Out Of The Mailbag – To YW Editor (Peanut Free Schools)

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yw new logo4.jpgDear Yeshivaworld,

The following is a letter that I sent to my children’s school regarding allergies in children.
 
Please add this to your “letters to the mailbag” – so all parents can be informed, how dangerous allergies can be and they should think of others children, w/the same love and devotion they give to their own. It only takes a minute to do the right thing!

To all parents of Yeshiva X,

I am saddened that I have to write this letter. Like most of you, we send our children to school hoping that they will have a great day learning new things and that they will be growing up in a safe, healthy environment.  People who don’t have allergic children are not fully aware of the real life threatening danger and worry that comes with food allergies, especially Peanuts.

An exposure to Peanuts or the offending allergen, doesn’t just mean “give him Benadryl and he’ll be fine.” Their reactions get progressively worse with each exposure. Each time a child with a peanut allergy is exposed by eating, inhaling and some just through contact with their skin, the allergic reaction worsens to the point that their throats might potentially swell up and close off his breathing and then Chas V’shalom a fatal outcome. We are not yet at that stage and with your help we will never get there.

I don’t want my child to keep getting exposed!!!!!

My 3 yr old son will be attending Yeshiva X in the fall and I want a healthy school environment for him. Unfortunately I don’t see that yet as a possibility. He has allergies to peanuts and tree nuts ,which means all other nuts.

While Yeshiva X  is supposed to be Peanut Free, there are parents who don’t realize, understand or care about the welfare of my child and their friends and neighbors children and continually send snacks and food w/ nuts in them.

It is not fair to have the administration policing the school, having to check things that are being sent in and making them feel solely responsible.  They don’t check each child’s snacks every day — how can they be expected to. Students and faculty, however, should not bring anything in period!

The product Bamba,  is one of the most popular peanut concentrated snacks that exist other than Reeses. It was seen in the hands of a child in school. I happened to be in the school today and saw a child sitting on the floor with other boys. His snack of cookies were  spilled out of the bag on the floor next to him with the child continuing to eat it off the floor.

While many cookies are O.K. others are not. Please understand items sometimes state in the ingredients: “may contain traces of nuts” or “made on the same equipment”  – these could be  just as detrimental as the real thing.

Please don’t have the attitude that “my child won’t share and therefore it is no big deal, he’ll eat it by himself.” Your child with his “peanut fingers” will now touch doorknobs, desks, pencils, toys, balls at recess, or anything else my child may come in contact with.  And we all know that kids don’t wash their hands as often as we would like them too.

This applies to snack time, lunch time, and  all parties and  siyumim  in school or even if a mother and child want to treat the class to a box of cookies, the ingredients must be checked!

If the shoe were on the other foot I am sure you would all be just as scared for the well being of your precious child. Saving one precious life (with such little effort), Hashem tells us, saves the entire world.

Please help me keep my child and yours healthy and safe.

People see it as an inconvenience, I see it as my child’s life, which is more important?

Please start right now.
Tizku L’mitzvos and thank you all.

A concerned parent.


37 COMMENTS

  1. first of all, i think it’s impossible for any parent in the world to “think of other children, w/the same love and devotion they give to their own”. that’s a pretty high expectation.
    second of all, some times kids pack their own lunches and don’t realize that the foods contain peanut ingrediants. also, sometimes parents make mistakes by packing something with peanuts and not realizing it, or they just don’t realize or understand the concept of a peanut allergy. your letter will definately bring more awareness to parents, although i really don’t think that a parent who understands the whole thing will diliberately pack a peanut snack for their child just because it’s inconveniant, or because they don’t care!

    dan l’kaf z’chus also saves lives!

  2. For anyone who’s makpid on Yoshon, Pas Yisrael, Chalav Yisrael or any other chumra/halacha, or even if one just wants to see if the snack is pareve or not, it should be pretty easy, while one is checking the label for any of the above, to see if the label states that the product “May contain traces of…” or is “Made in a plant that manufactures products containing…” the potential allergen.

    May Hashem watch over all His children, and remove all illnesses, including allergies, from His people.

  3. My children’s school has been nut-free for years, and somehow we manage just fine-

    we read labels very carefully, and yes, sometimes my daughter can’t take a favorite snack to school- but instead she has learnt to be compassionate and thougtful towards her fellow classmates.

  4. Bais Yaakov in Baltimore has been Peanut Freed for over five years.

    Under its remarkable principal, Rabbi Mendel Freedman, BYB has long been a leader in inclusiveness for all Jewish children. Years ago, they enrolled the first deaf children in a mainstream class, and followed it with a blind girl, autistic children, Down-syndrome, handicapped and children with many different challenges.

