G.T. asks from Rochester, NY on November 16, 2010
My Neighbors Son Is NOT Allergic to Peanuts, But....
My neighbors son is NOT allergic to peanuts. But a new boy that moved here about a month ago and was put in his kindergarten class is. There are 4 different kindergarten classes in the school. Each class has at least one child in it that is allergic to peanuts. Because of this, none of the kids in any of the kindergarten classes are allowed to have snacks or lunches with any peanut products in them anymore (they used to be allowed) because they eat in their classroom. That's understandable. But my neighbors son loves peanut butter sandwiches! And will absolutely not eat anything else for lunch. He cries all during lunch, and refuses to eat anything because he is not allowed to have what he wants. My neighbor has asked that the new boy that is allergic to peanuts be transferred to one of the other classes where there are other children with the same allergy, so her son can have peanut butter sandwich for lunch again. The school refuses because the parents of the other little boy don't want him transferred because he may miss the new friends he has made in his current class.
The school knew when the child was registered that he had an allergy to peanuts. Why didn't they put him in one of the classes that had other children with the same allergy? Is this fair? No! I don't think it is! And neither does my neighbor! No one wants any harm to come to any of the children that are allergic. That is not the point. The point is, no one seems to be giving a hoot about the child that is not allergic and going hungry every afternoon. And also suffering. He comes home from school everyday now so hungry that he's in tears! He absolutely hates school now, because of it. Putting him on the bus in the morning is a kicking and screaming match! BTW He loved school before all this happened and couldn't wait to go.
Next week my neighbor has a meeting with the superintendent of schools to see if he will intervene in some way. I have been asked to go with her to the meeting because being their neighbor and his babysitter twice a week, I see how he acts when he gets on and off the bus everyday. Anyone have any suggestions of anything I should say that you feel might convince the superintendent to help us?
So What Happened?™
We met with the School Superintendent. There were 4 other mothers of children in the class there as well as the mother of little boy who is allergic to peanuts. The teacher was also there. And an interpreter (the little boys mom does speak English. She only speaks Spanish.). Each of the mothers were given the chance to address the Superintendent with our opinions, questions and suggestions. Then the mother of the little boy, via the interpreter, did the same. It turns out the little boy is not allergic to peanuts. The mother said he didn't like the smell of peanuts and gagged once when he smelled it, so she put on his registration form that he is allergic. He also does not like the smell of tuna so she put down that he is allergic to that too. The Super was not happy. And neither were all the moms and myself. Then the teacher was given a chance to speak. She said the little boy speaks almost no English also and feels that because of that does not participate in class, has not made any friends and always sits alone. He doesn't even play with the toys. All he does is sit at his table and color pictures. She did say that one of the other teachers speaks fluent Spanish. The Super then asked the mother if she would mind if her son was transferred to that class, not due to his "allergies" but so the Spanish speaking teacher could help him more. She agreed. Then she said "It really doesn't matter because we are moving after Christmas to another district.".
The Super felt that since the meeting was originally meant to address the "Peanut Allergy Issue", even though this was not the case here, he had to address it. He said he would request all the schools in his district to place any children that are allergic to peanuts in the same class whenever possible. And that they are to verify that the child is actually allergic to peanuts, etc for their own safety. He felt that placing all the children together was the best way to guarantee their safety since the school board refuses to make the whole school Peanut Free.
So in the end....after a few odd twists....everything will work out.
M.L. answers from Colorado Springs on November 16, 2010
I'm going to sound like a mean granny. But if the neighbor's boy were my son, I'd have a talk with him. He may love peanut butter, but he may not realize how serious this sort of allergy can be. (He's a kindergartener, after all.)
My younger son went through school with a friend who had serious peanut allergies - the sort of thing that landed him in the emergency room if he happened to TOUCH a little peanut oil left over from the sandwich of a neighbor who hadn't cleaned up his desk after lunch. The boy picked up a book from that desk, happened to brush his hand against the oily spot, and came close to dying that night.
