“I Have to Sign a Permission Slip So My Middle Schooler Can Eat an Oreo” March 25, 2015 The mom who Twitters as Mainline Housewife (mainlinewife) nhrfndnetd sends us proof that we can never underestimate the how far our obsession over child safety can go: But wait this doesn’t even require a notary? crazy school, oreo, oreo danger, oreo permission slip, waiver
Did the school ask permission to send this permission slip?
Thank god the teacher isn’t using milk in this experiment.
Oh dear Lord. Some poor tree had to give its life for this idiocy.
As a mother of food-allergy children, I would appreciate getting a notice so I could send an appropriate substitute for my kid to eat, but a PERMISSION slip? If a middle-schooler’s allergies are bad enough to be life-threatening, he better have the sense not to eat them, regardless of permission, and if the reaction is less serious, he’ll just have to deal with it. By middle school, if a child does not “own” their food limitations, no permission slip is not going to change that. The only food allergy i know of that is dangerous just from being in the room is peanuts, and most schools have banned them.
“without signed permission slip, my child understands that he/she will not be able to sample the OREO.”
Can we all say a silent prayer for the tree that died so someone could obtain legal consent for a cookie?
Was there a background check done on the OREO?
I think I am experiencing “idiocy-fatigue.” I am saddened and dismayed but losing my will to be outraged on behalf of these children.
Though I wonder. . how will they enforce the “will not be allowed to sample the oreo?” What are the consequences? Detention? Suspension? “Ryan, Sarah and Lily. . .please deposit your cookies in the wastebasket. The rest of you may now enjoy your chocolaty (but likely unsanitary following the experiment) treat.”
This is stupid on the face of it, but one wonders, if using Oreos is *that* fraught, why the teacher didn’t just pick a different experiment? Surely Oreos are not the be-all and end-all of ways to illustrate plate tectonics.
Yeah, my kid has food allergies too, so if this had been a grades 1-4 thing, I might understand.
But grades 6-8? Just manage it on-site, please don’t involve me to this extent as a parent.
“Though I wonder. . how will they enforce the ‘will not be allowed to sample the oreo?’ What are the consequences? Detention? Suspension? ‘Ryan, Sarah and Lily. . .please deposit your cookies in the wastebasket. The rest of you may now enjoy your chocolaty (but likely unsanitary following the experiment) treat.’â€
This always crosses my mind too when I see these permission slips. We seem to get more blanket requests for permission that come home early in the school year – along the lines of, “at various times we may use things like Skittles, marshmallows, etc. in lessons,” and you sign off to allow your kid to participate in (or eat) whatever comes up. I still think it’s rather silly, but at least it’s not a separate permission slip every time they want to do something. And my kids’ teachers routinely hand out candy to them. Fortunately they don’t seem to be deterred from acting like normal human beings.
And I completely agree that a middle schooler ought to be able to manage his own food allergy.
Do I dare to eat an OREO? I shall wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach.
(But only if my parent or legal guardian has first signed a permission slip.}
Would it be possible to do the same simulation, using an item that isn’t food? What about bristle blocks or something? Pick two of one colour, one of a different colour, and put the different-coloured one in the middle. Besides, I was taught in high school that we were never to taste anything in the science lab, because even if the item you’re tasting is food, you might have a poisonous chemical on your hands, and they wanted to teach us to follow safe lab procedures as a matter of course. So, yeah, the “permission slip to eat an Oreo” thing is stupid (although, they probably did it because they’ve had parents complain in the past that their adolescent child was given a treat at school without their consent, or that Dia-Betty, Celiac Celia, Anna Phylactic, or Lactose Intolerant Landon can’t have XYZ, and how could the school be so insensitive?) However, I don’t think it’s necessary to use Oreos to teach that lesson, especially if it’s going to be controversial enough to require a permission slip. When I was in school, permission slips and forms were for field trips, and for sex ed, and I think they added a waiver for P.E. in high school when my brother did it, because a boy in my year had broken his leg during wrestling when we were in grade nine, three years prior. That was pretty much it. The school couldn’t, and didn’t, send home permission forms for individual activities that were a part of day to day life–otherwise, they’d have had to ask permission to give us candy as prizes (in educational games, or for good behaviour), to allow us to play outside at recess, to give us scissors (and later, craft knives) during art class, and on and on, until they couldn’t teach us anything, because it was all too “dangerous.”
Oh good god. I’m glad my child doesn’t go to this school. I sign enough stupid crap; I don’t need more.
But before we think that all schools have gone this insane, I just found out that unbeknownst to me, my kid’s teacher has been feeding her snacks every day for most of the year. I knew that they had snack time but believed that my kid, who packs her own lunch, also took a snack. Turns out she decided months ago that her teacher buys better snacks than me so she ditched bringing her own snack and just ate the ones he brings in for kids who don’t bring their own snacks.
I can understand sending something home that says, “oh hey, I’m offering your children Oreos but they don’t have to eat them if they don’t want to,” especially if there are allergies involved….but to send an actual permission slip seems a bit over the top.
Middle school? My daughter’s math teacher called to ask me what kind of colorful candy would be safe for my kid (many, many allergies) and she’d use it for the fun lesson she planned. It was very thoughtful of her and I listed the candy I know she can eat, but I also told her she could use what she wanted that my kid knew at age 14 what was safe.
Oh come on now. This is a joke, isn’t it??
I will bet ten bucks, that the kids went home telling their parents that they get to do an experiment with cookies, and some mom went ballistic on the school.
Either and allergy mom or one of those moms that are just against any sort of junk food.
Hmm…and yet children are allowed pizza in the school cafeteria, and they presumably do not need a permission slip for each slice.
My son has food allergies and at five years old knows to ask before accepting any food (he even asks us, his parents, if a new food we’re offering has milk or eggs). This past Sunday at church, cookies were brought in and he reminded them (he got gummi bears instead and was thrilled) so if my son can do that at five, I would sincerely hope that a kid old enough to be studying plate tectonics would as well.
Isn’t the use of Oreos racially insensitive? It implies that people who are black on the outside and white on the inside are the ones who make the earth move. [This is sarcasm!]
This is because of food allergies. Usually the teachers know ahead of time already what food allergies the class has and will plan a lesson accordingly but maybe because its middle school, they are not made aware so they are checking with parents.
As a food allergy parent I appreciate this. I want to know what food if any is being used in my child’s classroom. He will advocate for himself too but its a bad situation to have to ask to be excused from class for that day if there is your allergen being used in the assignment and then worrying about if it was cleaned up well enough for future classes. Also since a lot of middle school teachers are very distrusting of students I could see them not believing the kid when they say they can’t be in the room and then it can get out of control.
I wish food allergies were not a reality but they are on the rise, they do exist, they are deadly and from now on school are going to have to continue to do things differently when it comes to food in the classroom. Legally with a 504 plan I can take legal action if my child’s allergen is brought into his classroom. Its a big deal.
Added I also would not be so happy about my son missing out on a lesson because they were handling something he cannot touch and he had to spend the class sitting in the office or the library. Because then he is not learning.
” I want to know what food if any is being used in my childâ€™s classroom.”
My daughter has an allergy to fragrances in laundry detergent.
I don’t need to know what every parent (or student) is washing their clothes with, even though she might come in contact with student’s clothing. At this age, kids must own their allergies. These permission slips for food are NONSENSE and evidence of over-controlling parents.
It’s a cookie, not a nuclear food bomb. Do you seriously need prior knowledge that an OREO is part of classroom learning? What about in the workplace? Will you need to know that doughnuts were offered in the break room? When does it end????
It is because of people like you, mental midgets, that this stupidity takes place. This is middle school, and if by that age you kid cannot self regulate their allergy, then home school them.
And if your kid has to sit in the office to avoid Oreo cookies, then you best think back to the old John Travolta film, and put your kid in the bubble.
If you need this 504 plan that allows you to bring legal action in such cases, then guess what………..YOUR SPECIAL LITTLE SNOWFLAKE DOES NOT BELONG IN SCHOOL. He or she belongs at home in a controlled evniroment, where their allergy is not going to be a problem for the rest of the school. So sick and tired of these over entitled moms that believe their kid is more important than the hundreds of others in the school.
For crying out loud, it’s an Oreo. Perhaps not necessary to the concept, but fun and still an Oreo.
A kid that age should own the allergy. A kid that due to allergies won’t be able to function in normal life needs to be in alternate setting to begin with.
I understand that allergies are real. I get that they can be severe and even deadly. Does anyone have a life-threatening Oreo allergy? Seriously curious.
More generally, I see this slide in language from parents all the time. It’s something like “My kid has an allergies. Allergies can be deadly.” Ok, but can your kid’s allergies be deadly?
I mean “My kid has allergies.”
I had to sign a permission slip for my middle school daughter to watch “The Outsiders.” She hears worse language on her middle school bus and sees much more low cut outfits in the hallways.
Middle school is supposed to be a time to learn how to make your own decisions. How can these young people ever do if they are treated like babies.
So, I’m eating Oreos while I’m reading this (yum!), so I checked the back of the package. It says that it contains wheat and soy. Those are both known allergens, so I guess that’s the point. However, how difficult is it to send an FYI note home with your 12-year-old (old enough to be a legal adult in some societies, I might add), and then remind the kids beforehand, “Oreos have wheat and soy, so if you know that’s going to be an issue for you, just observe your neighbor and take notes.” Bam. Done. Incidentally, this is a very easy illustration – I did this with my kindergartener two weeks ago when we were doing our unit on plate tectonics. Why is no one talking about the dumbing down of our schools?? 😉
PS That last bit was meant in jest, in case you didn’t figure that out.
I would not expect or need the teacher to send this to every parent. I would expect him to notify me ahead of time with a letter like this or a call or email and check with me to make sure its okay and if not, then work with me to find a safe alternative or to excuse my son from class and provide him with a different lesson. So he does not miss out on learning because by law he is entitled to a free and public education just like everyone else in spite of any disabilities. If you don’t like that, call your congressman but its the law right now and I am not going to ever be made to feel bad about enforcing it.
Unless my son works in food service industry, he will not be required to touch and handle food all the time so this does not really come up in the adult world. He can just stay out of the break room. My husband has successfully held down an adult job for 15 years now with his food allergy and it has never been a problem.
My daughter’s 2nd grade class used Oreos last year in Science to create the phases of the moon. She still knows all of them. I am grateful for teachers who make learning fun and interesting. And no crazy parents demanded a permission slip (and they did eat the spare cookies).
@SOA – wow, over 1 experiment that the child could observe anyway? Your child, without even knowing how the experiment works, would be incapable of learning? I mean, the cafeteria is filled with food other people provide for kids.
We are talking about middle school — as many have said, by that age they simply must be able to navigate their allergies.
Do you expect high school teachers to inform as well?
What about touching the Oreo? If you have a food allergy a simple touch could set it off.
I guess stupid only goes so far.
I would be SHOCKED that any middle school kid would have arrived at that stage of school life w/o being in the presence of gatherings/special events/lunch rooms where oreos were present.
“So he does not miss out on learning because by law he is entitled to a free and public education just like everyone else in spite of any disabilities.”
So allergies are now a disability?
“Either and allergy mom or one of those moms that are just against any sort of junk food.”
Uh oh, I’ve just been triggered. Get me a coloring book, please.
I just today heard a story about a mom who took mandarin oranges (real ones, not canned ones in sugar syrup or anything like that) to a homeschool gathering and most of the moms wouldn’t let their kids eat them, because there’s “too much sugar.”
Okay, I understand in a school setting being super-picky (if you are picky that way to begin with) about what your kids are given by others to eat, because they’re not under your direct supervision all day and if you didn’t watch out, the kids might get fed a lot of junk that you don’t want them to have over time
But in a homeschool group? Even in a weekly gathering (which is the most often any homeschooling group I’ve ever heard of has regular meetings), letting your kid eat something you don’t approve of, barring allergies or other real health issues, will not throw off their dietary intake entirely. It’s called a “treat.” But I think in this case, it wasn’t even their regular weekly meeting, it was some kind of occasional event. So these moms wouldn’t let their kids eat A PIECE OF FRUIT this ONE TIME because they were afraid it would ruin their health.
SOA, even granting that a severely allergic middle schooler could function in school at all if he were unable to navigate things like Oreos ever entering his classroom (which is highly doubtful), this wasn’t even about having the Oreos in the classroom. It was a given the Oreos were going to be there — the permission was only for EATING them.
You can’t read your own concerns into every situation and the surmise that the situation is what you would consider a sensible reaction to that situation, if the facts of the situation are actually completely different from the concerns you’re raising. Even measures taken to deal with legitimate allergy issues CAN be stupid if they don’t really address realistic issues.
The legal minefield seems never ending BECAUSE it feeds on itself. We’re not only teaching children about tectonic plates but we also teach parents to be even more hyper vigilant. They seek out any possibility of the wrong thing (not having an Oreo permission slip) the same as an OCD sufferer will see germs even after they scrubbed their hands for 10 minutes!
Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that seek out possible problems like an Easter egg hunt! They ENJOY the thrill of finding one!
I don’t mind stories like this because I also enjoy that it highlights just how insecure some people are.
I teach Science at High School, in my country that’s the last 5 years of school.
No we don’t need to use food to teach lessons, but… there is so much more buy in and attention paid by the students when you do something like that.
My best lessons according to my students- In Biology, making DNA strands and replicating them with sweets, and in Chemistry, making Ice-cream with liquid nitrogen and making the students do the thermochemistry and energy transfer calculations.