    Thanks to Rabbi Freedman’s extraordinary care, these children have become productive members of Klal Yisrael. May Hashem send Rabbi Freedman a refua Shelaima bkarov!

  5. Dear concerned parent: In your school, peanut products, like treife food, should not be allowed to be brought in. Go down to the school and speak to them in person (not on phone) and tell them to send a letter to all parents regarding this matter. Teachers have to be reminded to to call any parent who sends in peanut products into the school. If there is one child with a peanut allergy, I do not see any wrong with teachers checking snacks and talking to the class about it especially if it’s your child’s class. I could fully understand your concern and I hope you are matzliach.

  6. You are, of course, absolutely correct. Pikuach Nefesh is not something to play around with. Is it, however, possible to make life easier for those parents who were spared this nisayon and are not used to perusing labels? Perhaps in the beginning of each school year, and then during the year as a reminder, distribute a list of all snacks that are okay to buy as well as a listing of no-nos. I am sure that most peopel are happy to cooperate – they just need some guidance.

  7. I totally understand your concern. A few weeks ago, Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin sent home a list of acceptable and unacceptable snacks for this issue as well as general health issues. Maybe you can contact them for the list they prepared and can share it with your son’s yeshiva.

  8. My daughter has a nut allergic child in her class. She used to take peanut butter and jam sandwiches for lunch before the child joined the class. After that we had a real problem as she wouldn’t eat anything else on her bread. For a while we had to take her out of the class for lunch until we, very gradually, got her to eat other spreads on her bread. At first it annoyed me no end but I gradually came to realise what was at stake (a child’s life) and I have come to terms with it.

  9. My son’s school is peanut and tree nut free as well. I always give him only nut free nosh. The school also forbids dairy or fleishig snacks. He does not want “mushy” food and refuses to take fresh fruit or vegetables, claiming no one else eats them. So what’s left? Fruit leather, popcorn and potato chips. If I get him to eat half a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, so be it. He needs to eat.

  10. To the Concerned Parent of this 3 year old child:

    Although I sympathize with your issue I think you need to reevaluated your matzav.

    1. Allergies to peanuts are not the only dangerous allergens. I had a person over once for Seudas Sheini and when I offered to place chulent on his plate he told me that he is allergic to beans and can die from eating even one bean (he was dead serious about this – no pun intended). Others are allergic to milk. I personally was allergic to almost everything under the sun. Should we start making a list for the schools to Asur EVERY allergen that could be potentially harmful?

    2. This issue is YOUR problem. You need to take responsibility to protect your son’s health and not place it on the community to be his parents. You certainly have the right (and responsibility) to inform the Staff and Administration of your son’s special needs and it is their responsibility to see to it that his medical issues are attended to. However, within limits. If your son’s issue is that critical then it is your responsibility to keep him at home until he is old enough to understand the dangers himself and stay away from peanuts. A child of 3 years old is not required to be in school at all. Not by the law, nor according to the Torah. Place him in a play group until he is five (the legal age required to go to school). Just because it is more convenient for you to have him in school doesn’t give you the rights to inconvenience others.

    3. Keep in mind, as much as we try to protect our child, everything is ultimately in Hashem’s hands. For instance, imagine another child comes to school having eating a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast at home. Now, taking your scenario that the hands are not wash, he proceeds to play class your son in class and their hands touch. Your son latter sticks his thumb in his mouth that has traces of peanut butter on it and he starts choking (Challila V’Chas!!!!!). Are we now to demand ever parent to thoroughly was their child’s hands with soap and water (not that that’s a bad thing :)) before sending them off to school? Does the school now have to check every child’s hands as they enter school just to protect your child from peanut butter? There are millions of potential dangerous scenarios out there that are ALL realistic and DO happen. What you and we need to do are 1) Trust Hashem to protect our children as Rashi states “Every child has a Malach watching over him”. 2) Listen to Rav Mattisyahu Solomon, shlita who states, “A parent who doesn’t daven for his children is K’ilu child abuse!” Daven for him!!!

    May Hashem Yisborach Protect your child from the potential dangers out there and may you be Zoche to see him grow up and become a True Eved Hashem!!

  11. I worked in a nut-free school and it was really not a problem to keep it nut-free. All the kids showed their snack to the teacher because brachos were said together out loud. Once you are checking for what bracha to say (which every teacher in younger elementary and pre-school grades should do) it is very easy to spot snacks with nuts. A note would be sent home to the parent stating that the child was not able to eat snack in school because it contained nuts and the child would be given a different snack to eat. (A package of nut-free cookies was kept in the classroom for this purpose.)

  12. Softwords comments, number 10, seem so logical.
    Here’s a list:
    Nut Allergies – prohibit all nut products completely.
    Wheat allergies – prohibit all wheat products completely (including bread/pretzels, etc.).
    Strawberry/Pineapple allergies – prohibit all fruit items completely.
    Lactose intolerance – prohibit all dairy products.