I'd hole up in the kitchen with this sandwich-loving boy for a weekend and he and I would fix tiny sandwiches together - sandwiches made of anything but peanut butter. We'd make it a game, and he'd find something he could put up with sooner or later. When he came home from school in the afternoon, he'd get two GIGANTIC peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as soon as he came in the door. And I'd be very thankful that he was healthy.
Life isn't fair - to those with allergies or to those without. It's that kind of planet.
6 moms found this helpful
A.S. answers from Detroit on November 16, 2010
Most schools have a no peanut product rule in place now. My kids get Soynut Butter instead... They don't even know the difference.
5 moms found this helpful
J.M. answers from Scranton on November 16, 2010
I am in total agreement with you. I think they should put all of the kids with peanut allergies and put them in the same class. I think its rediculous, what about the children with a gluten allergy or sensitivity? I don't think the school should be able to do this. there are more children out there w/o allergies to peanuts that love peanut butter than there are children with allergies. My youngest has an allergy to milk, is the school gonna take milk out? No they are not. Do not punish the majority of the children because of a small percentage of them are allergic.
4 moms found this helpful
J.B. answers from Atlanta on November 16, 2010
The bottom line here isn't even if someone in any of the classes is allergic to peanut butter -it's the fact that your friend's child needs to learn that he can't have his way every single time. I find it hard to believe that the only food he ingests is peanut butter sandwiches -for breakfast, lunch and dinner -7 days a week? He never eats any other food? I'm pretty sure that if peanut butter sandwiches were "taken off the table" that he would eat when he got really hungry. If he's old enough to be in kindergarten, then he's at least 5, so he should be able to understand that he must branch out in his eating, and while he can have peanut butter sandwiches sometime -at home -if he wants to eat at school, then he'll have to eat what is sent in his lunch or what the school is serving. He's WAY to old to be crying about this sort of thing -at least after the first day. Your sentence says it all, "...and refuses to eat anything because he is not allowed to have what he wants." Don't you see a problem there?
This child is basically pitching a fit to get his way, and the Superintendent will probably find this laughable. Can you imagine if EVERY parent of EVERY kid who didn't get their way demanded to meet with the superintendent and have things changed to their liking? Our schools have enough problems -that would lead to utter chaos! The school probably has a number of reasons for not putting the allergic kid in another class to begin with, but even if they don't -it's a mute point. Sorry, but it's time for this little boy to learn some lessons -namely that he can't have what he wants every time he wants it, particularly at the detriment of another person. It will be good for him!
21 moms found this helpful
B.B. answers from Dallas on November 16, 2010
Honestly, I think it's up to the parent to FIND something the son will eat. Does he eat peanut butter and jelly for every meal every day of his life. Surely not. Why don't they send the things he WILL eat? This is a parent issue, not a school issue. The parents should work with the kid on his eating, not the school. The school is there for education and shaping, not teaching picky kids to eat something else.
I wouldn't uproot my kid from his class, either. He's made friends and had a routine. Would you take your kid out of a class? This child has not bullied, made fun if, disrupted anyone else. You are actually going to the superintendent to remove him from his class, for doing...nothing. Have you said this out loud, to yourself? Can you understand how ridiculous and unfair to HIM this is? For a peanut butter sandwich? Really? I mean...really?
PS. I am deathly allergic to peanuts. If someone asked me to move out of anything, so they wouldn't be inconvenienced...I would laugh in their face. My ENTIRE life in inconvenienced. I can't be near anything or anyone, that has touched peanut products. We have to search the aisles of the grocery store, for foods I can eat. We have to call restaurants ahead of time, for the few that don't have nut contamination. The list goes on and on. You have no idea how much that kid will be inconvenienced his whole life with this allergy. Asking him to move classes is absurd. Imagine, if it were your child.
16 moms found this helpful
E.A. answers from Erie on November 16, 2010
Sorry, but it sounds like your neighbor's child is spoiled. I think possibility of death trumps picky eating any day.
15 moms found this helpful
S.C. answers from Fort Wayne on November 16, 2010
I fear you are going to open up a can of worms with this question. I'm going to state my opinion, even though you might not like it...sorry....
