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Schools Have To Provide gluten-free Lunch?
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I was told yesterday that schools have to by law provide gluten free lunches to children diagnosed with celiac.

Is this true?

Do any of you have this done?

How much of a fight was it?

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I do not have any personal experience but below is the link the National School Lunch Program that provides Discounted and Free lunches based on need. Several documents came up when I put in Special Diet in the search box. I also got results when I put in Celiac. I do not know if these guidelines apply if your family does not qualify for Discounted or Free lunches.

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/

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Unless you are eligible, I don't think the school has to provide a Gluten-free lunch. Some day care providers are required to if they participate in a reimbursement program. I went through all of that with a provider. It was not easy to explain what is allowed, whats not. (My ds has too many allergies...lol). So this year I am providing my own food.

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I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that schools have to make accommodations, but that doesn't necessarily mean providing a gluten-free lunch. It can mean providing refrigerator space or a microwave for food your child brings.

richard

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I am not a expert either, but I agree with lovegrov. If the all parents has the option to send a lunch then I would not think that the school would be obligated to provide a gluten free lunch.

Personally, I would feel much safer sending a lunch than relying on someone else to make one in a gluten ladened school cafeteria. My gluten eating son took his lunch nearly everyday to school K-12.

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This discussion once came up on the diabetes newsgroup. I was told by several people that by law they have to provide a safe lunch for all children. I don't see how this is possible with someone like my daughter who has multiple allergies. I just wouldn't expect them to do it. AFAIK the only allergy my daughter's school takes into account for lunches is peanuts.

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I was shocked when our school served shrimp poppers and peanut butter. I did my own research when the daycare director went crazy when I said I would provide ds's food (he's allergic to wheat, eggs, nuts...). This is what I found on the USDA Child Care workers meal substitutions:

Food Allergies A food allergy is an abnormal response of the body's defense − the

and Intolerances immune system − to an otherwise harmless food. Although any food may cause an allergic reaction, six foods are responsible for most of these reactions in children. These foods are peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, soy, and wheat. When in a physician

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There is no way I would trust a school kitchen to provide a gluten free, or anything else free lunch. They are horribly underfunded and understaffed. In the district I teach in they no longer even cook in the kitchen; they just reheat large batches of unnutritious gluten-loaded chicken nuggets and pizza and corn dogs from a food service. There are fresh fruits and vegetables for the kids to choose from every day but since they serve themselves there would be massive cc.

One little celiac first grader wanted a "real" hot lunch so much that they do provide it for her once a week. She brings it to me to inspect; they mess up frequently. Usually we have to go read boxes in the kitchen to find the ingredients. (One day she said to me, "I hate modified food starch!") I think the cooks are doing it to be kind, not because of a law.

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oh wow.

well, even if they just provide her with refrigerator space and microwave use, that would be extremely helpful. i hate the thought of having to eat a sack lunch every day, never getting anything warm.

in our district, the food is already placed on plates, the kids just pick a plate with a main dish, then they get a plate or bowl with a side dish. so its kinda self serve but not totally. as long as the cc is under control during the prep, cook, etc..i think it will be ok if she wanted a fruit or a veggie from school. now at the high school it is completely self serve, but she is just going into 5th grade this year, so i have a few more yrs before i have to stress over that. :)

thank you so much to everyone for your imput!

i am so glad this forum is here!!!

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oh wow.

well, even if they just provide her with refrigerator space and microwave use, that would be extremely helpful. i hate the thought of having to eat a sack lunch every day, never getting anything warm.

in our district, the food is already placed on plates, the kids just pick a plate with a main dish, then they get a plate or bowl with a side dish. so its kinda self serve but not totally. as long as the cc is under control during the prep, cook, etc..i think it will be ok if she wanted a fruit or a veggie from school. now at the high school it is completely self serve, but she is just going into 5th grade this year, so i have a few more yrs before i have to stress over that. :)

thank you so much to everyone for your imput!

i am so glad this forum is here!!!