    I don’t mean to sound uncompassionate to the writer’s issue, however, what if a school enrolled four children, each with a severe allergy to an item above? There would be nothing left permitted in school?

    At what point does a school and other parents have a right to say, “We feel terribly that your child has this condition, but we cannot possibly restrict everything that needs to be restricted to insure his/her safety, and still run a school.”

    I’m just putting this dilemma out there for discussion. Don’t jump all over me. I just want to know if there exists a point of placing too much responsibility and hardship on the school itself and the rest of the parent body?

  13. I have studied this issue, and found that the VAST majority of these supposed “peanut/tree nut allergies” are fignments of parent’s imagination. a simple google search will prove me right.

    that said, i will say that:
    1. my sons yeshiva (and i understand most yeshivot) are nut free today. enforcement may be another story, dependent on parents, as discussed in the comments here.
    2. at my son’s bar mitzvah, i went out of my way (unasked) to ensure the “peklech” candies are nut free.
    3. my friends in the food service industry will not supply their school customers candy with nuts, due to good policy. (but note that the ONLY supplier of “nut free” chanukah gelt coins charges a substantial premium, as one of my friend complains.) and the same goes for caterers who supply yeshivot.
    4. there were NEVER any such cases in our yeshiva days.
    5. airlines are back to serving peanuts (though not always kosher) even though, in theory, they are served in a sealed container called an airplane!

  14. Isn’t there a halachathat says if even one person complains that they are cold you should close the window? Medinat hayam if you are not a medical proffesional keep your “Google Wisdom” to yourself. if you think a peanut allergy is a figment of imagiantion, you must be living on Pluto (or Lakewood)

  15. MiMedinat HaYam , do you actually believe that myself and 1000’s out there pretend our children have allergies? my sons eyelids and face blew up to the size of golfballs after eating bamba , are you telling me it didnt happen and i just imagined it?

    i am the writer of the above letter, and it is because of the narrowmindednes of a select few of those that responded that i felt the need to write this letter.

    one of you feels that i must be a terrible mother to force my kid to go to school at the age of 4. well as many of u know, if we dont get our kids in school by kindergarden, the schools cant promise places for them in Pre 1a due to excessive waiting lists and not enough spaces for kids in yeshivas nowadays.
    soft words, had the most “brilliant” answer of all.
    you can mention a million different allergies out there, and yes there many who are allergic to them but if a school feels that they should be peanut free it is their choice and school parents should follow their rules.

    and to say i am inconviencing others? i am trying to educate others. if it is necessary for one to send peanut/ nut things with your child to school, find a different school if the one u picked is peanut free, whats more impt to you, your childs education or the fact that he cant eat nuts for 6-8 hours a day?

    schools say that TV is harmful to our children, that internet is harmful, they have seminars for their teachers on kids and bullying and how to deal w/ it, but it is ok for a child to hurt another child w/ food!

    if the school is peanut free all parents should abide by it. i am not telling these parents of my childrens school to take on a new rule in the school, it exists. why cant they just follow it?

    one of you said i should do my hishtadlus and daven and hope nothing happens to him, i am doing that, by tryingto educate morons who actually believe its all in my head!

  16. There is one fundamental diffrence between a peanut and tree nut allergy and other allergies, and that is that nut allergies are airborne,which means that the allergens travel through the air and can cause a reaction in one who is sensitive. the milk or other allergies are only through ingesting the foods. But more than that, how can parents who have their own children be writing such insensitive comments. I hope none of you have this nisaon, but my child had a peanut allergy and B”H grew out of it. But during that time we were in constant fear of the possible dangers. Do you know what it means to walk around with an epipen that you might need to inject yourself if chas v’shalom you come in contact with the allergens. with a little bit of concern and foresight you can alleviate the pain of a fellow yid and possibly be motzil another. Are we not Rachmanim b’nei Rachmanim? Please rethink your logical points and bring out your heartfelt concern for your fellow yid.

  17. Softwords, you should change your login to “harshwords”. You clearly do not sympathize with this poor mother and you seek to make light of a serious and unfortunate situation that remains very real today.