If her son was afraid of African Americans and there was an African American in his class, would you demand that the African American be moved to a class room with other kids of that race? What if HER son or YOUR son were allergic to peanuts? Would you be willing to transfer your child? What if he was the only one NOT allergic to peanuts? Would you want him to eat alone? My opinion is that her son needs to eat something besides peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Yeah, it sucks that he can't have his favorite food, I get that. However, it would also suck for the kid that's allergic to peanuts to die.
My daughter isn't allergic to peanuts. A kid in her preschool is. He's not in her class, he goes on opposite days. We have been asked not to bring in peanut products because if there is any peanut butter left on the tables, chairs, floor etc and this other child comes in contact with he, he could die. To me that trumps my child's need to eat peanut butter.
There are probably other factors as to why the child was placed in that particular Kindergarten class. It could be due to class size, class demographic (the number of boys and girls), and a number of other reasons.
I guess I'm a big ol meanie, but I would tell her son that he needs to learn to eat something else or go hungry. We can't always eat our favorite foods or get what we want.
13 moms found this helpful
K.E. answers from Buffalo on November 16, 2010
ok I am completely Bias. My son is allergic to Eggs, and yes I mean anything that has egg in it, touched egg, you cannot even eat egg and then kiss him with out washing up and he has reactive airway when he is exposed. I am sorry but herding all the allergic kids into one room is asinine. How selfish of you and your neighbor. Every child has to learn there are more people in this world that have needs that we need to compromise with.
How would you like it if at work because you have brown hair you cannot sit with any blondes, or vise a versa. This is ridiculous. I cannot believe how selfish people can be. This is this child’s life and allergies are here to stay people!!! I have 2 kids in school and when I bake for their classes I have to do it, Egg, Milk, Peanut, Tree Nut and red Dye Free. How would you like that one!!! I do it lovingly and all the Mom's involved know and can rest easy that their kids are safe, and socially excepted. Do you not realize the social repercussions of ostracizing these kids just because they have allergies, OMG!!! I am sorry I know I sound like a ranting MOM but I am. I would be so mad I would fight you tooth and nail, legally if I had to just out of principle, for what a sandwich. That spoiled little child needs to learn to eat other things. When My son was 1st diagnoses my oldest LOVED fluff n nutter sandwiches, fluff has egg, never again in the house can he have egg, am I supposed to move my non-allergic kids into a different home and my allergic child into another? That is just as silly as what you are suggesting.
GET OVER YOURSELF!!!! Sorry to be rude, but .... well ....
12 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Wichita on November 16, 2010
Not to be judgemental, but you want to isolate this new boy from his friends so your friend's son can have a peanut butter sandwich? There are alternatives to peanut butter, almond butter, for example. My daughter is 3 and she understands that she eats what's for lunch or doesnt eat at all. This child is in Kindergarten and should be able to eat more than one thing for lunch without screaming and throwing such a fit that people want to go to the superintendent to get another kid kicked out of class! Maybe he wasn't emotionally ready for school?
11 moms found this helpful
R.S. answers from Sacramento on November 16, 2010
I did not read every post, but I seriously can not believe some of what I have read. Peanut allergies can be deadly just briefly coming into contact with peanuts or breathing in the fumes. Most other allergies are not that severe, such as milk, wheat, and gluten. THAT is the difference. I can not believe some poeple are suggesting that CHILDREN who are in the MINORITY be SEGREGATED into a class of those with peanut allergies or should just be home schooled because it infringes on the MAJORITY's right to eat peanut butter during one meal of the day 5 days a week. DO you let your chidlren dictate everything they eat? Does your child only eat peanut butter for meals at home? I think some basic compassion for those that are different from us is in order. If our country only operated on the principle of "majority rules," can you imagine what it would be like?
9 moms found this helpful
M.W. answers from Chicago on November 16, 2010
Wow, didn't realize how serious this topic could get. In my daughter's school, the teacher simply explained to the kids that others cannot be around peanut products and the kids were fine. They simply didn't want to do anything that could possibly harm one of their classmates. Maybe this is an opportunity for your neighbor to teach her child about compassion towards others.
9 moms found this helpful