allergic before I unwrap them? What about the residue on my hands? How can you know, getting on a bus, train, plane, taxicab even, that someone just ahead of you didn't leave residues of who-knows-what?

    Is it the PARENTS' job to protect an allergic child, the SCHOOL's legal obligation, or the PUBLIC's problem?

    I come down on the side that says someone THAT allergic needs to protect themselves, not expect the rest of the world to do it because that's not something anyone can ever count on. If the kid is THAT high-risk, maybe they can't go out in public until the allergy is managed . . .

    Where's everyone else come in on that?


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  13. #153
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    I think it is entirely possible to love children and certainly not want one to die or fall ill in any way, but still be unable to support/comply with these restrictions! There are just so many reasons why people could be unable to follow these, and as Canaqua noted, this would really lead to a lot of resentment. Also I am trying to imagine Mr. Tiger packing anything that sounded like "field green" - not even in his vocabulary and he loves children!

    I really like the idea of separate tables, with the popular teacher. Certainly not ideal but given that, as Punkie noted, it IS a forced communal setting and that kids will not necessarily comply themselves and parents may even unintentionally pack something lethal, it would be the only way I could think of to ensure the safety of the kids at risk. And I do think if this would not be adequate to ensure safety, perhaps an alternative environment would be appropriate, as the child's safety could not be guaranteed.

    Hell, when I was growing up NO ONE even really knew what allergies were (except a few who had hay fever). We ate and shared stuff all the time. It does make me wonder about the "why" question now, why so many seem to have these really awful allergies.


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  14. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Punkie View Post
    And while I didn't personally know any kids on food assistance, the school met all the government requirements and offered an assistance/free meal program to those who did need it. So if a parent did not want to deal with buying special food or spend the extra money to feed their kid in a school-approved way, they could always send them with $3.50 for lunch in the cafeteria (and obviously meals were included in our tuition at boarding school).
    My point is that the schools in my district absolutely CANNOT afford to feed their students this allergen-free menu. It's far from the most impoverished district in my city, but schools are closing, classes are massive, and teachers are being laid off.

    So, I think that this solution to ban so many allergens is classist. I seriously doubt that there aren't children with severe allergies in my poor urban school district to be accommodated, yet the rich kids are the ones with parents who fight to get these allergen-free diets at their schools.

    Kids with severe allergies eat lunch at the nurse's office. If they're so severe that they can't come near a kid who ate a PB&J at lunch, then what does that kid do about his classmate who eats PB&J for breakfast? Guarantee not all kids wash their hands between breakfast and school. It's the same issue.

    I think it's great that you were able to go to such accommodating schools but this is a ridiculous policy to implement at a public school.


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  15. #155
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    Punkie- I do get your point. I will happily accommodate you if I am going to be in close contact with you and I am aware of your allergies. If I had a child in school with you of course I would not send strawberries, or peanuts if that were the issue. At work we had a therapist who was extremely allergic to anything cinnamon, even the smell could cause a reaction. Nobody wanted to have to break out the epi-pen, so we were all avoided anything cinnamon, no big deal.

    But, to expect everyone in the OP's school to follow this restrictive list is unreasonable if there are no known issues. Anaphylaxis caused by airborne food particles is pretty darn rare. I would suspect that anaphylaxis caused by airborne gluten is almost unheard of.


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  16. #156
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    People are allergic to a lot of things other than food items. Are they to be banned as well? Where does it end?

    I agree that it is the PARENT'S obligation, not the school, the public or the taxpayer. If your child is that allergic-then put on your big parent panties and home school. My sister decided that her kids came first and sent them to private school. Did she give up a lot to do that? You bet, but she felt she had an obligation as the PARENT to do what was best for the child and not expect everyone else in the world to accomodate her.
    ~~~~~*~*~*~*~*~
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  17. #157
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    I don't see that list as reasonable.

    I truly understand allergies. My bosses daughter had a severe peanut allergy reaction in her peanut free school. Epi-pen injection and trip to ER via ambulance. One of the children had peanut butter toast for breakfast. She got a little on her top and nobody noticed. She played with a Barbie doll and transferred the peanut butter via contact to bosses daughter.