  18. As a mother of a daughter with severe allergies to peanuts and other foods, I read “Softwords” comments and “Eliezer”‘s comments and started to get really upset. But it was when I read “MiMedinat HaYam”‘s comments that I decided to write in. “I HAVE STUDIED THIS ISSUE, AND FOUND THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THESE SUPPOSED “PEANUT/TREE NUT ALLERGIES” ARE FIGMENTS OF PARENTS IMAGINATION”????????? How can you EVER EVER post such a thing???? Have you ever rushed your child down to the ER because he/she couldn’t breathe after eating something they were allergic to? Do you know how many children “BACK IN YOUR YESHIVA DAYS” couldn’t be saved because of lack of knowledge about allergies (because of pple like you who believe it must just be a figment of their immagination). And yes, I agree that a school couldn’t possibly restrict every food allergy but everyone (despite your google searching) knows that peanut allergy is a very severe allergy and just having it around could pose a serious reaction. Other allergies such as milk doen’t have a smell, cannot get crushed or linger in the air.
    All children deserve to go to school! There are other food related deseases out there as well (ie diabetes). All this mother is asking is that parents be a little sensitive and know that (despite MiMediant HaYam’s “research”) allergies are serious. You don’t want to be the one responsible for another child getting sick. (And, just for the record, only Southwest still serves peanuts – if you inform them before hand they DO NOT bring it on the plane)

  19. Numbers 10, 13 and 14– All the allergens listed are very different.
    i believe that nut allergies are the only ones that can be fatal C”V when NOT ingested. Nut allergies can be airborne (such is the case of several children in my school). Our school has been peanut free for about 7 years. There was a child in Pre 1-A that was exposed to nuts and went into anaphylactic shock and needed two doses of epipens to revive him. This is not something in your mind. This is real. There was a parent in my daughter’s class that stood outside the classroom for the first two weeks of school and checked every knapsack before the kids went in. She confiscated those snacks that were dangerous and was then able to tell the parent in person why the snack was unacceptable. We should never pass judgement. Having a child with severe allergies is like sending your child to cross a busy highway everyday to get to yeshiva. Would you send him blindly or would you escort him and make sure he had a safer way to get there?

  20. I know what I am about to write will upset some of you. But in this department we are way behind the non-Jewish private schools. Many, many of them are “Nut Free” completely, and some are also milk free, serving, and only allowing, soy milk.

    The gentiles, and non-frum people, seem to understand that there are many children now, today, who are “extremely” allergic. These kids can DIE if only exposed to anything milchik or containing tree nuts or tree-nut residue.

    My own granddaughter just turned three a couple of months ago. She is one of those highly allergic kids. If someone drank coffee with milk, and kisses her cheek, she could need a shot to save her life! (followed by a fast drive to the ER)

    My daughter wanted to put her in Yeshiva pre-school at least part time. We have here at our shul a pre-school with some absolutely wonderful teachers. But she can’t send my grand daughter here. Why? No rules regarding allergic foods.

    Her pediatrician recommended her to a few “other” private schools where she would be safe, where the administration is VERY strict about what is allowed to brought in. All kids must wash up when they first get to school, and no child brings snacks that are not checked by the teachers. They have one simple rule, bring anything with nuts or dairy, and don’t come back.

    But she wanted my granddaughter to go to a frum school, where she would learn Yiddishkeit, and our Yomim Toivim, instead of about Martin Luther King, Thanksgiving & XXXXXXmas.

    But, to her dismay, every single Yeshiva pre-school here was way behind the times as far as allergies was concerned. There was not even one she could even think of leaving her daughter in.

    Yes, there are other allergies out there, and she has a few others herself. But tree nuts and dairy are the worst.

    We almost lost her a year and a half ago. Her grandmother arrived from NY, and had grapes with her. She purchased the grapes at JFK Airport, and they were in a bag with a hechsher. But, they were packaged by people who were also packaging nuts, and must have had tree-nut residue on their hands or gloves. Well, her grandmother gave her a couple of these grapes. Thank G-d my daughter had her Epi Pen handy, for she needed that epinephrine injection FAST, and then straight to the ER. Anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction can KILL a small child within minutes.

    To make a long story a little less long, the pediatrician, who is a Jewish woman, told my daughter that it is a crying shame, but the worst schools for allergic kids are our Jewish pre-schools and Yeshivas, as we are way behind the times in adopting policies and rules to protect our kids.

    She went on to explain, that some children are totally unaware they are allergic. Many parents keep nuts away from children under 3 to begin with, so they are not aware of the allergies. Then they go to school, and die from the Bambas or other highly allergic snacks.

    To most who are allergic, tree nuts are much worse than peanuts.

    So, the writer is very justified. If the goyishe schools can prevent highly allergic foods from entering into their schools, why are we not able to?

    Sure it is a hassle. No one denies it. But the world is learning about allergies, as they are becoming more severe, and they are learning how to protect their kids. Are our kids not equally worth protection.

    Sure it is the parents’ problem to protect his kids. But we need to learn to accommodate and make it possible for allergic kids to get a Yiddishe education.

    Yes, this is more trouble than a handicapped kid in a wheelchair. This is a restriction on the “normal kids” and it is not their fault. But, are we not the nation of people who care, not the group who says, “It’s YOUR problem!”?