My daughter has thermoses so I can send in hot food. I either use leftovers, or cooked rice with a cooked chicken breast chopped up, soup, or some pre-made gluten free meals like chicken and rice, chicken and beans, chili or pasta. She only gets 20 minutes for lunch though and some of that time is take up with writing down the homework assignments for the day. I have been there at lunch time and it is chaos. The kids inhale their food and are expected to get on to other things. The lunches they serve are very small too. I was shocked! One day they had what appeared to be canned Ravioli. They had little dishes with three Raviolis in them. There was also a tiny salad and I think some sort of fruit. The kids had it all gone in about 5 minutes.

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I tried to let my dd eat at school. They did try to provide her a safe lunch, but it was a disaster. They only served her a hot dog weiner or a hamburger patty, fries, and fruit. They did change gloves before serving her food, but I don't think it was ever safe. I send her lunch every day and keep snacks up there. I also asked the teacher to call me ASAP if they realize she doesn't have her lunch for some reason.

IMO, it just isnt worth it. The lunch ladies are already frazzled after making meals for hundreds of kids, they don't have time to concentrate on protecting a meal. CC is a huge problem in there.

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It is true that the Americans w/Disabilities Act requires school districts to make "reasonable accomodations" for students with documented medical food issues. Our district (www.scasd.org) has forms you fill out, then you have a meeting with the food service director and then the building cafeteria director to determine what you can and cannot have. We have a friend with severe dairy allergies who has negotiated with great success. We know celiacs who have also done it successfully -- but he eats the SAME THING every day. Ick.

We've chosen to send lunch, which (when it needs to be) the cafeteria staff reheats in the kitchen microwave. Never had a problem, or even been given a rough time; they couldn't have been nicer about it. In grade school a teacher saw my son's quesadillas plated up and ATE them, and boy did the lunch ladies give her !@#$ about THAT! (they kept Amy's mac/cheese in the freezer for emergencies, so he did eat). He starts 9th grade in a few weeks and already they know he's coming (but typically the first 2 weeks or so we send room-temp lunches, it's just easier for him to not worry about lunch on top of all the other back-to-school stuff)

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as long as the parents are capable of sending a lunch from home, and as long as a lunch from home does not disable the child to go to school, they do not legally need to. The only exception would be if a child was on food support, which is were they work in the kitchen and get free lunches, then i think the school would have to serve him a gluten free luch

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I wouldn't have the cafeteria produce my child's meal, even if I could make them (she's just now starting public school and has gone to private school for the last 6 years).

Now, I would take steps to see if she could get use of the microwave, but she's decided she doesn't want to do that. She's become accustomed to gluten-free foods cold (like sammiches and pasta and such). She's also 11 and likes to make less a spectacle of her different food as possible.

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It is a law that the school has to provide a suitable substitution. When we were in California they didn't do cooking in the school itself, they just heated prepackaged things up. What we did was set up a seperate microwave that only Brandon could use (it was covered by the box when not being used by him). We purchased individual items such as Ian's chicken nuggets, Amy's mac and cheese, amy's enchiladas and thai kitchen noodle carts, lundburg rice pouches and all those kinds of foods. I purchased 3 months at a time using a purchase order from the district. When it was pizza day, the manager made his gluten free pizza first thing in the morning and then wrapped it once it was cooled off and put it in a holding oven. It would still be warm (room temperature).

There is a pdf file on the usda's website called "Accomodating Kids with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Program". It outlines the school's responsibilities.

Now we are in North Carolina and we are trying to work with the cafeteria because they cook everything here. Brandon wants to eat at the cafeteria like everyone else... so we are working on it. Not sure how it will work.

Brandy

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It is a law that the school has to provide a suitable substitution. When we were in California they didn't do cooking in the school itself, they just heated prepackaged things up. What we did was set up a seperate microwave that only Brandon could use (it was covered by the box when not being used by him). We purchased individual items such as Ian's chicken nuggets, Amy's mac and cheese, amy's enchiladas and thai kitchen noodle carts, lundburg rice pouches and all those kinds of foods. I purchased 3 months at a time using a purchase order from the district. When it was pizza day, the manager made his gluten free pizza first thing in the morning and then wrapped it once it was cooled off and put it in a holding oven. It would still be warm (room temperature).

