Friday, January 29, 2010

No Traction

Today, as I sit in the school parking lot, it is –20 degrees Celsius here in Uxbridge – hence the inspiration for the post title. However it also explains the reason why this blog has been quiet for so many months. I knew that if I started writing about anything related to peanut allergies, too many raw emotions and soured words would bubble to the top to allow for a readable post.

Sadly, there have been no improvements in the situation at school. We are still not allowed to check all of the lunches in Liam’s classroom, nor are we allowed to check the lunches of the class that mixes with his twice a week. The school board seems to be dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s, as the last we heard from them was to ask for Liam’s allergist and our family doctor to write – in their own words – the same information that was included in Liam’s allergen avoidance policy. So … no traction there.

In the meantime …

The grand total of allergic reactions Liam has had since this all started is six. Six reactions in a matter of two months, after two years of no reactions while in Junior and Senior Kindergarten, where community snacks were still being provided by the parents. We finally decided that Liam would stay home on days when the classes merged. The final straw came through a short conversation with one of Liam’s friends from the other Grade One class.

On this morning while Liam’s classmates were presenting their lunches to Krystyne for a visual inspection (yes, this is what the board has dictated, since we can’t touch their lunchboxes), a little girl from the other classroom told her, “you’re not doing a very good job at checking our lunches.”

Questions about the lunch checks have become common since the change in policy, but this comment was a little surprising. Krystyne politely explained that we’re not allowed to check her class’ lunches anymore. Then she asked why.

“Because there are some kids eating Peanut Butter Cups for snack.”


We don’t know whether it’s true or not, but we weren’t about to take any more chances. We know the girl and her family well and trust that she wouldn’t lie to us, and that would help explain why Liam reacted whenever the classes merged. Either way – true or not – we were unwilling to take any more chances with Liam’s life. So on mornings when the classes are slated to merge, Liam stays home until lunch, and the desks are washed down before he gets there for the afternoon.

Some progress at the school

There is some good news in all of this. In November the principal started a parent's advisory board on food allergies, of which Krystyne is a member. They review the school’s policies to help keep all of the food-allergic students safe. At the last meeting, they learned that the school will be putting a sink outside the primary grade classrooms so the children can wash their hands more often and more easily, rather than having to travel down two floors to the washrooms.

So, out of the frustration with this situation comes hope for some of the other parents at the school.

No comments:

Post a Comment