Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What's so Confusing about Peanut-Free?
I've had to ask myself that question lately. At our old school, I never had to ask that. A peanut-free classroom, was just that - peanut free. All snacks needed to be peanut-free. All foods at parties needed to be peanut-free. The teacher would always contact me to discuss any activity or lesson that involved food, so we could make sure it was safe or make adjustments when necessary. Since this was my first few years of my son education, I thought that would always be the case.
We had to start at a new school this year. Our old one was closed down due to budget cuts. I feel that this school does not take food allergies serious at all. There have been many occasions were the peanut-free classroom has been pushed aside. I'm never told when a food is being used as a lesson, or when someone is bringing something into class. The teacher refused to have food-free birthday parties, which we had at our old school. But the icing on the cake (pun intended) was a note we received for a friendship mix the kids will be making. No where on the note does it remind families that the classroom is peanut-free. But the worse part is that it's requesting that someone bring in peanuts/nuts for the mix. Hello!! It's a peanut-free classroom!!
Kids should be safe at school. They shouldn't have to worry about coming into contact with something that could harm them. The things that most food allergy parents ask for are simple. Most of the families I know that deal with food allergies will go out of their way to help the teacher with figuring out a safe way to do lessons or have parties. I feel that I was very lucky the last few years to have a school that understood these issues and teachers that were willing to help keep all their students safe.
My husband and I sent a message to my sons teacher and principle regarding our concerns about our sons safety and the safety of the other kids in the school. Like I said, this isn't the first issue or the only classroom that has broken the peanut-free rules.
I'm like any parent. I worry about my kids. I want them to be safe. I expect all my children, food allergy or not, to come home safely from school. It's little steps that mean so much. It's teachers and principles that are not afraid to make change, or that at not so comfortable that they don't want change. Learning is change. Let's work together so everyone is safe and can learn.