Between Health and Safety rules and Tikanga Maori considerations it’s hard enough to use foodstuffs in the science room without this sort of rubbish.
I just hope the parents demanding these sorts of permission slips are not the same ones demanding the interesting and dynamic lessons. Those parents are the pits.
SOA – I teach over 100 students a day. I don’t have time to make special lessons for your snowflake. I will not make him/her touch stuff he/she is allergic to, but changing an exciting lesson for the other 25 just so your kid can touch everything and not feel left out? Nope, not going to happen. Life’s not fair. Suck it up and move on.
Or, the teacher could have said, “Class, if anyone has any food allergies or other issues that prevent you from being around Oreos, can you see me after class for a minute?” It’s not like they were handing out guns or condoms. It’s a cookie, one that kids will eat out of their friends’ lunches after class, with or without a permission slip.
When I was in JHS a long time ago, we had parents create a furor over a police officer giving a talk, a discussion of Buddhist meditation, a vocational aptitude battery being given, and a girl (volunteer) who was blindfolded for the duration of class as a demonstration. I’m sure there were many other times I never heard of – these were just in a program I was involved in.
The same parent who has no objection to Oreos being served is liable to get upset that his permission wasn’t requested for some other unforeseen objectionable situation, like the class watching the colored president giving a speech.
Experience shows that those who are most outraged at A, like a permission slip being required, are most likely to be outraged at B, like no one thinking to send home a permission slip for their own most reasonable and valid concern.
SOA – does your kid have any allergies which are life-threatening?
Tiny Tim: yes, life threatening peanut allergy. If he gets it on his skin he will have hives and a rash and if he ingests it, he will get hives and anaphalaxasis.
yes they are protected under the ADA and that is why you can get a 504 plan for them.
Makes me long for the days when we’d do things like eat glue, huff the purple-toner off the mimeographed worksheets, and buy all sorts of crappy candy and junk from the ice cream truck that would park outside our school during recess. Not a one of us ever dropped dead from an allergic reaction.
Bronte: if you are in one of those states where the students must do well on the state tests for you to get your raise I am guessing you would want to make sure my son learned the lesson because if he didn’t because he was excluded, then you are putting your raise at risk. Money is a pretty good motivation to include everyone. But hey, its your wallet.
I would be fine with my son handling this himself by the way. If he wants to go up to the teacher and say “Hey this is not going to work for me blah blah” and the teacher wants to work with my son and leave me out of the whole thing. I am fine with that. Good enough. I love not having to deal with stuff. But the problem around here is they treat middle schoolers like criminals. They never trust them. They never listen to them. So I could see my son saying “I can’t be in there while this is going on and you have to make sure to clean everything up or I could have an allergic reaction” and the teacher ignoring him and making him do it anyway because they just assume he is lying to get out of class. Then all hell would break loose when he either disobeys the teacher and leaves anyway and I have to come over there to raise heck because they will suspend him for cutting class. Or I get to come over there and raise hell because they forced him to be in the room and he had a reaction.
Obviously if teachers would listen to kids, this would work out better. I have way too many stories though that happened to me and people I know where either high school or middle school did not listen to the kids and it was bad. I had a friend almost die of an asthma attack once because the teacher would not let him go get his inhaler from the office. So sorry, I don’t trust the schools to handle this right all the time. You have to stay on topo f them.
Who was the idiot that had allergies declared a disability? That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
You want that kind of individual attention for your snowflake, enroll in private school or hire a TA for him/her. I am so tired of time being taken away from the majority for individuals that should be able to take care of themselves.
SOA – So the allergy is only life threatening if ingested and is only even reactive if touched. There is absolutely no reason thay your child could not watch the experiment. There is no need to do anything different whatsoever. Your child could say “I can’t touch Oreos so I will just have to learn by watching everyone else” and then not eat the damn cookie. It doesn’t take an IEP or notes home or any drama. But you want the drama. You want the “look at me, my kid has an allergy so I am special.” And that is what all this boils down to. The allergy could be handled much easier but that wouldn’t get the parent the attention for having a “special” kid that they love.
I know all the teachers I have had, or my kids have had have ranked good to excellent as a teacher. Is it really that different down in the states, like SOA says that teachers treat the kids like criminals?
And the food allergy as a disability is complete crap. It is only a disability if it prevents you from doing something. But since all the allergens are supposed to be banned or at the least controlled at school, the risk is theoretically removed. Now with the risk removed, the disability is non existant.
This sounds like a case of parents having their cake and eating it to.
So far I would rank my child’s teachers as very good to excellent.
My daughter’s school bans nothing, kids eat a daily snack in the classroom (some bring their own and some eat what the teacher brings), sometimes eat lunch in the classroom, bring treats on birthdays, occasionally have food incorporated into lessons (no permission slip), have gardens where the kids help plant, harvest and eat food and yet allergic kids are not dropping like flies. In fact, there has never been a notable allergic reaction to my knowledge. Allergy survival is not as difficult as some insist on making it.
Wherever a middle-schooler goes, whether it’s to a school dance, a friend’s house, or the gas station after school to buy snacks, there will be lots of foods they encounter. If that middle-schooler has life-threatening allergies, they damned well better understand exactly how to manage those, because Mommy and Daddy, school principal and classroom teacher are not by their side 24/7 to run interference against all the wheat-soy-dairy-peanut-red dye-tree nut dangers.
Seriously, where were all the food allergic kids back in the 1970s? Perhaps they all had died of anaphylaxis before they reached school age in the first place.
When my son was diagnosed with a food allergy 12 years ago, my heart sank, because I hated the idea that I had to worry all the time about cashews, carry and eli-pen, ask a bunch of questions at potlucks, and basically prepare my kid to refuse all homemade foods where the ingredient list or chef was not present. Basically, it was a social death sentence, in my mind.
Every year at school we have to provide an injector for the backpack, classroom, and office, at great expense. We have to fill out a bunch of paperwork. There’s a big sign on the classroom door with a nut with a circle slash through it. I don’t enjoy all of this AT ALL. Especially because it’s SO RARE for a kid to die of their allergy reaction. SO RARE.
Can someone come up with the stats on this? As far as I know, there’s only been one documented case of a middle school age kid who has died in my country due to a dairy allergy in the lunch room. She went through and got cheese fries, she thought without cheese, but there was residue, and she didn’t carry her own injector, and she reacted and died.
This is the case that gets trotted out time and time again. Okay, first off, if your allergy is that dire, you DON’T EAT THE CAFETERIA FOOD, because cross-contamination exists. You’ll have to pack from home, Missy.
Second, CARRY YOUR OWN INJECTOR.
So does this change how anyone else experiences their school day or ingestion of food?
It is the responsibility of the allergic person. If the science teacher were planning an experiment where the secret substance was cashew paste, knew my son had an allergy, and told him to ingest it, that would be the teacher’s issue, because they are all made aware of my son’s allergy.
But if you hand him a cookie that has cashews in it, he will hand it back to you and say “no thanks.”
He is 14.
And I trusted him to do this when he was 6.
The Oreo letter is balderdash. It keeps no one safer, it perpetuates the idea that young adults are not nearly adult, and can be responsible for themselves.
SOA – I have always made reasonable accommodations for students with severe allergies, but I generally work with young children, not middle school. Peanut allergies are a cause for awareness, but for allergies so severe that contact alone is a trigger, accommodations become inherently unreasonable. Peanut residue may be found anywhere people go – park benches, theaters, public swings, tables, etc. The concept of a peanut free school is unrealistic, especially for middle school students who likely purchase and bring their own foodstuffs to school at times. On an interesting side note, The March 21, 2015 issue of Science News included an article regarding a study on peanut allergies. The study showed that infants at risk for peanut allergies had a much higher rate of developing allergies if peanuts were completely avoided, compared to the group for whom peanuts were slowly introduced. So…in some cases strictly eliminating peanuts as a precaution creates a problem that may not have existed otherwise.
Also, Bronte does not teach in the U.S. – that was clear from the posting.
Lastly, if schools are to be kept free of all allergens, they could not exist. I remember the childrenâ€™s book, “Follow My Leader,” in which a counselor asks a recently blinded child if he expects the world to pad all sharp corners because he is blind? Sadly it appears that many people do expect the world the world to adjust to them. And as Dr. Seuss pointed out with the Zax, the world didnâ€™t.
Great article from Salon six years ago: http://www.salon.com/2009/02/05/peanut_allergy/
“The claim that 150 to 200 people die each year from anaphylaxis is grossly exaggerated. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control cited just 14 deaths due to anaphylaxis. The only known registry of deaths from anaphylaxis noted 33 deaths between 1994 and 1999. Remember, all of these estimates refer to the total number of people who had an anaphylactic reaction for any reason, not just from peanuts or other foods.
Facts ought to be stubborn. In the past, Munoz-Furlong has stated that one child dying from an allergic reaction is too many. But Harvard doctor Christakis, again, puts things into perspective. â€œThere are no doubt thousands of parents who rid their cupboards of peanut butter but not of guns,â€ he writes, comparing the alleged 150 children and adults who died from peanut allergies to the 1,300 who die from gun accidents each year. He goes on to note that 2,000 kids drown each year. Indeed, the most common cause of death in kids is accidents. ‘More children assuredly die walking or being driven to school each year than die from nut allergies,’ Christakis writes.”
My son had a medical disability (epilepsy) in elementary school but did not want any special treatment and we did not get any accommodations at school. His teachers knew about it but also realized he want to be treated like a normal student.
And he was.
He’s now in middle school and an excellent student-independent, great work ethic, and gets distinguished honors. We have no need to keep on top of his teachers- he sees them daily and is capable of interacting with adults and problem solving. This is part of growing up.
Claiming your child is disabled and needs special treatment for peanuts is just playing the victim card. Pathetic.
It sounds like eating the Oreo is in no way integral to the actual experiment- the kids just get to eat the Oreo afterwards if they so desire (because hey, free cookie). Am I missing something? Kids aren’t going to get points off for declining the cookie.
‘I had to sign a permission slip for my middle school daughter to watch â€œThe Outsiders.â€ ‘
Off topic, but please tell me that they also read the far, far better book. I don’t think I want to live in a world where kids watch The Outsiders instead of reading it.
In addition to being ridiculous, this is also written badly. I can’t sign it unless I not only want my child to have permission to eat the cookie, but also make sure that my child understands that he can’t eat the cookie unless I sign. Why should that be necessary?
“Well, I was going to give permission, but then my son said ‘I don’t believe they won’t let us eat the cookie without your signature’ so now I can’t sign!”
Also – sample the Oreo? Are there a lot of middle schoolers who will be learning for the first time what an Oreo is?
Finally, a side note – as a vegetarian, thank you Oreo for going vegetarian and kosher!
In this day and age you really have to cover your ass. Maybe the teacher felt she had to do it. There are wacky parents out ther. Soon everyone will be sueing everyone else for every little thing. Everyone is suffering from more and more paranoia these days. I agree it is foolish to have a permission slip, but I also don’t blame her all that much. It probably has to do with the school and the fear of being sued for any little thing. That all I have to say about that.
BDA — yup, it comes down to the chorus of parent who complain about everything. I know a parent of a HS kid who was accused with a few others of cheating on a final exam. The kids were asked to take it again…a parent went off on the school and said she wouldn’t permit the kid to take it unless they had PROOF he’d been cheating. He didn’t take the exam and he got to keep his grade.
Same parent got pissed that the Principal for standing in front of the student section at a soccer game after the ref had stopped the game (twice) and spoken to the coach about hearing racial slurs from the students. So the principal was doing EXACTLY what one would expect a staff member to do and the parent was complaining because they thought he was stifling the cheering and asked him to please move.
I had a parent of a 5th grade classmate of my kid call me to get my assurance that I would grade and submit his “Math Stars” papers he was turning in the following day — an entire quarter of optional/extra credit stuff that I helped review/grade each week with a subset of the class. It was a few days before grades would be submitted and she wanted his grade to be boosted by these work sheets. The teachers looked at me like I (or rather, she) was crazy.
They simply cannot win and are bombarded by this kind of feedback. My sister left teaching and coaching and went into guidance after getting her masters because she could no longer take the crazy parents of her team.
But now it’s a viscous cycle. This teacher’s permission slip sets up the next teacher that uses something w/o sending home a permission slip…and some parent will freak out and use this to support their stance.
I am allergic to stupidity. Reading about permission slips being required for sixth-graders to be in the presence of cookies and some of the comments here have triggered my stupidity allergy. You know one of the reasons why so many kids have allergies? It’s because their parents wont let them go outside and play in the dirt. Now I must consume adult beverages until my symptoms of rage and disgust over what total morons people can be at times go away.
My kid played in the dirt, believe me. And he was born in Vietnam, exposed to a way of life that was certainly sanitary but not completely hygienic by Western standards.
And yet he had (I maintain he’s growing out of it) an anaphylactic allergy to certain nuts.
I didn’t want to give in to the hysteria when we got the diagnosis. But the protocols at schools force us to act as though every morsel of food is a potential killer. I hate it.
This makes my want to teach my kids how to sign my signature so that they can limit the amount of nonsense paperwork that hurts my rational brain to read. Save the parents!
My middle schooler would probably not even eat the Oreo as to not deal with the stupid paperwork. Plus he’s a wrestler and wouldn’t want the empty calories/carbs (though I have no doubt my cookie loving daughters would eat away). There are so many forms that come home requiring permission for basic activities that should not require adult intervention or permission. These kids come in contact with vending machines, convenience stores, and Oreo aisles at the supermarket on a weekly basis. Why we are walking on eggshells for a damn cookie? I feel the pain of these teachers, I really do. Innovative education is being ruined by parents who need to find hobbies and interests outside their children and their allergies. Life goes on. Oreos and all.
