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Old 08-10-2006, 11:15 AM
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sevenplus sevenplus is offline
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peanut-free classroom?

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?

Old 08-10-2006, 12:55 PM
evil_twin2327 evil_twin2327 is offline
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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.
Old 08-10-2006, 01:00 PM
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luvmykids luvmykids is offline
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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.
Old 08-10-2006, 01:04 PM
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clarnet73 clarnet73 is offline
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Preschool Teacher
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!
Old 08-10-2006, 01:15 PM
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Mrs.Sheila Mrs.Sheila is offline
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Preschool Teacher
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.
Old 08-10-2006, 01:35 PM
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ABall ABall is offline
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Homeschool teacher
I would probably only do it if you have some one with an alergy.
Old 08-10-2006, 02:47 PM
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jennabar jennabar is offline
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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.
Old 08-10-2006, 02:49 PM
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kimrandy1 kimrandy1 is offline
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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.
Old 08-10-2006, 03:02 PM
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Suburban Gal Suburban Gal is offline
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Northern IL
Getting Tired of Being Unemployed
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.
Old 08-10-2006, 03:14 PM
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kimrandy1 kimrandy1 is offline
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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)

classroom, peanutfree

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