  21. I am very disappointed with some of your responses. I have children with life threatening allergies as well and no one can relate to what we go through as parents of these children on a daily basis. How selfish can you be and do you not have compassion for your fellow jews. Do you know what it is like to send your child to school and receive that dreaded phone call letting you know that your child is being transported to the ER. Kids are kids and no matter how many times we tell them to ask first before they eat something, they are not mature enough to ask until they are about 9 or 10 years of age. Not all companies are honest and they don’t always disclose what is in their food packages. A few years ago, my son almost died from chopped up peanuts that were hidden in a food item. Our kids deserve to go to school and be in a safe environment like all the other kids. Kids who like peanut butter can have it as a snack when they get home from school. Why put these innocent kids at risk?

  22. To #14: Allergies are very real, with potential life threatening reactions called ANAPHYLAXIS; in simple English, it’s when the body starts shutting down all the major organs which can lead to death (usually within the first 4 hours after ingesting an allergen). Check the definition in a dictionary or check with any doctor.

    #13: Lactose intolerance is NOT a food allergy. An intolerance is a problem associated with the digestive system. In this case, the body is unable to DIGEST (or break down)lactose and causes gastrointestinal synptoms (i.e. gassiness, pain,diarrhea).
    A true allergic reaction involves the immune system where the body mistakens food as something harmful to the body. Antibodies are then called into action to protect the body by producing histamine (the chemical which causes the allergic reaction). This is similar to the body producing antibodies to fight off a cold, infection, or any other disease. The amount of histamine released determines the severity of the reaction. A reaction can be but not limited to a rash or hives, wheezing, trouble breathing, swelling of the tongue, lips or airways or even ANAPHYLAXIS or death.

    Peanuts are singled out over other allergens because medically, it has been proven that reactions to peanuts tend to be more severe(anaphylaxis) than that to other allergens (although anyone with any allergy can have a severe reaction). This does not mean that someone with an allergy to peanuts won’t “just” get hives or someone with a different allergy won’t react with anaphylaxis.

    Now for some “been there done that” suggestions:
    A 3 year old does not have to go to school. He does need playmates and structure to his day. How about trying a rotating playgroup with 2 or 3 other mothers, each day in someone else’s house. Or you can try the smaller a “heimishe” playgroups. The Moros there might be a bit more accommodating.
    The saying “you catch more bees with honey” holds true. If you come across as demanding and not willing to compromise, you will have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Have a meeting with the school staff and be willing to take the burden on your shoulders: i.e. organize parties, snack time, be the official class snack/food buyer, be a chaperone on trips. In short be a more than involved parent.
    Have another meeting with the parents. More likely than not, they will be willing to work with you, as long as you’re not demanding. Keep your eyes and ears open to suggestions from the other parents so that a working compromise may be reached.

    There are two organizations for you to look into:
    1. IMA is a frum support group for mothers of kids with allergies. They are located in Brooklyn. (I’m sorry but I don’t have more specific contact information.)
    2. FAAN- The Food Allergy and Asthma Network
    They have a newsletter, videos, kids’ books, and many publications to aid in eduacating and promoting awareness in schools.
    contact info: Faan (800)929-4040
    http://www.foodallergy.org

    As food for thought Our son who had a severe allergy to milk (which he B”H outgrew )had abreating reaction to a heimish ” parve ” product .The manufacturer insisted that they are kosher & parve . We finally got the phone number of the suppliers of the ingredients and guess what
    ? one of the ingredients had a drop of milchigs in it due to the difficulties in koshering the machines . Of course it was “Buttel” and halachicly parve. But who would want to Lechatchila eat a steak sandwich together with this parve product that contains a drop of milk ?

    hatzlacha

    Caring parents

  23. #10- nut allergies are in a totaly different realm than the other ones you mention. They are AIRBORN. Of course a child needs to learn what they can & cannot eat. But you need to understand that this is different. Yes you are also right that it is in Hashems hands, but we have a duty to care for ourselves. As far as a child coming to school with dirty hands. By the time he gets to school he probably would have gone to the bathroom, & hopefuly washed his hands, or touched things on the school bus or car…
    #14 tell that to the parents who have watched their children start to turn blue.

  24. TO ALL CONTRIBUTERS: WHEN WRITING MY COMMENT I WAS NOT AWARE THAT PEANUTS FELL INTO A DARGA OF IT’S OWN BEING THAT IT APPARENTLY CAN CAUSE A SEVER (AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY) REACTION EVEN AIRBORNE. THEREFORE, I AM RETRACTING THE MAIN PART OF MY COMMENT!

    However, with that said:

    ses (the author of the letter) – I have two comments for you to consider.

