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Primary & Secondary Education This forum is for parents to discuss issues related to their children's education and AD/HD.

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Old 03-18-19, 10:18 PM
acdc01 acdc01 is offline
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segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

I imagine a lot of kids with ADHD have allergies. My niece has a nut allergy and she is forced at lunch time to sit all by herself at a separate table. She does have one friend join her during lunch but you know kids, sooner or later, I can imagine that other girl wanting to socialize with the other kids as well during lunch and leaving my niece all to her lonesome.

Has this happened to any of your kids and if so, were you able to do anything about it?

I'm absolutely appalled. They also grade my niece down in PE cause she can't throw a ball and jump as far as the rest of the kids - they are like 6 inches taller than her so of course she can't do as much even though she's actually extremely athletic. Her school sucks.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:52 AM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

I'd go in person and show them who the boss is.

I hate reading about what schools think they can get away with because they can not.
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Old 03-19-19, 05:42 PM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

I am a teacher and it would pain me to see your niece sitting alone. But what is the solution? While you can tell kids to bring a nut free lunch, you can't ensure it. Is she so allergic that crumbs can cause her to become ill or die? If so I can understand the isolation. Even if tables are cleaned after each group, crumbs may be missed and contaminate the table for her. If can can stand a small amount of nuts where crumbs won't bother her, is she responsible enough not to accept a shared treat from a friend at her table? And if she does, who then is responsible? I guess what I'm saying is that keeping her safe is the most important job of the school & there may be no way to ensure that unless they isolate her. But I agree, I feel bad for her. Maybe if she's not super allergic something else can be worked out.
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Old 03-19-19, 11:33 PM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

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Originally Posted by acdc01 View Post
I imagine a lot of kids with ADHD have allergies.
I think the scientific/medical consensus is that allergies and ADHD are unrelated issues.

I hear that you're upset on your niece's behalf, but has she herself expressed any distress about this? Ultimately, it's her opinion that matters. Everyone responds differently to situations. Something that might hurt one person might have no impact on another person (and vice versa).

And yes, schools suck. Pretty much everywhere. There are too many students packed into cramped rooms where they're expected to sit still all day long so that they can be taught an inane common core curriculum by teachers who are unpaid, under-appreciated, and disempowered. We get what we pay for, and our kids are the ones who suffer.
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Old 03-20-19, 11:26 AM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

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Originally Posted by CharlesH View Post
I hear that you're upset on your niece's behalf, but has she herself expressed any distress about this?
Yes, niece hates it very much and complains about it. She's actually been acting out at school too. I don't think it's just because of this but not sure if this doesn't contribute to it.

Have to say though, I was posting and researching this (not only cause I'm concerned) but because another family member pushed me to see if something else could be done and to speak to my sister who's the mother. I do wonder if we are too nosy sometimes but on this, I'm sure my sister would appreciate the input on her daughters situation. She doesn't like how my niece is separated too but since the school told her to do it, she just did it.
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Old 03-20-19, 12:07 PM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

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Originally Posted by qanda View Post
I am a teacher and it would pain me to see your niece sitting alone. But what is the solution? While you can tell kids to bring a nut free lunch, you can't ensure it. Is she so allergic that crumbs can cause her to become ill or die? If so I can understand the isolation. Even if tables are cleaned after each group, crumbs may be missed and contaminate the table for her. If can can stand a small amount of nuts where crumbs won't bother her, is she responsible enough not to accept a shared treat from a friend at her table? And if she does, who then is responsible? I guess what I'm saying is that keeping her safe is the most important job of the school & there may be no way to ensure that unless they isolate her. But I agree, I feel bad for her. Maybe if she's not super allergic something else can be worked out.
Thanks for your response. What is the policy at your school?

I've been doing some research. Seems like some parents/schools just put the kids at the end of the table where all kids sit and buffer them by having two friends (who don't eat nuts) on opposite sides.

I'm leaning toward something like that right now which maybe my sister could push for through a 504 plan. There's actually two columns, 5 rows of tables (besides that table my sister sits at by her lonesome at my sister's school. If one column of the tables were reserved for people who bought school provided lunches only (and school lunches would definitely not have nuts) and the other table could be for both people with packed lunches (nut risk) and school lunches, then my niece could sit at the end of one of those tables and have an enormous buffer between the nut lunches and her. The other kids would still be able to sit with anyone they want this way too. Niece should still have two designated friends sitting next to her who are specifically told about her condition just to be extra safe. This would still allow all students to sit with their friends they want and let my niece sit with them instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.

There are lunch monitors in the room already. One should be placed close to my niece and directed to pay special attention to her. He/she should be trained
(as should all lunch monitors) and carry epipens. The tables should be wiped down before and after every meal. I realize some kid may still bring a nut snack to those tables where you're not supposed to(since it's school lunches only) but it's less chance this way.

The biggest risk to me on this method is the school not doing what they are supposed to. Not enforcing the school lunches only policy. Not wiping down the tables. It's simple to do but I wouldn't be surprise if the school just doesn't care enough to make sure things happen this way.

I read that 30% of allergy kids get bullied at some point. And that's just based on numbers reported by the parents. The number is most likely much higher cause in another study, 50% of allergy kids don't tell their parents of the bullying. Sitting on your own during lunch makes you stick out like a sore thumb. So it's a tough choice.
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Old 03-20-19, 12:09 PM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

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Originally Posted by Little Missy View Post
I'd go in person and show them who the boss is.

I hate reading about what schools think they can get away with because they can not.
I'm really hoping if my sister pushes the matter, they will give in. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-19, 04:40 AM
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Re: segregating kids with allergies during lunch hour

Its a tough situation. On one hand, some kids have such a dangerous nut allergy that even breathing the same air as someone eating peanut butter can send them into shock. I habe heard of schools not allowing any students to bring in nut products to avoid this but then you have to be fair to the non-nut-allergic too. At the same time its not cool to isolate the allergy kids and put them on display. I know some people will get bent out of shape and say because their kid is allergy free and likes peanut butter, why should they cater to the minority but their kid wont die like the kid with allergies might. Something I would encourage your sister to look into is whether the child has her own epi pen that the lunch staff carries on their person during her lunch. Many schools have one in stock at the nurses office but that doesnt help a child whose throat is closing at lunch. Some schools will let the parents supply them but have them kept in the nurses office which again, does no good if an attack happens. I think you have to push for it but are allowed to request that a lunch aid have one on hand but I think there is a process to get that allowed.
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