Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More School Fun

We are heading off this morning to have a "shadow" day for Conor at the local nut free school that he may attend next year for kindergarten.  I went to visit the school myself last week and spoke to the director and two of the teachers.  This is a very small school (only 3 multi-age classrooms for all grades) and only has about 80 kids total.  All staff is trained in epipens, and food allergies every year (of course it is a small staff, but still a good thing)  There are epipens hanging on the wall in the classroom, in the office and on the playground.  They also have a nut free food service provider for lunches, and absolutely no nuts are allowed on the premises.  It seems like a perfect fit for us, but I am a little unsure about the size, having Conor go to a different school then his brother and sister, and of course the price.

Since I think I have a pretty solid alternative, I thought now that the pressure was off, just for fun, I would see how my favorite underfunded, chaotic, nurse-less local public school would address some food allergy questions.  I emailed our not so fearless Principal and asked about the schools food allergy policy.  The principal is they type of guy who tells you what you want to hear, and then never does anything he says he will do, even if you have proof of it in writing.  His first response to me was that the school district web site laid out the policies of the school district in regards to food allergies.  Of course I had already checked the web site, and there is not even so much as the word allergy on it, much less a district policy on food allergies.  I politely emailed back Mr. Principal, and told him I am sure I missed it, but could he please send me the link of this fabulous food allergy policy he was talking about.  In a few days my inbox was blazing with an email message stating that ooohhh gadddsss, I was right, and there was no such policy there.  He gave me the name and address of someone over at the district office who was in charge of the Food Programs and said they should know the answer.

OK, first of all, why should my medical question be handled by the person in charge of food programs?????  Would you send a diabetic to Food Programs to deal with their medical condition??  How about someone with a seizure disorder, or asthma, or cancer????   I know there is no school nurse for the district, but I did not realize that the Food Programs was the medical replacement. It is kind of like going to a Dr. appointment at the local hospital complex, and being sent to talk to the head of the cafateria instead.

So, just for jollies, I have emailed Ms. Food Programs to determine in writing that the district officially has no food allergy policies.  I think I will stand by my inbox now waiting for a response......

1 comment:

Jennifer B said...

Oh and the fun begins! I am right there with you, having just attended an information coffee hour for one kindergarten option the other day. There don't seem to be any great options here. We have wonderful guidelines for managing food allergies in Massachusetts but they are voluntary. Whose bright idea was that? Guess what it means when the guidelines are voluntary? No one really follows them very well. At best, you might get a half-a**ed effort at some food allergy management.

Oooh a peanut allergy table, be still my heart! Gee, glad you trained everyone on how to use an epi-pen. Too bad the epi-pens are all locked up in the nurse's office, way at the other end of the school. Oh and they even bring the epi-pens on field trips. Only problem is, the kids are split into groups and not necessarily with the chaperone (teacher) carrying the epi-pens, so this means your allergic kid could be at one end of Plimoth Plantation and the epi-pen person is at the extreme other end. How fast do you think the epi-pen carrier can run through the woods and locate that allergic child in an emergency? I sure do hope they trained them in orienteering and how to use an epi-pen. ARGH!