The Outsiders is required reading in Montgomery County, MD for 7th grade. My husband read it also in 7th grade. I decided to also read it but it was not a requirement for me. By the time they showed the movie everyone should have read it because all the assignments were turned in.
Does anyone acknowledge the possibility that this is a joke or statement by the teacher, possibly in response to school lunch regulations? Maybe Mrs. Porter just needed to write a little … block at the beginning and end of this letter to avoid confusion. 🙂
Also, shouldn’t this letter have trigger alerts?
I too, have a son with a severe food allergy. I would appreciate a slip likes this. My child has a life-threatening peanut allergy. And while I know SOME school have banned them, our’s has not. And even if they had, if you have never had to deal with such an allergy, you would not know that words like “processed in a plant that uses peanuts/treenuts” or “manufactured on the same equipment as peanuts/treenuts” are extremely important. I think it is the just school being careful and informing parents of what the child may come in contact with. Pick up a pack of oreos and read the back before your start making a big deal about this!
@jen — this is middle school. Which means these kids are 5th grade at least. At what age do you believe that schools can stop this type of communication? At what age should kids be able to navigate the risks of their allergies?
@E, yes, I know that this is middle school, and most often, parents try to educate their children at an early age (atleast we did) on the allergy, how to avoid it, etc. My son reads the backs of packages all the time. I don’t know exactly “what age” would be appropriate to allow them to take control of it, but I don’t believe that middle school is it. But perhaps, this is also a protection on the school’s part so as not to get sued by an overzealous parent. I believe that as long as the school shows that they are consistanly working to ensure the safety of the children, parents who “sue out of greiving or anger” shouldn’t be allowed to file a suit. My son accidently ate a peanut butter m&m in kindergarten. Rush to the hospital, he was fine, and I was angry. But after speaking to the school, the were able to give me reason to believe they had done everything they could to ensure my child’s safety. It was brought in by another parent for their own child and somehow ended up on my child’s desk. HOWEVER, there are parents out there that look for ANY REASON to sue, so this simple note may be their way of ensuring they don’t get blamed later for something a middle school child does on their own. I don’t know. But I really don’t see the big deal with the note.
Hey, if they get to middle school (TEN-year-olds!) without dying of Oreos, they’ll survive this too. Sometimes the survival of the fittest just needs to run its course… >:-E
Nicole: “It’s not like they were handing out guns or condoms”
Just make sure they’re latex-free condoms, then it should be fine 😉
Puzzled: “thank you Oreo for going vegetarian and kosher!”
There was pork in Oreos?????
This is absurd. While I do appreciate that some children have serious allergies, this is not the way to accommodate them. Rather than act as if a cookie is a potential danger to ever child that requires a legal waiver to consume, it would make more sense to inform a teacher at the start of the year if they have a child in their class with a severe allergy so that reasonable accommodations can be made. That way a teacher won’t eat a peanut butter sandwich while she’s also copying a test that is going to be handed out the next period if there’s a child in that section with a peanut allergy, but also won’t have to spend the entire year feeling like she has to obtain parental permission to bring food into the classroom.
Actually I guess they are 6th grade!
It starts with the Evil Oreos….Girl Scout Cookies, they’re coming for you next:
We are doomed.
On a side note, while it may have been covered here when it came out, did people see the study indicating that early exposure to allergens may lower allergy risk?
It makes me wonder if it’s possible we’re actually creating more allergies by requiring so many environments to be allergen-free. Children who are in day care from a young age (where allegens may not be allowed) or who have parents who are extremely concerned about triggering an allergic reaction may, in the name of safety, be denied the early, gradual exposure to allergens that could potentially protect them from developing serious allergies in the future. It just seems at least possible that by requiring that so many environments are peanut-free, for example, kids are now not regularly being exposed to peanuts the way they previously were, so we very well might be creating peanut allergies that would not exist if kids did have more exposure to the allergens.
(This was very comforting to me when my 8 month old snatched her older sister’s Nutella sandwich out of her hand and took a big bite before we got it away. I do not, to be clear, recommend feeding Nutella to infants–although from her reaction she thought it was pretty darn tasty. However, it did make me feel better to know that instead of, as people had been told, introducing allergens early causing allergies, it’s now looking more likely that early exposure to allergens may be protective.)
if you have never had to deal with such an allergy, you would not know that words like “processed in a plant that uses peanuts/treenuts” or “manufactured on the same equipment as peanuts/treenuts” are extremely important.
Actually we all know all about these warnings. We have been forced by our schools, organizations and every other place our kid has been where food is possibly consumed. So Jen, we all know about it, we are fully aware of it. We have had no choice but get to know all about these warnings.
If you child does not know what they can and cannot eat by grade 5, they are way behind where they should be.
I have been told that Oreos are gateway cookies.
The real issue are the kids who don’t have permission to eat the cookies AFTER the experiment will just do it before and during the experiment.
They could always use play-dough and boards to make slip faults.
@Warren, You asked “Is it really that different down in the states, like SOA says that teachers treat the kids like criminals?”
I can only speak for about 2 decades ago. But the short answer is yes it can be that bad. But no it is not that bad everywhere.
The middle school years in particular get this treatment. There was this notion in my childhood and town at least that middle school kids were all budding criminals. Our teachers would give us these huge, unnecessary home work projects over break and tell us it was to “keep us off the street.” On the last day of school were were not allowed to carry bags or backpacks of any kind and every gate was staffed and they patted down every student before they could come on campus. They had drug sniffing dogs review the lockers on a regular basis, and I have a friend who’s school actually had it’s own team of drug dogs and would line up all the students and have the dogs sniff everyone. My sister was threatened with a referral for expulsion because mom put a plastic knife in her lunch and she turned it in (zero-tolerance, zero-brains). I had a friend with horrible asthma who was regularly searched for contraband inhalers (heaven forbid she save her own life). Every day at lunch time we had exactly 5 minutes to get behind the yellow line marking off the lunch area. After a while we were allowed to leave the area but we were not allowed to move about the campus in groups of more than 3. If we were caught in a group of more than 3 we were labeled a “gang”. When it rained they herded all 950 of us into the combo auditorium/cafeteria/gym. Where we were all pressed up against each other and didn’t allow us to leave. There was no bathroom in this building… yet they would only allow 1 or 2 students out at a time to use the bathroom. Because if we were out there unsupervised we might do bad things. When I was in 6th grade they wanted to put us all in uniforms because they thought we weren’t disciplined enough. When I was in 8th grade they banned markers and scissors. I was really fed up so I actually went into the office to complain about the rules change and ask “why?” What had happened to make them ban scissors. They admitted nothing had happened, but then said someone might use scissors as a weapon. I asked why they were punishing good students along with bad, and why they were going after imagined crimes. I was told. “You kids are all bad, you just haven’t been caught yet!”
@Warren – yep, crazy as it sounds, allergies can be classified as disabilities. ..they are immune system conditions and therefore ‘disabilities’. Which is pretty crazy in my opinion. We were shocked when told Midge was technically ‘disabled’ – a less disabled kid you would be hard pressed to find. Same with allergy kids…the whole thing is ridiculous.
@SOA – Bronte is a Kiwi ….I doubt there’s a lot of call for Tikanga Maori practice in the States.
@Bronte – I always found it amusing when working in Porirua East at a mainly Pasifika school that the only teacher who consistently used dough and pasta etc for artwork in the classroom was our one Pasifika teacher
I find it absurd that parents think they can control what a teacher eats in her own home, during her off hours, in case she later happens to touch a piece of paper that an allegedly profoundly allergic kid might also touch. How many kids have died from touching a test paper returned by a teacher who graded it the night before while eating a peanut butter sandwich?
I am a parent of a child(4th grade) with food allergies. Things are locked down pretty good k-5. Her classroom is always a no food classroom.
We have drilled it into my daughter about her food allergy over the years. It has worked. She won’t touch anything without reading the label or talking to the person who made the item directly. We have prepped her over and over. The reason is by middle school she should/will be able to make her own decisions on food and we shouldn’t have to be notified about everything.
We are getting her ready for the rest of her life.
I think it’s completely nuts that some parents expect to have complete control of every aspect of their child’s life. I mean, at SOME point, you have to accept that your kid is going to be able to do things without your permission or supervision. (unless I guess you COMPLETELY shelter your kid, as in, homeschool him and never let him leave the house without you) A middle school kid not allowed to eat junk food, to the point where his parents would freak out over a single Oreo? Chances are, he probably has friends sharing food with him. Assuming he has access to money, he might buy some on his own time. I knew some kids who weren’t allowed to have junk food, and oh boy, when they had the opportunity to have some, they REALLY took it.
Sending out permission slips and monitoring the class is a lot of effort for a single Oreo and I doubt the teacher really thinks it’s necessary. Either the school has some insane policy on food, or the teacher had a really bad experience with a parent involving this project. Though if I were the teacher, I just wouldn’t bother. Or at least, you’d think they’d cover this in the permission slip I assume they get at the beginning of the year, rather than a separate slip each time.
Warren: Allergies are considered a disability largely for the sake of school lunches. Some schools today don’t allow kids to bring in their own lunches (yeah, it’s stupid) but make exceptions for children with allergies who might not be able to eat much of the stuff offered in the school. It’s also possible to have a very severe peanut allergy where breathing in the dust is harmful, though that kind is pretty rate.
Warren, adding to Sarah J, the disability status of severe food allergies enables schools to pay for training for teachers to provide medical support (epi-pen use, etc.) and allows some schools to have access to full time nurses. Not all kids with severe allergies are labeled as disabled (mine is not; I’ve felt the schools to be responsive to reasonable requests by me—the biggest request made by me thus far is to ask a teacher to change seating assignments so my child would not have to share a desk with a child who brought peanut butter crackers to school everyday to consume during snack time).
Buffy: funny incident of a teacher eating peanut butter and apple slices during class at her desk while marking my daughter’s paper. Teacher had apparently gotten a smear of PB on the paper and when she placed the paper face down on my daughter’s desk, my daughter asked her to pick it up and show her the grade because she wasn’t going to handle it and risk a good case of hives (anaphylaxis unlikely without consumption). Teacher was so mortified that she called me to apologize (probably thought she was going to be sued!). I laughed it off and said that my daughter had obviously learned all her lessons about how to keep herself safe around food (and she has many, many food allergies). Her age at the time? Seven. Now, at 14, she is exposed in the cafeteria, friends houses, movies, etc. to people consuming the foods she is allergic to ALL THE TIME. She carries an Epi-Pen, she carries a medical ID. We had two choices as a family: live in a bubble or take necessary precautions and live as normal a life as you can.
Regarding peanut-free schools, I’m against them. I think these precautions are ridiculous and even give parents and children with allergies a false sense of security, because peanuts can masquerade in all sorts of food that easily make it into the inner “sanctum.” Far better precautions are, whenever possible, not allowing food at communal desks, encouraging washing of hands (great for flu season as well), and empowering children with allergies to take personal precautions (never sharing food, never eating anything from which you cannot read an ingredient list—my preschool/kinder message to my daughter “If I didn’t pack it, you don’t eat it.”, and using a placemat before unpacking your lunch on a communal table).,
“Allergies are considered a disability largely for the sake of school lunches. Some schools today don’t allow kids to bring in their own lunches (yeah, it’s stupid) but make exceptions for children with allergies who might not be able to eat much of the stuff offered in the school.”
There are about 2 schools (outside of preschool) in the entire US which ban home lunches so I seriously doubt that the federal government has made the effort of declaring allergies a disability for the sake of a very small handful of school.
In all seriousness, if I was in this position I would absolutely not sign this over how ridiculous it is for them to ask permission slip is. In fact, I would disregard it and send the child in with his own bag of Oreos to almost counterattack or negate the slip. This would in a way send a psychological message to the teacher or whoever authorized this action in a very passive-aggressive method. Now that I think of it, every child in the class and in every class that has to do the experiment should do this and their snacks simultaneously so the message is read loud and clear. It’s a shame that the experiment was today or this could’ve made a huge impact. Well, that’s my personal theory at least.
My son plays in the dirt everyday. Took him on daily strolls outside since he was a baby. I am not the best housekeeper either and never was since I had kids. So yeah, no lack of dirt here. Yet, still got a peanut allergy. His twin brother raised the exact same way did not get one. Has nothing to do with freaking dirt.
Lollipop-lover- Do it! My mom taught me about 9th grade to sign her signature. We practiced till I got it. She was over having to sign reading logs and permission slips every night so she told me just to sign it for her and she would back me saying that was her sig if questioned. I probably will do the same with my kids once they are old enough to pull that off.
Warren: some examples of things they do to middle schoolers here-lock the bathrooms during class time and lunch except for one bathroom near the office because gosh forbid a kid might skip class in there or try to poop in privacy or smoke a cigarette or make out in there. As a substitute teacher I would get pretty mad when I needed to pee and kept trying bathroom after bathroom to find them all locked!
They actually walk middle schoolers to change classes in some of the schools here still. Starting doing it when I was in middle school back in 92.
Tried to control where my mother picked me up after school saying she was not allowed to park in one certain empty parking lot to pick me up but I had to be picked up in this other parking lot even though we were in no one’s way. Just because they wanted to be able to control everything after school hours.
When the bell rings they don’t just let the kids leave to their way home. They dismiss bus riders first, then car riders and walkers. Make you stand there in the hallway for up to 15 minutes after bell rings waiting on buses to leave. I found this out picking up a friend’s little brother one day from there.
