peanut-free classroom?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by sevenplus, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Aug 10, 2006

    I know some schools are peanut free. Mine isn't. I never thought about it too much until I had a student with a peanut allergy last year. We made it through the year with only one problem (I was on maternity leave and he ate in the lunchroom when they had PB&J sandwiches). All year as I thought about him, I realized how many peanut products are served at our school. It is really scary.

    I was thinking that I'd do my part and have a peanut-free classroom. I may not even have a child with allergies this year, but maybe doing so would get the issue out there and educate some parents.

    What do you think of this? As a teacher and/or a parent, how would feel about this?
     
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  3. evil_twin2327

    evil_twin2327 Rookie

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    I have had experience with peanut-free classrooms. Last year, I had a student with a peanut allergy so all parents were notified that birthday treats, etc could not have nuts in them. There was nothing else involved. My brother also has a severe paenut allergy and went through school knowing to avoid any peanuts, etc. He had very few problems.

    I was told that a few years ago, a student came for one year and the entire school had to be peanut free. Parents were not happy. There were a lot of complaints about children who only eat PB&J sandwiches, the abundance of peanut oil in many child friendly foods, etc. The child transferred after a year, but parents were very unhappy. I think it is very interesting- when do we let one student's needs outweigh those of everyone else? Apparently a nearby district has a student who can not be near any dairy/bovine products. This includs leather. His teachers can not wear leather shoes, carry leather bags, eat yogurt, etc. I realize his needs are very important, but I would also be very upset with the fact that I could not use half my wardobe or eat my normal foods. There weer a lot of conversations about pregnant teachers who might need to eat dairy and how would this affect them.
     
  4. luvmykids

    luvmykids Companion

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    When I was doing my student teaching we had a first grader who had a severe peanut allergy. Her case was life threatening. Her room was peanut free and like above letters were sent home to the other parents explaining the situation. She did not eat in the cafeteria with the other students and we had to bleach the desks in the room whenever food was brought in from the outside. When a child's life in in jeopardy I think everyone is generally willing to do what it takes to make sure they are safe.
     
  5. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Our PreK program last year had a number of student with food allegries/restrictions. I think every room except mine had at least one. For next year, they decided to group all those "food issues kids" into one room. That will probably be a lot easier for the teachers!
     
  6. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    I have one student who has a peanut allergy. Itwasn't a problem. we had parents label lunches if they had nuts ... so we could have them sit at a different table.
     
  7. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    I would probably only do it if you have some one with an alergy.
     
  8. jennabar

    jennabar Rookie

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    I had a 5th grader that had a severe allergy. He seemed to do well with it and didn't have any problems. He did have a problem as a 4th grader when he touched something that someone who had eaten a peanut butter and Jelly sandwich had touched. He had an epi pen and had to use it. When we had birthday celebrations we had them outside and I had a hershey bar for him. All kids had to wash their hands before entering the room again. It worked really well.
     
  9. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Yeah, but when it comes to weighing the needs of one versus the needs of others...does anyone really NEED to eat peanut butter? at school? Peanut products could easily be saved for at-home use only. In this case, it's really life and death for the allergic student, but a case of preferences for everyone else. As for the kids who only eat PB&J...well, that's not exactly a prime diet. Here's a chance to offer diversification.

    We're not a peanut free school, but all classrooms are peanut free. You can have peanuts and peanut products in the cafeteria and staff room, but not in the classrooms, because peanut oil gets everywhere and is hard to get off of surfaces. We want all of our kids to be safe in their classrooms, at all times.
    Kim
     
  10. Suburban Gal

    Suburban Gal (formerly Elizabeth) Banned

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    Aug 10, 2006

    As a Substitute Teacher, I had to deal with peanut-free classrooms and peanut-free schools and to be honest... kids can be allergic to ANYTHING, not just peanuts, and yet we only have free rooms and schools for the peanuts - not everything else they can be allergic to.

    In the real world, teachers won't be there to separate them. On the job, they'll have to be responsible for them and sit next to other co-worers in the employee cafeteria who may have a peanut product for lunch.

    Kids should be treated normal and allowed to sit at cafeteria schools tables with the other kids who have peanut products, just monitored a bit more carefully than if you were to actually separate them, so that they can be more prepared for the real world someday instead of asking their employer for a separate table in the employee cafeteria simply because they have a peanut allergy.

