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A school/school lunch problem I need help with

My son has severe food allergies, the WORST of which is tomatoes including ketchup, and of course school cafeterias are covered in the stuff. We certainly will qualify for free lunch for him, he should start school in late August. The principal is very twitchy about his allergies and insists I send his lunch and she may have him eat in the classroom w/ a friend anyway. I was horrified to hear this (as sending a cold lunch each day isn't simple, easy, OR free!!) but she said she insisted, since the menu's can change on a whim and so much has ketchup/bbq sauce, etc etc. Can I really be deprived of my right to have free/reduced lunches for him?

 
hibbingmom

Asked by hibbingmom at 10:39 PM on Feb. 25, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 35 (71,876 Credits)
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Answers (12)
  • I would contact the school board. I feel that they should make accomadations for your chlld to have lunch.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:44 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • Honestly, I would make my child a lunch everyday, you can make them ahead of time to make it a little easier, if it came down to my child's safety. No it's not free, but you can't expect them to make your child something different than everyone else either. It's just one of those things, there's really no easy answer, it's not your fault your child has allergies, but it's not the school's either.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:45 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • I was thinking of that.... but it's stressful/scary. I'd also like to add, I've been looking forward to this for SO LONG..... 1 meal per day 5 glorious days I week I don't have to stress over, make from scratch, read labels 20 times in case I missed something or they changed their recipe since the last time we bought it, etc etc. This was like my reward for 4 years of stress/worry/work. At the same time..... sending a lunch is probably safer in the long run. Especially since apparently no kid in the entire school even has an epi pen but him. ... I hate to think of my and his rights being violated though. It makes me furious.
    hibbingmom

    Answer by hibbingmom at 10:48 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • tomatoes is a very difficult thing for a school to make sure doesn't get on your son's tray. It's not a common allergy, so the school would have to find a way to fix food totally away from tomato products just for one child. Lunchroom staff don't generally know how to cook for 1 either. Their recipes that are state approved feed hundreds.

    You say you're looking forward to not doing all the things you have to as far as reading labels and such, but do you really want to trust that to lunch room staff that are at the same time trying to feed hundreds of children?

    It's not your fault, but like the PP said, it's not the school's fault either.

    And his rights violated? what's that? your right to not worry about a meal? It's not a right. It's a perk to school and sometimes you just have to deal with it.

    Ugh! easy fix to stop all the whining... schools should go back to every child brings their lunch.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:56 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • 10:56 anon: Would be nice, huh? I actually agree. We drive 2 cities and 25 minutes away to the only daycare/preschool I could find with NO food program.... everyone brings a lunch, the teachers too and everyone eats picnic style. There's a special table for the allergy kids and girl w/ bad gag reflex, they're watched more carefully obviously. There's a strict no sharing, no exceptions policy. Public school is quite the adjustment for me. Sending all cold/prepared/ready things has been a pricey challenge. I make 90% of our meals from scratch, served hot.
    hibbingmom

    Answer by hibbingmom at 11:05 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • Ask yourself this. How would you feel if your son had a reaction to the tomatoes that are in nearly every meal at school, in some way, shape or form? Especially once you were told that the school really couldn't guarantee his safety. I'd be happy that the principal was "twitchy" instead of just dismissing your concerns with a "oh, I'm sure it will be fine." I have a child with food allergies and yes, it's less convenient making food than just sending them off to school to eat, but hospitalization is even less convenient.
    indymom22

    Answer by indymom22 at 11:22 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • For my child's safety, I would be gladly sending my own lunches daily.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:27 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • You say you have to read all labels-even foods you have served him before, how can you expect the school lunch people to do this? They are feeding hundreds of kiddos and 1 out of ten will have allergies, how would it be possible to check that many foods for that many children with different allergies. I am afraid you will need to keep your child safe by sending his lunch.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:53 PM on Feb. 25, 2010

  • I think you should be very pleased that the principal is so concerned about your son's safety. I'm sorry that making his lunches would be an inconvenience to you, but the school cafeteria just can't guarantee to keep 100% away from an ingredient they use every day.

    maxswolfsuit

    Answer by maxswolfsuit at 12:25 AM on Feb. 26, 2010

  • what about all the peanut allergy kids? tens of thousands of schools all over the Country happily sift through packing looking for hidden nut items.... and they do it without thinking twice. Just because an allergy doesn't fit into the norm doesn't mean he shouldn't have the same rights/privileges or whatever as the other kids. There's soy milk in schools now, EVERY school. There was 1 mom in the 1960's like me, how I am right now, fighting, wishing, scared. a pioneer. Just like in the late 80's or early 90's there was ONE mom with a peanut allergy kid, trying to fight for safety.
    They keep them safe from guns, bullys, the janitor being a sexual deviant, etc etc... why not the food program too?
    hibbingmom

    Answer by hibbingmom at 12:46 AM on Feb. 26, 2010

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