In high school, we had a great teacher who loved to open stall doors or peek over stalls to catch you smoking. Even if you were not actually smoking. So she peeped at your peeing. She also asked my friend to “Let me smell your hands” because she thought she was smoking and wanted to smell the smoke as my friend was wiping her vagina after peeing.
Oh and one time my friend started her period during the school day in high school. My friend was a Senior so probably already 18 years old. She asked to go home to change clothes and then come back. They told her “I need to see the blood and see proof before I give you a pass to leave”. Needless to say she just left and then got suspended for skipping because she did not feel like showing her bloody tampon to the lady. I told her I wold have pulled it out right there and flung it at her. If you act like that to me, I can escalate.
So yes, in a way they treat middle schoolers and high schoolers like criminals around here. I had the most freedom in elementary school believe it or not.
When it comes to ensuring a child doesn’t inadvertently eat a food they are allergic to, you can’t be overprotective. And yes, that may inconvenience parents whose kids don’t have a food allergy. But as a mom of a child with a life threatening allergy, please know how much we appreciate compassion towards all and signing of seemingly annoying forms. I live on the LM school district and appreciate this teacher’s efforts!
Papilio – I believe it was gelatin.
“They actually walk middle schoolers to change classes in some of the schools here still.”
Walk? Or goose-step?
Surely the teacher can find a nonedible substitute to be used in this experiment. Takong the time to write the permission slip, send them home, have parents sign, return them to school, collect them from students, etc. is WAY too much work for a cookie.
Surely the teacher can find a non-edible substitute to be used in this experiment.”
Why should she have to? Why have we dangerized a cookie like it’s plutonium?
This story made front page news of the Philadelphia Inquirer this morning. And Dolly, you were quoted for your comments here!
I still believe this story is more about the complete LACK of personal accountability that we expect from our children. This is middle school. If you are old enough to study plate techtonics and advanced scientific concepts, you should be able to accept personal accountability for whether or not you can safely eat or be near Oreos. Why the parent still insists on it and this poor teacher has to work around the “allergy plan”.
@Puzzled: Ooooh – yes that might be it. Practically molecules…
I think it is less about personal accountability and more about control-freak parents. I’ve seen kids who are taught to do so handle their allergies successfully in preschool, so there is absolutely no reason that a developmentally normal tween/teen can’t do it other than the parents NEED the control. It gives them pleasure to control every aspect of their child’s life and they love the attention that their “oh woe is me, my child has an allergy and it is sooooooo hard” gets them. They purposely seek to make it worse than it needs to be by refusing to allow their children to handle the situation themselves.
There is also the segment of the parenting population who, even without allergies, feel that they need to control everything that touches their child 24/7. These are the parents who don’t allow sleepovers because their child might eat something they wouldn’t allow or watch a TV show that has not been pre-approved or will play video games for too long.
I just want to add here that as much as I know how ridiculous this appears, I know this teacher and she has been one of the highlights of my daughter’s experience in this middle school. She is doing this b/c of allergies, food sensitivities and other health issues that 6th graders might not be aware of- it’s not a matter of choice for a kid to eat these. but health and safety. She is covering her butt and taking care of her students so as silly as it sounds when portrayed this way by “Main Line Mom driving around the Main Line in her gas guzzling SUV”, it’s unfortunately a necessity.
As for those who claim their child should “own” their health issues at this age- a large percentage of kids in this school are disabled and while they “own” their disabilities 24/7 they may be nonverbal or have other issues which prevent them from being able to “own” to the extent of typical kids.
the school is trying to cover themselves. remember this little story?
“She is doing this b/c of allergies, food sensitivities and other health issues that 6th graders might not be aware of”
If a child is not aware of his/her own food allergies, sensitivities or other health issues that mandate what s/he can eat or not eat, the parents are complete and utter failures. Even by the most sheltered, over-controlled parenting standards, a child should at least know their own health issues by 11/12 years old.
“a large percentage of kids in this school are disabled and while they “own” their disabilities 24/7 they may be nonverbal or have other issues which prevent them from being able to “own” to the extent of typical kids.”
Get real. Anyone capable of learning plate tectonics is also capable of “owning” whether they can eat an Oreo or not. Some are trying to act like this is a complicated, difficult evaluation that needs to be made. This is not some rare foreign delicacy. It is a freaking OREO – a quintessential American snack food that has surely been in the presence of everyone in the classroom umpteen times before this day, so they KNOW whether they can eat it or not without any thought process whatsoever being required.
But, for the sake of argument, say there is some child so severely disabled as to be nonverbal, but yet is somehow still studying plate tectonics in what appears to be a mainstream classroom, why do all the children need a permission form? Certainly the teacher has a form of daily communication with that particular child’s parents – the child being nonverbal and all – and could have just jotted a note to them.
@Donna – amen. To all of the above.
Medical conditions can be quite addictive for parents. I find Midge’s quite interesting from a scientific point of view (I might be the resident sociopath, as well as ghost
Hmm…that was weird
You are probably going to want to slap me for this. You are sounding more like me these days. More well spoken, but the tone is there. LOL.
I firmly believe that there is a good percentage of these moms that crave the attention and sympathy, that they get from others. Because it is oh so difficult to have a child with food allergies. To be in constant fear for their life. Blah blah blah.
One of my best friends, an awesome nurse and person, has two kids. One with severe seafood allergies. One with a peanut allergy, and she is constantly harping about all the sick moms that want the world to sanitize the path for their allergy kids. She believes that the allergy is her kid’s concern and nobody else’s.
@ Warren. .yes to the attention thing. And has your friend tried giving the child with seafood allergies anti-histamines before consumption? I ask only because my crazy husband, who is both allergic and addicted to seafood, has finally discovered that he can get away with eating crayfish if he takes the drugs first. He got this tip off a fellow Chinese addict friend
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, but anyway, when I was in kindergarten (September 1989 through June 1990), early in the year, our teacher had us make PBJ’s, and then walked us to a park about five blocks away, where we had a picnic, and played on the (wood and metal, horribly dangerous by today’s standards) playground equipment. This was my first school field trip that I remember. No permission forms were sent home, no parent chaperones were involved, and nothing went wrong. Now, just for fun, I’m going to break down the elements of this “simple” excursion, through today’s safety-obsessed, sue-happy mindset:
1. We made sandwiches with peanut butter, jam, and enriched wheat white bread, and we made them in the classroom. This couldn’t happen nowadays, because of the proliferation of kids who are allergic to peanuts (and other things, but mainly peanuts and tree nuts). So, within the past ten or fifteen years, the school (which I attended from grades K-4, with no food restrictions) has gone nut-free.
2. The teacher took us off school property (albeit not very far off school property) without getting permission from our parents.
3. My kindergarten class only had fourteen students (probably because it was half-day–I was in the afternoon class), but even then, one adult to fourteen five-year-olds, wouldn’t be a sufficient adult-to-child ratio nowadays. For Sparks (Canadian equivalent of Daisy Scouts), I think the rule is one adult for every six children (ages 5 and 6), and that’s at the regular meeting place. If a field trip or a special activity (campfire, cooking, craft requiring glue guns, knives, or needles and thread) is involved, more adults are needed.
4. The playground equipment of 1989 was fun and challenging for kids of all ages (or at least MOST ages), but by today’s standards, it would be considered dangerous. Most of that playground has since been ripped out, and replaced with boring “safe” equipment.
5. This isn’t exactly a “safety rule,” but a lot of people would probably complain about their five-year-old having to walk ten blocks (five blocks each way), even in good weather. Our picnic happened to be on a sunny day, but that wouldn’t make much difference to a lot of adults, because it was still ten blocks, and “what if it had rained?”
6, A picnic in the park doesn’t teach any specific objectives of the kindergarten curriculum, although we did learn to make PBJ’s (fine motor skills), and practice road safety (as per the Elmer the Safety Elephant song) on the way to and from the park. But, teaching kids how to provide themselves with basic sustenance, and navigate from Point A to Point B and back without getting hit by a car, is apparently less important now than teaching them the three R’s.
Anyway, when you look at things that way, it seems pretty insane to require a permission form for GRADE SIX students to eat one Oreo each during science class, when my teacher had our class make PBJ’s, and took us to a park five blocks away for a picnic, in KINDERGARTEN, without sending home permission forms or enlisting extra chaperones. As far as I know, everyone who participated in that field trip lived to tell the tale.
I think you mean “proof that we can never OVERestimate how far our obsession over child safety can go” but I know what you mean – it’s madness.
Warren – I often agree with you. I don’t particularly like the way you treat others here much of the time and I don’t think bullying someone is the way to long term solutions to problems but our opinions are often not too far off.
I do get an attitude about this because I am extremely tired of allergy parents trying to impact my life for concessions that don’t need to be made. It is extremely rare for someone to be so sensitive to an allergen that they can’t even be in the presence of it, so stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. If, per chance your child does have such a severe sensitivity, I am happy to make concessions, but stop demanding them for children who only have touch or consumption allergies. I promise you that if my child is lucky enough to have a cookie to take for lunch, she is not going to offer it to another kid, let alone rub it on them or shove it down their throat.
And all this bringing in substitutes stuff is fine for parties and special occasions, but ridiculous for random plate tectonics projects involving a single Oreo. By 11/12, a person should have some acceptance that life isn’t always going to be fair. There are going to be times that others get a treat and you dont. It could be that you are allergic to Oreos or just don’t like them, but if not eating a cookie in science class is your biggest problem that day, you’ve had a fabulous day. Especially in the misery that is middle school.
I think there are parents who are raising kids with allergies and those who say “As a parent of a child with a life-threatening peanut allergy”, like it is a more important bullet on their parenting resume and is somehow more of an important role.
I bring up personal accountability because I think, especially for those with food allergies, it needs to be cultivated at early ages. Control freak parents who need to inspect every label and restrict all food that comes near their kids because “it could kill them” or “When it comes to ensuring a child doesn’t inadvertently eat a food they are allergic to, you can’t be overprotective.” Food is everywhere. Trying to maintain a protective shield around your kid is not a very good life strategy. It’s exhausting and all consuming and doesn’t make for a very happy, healthy childhood.
I, too, am willing to make concessions to make school safe for all kids. But when we kill a tree for an Oreo permission slip, I have to call these crazy parents on the carpet for the absurdity of a world where a tween can’t have a cookie. It’s attention seeking behavior to still call these things out as safety issues given the age of these kids.
Donna: I get pissed as all get out when someone accuses me of using the food allergies for attention. I would literally cut my right arm off right now and say goodbye to it forever if it would magically cure my son of his allergies. I don’t want him to have to be special. I don’t want him to have to miss out on things. I don’t want him to have to sit there by himself twiddling his thumbs while all the other kids stuff their faces with delicious cookies. I don’t want him to have to look like a dork carrying around a man purse or fanny pack with his epipens at all times. I don’t want him to come to me crying because in his own words “I am scared for my life sometimes because of my allergy.” I don’t want him to have anxiety. I don’t want to spend the around $1000 to $3000 a year on epipens, allergy doctor appts, and allergy testing. I could certainly find something more fun to spend that money on believe me!
I don’t want to have to worry that anytime my son wants to kiss a girl/boy he is going to have to ask what they ate that day first in case there is still residue or crumbs floating around in their mouth or on their lips. How romantic is that?
It sucks more than anything and I hate it for him and for us. HATE it. I hate having to never be able to go out to eat without first checking an online menu and calling about allergy info. I hate having to pack special food for him anytime we go anywhere. I hate that I have to bust my butt handmaking cupcakes for every birthday party instead of just ordering a pretty cake from a bakery. I hate having to do the same for every class party.
NONE of that is fun. NONE of it. I don’t like negative attention and that is all the food allergy gets us. We get plenty of parents that wanna talk smack about us because of it. There is probably a reason my son does not get invited to sleepovers much and its because a lot of parents don’t wanna deal with anything relating to the food allergy stuff. Even if I send over food for him and put him in charge of his own epipens etc. Parents just don’t want to fool with it. A few have been nice about it, but many are not.
No one wants a kid going to the hospital or dying on their watch so they would rather just invite another allergy free kid.
So It really pisses me off when someone accuses me of making an allergy up or exaggerating it or loving the attention. Because I hate everything fucking thing about his allergy. HATE it. Does any of that stuff sound fun to you above? Because if so, maybe you are the one with mental issues because none of that is fun to me.
Speaking of cookies, does anyone else remember the best-selling children’s book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?” Here’s the Amazon link:
Anyway, I think there’s a bit of that mentality with child safety–both with what over-protective adults and bureaucrats THINK will happen (give kids, or those working with kids, an inch of autonomy, and all hell breaks loose), and what actually happens (give bureaucrats total control of making the rules, and a different kind of hell breaks loose). But, in this case, it’s “If you give a tween a cookie, you’ll probably need permission from the parents. So, you send home a permission form, and Mommy Dearest flies off the handle and says that Her Child can only have gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sugar-free, fat-free, all-natural organic cookies that were blessed by two rabbis, a priest and a monk, and only then under parental supervision on the first Friday of each month.” Don’t even get me started on what might happen if you give a tween a cookie, and he or she asks for a glass of milk.
You are full of it. Time and time again, on subjects ranging from allergies to how you do things at work, at pools and so on, your comments absolutely reflect your desire for attention and recognition. So get off your high horse, you have been busted too many times.
SOA – I don’t doubt for a second that you hate it for your son. However, you LOVE it for you. You love the attention. You love blowing it out of proportion.