    1) Realize that your letter gives off a tone of a hysterical mother and therefore loses it’s effectiveness. If I were a parent at your school I would probably have written of your letter as such and moved on instead of taking you seriously. Perhaps you should have gotten someone less emotional attached to the issue to have written the letter. Perhaps your doctor.

    2) I feel you would be more effective for your son and other potential students with ANAPHYLAXIS to try to convince the staff to provide meals instead of allowing meals to be sent to school. This would certainly allow for more control on what’s being brought it. Besides, based on many of the comments provide (mostly by parents in your shoes) it seems that monitoring products for traces of peanuts is easier said than done. Take the grape case or the parve/milk case #25. Even if other parents of your school try to be careful there is no guarantee that mistakes won’t be made. If the school is willing to be Nut Free then they should be willing to comply to having school provided meals that can be monitored. I worked at several schools (that weren’t Nut Free) that provided meals because concerns over kashrus was important enough for them to do so. If kashrus is enough of a concern then Al Achas Kama V’chama – Pekuach Nefesh!

    B’EH your son will get over this issue, but keep in mind, even if he does you should consider that not for not did Hashem give you this Nasiyon. Perhaps he wants you to help others in this issue. It takes a clear head when trying to make changes. Your demands must be realistic and W/O emotions mixed in (which of course is hard). B’EH realistic changes will be made where applicable.

  25. to #10, #13, and anyone else who has some ridiculous reason for not adhering to your schools rules. I hope that you never have the day that you have to sit down with your six year old “shloimy” and explain to him that his classmate “moishy” will never be coming back to cheder again because you were too lazy, stupid or ignorant to take the extra five minutes out at the grocery store to check your sons nash for peanut ingredients. And no, I B’H don’t have anyone afflicted with any allergies in my family and for that i am grateful. and if all it takes for me to show my gratefulness is to buy pretzels instead of bamba, so what??? let that be my way of thanks. why even bother with the above argument?

  26. To British #28,
    Excuse me!! I have not one, but TWO children with very serious medical conditions.
    Out of our own pocket we paid for extra nursing care at the school our children attended so as not to put extra emotional, physical and financial burdens on the school staff or teachers.
    My wife changed her job so as to be closer to our children’s school, and I had to miss work so many times for my children’s medical care that I had to take Yomim Tovim as unpaid leave. And I say, B”H!
    All this was done for one reason – the Nisayon Hashem sent our way, was just that: IT WAS SENT OUR WAY. It wasn’t sent to the school, and it wasn’t sent to the other parents. It was our Nisayon to deal with, and WE dealt with it(with Hashem’s help of course) – for the most part without burdoning the school staff or parent body.
    Don’t you dare tell me what I’ve said is ridiculous.
    Why bother with the above arguement, you ask? Because it’s a valid argument.
    Someone allergic to pollen shouldn’t get a job as a florist.
    Someone allergic to pet hair, should not work at Petco.
    And a child that has such a severe allergy to nuts that it can be life-threatening at the mere whiff of scent of nuts, should not go to a school with two or three hundred elementary school children, where it is virtually impossible to insure that child’s safety.
    And to do so, in my opinion, is irresponsible on the part of the parents.
    And, yes, it places an undue burdon of responsibility upon the school staff and parent body.
    I, of all people, deeply sympathize with the author, but I disagree that my child’s medical condition should become the responsibility of the school staff and the rest of the parent body. If for one second I felt that our children wouldn’t be safe with what WE set up, we would have taken them out immediately and found an alternative. We certainly would not have placed the burdon on the school or parent body.

  27. Our child is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, meat (yes, that’s right), potatoes and eggs. (Pesach is a challenge, to say the least!) We leave Benadryl and epi-pens in school, and have trained the teachers in dealing with these allergies and recognizing the different types of reactions our son has to different allergies. The school, and for the most part, the other parents, have been very supportive and we are appreciative.

    My problem, however, is with the Heimeshe food manufacturers who do not have the guts to accurately label their food products. Apparently, they are concerned about potential liability. So instead of focusing on accuracy, they simply cover the gamut and say that their food products may contain every allergen required to be disclosed under Federal Law. This, effectively, prevents anyone with an allergy from purchasing their products, which under a strict economic theory, would be sufficient to get them to comply with the law and only list REAL allergens, except for the fact that the number of people who are allergic and do not purchase their products are insufficient to put a dent in the profits generated by their already inflated prices. However, it also calls into question their kashrus standards. How can a package say pareve when the allergen disclosure states it may contain milk? Is their kashrus supervision so lax that they don’t know what is in their products? Do they not clean the manufacturing lines with hot steam sufficiently between milk and pareve productions? If they don’t, the food is not pareve, and if they do, then there are no allergens left to be disclosed. This practice is a HUGE Chillul Hashem (reinforces the notion that a Jew doesn’t care about anyone other him or herself—try to drive or park in Boro-Park and you know what I mean), and is a violation of Federal Law. V’Lamalshinim Al T’hee Sikvah, V’Hamayvin Yavin… To the Heimishe food manufacturers, and you know who you are, grow a backbone and accurately disclose your REAL food allergens. To everyone else, next time you are in the grocery store, look at the allergen information, see if it passes the “sniff test”, wonder about the kashrus of food that can be so blatantly mislabeled, and purchase your food from another manufacturer.