    A lot of teachers will tell you that it's our job to protect the children. Yes it is, but we have to face the fact that we can't protect them from everything.
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Yes, but five and six year olds aren't out in the real world yet. When kids are old enough to be responsible for their own bodies and own choices, I have no problem with your philosophy, and I'd be inclined to give them that responsibility as an older elementary school kid (say, 4th or 5th grade- really, I'd rather wait until middle school, though). But I'm dealing with Pre-K and Kindergarten kids here, and it's just not their job yet to be in charge of themselves. And, in many schools, kids have assigned lunch tables. My school does that. In the "real world," adults have choices about where to sit and have lunch, and who to eat with. Kids don't have those choices.

    Peanut allergies differ from most other allergies in that a reaction to peanuts can lead to death. A reaction to milk or eggs generally leads to hives or intestinal upset - annoyances, but not deadly. And, in some cases, the simple smell of peanuts is enough to trigger a reaction. I've not had a kid that bad yet, but one of my kids DID go into anaphylatic (sp?) shock after using a spoon in his ceral that had scooped peanut butter and been washed since. Not washed well, I suppose.

    In the end, I'd rather be safe than sorry. I certainly don't want a child to die or to be hospitalized based on a decision I made. If that means stricter restrictions for everyone else, so be it. If that annoys another parent, so be it. One child's life is definitely worth more than another child being able to enjoy a PBJ instead of a cheese sandwich.

    Kim (whose own three kids are not allergic to anything,thank goodness)
     
  12. soozabelle

    soozabelle Rookie

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    My first teaching job was at a school that was "peanut free." It was a private school, but many schools in the area (Greenville, SC) were becoming peanut free as well.
    Another note-- I taught four year olds and my children with peanut allergies knew it and were suprisingly responsible in their diet. We once had pizzas made from English Muffins and a little boy asked if they had any peanut oil in them!
     
  13. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I think the peanut free classrooms and schools are a good idea. It is the most common food allergy for kids and can have such deadly results. I don't have any peanut products in my room (I used to keep peanut butter crackers for the kids, but now do cheese.) However, I'm not as careful as I need to be about peanut oil and peanut products in foods you wouldn't think. When it comes down to the safety of that child, I think it's a small concession to make. Yes, my 5th graders are old enough to know what they are and aren't supposed to eat, but that doesn't stop them from "just trying" something.
     
  14. Bonnie gr. 2

    Bonnie gr. 2 Companion

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    I realize that a child might have a life threatening allergy and should be kept away from peanuts. My daughter is now in college but for years the only thing she would eat that she could bring to schol for lunch was peanut butter and jelly. She ate other foods, like chicken nuggets but our lunch program was set up that you had to buy lunch every day for a week or not at all. So she wouldn't have been able to eat lunch for several years.

    If someone's allergy is life threatening, there should be something worked out for the child to eat in an area away from others eating peanut butter. To make it more palatable, a friend or two could eat with him or her.
     
  15. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    good debate. both sides have very valid points. I personally couldn't have a student with a peanut allergy in my room becuase I must eat frequent meals/snacks with protein throughout the day for severe medical reasons. Since peanut butter is such an easily transportable protein it is a natural choice. I can't just eat cheese and almonds and soy products only since these perish and are not as effective for my medical concerns as peanut butter is.
     
  16. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I've been at schools where there's a "peanut-free table," and only kids with "safe lunches" could eat at it.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    All of our schools are peanut-free (at least in my Board) and have been for many years. It is accepted as a fact of life and there really aren't any issues about it. In fact, many of the public places that cater primarily to children are also peanut free. At my school last year we had 2 staff members and 6 students with life-threatening nut allergies, but I have also worked in peanut-free schools where there were no allergies. I can save my chocolate bars with peanuts in them for at home.
     
  18. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    We had a child at our center who had the peanut allergy. Anything containing peanuts was taken off the menu. It is too easy to make a mistake and serve peanut products. We can live without peanut butter in schools.
     
  19. Rosieo

    Rosieo Enthusiast

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    Aug 10, 2006

    I had a girl in my room last year who had a peanut allergy. At the beginning of the year her mom sent in a small rubbermaid box of snacks for her that were safe. I used these when there were birthday treats. Our school policy is that a child with a peanut allergy can only eat what their parents send in from home.
     

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