That entire comment is an example. Much of that stuff you list is not necessary. My former nephew has a life-threatening peanut allergy. They go out to eat without checking online menus or calling ahead. They never pack special food for him when they go out anywhere, although their dish is always suitable for him. He has had ample sleepovers with no more drama than packing an epi-pen and mentioning that he has a peanut allergy. His mother doesn’t bring something to every party. If he can’t eat some things, he can’t eat some things. His parents have never once mentioned a fear over his now present love life. And he’s made it to 15 with no drama or near-death experiences.
Warren: you are getting so paranoid that you mix me up with someone else. I have said zip about pools that I can remember except that we still have a cool community members only pool that does not have too many rules.
Donna: there are varying degrees of peanut allergies for one thing. So unless your nephew has the exact blood test level my son has, it is not a fair comparison. Some kids react from cross contamination, some don’t. I know a little girl that is more allergic than my son and I don’t go around saying her mother is too overprotective just because she is more cautious than we are. Her daughter’s blood test results are higher meaning she will react easier than my son will. It is a very individualized thing.
I know some people that let their kids eat Chick Fil A even though its fried in peanut oil. Because some allergists and allergies are okay with it. Some are not. Neither group is wrong. That is the nature of food allergies. They are not the same for everyone.
We have walked into multiple restaurants and been turned away because they tell us they can’t serve him confidently. It happens. People have died when eating out because the server made a mistake or the chef made a mistake. So we only eat out at places that are chain restaurants that have allergen menus and set allergen protocols. Anything else is risky. This is a recommendation from our allergist.
I mean you can argue with me all day, but are you seriously going to say you know more than a certified Allergist who went to med school and did specialized training in allergies? Because sorry, you are not that smart and have not earned the right to say you know more than an doctor with a specialty in allergies and immunology.
and again, I don’t love it. All I do is complain about it. Never once has it made me feel good about myself. It definitely hurts my wallet and that is where I put the most trust in. I have to spend way more on groceries to buy only the allergy safe brands which usually cost more and pb alternatives cost twice as much as pb. Then the medical bills. We spend $600 to $800 a year on epipens alone. I want that money for massages dammit. So no, I don’t love it.
Donna: I am lazy by nature. Lazy. So anything that causes me MORE work is not cool in my book. Food allergies triple my work as a parent. I hate it. Hate it. Hate it. I don’t mind admitting I am lazy. I am. So the easier things are for me the better and having a kid with food allergies makes you work a lot more. And spend more. I would love to just call the bakery and order a cake and pay for it and be done with it. But, no, I have to get all the cupcake stuff to make them myself and then spend all day making them and its a pain. Can’t be lazy. I would love to just let the room mom serve whatever the heck she wants and not even deal with it and just send in my money and be done with it. But instead I get to converse with her back and forth on what is and is not safe for him and then probably make some of it myself and then show up on party day to deliver it and stick around to make sure everything is safe. I would rather be at home watching “The Originals”. Because I am lazy. So yeah, you can call me lazy. That is true. Don’t call me a lover of the attention though because its the exact opposite.
“I am scared for my life sometimes because of my allergy.”
Having an allergy is not a death sentence! The Grim Reaper is not following them around in the form of an Oreo. If a child expresses this level of irrational anxiety over a food allergy, you need to seriously look at why he feels this way. Likely, YOU gave him this anxiety for no good reason. THAT is the problem.
We know many families with peanut, tree nut, seafood, and Celiac Disease. I I have had most of these kids over my house and fed them with no issues. The allergy doesn’t define the child (or the parent), it’s just a part of life they’ve learned to manage. No one wants to talk smack about them or accuses them of seeking attention for the allergy because they don’t. They are too focused on living a normal, active life.
Lollipop lover-so which is it? Do we stress to the kids how to handle this allergy and train him how to read labels and ask questions and not eat things he is unsure about? Because I did that and the result is now he is super super cautious and scared about it. It can’t be both ways. My option is either make sure he knows 100% how to handle it and how serious it can be. or I handle it for him like a helicopter mommy so he does not have to worry.
I challenge you to teach a 5 year old to inject themselves with a giant needle and them not be anxious about it. I taught him at age 5 how to inject himself with an epipen if he needed to. Most kids I know boo hoo over shots and my kid has to learn how to give a shot to himself to save his life. Again I dare you to show me a kid that won’t have some anxiety over that. Just because you don’t see it, does not mean its not there. My son appears normal and happy and healthy too, but that does not mean he does not talk to me privately about his anxieties.
this is why you can’t trust a lot of restaurants and why eating out is actually dangerous. Thus why we are more likely to pack our own food versus go to restaurants and stick to restaurants we know are safe and/or call ahead and have to research ahead of time.
I don’t think this is too overboard. Actually, my daughter has Celiacs and was diagnosed with HFA. When she was in school they would allow her to decide if she wanted to eat the cookie. That always was a yes as she had no impulse control. Then they sent her home where we got to deal with a new bout of hyperactivity, inappropriate behavior, severe constipation and blood in her stool (which made her panic). Not fun and very inconsiderate of the school staff.
As a parent, I am surprised that we would put down a teacher for being so considerate to the parents wishes. It doesn’t happen often in our experience. Way to go, Teacher!
Dolly, didn’t say you enjoy the extra work. Said you enjoy the attention. You get to play the poor over-burden martyr mother. Every single comment you make on the subject indicates that.
You are so full of yourself, it isn’t funny. Donna nailed it on the head. You love being a martyr mom. You love saying “poor poor pitiful me”.
Your comments were about how other mothers treated you, for admonishing their kid at a pool, instead of bending over and kissing your ass. Your ego is beyond belief. You really should seek some therapy. Or a muzzle.
This is middle school. If your kid cannot handle their allergy by then, you failed.
@Warren and Dolly–I think you’re both right. Warren has a point about developmentally typical middle-school kids being old enough to “own” their own allergies, but on the other hand, Dolly’s son is five years old. I can only imagine what a fine line she must have to walk, between teaching her son to be responsible for his food allergies, and recognizing that he’s only five years old. I mean, the responsibilities of dealing with a food allergy don’t go away; they can only be transferred to the child as he or she matures.
Off the top of my head, I can think of reading labels on foods, in order to avoid the allergen(s). Most five-year-olds are beginning readers at best, so at five, that responsibility goes to the adult. Asking the right questions? Well, most five-year-olds can handle, “Does this food have [my allergen?]”; but might not think to ask, “Could this food have come into contact with [my allergen?]” So, that responsibility goes, again, to the adult, with some coaching to the child as to what questions to ask. That coaching may start at or before five years old, but it surely won’t be finished at five. Then, when it comes to medication, you could probably teach a five-year-old, “Take one children’s Benadryl from your care kit when you feel itchy” (assuming the child’s school even allows five-year-olds to carry Benadryl), but as Dolly said, a five-year-old might be afraid of the Epi-Pen, and not be able to inject him-or-herself if necessary.
Responsibilities that a child that young could take on might include avoiding blatant peanut products (for example, pre-literate children with peanut allergies can be taught to recognize and avoid the Reese’s logo, or the Skippy peanut butter squirrel, or the Kraft peanut butter teddy bears, which I find creepy even though I have no peanut allergy), but even if Dolly’s son can and does take those age-appropriate responsibilities, that’s not going to be sufficient to keep him safe. I think there’s a balance to be struck–if you do everything for your child, then they’re never going to take responsibility for their allergy, even when they’re old enough, but if you don’t help them at all, then they’re going to burn out, and possibly REFUSE to take responsibility for their allergy when they’re old enough. Besides, even some things that look like helicoptering, can ultimately have a positive result. For example, the parent who sends their child to a birthday party with an allergy-safe cupcake, or asks at a restaurant which dishes are safe, IN THE CHILD’S PRESENCE, is teaching that child that someday, when they’re old enough, they can bring their own food, ask the right questions, and that having food allergies isn’t the end of the world, because by then, they’ll have childhood memories of being able to eat out, or have cake at birthday parties, just in a slightly different way.
Anyway, long story short: There is a point where kids should be able to take responsibility for their own allergies (or diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, or whatever), but getting to that point happens gradually, and it certainly doesn’t happen at the age of five. So, sending permission forms home with middle schoolers to ask if they can have an Oreo in science class, is overkill, but I don’t think it’s overkill for Dolly to take precautions for her son, so that he can have a childhood.
thank you Emily. Very well said. Everything when it comes to raising kids is a process. Most of us are not blessed enough to have kids you tell something to one time and then they never have to be told again. That is like the rare gift of a perfect child and not many of them exist. It takes years and years of working with kids till they master something. Especially something as complex as a food allergy. Hell my husband has a food allergy and even he does not handle it right all the time. He has a learning curve because his was not developed till adulthood so it was not a life long thing he has always been taught to deal with.
For my son when he is in middle school I will have a meeting at the beginning of the school year with his teachers about his allergy and everything will be figured out then. That is a proactive way to go about it. So the teacher would not have to send out a note to everyone- they can just follow the plan we already have in place and when in doubt, contact me and/or my son.
ps I am actually looking forward to middle school for one reason- no more constant class parties. Parents seem to chill with that whole crazy train by the time middle school rolls around. I would rather just be done with all that. Kids don’t get food shoved at them all the time by that age in school like they do in elementary school.
@Dolly–You’re welcome, but I don’t actually have kids. I’ve worked with kids a fair bit, and I ask a lot of questions at restaurants, and read a lot of labels when buying food at various stores, because I’m vegan, and I don’t always get that right. For example, just the other day, I found out that Ragu spaghetti sauce with mushrooms contains parmesan cheese, although the straight-up original Ragu sauce is fine. However, consuming a bit of milk or egg here and there out of oversight, or even just plain politeness (if I’m visiting someone, and they hand me a cookie or something, I’m not going to grill them on the ingredients) isn’t going to kill me. With food allergies, eating the wrong thing really could kill you. So, my response came from working with kids, four years of veganism (and nine years of lacto-ovo vegetarianism before that), being friends with a few people with food allergies over the years, and a few somewhat educated guesses.
@SOA – it does suck to have to inject yourself with anything , but it’s life for many kids and adults. I would expect a diabetic 5 year old to be beginning to inject themselves.
And I am surprised at your allergist. Our immunologists are unimpressed by schools and kindergartens making concessions for allergy kids….they rightly point out that it causes problems further down the track , by creating an artificial sense of complacency.
Doesn’t stop schools doing so, sadly.
>>@SOA – it does suck to have to inject yourself with anything , but it’s life for many kids and adults. I would expect a diabetic 5 year old to be beginning to inject themselves.<<
@Hineata–I think that would depend on how long ago that five-year-old was diagnosed with diabetes. Like anything, there's a learning curve involved, so if the child was diagnosed recently, I wouldn't criticize the child for not immediately being able to self-inject, or work the insulin pump, or whatever, nor would I criticize the parents for not pushing it; especially when the consequences of a mistake can make the person feel quite ill.
@Emily- Dolly’s son is not 5, he’s 8.
By now, he’s been in school probably 3 years.
I also have an 8 year-old. She packs her own lunch, bikes to school, reads chapter books, and holds the neighborhood pogo stick jump record with 254 consecutive jumps.
She loves cupcakes but doesn’t bring them in for her birthday. We do the “donation” option given by the teacher where she picks 3-4 favorite new books (we order them on Amazon,sometimes used, who cares) and they place a little dedication page for her birthday on the inside of the front page. She thinks this is the coolest thing EVER.Sometimes she “visits” her previous donations (or checks them out) from years past. There doesn’t need to be food for everything or special food that meets everyone’s needs. But if there is, a child of 8 usually knows what they can and cannot eat for their own personal safety.
>>I would love to just let the room mom serve whatever the heck she wants and not even deal with it and just send in my money and be done with it. But instead I get to converse with her back and forth on what is and is not safe for him and then probably make some of it myself and then show up on party day to deliver it and stick around to make sure everything is safe.<<
^^^This is being a martyr mom.
It's also the reason I no longer volunteer to be a room mom because I Simply. Cannot. Deal.
To make several phone calls, make your own *safe* option because you won't trust someone to make it as safe as you, "stick around to make sure everything is safe" and treat every food encounter like it's your Supermom Mission does not benefit your child. You also treat the volunteer room mom like she's a complete moron who cannot be trusted. (I'd argue that pissing people off like this actually makes parents (and kids) less likely to look out for your son's allergy and yes, avoid you.)
As the saying goes: "Prepare your children for the road, not the road for your child."
Allergies are an individual challenge. But you're making it way, way harder for yourself (intentionally )and your son is old enough to learn how to navigate this road.
Have you asked HIM how he'd like to handle his allergies? Does he like having his mom argue with room moms about food and show up to patrol parties and the subsequent Anxiety that ensues??
@SOA- Kids won’t get food “shoved” at them in Middle School, but it will be there.
Middle school home economics- this may blow your mind- they learn to cook their own food. They have foreign languages and learn about cultures through the foods they serve- it’s one of the reasons my son loves Spanish.
There’s Pi Day. Colonial days (where they prepare recipes outdoors with traditional ingredients) and many, many more exciting ways to learn that involve food.
Concession stands. Vending machines. Kids on sports buses eating snacks.
Food is everywhere. We can’t permission slip the world.