  28. BY writing the above letter to my sons school, i am trying to accomplish 2 things.

    1) to get them to get their act together. either you are or you arent peanut free. dont advertise your school as peanut free and then allow it into your school. which went so far as a secretary actually had a jar of peanut butter on her desk, and saw nothing wrong w/it. and a teacher who had an allergic child in their class, and brought in something “laced” w/ nuts and the kid had a reaction.( this was a 4th or 5th grader who probably assumed, his teacher would never harm him)

    it is also a wake up call to the other parents in the school w/ allergic children ,that they need to know their children are not being protected as the school claims. and they should be on top of their childs situation on a daily basis.

    British shouldnt be yelled at, they had it right!

    i love little ‘Moishy and chavi” who come to my house everyweek for playdates w/ my kids and i would do anything in my power not to harm them if i knew there was apotential danger.
    the worst thing possible would be to have to tell a child moishy isnt coming back to school because someones mommy or daddy was irresponsible and sent smething harmful to school.

    The only responsibility that my school has, is to portray themselves correctly. if they say they are peanut free and chas v’shalom a teacher gives something to my child or another kid brought something in they shouldnt have and it affects my childs health, then they are responsible. my son would be in this school, w/ or w/ out it being peanut free. i would be just as worried as i am now , my child is in playgroup that is not peanut free and already had a reaction to something at school. i know how to deal w/ the situation .I am just asking for a little help in keeping the school nut free. It shouldnt be an inconvience.

    V”ahavta L”rayacha K’mocha love your neighbors as yourself…

    one life saved, saves a whole world.

    everyone above likes to quote and quote, These are the 2 most important quotes i can think of, and I am sure there are more. My child is Hashem’s child just like your is, yes this my test in life, but is there anything wrong w/ getting a little help from others, so i can pass my test?

    and a quick mention to Softwords who always has “the right opinion on the matter” check your info, kids do not grow out of peanut allergies. this is w/ him for life.

  29. ses – quote: “check your info, kids do not grow out of peanut allergies. this is w/ him for life.”

    IT would be correct for you to do more research. Here is a quote from the UCL Institute of Child health.

    “We know that about 25% of children who are allergic to peanuts grow out of their allergy, while a proportion of children have milder reactions as they get older.” http://www.ich.ucl.ac.uk/factsheets/families/F000279/

    Not to mention that several of the people that commented above claim that their child grew out of it.

    If it is of any comfort to you, I too as a child was allergic to peanuts along with wheat, barley, rye, milk, eggs, and a variety of other things as well. My mother had to acquire potato bread for me to eat. My diet was very restrictive. It was very difficult for her I’m sure. Non-the-less, the only thing I’ve been tested as an adult as having an allergic reaction to is dust mite. Yes, your son CAN outgrow this. Not that he WILL outgrow it, but he CAN. It is that CAN that you have to take into consideration and place your trust in Hashem and daven that he be one of the 25% that overcomes their allergies.

  30. According to Dr. Hugh Sampson who is the “rosh hayeshiva” when it comes to allergies (many allergist that I have spoken to refer to him for guidance), a small percentage of children will outgrow their peanut allergy although most of them will not. I personally know 2 children who did outgrow their peanut allergy. Unfortunately, my own son is not one of them.

    If this is any comfort to you, my son is now in high school and B”H even with the battles in the beginning (when my son started school “no one ever heard of such a thing”), people actually did get it. He was able to go to friends bar-mitzvahs and yes, he ate there. He learnt how to question the kitchen staff and can even tell when someone is giving him a wishy-washy answer.

    You were mentioning quotes. What about “v’nishmartem meod l’nafshoseichem”.
    And yes, to #29, it is everyones’ nisayon to a different extent. Learning how to get along with everyone and giving a little or alot to someone with a disability is part of our tafkid. Chesed towards your fellow Jew comes in all forms and this is one of them.

    As an aside, there is something called the Americans with Disabilities Act which guaratees you certain rights (sect 504). Check into the details as laws keep changing. And as far as allergies are concerned there are new laws being passed regularly to protect those with allergies.

  31. obviously softwords #10 and softwords #32 are not the same people. If they were , #32 says he had peanut allergies he outgrew #10 says he didnt know that peanuts could be so bad so he is retracting his staement. i would think if someone was so allergic as a child, he would have know that info from the beginning and stated that he was allergic as a child in his first posting.