We had our own area in the freezer for his gluten free frozen meals and we had a pantry cabinet for all his dry goods.

There is a pdf file on the usda's website called "Accomodating Kids with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Program". It outlines the school's responsibilities.

Now we are in North Carolina and we are trying to work with the cafeteria because they cook everything here. Brandon wants to eat at the cafeteria like everyone else... so we are working on it. Not sure how it will work.

Brandy

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http://www.celiaccentral.org/SiteData/docs...SchoolLunch.pdf

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), celiac disease is defined as a disability. The United

States Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture (USDA) has adopted this definition as well, meaning

that all children with celiac disease are included under the USDA

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I was told yesterday that schools have to by law provide gluten free lunches to children diagnosed with celiac.

Is this true?

Do any of you have this done?

How much of a fight was it?

Yes actually the do have to provide a gluten free lunch that does not mean that you won;t have to pay for it. (I looked in to this with help from a friend who is an advocate for children with autism)

Anyhow I'm using this information more as a "Hey I could be requesting that you guys do this but instead I'm only requesting that you make accommodations X Y and Z for my daughter" you know a little incentive to show the school that I am a reasonable person! :)

I wouldn't trust myself with that many kids to worry about so I don't plan on putting that burden on the cafeteria people at the school.... it just seems like a lot to handle!

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I just went through a meeting with our school nurse and daughter's teacher. My daughter has a "disability" according to the states definition, because she's anaphylactic to peanuts. She's also allergic to milk, and several other things. The school will accommodate her so far as to "allow" her to purchase juice instead of milk. It certainly isn't free. It's simply a substitution. We had forms that had to be filled out by her pediatrician, stating her nature of disability and severity of the allergies.

I would never trust them to be able to prepare a lunch, in the cafeteria, for my multiple food allergic child. I prepare her lunch for her daily. I have a hard enough time simply allowing her to be IN the cafeteria.

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In private schools they do not have to but in public schools where the food and nutrition program is government funded they do. This is also under the disibilities act in my state(maine) I don't know about anyone else. I had done the whole mom making lunch for 7 years(preschool and k-5) and begged my mom when I moved from the private school to public in 6th grade to let the lunch ladies make me lunch and she said we'd give it a try but she really didn't want to and I learned it the hard way. At first it was really good, they did things for me how they said they would and then once they realized it was easier to give me grilled cheese every day they would and they did, my friends had a contest of who could stick there finger through it first because it was so hard and certainly not eatable=/, then they served gluten filled tomato soup with it and I knew better than to eat it at 12 yrs old, so I didn't but I went home and told mom who then said "you ARE bringing lunch from home" and called the assistant principal to let her know that we would like for them to stop making me lunch, and she was okay with it but once she talked to them she asked us to give them a chance for two weeks and it was great for the two weeks the principal checked my lunch and after that it was horrible again and I got cc-ed, so it was a long journey that really was not fun seen that the first time I got grilled cheese I was ready to bring lunch because I didn't like it and I still had to get school lunch. So I'm not sure if I would make a little one have school lunch because they are less knowledgeable about celiac and have a bigger chance of getting cc-ed. Mom didn't want me to do it anyway but I decided to and she let me learn the hard way. =] I am glad she let me because I needed to know by experience that it's not for the better to eat from the school. =/ srry if I was babbly

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I'm so glad I checked this forum today! I have three kids who tested positive for the antibodies and the genetic component. Only one was symptomatic, but he was so symptomatic that at 3-1/2 he weighed only 23-1/2 pounds while his identical twin brother was nearly 30 pounds. They've been gluten-free for almost 2 years now, although I guess we're still learning what exactly that means and making mistakes along the way. But I'm happy to report that both boys are now within 1/2 pound of each other and the smaller one is no longer the smaller one!

They start kindergarten tomorrow here in California, so this information is great. I tried talking to the principal a couple of years ago about my daughter, but she sent me to the district who were even less helpful. Now I'm armed with the information I need, maybe I can finally get this addressed. I loathe the idea of making three meals every morning for the next 12 years...

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