@Lollipoplover–I love the “birthday book donation” idea, for school; however, when I mentioned bringing allergy-safe cupcakes to birthday parties, I meant birthday parties outside of school. I don’t remember celebrating kids’ birthdays in school when I was a kid, beyond the principal announcing birthdays on the P.A. system in elementary school, and the class singing Happy Birthday (and, we’d sing it in French if we happened to be in French class at the time someone mentioned that it was so-and-so’s birthday). I think parents were allowed to bring in birthday treats in elementary school, but I don’t remember it being a common occurrence. Anyway, as for Dolly’s son being eight instead of five, I missed that, but I still don’t think eight is the cut-off age for total responsibility for a food allergy. Kids that age can read better than five-year-olds, but not as well as adults, so they might miss their allergen lurking in the alphabet soup of ingredients in most packaged foods. They’re old enough to understand cross-contamination, but might forget to ask all the relevant questions if they’re too excited or distracted. They’re old enough to carry their own medication, but might be beginning to feel self-conscious about carrying a “dorky” fanny pack or man purse, as Dolly mentioned. So, it’s a process, and while eight is further along in that process than five, I wouldn’t say that eight is the magical age of total control.
One of the latest rants I see more and more, deals with the hatred of food in general.
Moms going on and on about food being a part of celebrations. They cannot stand that food is always a part of special days or occassions.
It has been that way since the beginning of time. Why? Because as human beings food is something we all have in common. We all eat. Therefore food is something we all have in common, and in theory is something we all can share and gather around. Now these days that has changed because of food allergies and the ever popular personal choice diets, such as vegan, veggie heads, and the like.
Nope Lollipop Lover
I tried and tried to talk the room mom down from wanting to make 100 different snack foods to serve at the class parties. I told her “Hey get some chips and some capri suns and I will bring cupcakes-done”. No she wants to make 100 different Pinterest food ideas and then that is overcomplicating everything. So then I have to answer yes this is okay, no this is not for every single thing she wants to do and she has to bring me 100 labels to read. I tried to talk her out of doing all that. I tried to make it easy on her. She was having none of it.
Now some of the room moms were like “yeah you make the cupcakes and I will bring chips and fruit and juice, done.” But we have a lot of Pinterest moms that over do it at our school. We are only supposed to have 3 parties a year and she so far has done food and parties for every holiday and we have had 5 parties already.
So yeah I would call that shoving food at them a little too freaking much.
Yes I have consulted my son. He won’t eat anything if I don’t show up. I found this out after I left the room during a party to deal with my other son. I came back and all he would eat was the fruit. I told him what was safe and not safe and he did not believe me. He does not like eating anything new or from someone else because he does not trust it. So if I want him to be able to eat something, I am going to have to bring him something myself. He loves fruit though so he seemed okay with that. Sometimes he gets upset when everyone is eating cake and all he gets are starbursts I brought for him at birthday parties outside school. He wants to eat the gorgeous cake sometime too but he resigns himself its not going to happen.
I’m a teacher and an aunt to a child who has severe food allergies. My nephew has food allergies (peanut, milk, eggs) that are life threatening. In my opinion, you can never be too careful when giving food to a student. Someone mentioned that if the student is in Middle School, then they should be smart enough not to eat something that they’re allergic to. Did anyone read the article about the college student who ate a cookie and it killed him?
Anyway, as I said, I’m also a teacher. We get enough criticism as it is, so she covered her butt and sent home a permission slip… and guess what? You guys STILL criticize her. Teachers can’t win. And children with food allergies and their parents are constantly criticized as well. Children with food allergies can die. Maybe not from an Oreo, but they could get sick. It’s not that they are soft or their parents “hover.” If you had a child that had food allergies, you’d want to protect them from getting sick or dying, too. Until it’s your kid, it’s easier to be callous.
BTW, I’m not trying to be hateful, just trying to offer some perspective.
@Emily …you raise an interesting point I hadn’t really thought of. Unlike diabetic kids, immuno- deficient or chemo-kids, injecting oneself isn’t a daily or weekly reality for allergy kids. It’s something extremely rare. Maybe that adds to the fear for some kids, if they sit around contemplating it. Or have others contemplating it for them.
@Warren–Food may be a part of holiday and birthday celebrations outside of school, but if you know there’s a child with a severe food allergy in the class, sometimes you have to be a little creative. So, for Valentine’s Day, you might take the kids outside for crazy carpeting, and then bring them back inside to watch a Valentine movie, and then have the exchange Valentines as the last thing before going home (because of Valentines with candy in them, and also to prevent the whole game of “who got how many?”) For a child’s birthday, the parent might bring in, say, small containers of bubbles (like, the kind you’d get at a wedding), decorated with curly ribbon in the birthday child’s favourite colour, or something of the sort, for the kids to play with at recess. For Christmas, you could decorate a tree, or put on a play with the kids, take them carolling (we did all of these in grade seven), enter a local Santa Claus Parade and decorate a float together (regular thing in the high school band, although w didn’t do a lot of decorating, because our “main attraction” was our music), or do a Secret Santa if there are no problems with income disparity or bullying, and not even bring up the idea of having a class party with snacks. Easter is easy, because you can have the kids hunt for plastic eggs, and put either small toys inside, or Monopoly money to be exchanged for prizes. Halloween’s a bit harder, because one of its main pillars seems to be candy, but there are probably ways around that too, like maybe a field trip to a pumpkin farm, or having the older kids make a haunted house in the gymnasium for the younger kids. For middle and high school aged kids, you could have a dance, and just give the kids pop or punch to drink, and they’d be happy with that.
Anyway, I don’t agree with sending home permission forms for a single Oreo in a middle-school science class, but special occasions are different, and it’s not as if the holiday or birthday will be ruined if ONE of the celebrations doesn’t involve food. After all, most kids who celebrate birthdays or holidays at school will also be celebrating Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and their own birthdays, on their own, at home (or, each parent’s home if the parents are separated or divorced), and at whatever extra-curricular activities they’re involved in, so the school celebration isn’t the be all, end all. I hardly remember what we ate at every single class party over the years, but I do remember the things we did–the Halloween costume parades, the plays and special assemblies, making paper mailbags for our Valentines, the whole Christmas celebration we did in grade seven (spread over several days), the dances, the concerts and parades in high school, and almost all of the “doing” parts of the festivities, much more than the “eating” parts. So, I don’t think it’s a horrible message to tell kids that food is secondary to being together and doing fun activities. There are positive ways to do this, and I think the best way is to just enthusiastically tell them what IS going to happen. So, instead of “We’re not having a party with snacks for Valentine’s Day,” you could say, “We’re going to go outside to play in the snow, and then come inside and watch the Charlie Brown Valentine movie.”
Or the kid with allergies can just deal with it. There are two ways of looking at it. All inclusive is the same as all exclusive.
Yes, Warren, the kid(s) with allergies COULD “just deal with it,” but I still think it’s better to exclude a non-essential component from a school celebration, than to exclude one or more of the kids who are a part of the group that’s supposed to be celebrating. Adults teach kids how to treat each other, and give them a safe place when they need it, so I think there’s something to be said for just saying, enthusiastically and confidently, “Right then, this year for Christmas, we’re putting on a play for the rest of the school, and any parents who want to come,” or “We’re having a dance party with costumes for Halloween,” with no mention of “We can’t have a party with snacks, because Jimmy has food allergies,” or worse yet, just going ahead and having a traditional “junk food” party without Jimmy. Besides, the “snacks and free play in the classroom” party has been done to death–or, at least that’s how it was when I was in school. If a teacher had said we were doing something different, that wasn’t yet another round of junk food and board games, I would have been thrilled. My mom would have been happy too, because it would have meant that she wouldn’t have had to buy or make snacks for me to bring for the class.
No one says that the little Johnny cannot come to anything because they plan on having food, unless it is his martyr mom, making a martyr out of him.
Little Johnny is going to have to live with his allergy for his entire life, barring some miracle cure. Schools are supposed to help kids get ready for life, so Johnny should come to the party prepared like anyone else.
Who are you to say food is not an essential part of any party or celebration? Sorry, I will never accept the vast majority having to constantly change the way they do things for the minority. When the minority can and should be able to handle being ……………..wait for it……………..wait for it………………….here it comes………………..real freaking life conditions.
This ranks up there with cancelling trips because one student will feel left out because they cannot do whatever it is. Sorry, that is not how real life works.
Dolly, If your child won’t eat anything unless you are in the room, even after you’ve said it is okay, your child has issues that need counseling. My guess is that the entire family needs counseling to bring this down to a reasonable level of proportion.
This is one of those things that you can treat as just a part of life or play it for high drama. It is either how Junior is or an unmitigated tragedy. The children feed off of parental reaction; they don’t over-react independently. A child who is afraid to eat and thinks his mother is lying to him when in public is responding to his parents’ angst, not independently generating his own fears. Or he has a serious anxiety disorder that needs psychological treatment.
The simple fact is that the world doesn’t revolve around allergic kids. Their lives are not going to be exactly like non-allergic kids lives and that will be okay if you let it be okay. You can choose to talk to the room mother 100 times and bake cupcakes for the entire class or you can choose to peace-out of the whole thing and send your kid with a favorite safe treat from home in place of whatever pinterest mom has planned for the Christmas party. That choice is 100% yours. You can make a birthday cake from scratch or put a candle on something that your kid can eat and sing “happy birthday.” That choice is 100% yours. My ex’s family took the later route and they have a happy, popular, well-adjusted kid who is content to eat vanilla ice cream for every birthday instead of a fancy store-bought birthday cake (his mother does not bake).
Parents get way too caught up in creating a childhood that fits some perfect model in their mind. Kids don’t have a model in their mind and tend to take things in stride if allowed. If you treat a lack of cupcakes as a tragedy, your child will view a lack of cupcakes as a tragedy, despite having never tasted a cupcake. If you treat a lack of cupcakes as a simple fact of life, your child will view it as a fact of life and not a tragedy. That doesn’t mean that he won’t occasionally hate being different and want the cupcakes, but we all feel that way at times. That is not a tragedy either.
Warren, I meant that food isn’t an essential part of EVERY party or celebration. Anyway, I know that, when I was in grade school, our teacher offered us the option of a party in class with junk food, or the opportunity to go ice skating or crazy carpeting or put on a play or something else that didn’t revolve around food, we would have chosen the latter. Like I said, the “junk food potluck, and turn the kids loose with board games” approach was sort of the “lazy” way of doing class parties when I was in school. Those parties weren’t even all that fun, because there were usually one or two really popular games that EVERYONE wanted to play (Guess Who and Pizza Party come to mind), and this would just result in fighting. So, I just don’t see the need to strictly adhere to “tradition,” even if the kids would legitimately prefer something else. I didn’t have any food-allergic classmates in elementary school, so having a junk food potluck wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but like I said, after a certain number of those, we kind of got sick of them. We’d never have said so, because the alternative was a regular afternoon of school, but like I said, I remember the activities a lot better than I remember the typical blur of sugar and red food dye, and I’m sure a lot of my former classmates feel the same way. When I’ve met up with them, and we reminisce, our memories are always about the things we did, and not about generic class parties.
@Emily- Most of your “non-food” party suggestions would not fly in the current school environment.
Watch a movie?
Better not be PG, you will need a permission slip and not all kids will be able to watch.
Decorate a Christmas Tree?
There are many kids who don’t celebrate Christian holidays.
Easter egg hunt? With small toys instead of candy?
Those would be consider choking hazards. And celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ could offend those of other religions.
Play in the snow?
The kids aren’t allowed because the parents complain when they get wet or dirty.
Food is not essential, but like in life, it complements most celebrations and is a very fundamental part of life.
So when the allergic child is a teen and wants to go on a date, does Dolly need to come along?
What about business dinners?
Weddings? Should we eliminate the reception and have the guest fly kites instead?
Just stop, okay. Please.
Food is not essential for celebrations……………….no it is not. But then again, the celebration itself is not essential. And I will be damned if we are going to eliminate all non-essential things, because one or two people may not be able to fully partake.
Sucks to be them, but their life is going to be like that until the day they die. Get use to it, deal with it, stop whining and get on with your life.
Why the hell should other kids, adults or whoever stop doing something they look forward to because of a couple of allergic people. Life does not work like that. And yes my kids looked forward to junkfood parties. They loved making cupcakes and other treats. Yes sometimes it cost an arm and a leg, but they had fun, they shared, and they learned how to bake.
Therefore, either teach your allergic kid how to manage their allergy, or stay the hell home, but stop putting your child’s life in other people’s hands. It is that simple.
P.S., I know that you can say, “the child with the food allergy just has to be careful,” but with communal food, there’s SO much potential for cross-contamination, that it really depends on the other kids to be careful, and they might not be careful; not out of malice, but simply because they don’t understand what it’s like to have a food allergy, so they’re not used to taking precautions, and maybe they’re just excited, because it’s a special occasion. Anyway, let’s imagine that the snack table for the class Christmas party includes pretzels, red and green Christmas M&M’s, a fruit tray, cupcakes with unidentified ingredients, and red Kool-Aid to drink. Jimmy is allergic to peanuts. Okay, he can have pretzels, fruit, and a glass of Kool-Aid, because even regular M&M’s contain peanut residue. That’s all well and good, until the other kids start taking cupcakes and M&M’s, and then sticking their fingers in the pretzels and the fruit. You can give them scoops and tongs to use, but even that isn’t foolproof. So, the only absolutely safe approaches would be either “Jimmy goes without”; “Jimmy brings his own food”; “Jimmy doesn’t attend the class party”; OR, “We celebrate Christmas as a class without food.” Maybe the last one is a soft option, and maybe it “doesn’t prepare Jimmy for the real world,” but in another way, it kind of prepares ALL the kids in the class. After all, we sometimes fall into the trap of talking about the “real world” as if it’s something outside our control, but really, we’re all a part of that “real world,” and we have the power to make that “real world” a little kinder, if we set our minds to it. Any one of the kids in that class, including Jimmy, could grow up to be teachers, or work with groups of kids in another capacity, and potentially encounter a child with food allergies, diabetes, or whatever, and since they’ll have childhood memories of classroom celebrations that included everyone, they’ll be prepared when they’re the adult in charge in a situation like this. So, my answer remains the same–a single Oreo in science class doesn’t warrant a huge fuss, but for a classroom or group celebration, everyone should be able to participate.