    Editors Note: FYI: Our system shows them as being the same person.

  32. B”H, I am not allergic to any foods, but I think that all you ‘nay-sayers’ might speak differently if it was your child who almost died, cholilah, from ingesting or being exposed to something s/he was allergic to.

    KOL YISROEL ARAIVIM ZEH LAZEH…we are connected to each other and must care about each other!

  33. As a mother of three food allergic children I wish people would take this seriously. I will NOT at this time be putting 2 of my children into cheder because of this exact reason as of right now. I don’t honestly know how I will educate them but what choice do I have? It is because of parents who would rather send bamba than save my children’s lives that MY kid’s education will suffer.

    As to those who keep giving misinformation. ANY food can be airborne ana. My daughter is airborne ana to dairy, chicken, eggs, and a few others. YES, she reacts when any of these are in the room with her! My son is airborne ana. to fish and eggs. Last Pesach my daughter’s whole entire face swelled and she almost stopped breathing till she was given an epi just because I was serving egg salad. Dr. Fleischer (one of the top ped food allergists in the world) of National Jewish research Institute which is the leading bronchial center in the world and is one of the leading allergy centers in the world had told me personally that you can react airborne ana to any food as when it is cooked the protein particles get into the air and one can react if they are sensitive enough.

    I pray that these people who just don’t get it never have children with such an issue because even my worst enemy I would NEVER wish on them to watch their child suffer for an ana. reaction, have to give them an epi (praying that it will it would. For my son it did not with his last reaction), rushed to the ER by an ambulance, all the time davening that your child makes it. All because they played with a toy that someone played with before smooshing their allergens on it or because a food product was mislabeled or a someone fed your child without permission.

  34. #35 SES – Quote, “i would think if someone was so allergic as a child, he would have know that info from the beginning and stated that he was allergic as a child in his first posting.”

    As you would admit (assuming you know all the facts) food allergies vary from person to person. Although I was allergic to everything under the sun, my reactions were far less (and minor) in comparison to your son’s. I would only get rashes.

    I knew that more sever reactions existed, but I did not know that the reactions could be from airborne contact. I never had any reactions at all to airborne contact.

    #37 I’m sorry to hear that your children have such dangerous nesyonos. May Hashem Yisborach protect them. However, with that said, it is precisely your case that my original statement was geared towards.

    You certainly have a big problem on your shoulders, but in my opinion you do not have the right to expect the schools to disallow dairy, chicken, eggs, fish, and nut byproducts just to allow your child into school. If so, Ein L’davar Sof! Where do you suggest we draw the line? Who’s medical issue do we say yes to and who’s not?

    You may want to ask, “But what about my child’s Jewish Education”?

    To that I must remind you that 1) a Jewish education is mitzva d’oraisa of the father’s to teach his sons. 2) The educational system was set up b’deeved because Chazal saw that it was becoming more and more difficult for parents to fulfill their chiyuv. 3) The Jewish educational system in America does not go back that far. There are still many yiden alive today that had to have a public school education (being that there were no yeshivas at that time) and non-the-less became yirei shamiyim and talmideh chochumim.

    Unfortunately, you are placed in a difficult nisayon that requires life altering changes; Not only for you, but possibly your children’s entire future. Processed foods can be very dangerous for them. Not only are you needing to learn to adjust your diets, their wives will also need to do the same. Also, employment and social lives may need to be thoroughly thought out.

    So too, their ruchnius also needs adjustments. You may be stuck in a situation where you’ll need to hire private tutors to educated them and form special play groups for them as well. This may be difficult, but you wont be the first to do so and not the last.

    It not fun to be placed in such situations, but you do not have the rights to demand that the tzibur remove every possibly obstacle so that your sons can go where they want. It sounds like there are a number of parents in similar circumstances to yours. Why not band together and start a school specifically designed for your kids’ needs?

    It’s difficult? Sure it is, but that is your issue to deal with, not everybody else’s!

    In communities throughout the world parents have needed to struggle to create schools design for their children’s special needs (Hareidim, Chassidim, mentally challenged, etc). Your challenge is no different.

    B’Hatzlacha

  35. Softwords- I never asked anyone to make the classroom free of my children’s allergens. My kid’s lists are to long and honestly I don’t trust that it would actually happen. If the school offered, I would find a way to make it work for everyone. Something as simple as picking up my child before meal time, having hand washing stations as the kids come into the classroom, wiping down the kids hands after lunch and the tables/floor/chairs before they touch anything in the classroom. These are all simple solutions so that my child can be a part of the school. They don’t have to be excluded by any means! But it is people who are to busy saying I don’t need to change or make adjustments who can’t look at how simple the adjustments could be.