    I understand having restrictions on peanuts & nut allergies as a blanket restriction. I can see having the individual fruits being banned if there is a student that is enrolled who has that allergy.

    I think the gluten, soy, dairy, etc.. where the item needs to be consumed to be an issue is going too far. Maybe schools need to design better lunch rooms that have allergy free areas/tables, hand washing stations at the entrances that are monitored for compliance. Maybe have more lunch room attendants, in particular on the allergy free area, to make sure there is no food sharing with the individuals that have allergies.

    There are parents that will make up food allergies for their children. I went to school with a child whose mother did that to her. She would eat "banned" stuff at friends houses and from the corner store all the time but never had an issue. The mother still enforced the bans at home and continued to insist she had all these "allergies". Therefore for something like fruit that would be banned for all children if there is a student with that allergy enrolled the parent needs to present a doctor's certification that there is a verified allergy.

    While I understand that all children are entitled to a public education there may be children that have such health issues that it is not practical for the public education to be at a bricks and mortor school. Cyberschooling may be more appropriate.

    I wonder if there is a niche market in certain areas for reduced allergen day cares and/or elementary schools. Parents with children with the allergies enroll them in these day cares. All the parents know and accept how serious this is because their child is susceptible. These parents then are more likely to be compliant with the banned foods. Or make the school no outside food. The teachers, aides, school workers are all choosen carefully to make sure they truly understand the risks involved with food allergies. Provide those workers with extra training regarding use of Epi-Pens, CPR etc... The first through fifth graders could cyber school at the same "day care".
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


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  18. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndysMom View Post
    People are allergic to a lot of things other than food items. Are they to be banned as well? Where does it end?
    Oh, if only I could ban perfume and AXE in the workplace.
    You are what you dare.


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  19. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    But the bun and cheese would be forbidden and the special sauce is probably made with mayo...who knows what the fries were fried in.

    If the allergies are life threatening the person suffering from the allergies or the parents has the primary responsibility for safety.

    And for the severely allergic child that might mean a special school, special table, even a special bus.

    I'm curious, what if the child was allergic to dogs or cats? Cat or dog hair or their dander tends to stick on clothes. Would the school then say families couldn't have dogs or cats?
    Good question. Add birds to that list. And then what if someone brings a condom to school, with people with latex allergies? Like I said before, sounds like homeschooling or boycotting is going to have to become the answer, and then all those folks that are allergic to everything are going to have the school all to themselves, and we'll still be paying the taxes on it.

    Personally, I HATE peanut butter. I literally would rather eat roadkill. But once the peanut butter goes away, then it becomes a long list of "and...and...and..."

    I wonder how the schools are going to figure out a way to put together their wonderful school lunches free of all these allergens?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casey09 View Post
    My first thought was that it is probably more a lawsuit protection thing than anything. Recognizing foods with allergens takes some education for a lot of people, and a lot of parents are not reading ingredients or savvy on what does and does not contain these types of allergens. A lot of kids are also expected to pack their own lunches, and they are not going to know that food can contain ingredients that they can't see. Kids also tend to be awfully picky eaters, and the thought of packing a lunch that a child is going to throw away and then be hungry is going to bother a lot of parents.
    I can completely see that parents of children with deadly allergies are afraid of a very serious reaction, but I don't think that it is realistic to think that this type of list ill work in practice in a school. People just don't always comply with rules, whether on purpose or by accident. I think a separate table and supervised hand washing for all would offer more realistic protection.
    As far as expense . . . I have a relative that self diagnosed all of her children with multiple and complex food allergies (I am not suggesting that all or most people are not really allergic at all - she likely has psychological issues or something to do something like that). She lost her job and announced that she wasn't doing the allergy diet any longer because she decided she couldn't afford it any longer. I do think that feeding lunches meeting the guidelines listed would be more expensive and time consuming than what a lot of parents are actually willing to do.
    Totally a CYA thing. Next thing you know, the non-allergic majority is going to have to start carrying some sort of liability insurance in case of any unintentional screw-ups over what they pack their kid for lunch. Ridiculous.
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