I think the problem is you want to be nice and please every single person/kid out there.
Guess what you can’t do that. Life does not and will never work that way.
Like a good friend once said, “I only have time to please one person today. And today ain’t your day.”
@Warren–It’s not that I want to be nice and please everyone; it’s just that, for all your talk of “facing adversity,” it’s always a certain group of kids who have to “face adversity,” while everyone else gets their way: the food-allergic kid faced with a class party, the introverted kid who’s shoved outside for recess every day, and called “antisocial” for needing a break from interaction, the physically smaller kid who wants to play hockey, but can’t safely do that, because there are no non-contact leagues…..and so on, and so forth. You seem to openly scorn the kids who are different, who aren’t as strong, fast, athletic, extroverted, popular, or attractive; who have medical or sensory problems, who speak English as a second language, who come from low-income families, or whatever.
So, it seems that the onus is always on THAT kid to “suck it up and deal,” and never on the other kids (or the adults in charge) to show some compassion. By the same token, you seem to dismiss bullying as “part of growing up,” rather than saying that kids who bully need to “face adversity” and learn that, in the real world, you can’t get what you want through violence, stealing, extortion, or gossip and manipulation. So, while there’s something to be said for “facing adversity,” I think it’s also necessary to recognize that some kids (and adults) have to face a whole lot MORE adversity than the general population, and there are some times when it’s okay to say “enough already,” and take steps to include them, because these kids already know they’re different, and don’t need to be reminded constantly. That doesn’t mean banning all the kids from playing running games or playing on the monkey bars at recess because one kid is in a wheelchair, but for special occasions, I think it’s wise to look at the planning in terms of what ALL the kids can do.
Even adults do this–when they’re planning a party or event, they think of their potential guest list, and consider those people’s needs as much as possible. So, if I was having a party for all the people on the Free Range Kids forum, that would mean I’d be inviting Kimberley, who has life-threatening food allergies to peanuts (and possibly tree nuts as well; I don’t remember), and shellfish. So, I wouldn’t serve nuts or shellfish (the latter being a moot point for me, because I’m vegan), and I’d clean the kitchen that morning, to get rid of any peanut residue on the counters, because I normally eat a lot of peanut butter. She’d still have to bring her Epi-Pen, because I couldn’t guarantee that my house would be completely sterile, but I sure as heck wouldn’t just skip the precautions, and then tell her to “just deal.” For a class party, all the kids in the class are “invited” by default, and they learn from example, so like I said, a child who grows up in a culture of inclusion, will practice inclusion as an adult. A child who grows up with the mentality of “sucks to be [whatever minority],” will take that attitude into adulthood.
P.S., I kind of wish someone really would have a party for the people on the Free Range Kids board. I think it’d be cool to meet you guys in person. I know that this isn’t possible, because some people here live halfway around the world from me (like Hineata in New Zealand), but it’s fun to imagine it.
Yeah life sucks if you aren’t the healthiest, the smartest, the fittest or best looking. Guess what that’s life.
Listen, because of where my birthday fell, when it came to hockey I never progressed throught the age brackets the same as most of my peers. Every second year I was either the senior player, or the junior player. Yeah at first I got tired of being banged around by the older players. I didn’t whine, make excuses or quit. I wanted to play. So I practised, and worked my ass off at times, until I was no longer being knocked around by the older players.
You can make excuses, you can accept defeat, you can sulk, you can whine about the hand you were dealt or………….you can get off your ass, take control and do everything you can to improve your situation.
That is another big problem these days with safeguarding the world for everyone with an issue. It is saying it is okay to be a victim, or weak or afraid. Instead we should be saying no it is not okay.
Warren: “stay the hell home?” so now you are advocating being truant from school? No thanks. I don’t want the truancy board after me. If the government is going to require my son to attend school, they are going to make it safe for him. Its that simple.
They have done polls with kids about what they prefer for school celebrations and kids actually chose extra recess over sit around and stuff our faces with junk food. Just saying. And isn’t more free play and fresh air and exercise what free range advocates for?
Thank you for posting this. My wife (3rd grade teacher) was told she needed a permission slip for her students to attend a demonstration I give on lung health. I use a set of preserved pig lungs and a bellows to demonstrate how the lungs work and how smoking can damage them. I have no idea what the administration is worried about…
I’ve given this same talk to hundreds if not a thousand students over the last few years and I’ve never had any type of permission slip or even a letter telling the parents what we were doing. Unreal!!!!
But seriously, thanks for posting it.
I completely overlooked your paragraph about preparing for adult parties and events.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry I am having a hard time not laughing. We have people over all the time, even more so in the summer. I make what I make, we supply what we supply, and if you need something special………….wait for it…………..bring it yourself. Clean my kitchen to avoid cross contam. I keep my kitchen clean, and do not go to any extra steps in case of a food allergy.
I can’t stop laughing.
No one I know does what you say everyone does. We are all not like you, so desperately trying please everyone.
We eat too much, drink to excess and get too loud. So if you are allergic to that, don’t come.
I would intentionally tell just your kid to stay home. Just so I would not have to deal with you.
And yes, either take control of your allergy, manage it, or STAY THE HELL HOME. I am sick and tired of idiots like you always making and demanding that everyone else be responsible for your kid. Make your kid responsible for themself. If they are unable, then stay home, or you get off your fat ass and go in to monitor. But stop making it everyone else’s job. Your kid is not nearly important enough for the world to bend over backwards for.
And I don’t know what polls you are talking about, because frankly I say your lying and talking out your arse.
Fresh air and exercise instead of a class party with deadly food?
What about the poor children who suffer seasonal allergic rhinitis? Being outdoors surrounded by allergens will aggravate their condition. It’s OK to them to feel miserable, as long as it’s not your kid in a class with an Oreo?
And what about the kids with exercise induced asthma? Running can trigger a deadly asthma attack. Are you going to exclude them?
My kids have asthma and seasonal allergies and they go play outside every day. All the kids do at school. So its something all the kids can do.
The parties in the classroom at our school all they do is eat and talk. Which is fun but extra recess is probably more fun. My kids love extra recess.
Warren: so now you think I am fat? And what gave you that impression?
So you guys are talking in circles now. First I am a helicopter parent/martyr for showing up at the parties and monitoring him and helping with the parties. Then I need to “Get off my fat ass” and show up to monitor at the parties. So which is it? It can’t be both?
You are correct. Since the state says our kids have to go to school, they are on the hook to make it as safe as possible for all students. Therefore I suggest that the other parents in your school pressure the school to keep your kids out. The stress, anxiety and bullcrap that you and your kids bring, mosty you, create a highly stressful enviroment, which can lead to many stress related illnesses. So for the greater good, home school. Or shut up.
Warren, I refuse to believe that you would invite someone to your house who you know has life-threatening food allergies, and then prepare foods that contain that person’s allergen(s). As for cleaning my kitchen to avoid cross-contamination, I clean my kitchen once a week anyway, so it wouldn’t be any extra trouble to just do it on party day.
That is disgusting. Once a week? Remind me to never eat your cooking.
Which is it, inviting someone over for dinner, or having a party? Two totally different activities. Yes if it is just another couple coming over, for sure food allergies would be considered.
One of our backyard pool parties or any other large event with many guests…………nope, don’t give a rat’s ass. I will make what I make, and if you have to have something specific, then bring it yourself. And do not think for even a second that any meat substitute will ever touch my grill. Real meat and real veggies only. You want a fake burger, go to Licks. The only other rule, nobody but me and my youngest daughter, and our local friend the nurse, ever ever ever touches the grill, smoker, or firepit. No one else is qualified.
Sorry, those are not the only rules. There is the obvious no glass around the pool. Don’t feed the dogs chocolate. Watch the watermelon though, they love watermelon. Don’t tell the kids to play quietly……..we have acres, they are outside, go nuts and have fun. Never ever mix Jack Daniels with ice or anything. Always bring extra clothes, incase you fall or are thrown in the pool. Also clean clothes for morning, because if I deem you unfit to drive, there is no appeal, Im bigger and don’t care if you hate me for it. When you think you’re full, have one more burger or hot dog just to be sure. BYOB, and when you run out, we have plenty, just don’t insult us by asking if we mind or offering to pay for it, it is there to be consumed. If the music is not at least older than my oldest daughter, it does not get played. AC/DC, David Wilcox, Montgomery Gentry, Zepplin and the odd other artist gets played loud. If a kid can walk, they can be bartenders. Do not lean on the back fence, it is charged by our neighbor to keep his bull from coming over to the party. Yes there are rifles in the gun locker, and no you can not see them.
The one rule, and all parents abide by it, is just before we all eat, the kids walk a platter of food over to the elderly couple across the road. We have always invited them, they explained they just don’t get out much, the sun, the excitement, the whole thing is too much for her. But they encourage us to not worry about disturbing them, and not once have they complained. But they do love seeing the kids show up with dinner. LOL, she doesn’t like him drinking for whatever reason, so we always sneak a couple of cans of beer in the delivery.
Warren: you obviously need to read up on the ADA. Under law all kids are allowed to attend school no matter what health or mental issues or disabilities they have. Its the law. So what you think has jack all to do with it.
Sorry if that bursts your bubble. The world does not function according to Warren. Apparently though it does function according to me because the law backs ME up on this one. Not you.
Warren, when I said I clean my kitchen once a week, I meant I clean it fully once a week. I obviously clean up spills and things as needed in the interim. Anyway, your pool parties sound pretty fun, and I agree; the rules of a formal hosted event are a bit different from the rules of a backyard barbecue, because with the backyard barbecue, it’s outside (obviously), and you don’t have an exact guest list. I think that the dynamic is still a bit different than a “junk food and board games at school” party, because at your pool parties, people can eat, socialize, swim, dance to the music, play with the dogs (but obviously not feed them chocolate), et cetera. So, someone who doesn’t want a hamburger or a hot dog for whatever reason (like me) could enjoy the swimming and the company, and just have watermelon or whatever. Meanwhile, for a class party, you do know who’s coming (i.e., the members of that class), and if the only activities are junk food and board games (usually not enough board games for all the kids to play), then the child with food allergies is missing out on a large part of the festivities.
As for my veganism, I’m not an evangelical vegan, so I don’t try to stop anyone else from eating meat in my presence, and just a regular barbecue wouldn’t bother me, although I do have my limits–for example, I’d never go to a pig roast. I’d never try to stop anyone from having one; I just wouldn’t attend. Also, I think it’s really nice of you and your kids to make a plate for the couple across the street, who can’t come to the pool parties because it’s too much excitement for them. So, I can see that you do have some compassion, and you’re teaching your kids well, and so, I think it’d be different if you or one of your kids actually knew the food-allergic child and/or his or her family. That way, it wouldn’t be “that one snowflakey kid/family who’s ruining everything,” but “my hockey teammate’s son,” or “my daughter’s friend from school,” and you’d be more inclined to make concessions–not lobbying for food-free classrooms, but maybe providing an allergy-friendly item for the class party, like juice boxes, or individual mini bags of chips, so the child with the allergy can have something.
To all of you smug and self-righteous commenters — chill out. Stop criticizing a teacher who tried to do the right thing. Perhaps a permission slip was unnecessary for this situation and this age group but the intent was in the right place. Yes, my kid has food allergies. No, we aren’t hyper vigilant about her food because it’s a “lifestyle,” “cultural” or “helicopter parent” choice – it’s not a choice, it’s a life or death issue. Literally. So while you’re basking in all of your free-range, hands-off glory, perhaps you should consider that some parents don’t have that luxury in certain situations. Rather ironic that those who are touting individual choice and freedom feel the need to not only comment, but mock, those with different points of view.
We are not berating or mocking this individual teacher, not by any means.
We are berating and mocking the society that has allowed crap like this to become the standard or norm. Big difference.
Sorry bout your luck with the whole allergy thing, but in the end that is your issue, not mine.
We are not berating or mocking this individual teacher, not by any means.
We are berating and mocking the society that has allowed crap like this to become the standard or norm. Big difference.<<
This, exactly. We're not hating the players; we're hating the game.
Emily nailed it. At the school parties all they literally do is eat. They don’t even get the board games. Its eat the food and talk. That is it. So if my son cannot eat anything, then how is that a fun party for him? How is he being included as a member of the class? If they had tons of stuff going on he could do instead of eat I would not care nearly as much.
When we go to parties we get invited to outside school, I just bring him a treat and we don’t worry about it. Because there are party games. activities, things to do besides just sit and eat.
I am also the one doing the leg work for the parties and contributing a lot of money and supplies towards them more so than most other parents-so hell yes I expect my son to be included. I am not paying money for him to sit there left out.
“I am also the one doing the leg work for the parties and contributing a lot of money and supplies towards them more so than most other parents-so hell yes I expect my son to be included. I am not paying money for him to sit there left out.”
Taken straight from your comment. You would think after being called out by a few people for being a martyr mom and attention hound, one would carefully word their comments for awhile.
Not you. Nope you just keep on ranting about all that you do, and all that you spend. Martyr mom to the end. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s my understanding that kids who are so allergic that they will die if there’s a peanut or Oreo in the room, or was ever a peanut or Oreo in the room, is very small. Yet their parents always seem to find this site somehow, and constantly assure us that of course they have to monitor every morsel of food through what, high school? I’m sorry, but I have to believe, as others have said, that a lot of this is parent-driven as opposed to allergy-driven.
So Warren: you would have no problem buying plates, and cups and napkins for a party and then there being nothing for your child to even eat at said party? A lot of the parents at that school will not contribute any money or supplies for parties. I always contribute more than my share to make up for the other parents. But, then yeah, I expect my son to be able to participate. I am not doing charity here.
If I am going to do charity, a school party is not the place I think I wanna spend my charity money.
So Warren: you would have no problem buying plates, and cups and napkins for a party and then there being nothing for your child to even eat at said party? A lot of the parents at that school will not contribute any money or supplies for parties. I always contribute more than my share to make up for the other parents. But, then yeah, I expect my son to be able to participate. I am not doing charity here.
If I am going to do charity, a school party is not the place I think I wanna spend my charity money.
Again it is all about you. Are you really that damn dumb, because you just keep proving our point, over and over again.
And I assume you are stupid. The first time I found out there was nothing at a party for my kid to eat………..I would send something with him/her. So get off your high horse. Being stupid does not make you a good parent.
Warren, I think the concept of “you get out of things what you put into them,” is reasonable. The only difference is, in the case of the class party, Dolly is the one “putting in,” by providing paper plates, cups, cutlery, and sometimes even allergy-safe food for the whole class, and her son is the one “benefitting,” except he isn’t, when the room mother assures Dolly there’ll be allergy-safe food, and there isn’t, or when Dolly provides allergy-safe food, but then it gets cross-contaminated by, say, another kid picking up a Nutter Butter, and then sticking those same peanutty fingers into the fruit salad that Dolly made, instead of correctly using the ladle. That’s probably why Dolly attends these class parties, to prevent that kind of thing from happening, because the teacher can’t or won’t. So, Dolly’s options are to either stand guard at the class party, so that her son can participate in the “communal food” experience, send him with his Very Own Party Food That Nobody Else Can Touch, which defeats the “communal” aspect, or to keep him home on class party days, which he probably wouldn’t like, because hey, it’s a special day at school, and he’d like to be a part of it. None of these problems would exist if food was taken out of the equation, and the teachers put on a G-rated movie, or did a special craft with the kids, or took them to the park, or did any number of fun, cheap, non-food activities. They just don’t want to be bothered, because the “junk food potluck” party essentially puts the party planning on the kids’ parents.
I give up, you win.
Let’s find the most allergic, immune suppressed child in North America. Find out what his or her specific requirements and restrictions are. We can then take that information and make it the required standard in every class in every school.
I would suggest that no more field trips be planned ever, as a handicapped child may at anytime be transferred to the class that may not be able to take part in the trip. No more wishing anyone a happy freaking birthday, as it may trigger someone’s fear of aging. No more morning, recess and dismissal bells so as to not freak out the kid with sensory issues. All kids must dress in gender nuetral clothing to avoid any discrimination based on gender. And I could make a list hundreds of pages long.
We could try a really new and unconventional way of doing things. Now Emily, it is rather radical, and probably extremely unfair and unjust. But what the hell.
If you have a personal issue, be it health, mental or emotional……………..manage it yourself. Stop being lazy and stop whining about how unfair it is. Most importantly stop making everyone else responsible for your well being.
You don’t think it is fair that one child misses out because of their allergy. I say it is bullshit that 29 other students do without because of one student with allergies.
If you don’t think food needs to be a part of something, fine, don’t freaking eat it. But don’t for one second think you have the right to tell others not to.
I give up, you win.<>Letâ€™s find the most allergic, immune suppressed child in North America. Find out what his or her specific requirements and restrictions are. We can then take that information and make it the required standard in every class in every school.
I would suggest that no more field trips be planned ever, as a handicapped child may at anytime be transferred to the class that may not be able to take part in the trip. No more wishing anyone a happy freaking birthday, as it may trigger someoneâ€™s fear of aging. No more morning, recess and dismissal bells so as to not freak out the kid with sensory issues. All kids must dress in gender nuetral clothing to avoid any discrimination based on gender. And I could make a list hundreds of pages long.<>….OR
We could try a really new and unconventional way of doing things. Now Emily, it is rather radical, and probably extremely unfair and unjust. But what the hell.
If you have a personal issue, be it health, mental or emotionalâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..manage it yourself. Stop being lazy and stop whining about how unfair it is. Most importantly stop making everyone else responsible for your well being.<>You donâ€™t think it is fair that one child misses out because of their allergy. I say it is bullshit that 29 other students do without because of one student with allergies.<>If you donâ€™t think food needs to be a part of something, fine, donâ€™t freaking eat it. But donâ€™t for one second think you have the right to tell others not to.<<
No, I just don't think that food should be ALL of something. I don't think it's healthy to teach kids that any event should revolve ENTIRELY around food, especially junk food. First of all, it's an unhealthy mindset. I mean, sure, most people associate birthdays with cake, and Halloween with candy, and so on and so forth, but then that becomes huge buckets of popcorn at the movies, and ice cream for every break-up, and freezies after every soccer game, and pizza every Friday night, and donuts every Sunday after church, and before you know it, barely a day goes by without eating something junky just out of habit. Second of all, if the class' entire celebration consists of food, and nobody wants to make an effort to make sure the allergy-safe food gets contaminated, then either Dolly stays, or her son gets excluded completely. If it was a party with food and other activities, he could participate in the activities and not eat the food.
Also, there's a difference between "telling someone not to eat something," and "telling someone not to poison your child." Other classmates want to eat peanut butter at home? Fine. Other kids want to eat peanut butter at school, around a child who's only ingestion sensitive? Fine. Contact sensitive? Still fine, but wash your hands right after. Other kids aren't willing to take care to make sure not to mix peanut residue with the safe food that Dolly provided, and the adults aren't willing to require them to do so? Not fine, and really disrespectful. Also, this teaches kids to play one adult off another–as in, "Dolly told me not to stick my fingers in the fruit salad after I just ate a Nutter Butter, but Mrs. Smith said I could, so I'm going to do it anyway." Nobody likes that kid, because that kid grows up to be the adult who goes to the store and says, "Well, the cashier wouldn't take my coupon that expired two months ago, so I'll make a fuss to the manager." Nobody likes that adult either.
Okay, part of that cut off, but I basically said that it’s not necessary to set the standard protocol as “what’s safe for the most medically fragile child in North America.” Instead, the best thing to do would be to look at the kids you have, make decisions according to what they can do, and then be positive about it, by saying, for example, “We’re going to put on a play for Christmas,” or “We’re going to the park for a play day for the last day of school,” rather than “We’re not having a party with junk food.” This may mean that the celebrations look a little different over the years, according to the needs of whoever’s there, but maybe inclusion could be a tradition in itself.
Class parties in most schools happen 3-4 times a year. Food is not a major focus. The party is only an hour and most of the kids just had lunch. Our holiday party had veggies and dip, soft pretzels, and hot chocolate with marshmallows. They played minute to win it games and then used the gym for some basketball games.
Every classroom has kids with allergies. It is not hard to accommodate their needs and have a fun party. UNLESS you are dealing with a lunatic mom who overblows her kids allergy to make herself feel important.
We had a “Pinterest Mom” last year who had many good ideas for the class Valentines Day party. She brought in a chocolate fountain and melted the chocolate and we had students bring in their favorite fruits to use for dipping.
I wanted to double check the label on the chocolate because there were twins in the class who had peanut allergies.
I didn’t need to- the “Pinterest Mom” was their mother and everything she brought was safe for their allergies.
Be part of the solution. Don’t treat every food encounter like an Ebola outbreak and give your child eating disorders. Trying to control every morsel of food that is around your child is a mental illness and not a healthy way to raise a child.
As a middle school science teacher, I use this very lab for plate tectonics. (For those who are wondering, there really isn’t another set of objects that do the plate simulation as well as a Double Stuff Oreo, I’ve tried.) I do not send home a permission slip. Our student information system lists food allergies, and I keep track of those throughout the year. I don’t use food often because it usually doesn’t have a place in the science lab, but if I do I find alternative activities that are as close to the real thing as I can make them for students who can’t do those things. I also keep track of religious materials issues, since some science materials cannot be handled by some students for reasons that have nothing to do with food allergies.
As a mother of two children with food allergies who are also middle schoolers, I do next expect to be notified at the middle school level if food will be used. My children know how to advocate for themselves and they know, “When in doubt, go without.” Their friends and teachers all know how to use the EpiPens, just in case they do something stupid (although, their friends are so scared of using the Epis they usually tell my kids not to eat stuff). My kids know they can play the sympathy card with me at home to get a treat if they couldn’t eat something sugary at school.
If a child with food restrictions has impulse control problems the parents usually contact teachers early in the year and we adjust food activities accordingly.
I think it’s really harsh to criticize this teacher (she may have been told she has to do this by her administration), but I also think it’s up to a school community to help a middle schooler who isn’t ready to advocate for him/herself. Middle school is the perfect time to help a child learn how to get along in the world without parents looking over his or her shoulder.
I am all for free range parenting as we follow it with my 5 and 4 year old but do we really need to analyze every single thing? I see no problem with the teacher giving this information to parents. My child can not eat gluten and we do not eat junk at home so I would appreciate a notice of sorts so I could send a substitute snack for my child. What we allow our children to build their bodies with is just as important as not stifling them as a helicoptor parent. Oreos are filled with crap ingredients that, over time, affect a growing body in negative ways. Sometimes the “free-range” parenting movement is just as extreme as the opposite and not in a good way.
Emily, Except cross-contamination from food is another way overblown risk. I’m sure it happens on rare occasions, but it isn’t common. It is like abduction – sure, it COULD, and likely does rarely, happen, but it isn’t a constant happening. My daughter’s elementary school doesn’t ban anything and there are 3-4 occasions a year involving food, including a school-wide poetry picnic/pot luck. We’ve NEVER had a serious allergic reaction. While we all like to take the Lake Wobegone view that our children are exceptional, I am willing to admit that they really aren’t. Our local kids are not more courteous, clean and cautious than any other kids in any other school in the country.
The Pinterest mom was most likely doing that because the only way to ensure her kids could participate was to make it herself. I run into this a lot.
We are only supposed to have 3 parties a year. But this year in my son’s class we have an overachiever mom who has had a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, St Patricks party so far. That is already more than they are supposed to do all year. We normally are only supposed to do Christmas, Valentines and field day. I can deal with helping out three times a year. Having to make sure to be there 7 times a year is a lot more overkill.
None of those parties did anything but center around eating and the kids talked or colored some pictures. I would rather her do a fun craft instead of the food ideas. She can just as easily show off her Pinterest skills doing a craft than doing food.
I am asking next year for my son not to be put in a class with her son ever again because I can’t deal with this mom and all her going overboard and doing a party every little holiday that comes up.
Really don’t care what is in an Oreo, or a Coffee Crisp, or any of it. Like anything else as long as you use common sense and balance none of it will do any harm.
No junk food at all, is your personal choice. Do not expect everyone else to kiss your ass because of it. Personally I believe an absolute no junk food, no this food or that food is insane and you need your head checked.
Hate to tell you but for a very long long time food has been ENJOYED, not just deemed essential.
Just out of curiousity, what do you consider junkfood? Because my list of junkfood isn’t just limited to candy, treats and snacks. It includes all fast food, all bar food, and most restaurant food. With that said, we eat all of it. We love it and would never dare give any of it up.
Going back to your point of giving and giving but not getting anything out of it.
If one only gives to recieve, then stop giving because you are doing it for the wrong reason.
We give to many places and causes for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. Period. If you expect or need return……………..sucks to be so selfish.
So I should just send in the minimum requested amount the room mom asks for? Or should I send in no money period? Because I was a room mom one year and it sucked when you were trying to plan a party for 22 kids with 10 dollars because that was all that was sent in.
So I always send in the money they ask for and do extra to make up for the other parents that don’t send any in. But in exchange I do expect my son to be included. Seems fair.
How can you argue that not being fair?
Just like when I sent in all the requested school supplies for the classroom plus extra, so I don’t want to hear about my son not being able to do his schoolwork because they ran out of supplies. Um no, I sent in his and extras so yeah, he better have supplies. Our school does communal supplies.
Enough, shut the hell up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are not Mother of the Year. You are a Martyr Mom. Look at Me Mom. Pat Me on the Back Mom.
Sorry Lenore, I know you hate language and I have refrained on this one until now.
SOA, you are what all the other parents call an Attention Slut. If you truly wanted to be good, and helpful……..you would do what you do, but silently. You wouldn’t brag about it, you wouldn’t complain about it, you would just do it. Like most of us do.
You know how stupid you are to do all those hours and contribute all that money, just do exclude your child yourself. Only an idiot would do all that without making sure their kid was looked after, instead of expecting someone else to do it.
That is where all your socalled good deeds fall to crap. You, according to you, do all these things for all the other kids, with the expectation that someone else will look after your kid. Your motive is quite clear. You do it this way so you can whine and complain when your snowflake isn’t looked after by another parent, and you can then cry on the shoulders of whatever friends you have about how unfair things are.
I know people like you, and have seen enough of them in my time, to know that all your contributions are not worth the aggrevation and obligations they come with. And being the outspoken, in your face personality I am, I have no problem telling you and the others like you, to shut up, go away, we don’t need you. And in my kids class, team, club or whatever, I will gladly match your contributions just so we don’t have to hear your whining anymore.