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Food Banned From The Classroom? Yipee! Lol

4 posts in this topic

I noticed this on Delphi and thought it warrented being displayed over here, as well.

Nuts, food canned in classrooms

By Bethan L. Jones/ Staff Writer

Thursday, June 23, 2005

With the trees and plants in full bloom, many residents are feeling the inconvenient effects of seasonal allergies; a runny nose, itchy eyes and the cause of those killer afternoon headaches, sinus pressure.

For most, allergies are just a quick blip on the way to summer, a week when a certain plant causes a reaction. For a growing number of school-age children, however, allergies are a serious day in-day out concern.

According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in December 2003, the incidence of children with serious peanut allergies has doubled in the past five years. In a study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 374 students between September 2001 and May 2005 had anaphylactic reactions in school.

In Lexington, 159 children in the nine public schools suffer from life threatening allergies ranging from tree nuts to latex.

Starting in September, a new allergy policy will be in place calling for all faculty to be trained in allergy awareness and the use of an EpiPen, a hypodermic needle used to inject a patient with epinephrine to help prevent anaphylaxes.

The policy will also end the tradition of food in the classrooms, including parties, and will continue of nut free tables at the elementary level.

Jane Franks, a former allergy and immunology nurse and the coordinator for school health services, is the author of the new policy and a strong advocate of keeping Lexington's allergy policy at the cutting edge. Lexington wrote its original policy six years ago, the first in the state, which was used by numerous other schools and the Department of Public Health in setting state allergy guidelines.

"[The policy] creates a safer environment for all students," said Franks from her office at Lexington High School.

Currently at all Lexington schools, on-site nurses maintain a supply of EpiPens in case of a student reaction. According to Franks, approximately 25 percent of reactions at school are first-time reactions. All students with serious known allergies are required to have an individual health plan which, under the new policy, will be designed by the student's allergist or primary care physician and be signed off by the child's parent or guardian.

One of the most noticeable areas of change will be the elimination of parties, bake sales or any other event which would bring food into the classroom. Under the current policy, only classrooms with identified allergy students have been made food free but as of September, food will not be allowed in any classroom.

Franks said the decision may sound harsh but the change has proved successful for the well-being of the students, promoting a healthier attitude to food. At Bowman Elementary School this academic year, several teachers tried food-free classrooms and found it so successful, they, with the help of the Bowman nurse, have written a handbook to help guide other teachers.

Rather than cupcakes on a child's birthday, teachers can invite the student's parent or grandparent to come in and read the student's favorite story. Instead of eating Chinese food to celebrate Chinese New Year, students can learn origami.

"There are lots of things you can do which ... focus on cultural events," said Franks, adding in other school districts like Newton which have enforced food-free classrooms, students can wear a special cape or have a birthday chair cover.

Harrington kindergartners were started with food-free classrooms this year with success. Franks said the change in culture will be beneficial to all students, not just those suffering from allergies, citing the increase in juvenile diabetes, gluten and lactose intolerance and childhood obesity. She added the removal of food will also help stunt the unhealthy association of sweet foods as a reward for good behavior, a practice which has limited effect on classroom performance and a lifelong effect on a personal response to food.

"We have to make sure all kids have healthy food choices," said Franks. "The policy lays the groundwork for developing the wellness policy we are required to have in September of 2006."

In 2006, all school districts will have to have a comprehensive wellness policy which will promote physical education and activity, health education with a focus on nutrition and how the schools promote food choices for students.

School lunches will have to meet federal guidelines, and food as rewards or any other way extra food is added to students diets addressed. There is also state legislation pending which would require all public schools to have a full-time nurse at each school in a district. Lexington presently has a nurse at each building.

At the School Committee meeting Tuesday night, where the new policy was unanimously passed, the committee praised the work of Franks and the other nurses who revamped the policy.

"The old policy holds up fairly well but this new policy is an advance for us," said Committee Member Scott Burson. "It is really meeting the needs of the students."


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I'd love the handbook they create so that I can pass it along at my son's school. I know our school is concienctious *sp about foods. We have a no peanut table marked in the cafeteria. Our wonderful lunch lady used to pass out starburst, but when it was pointed out that a diabetic child had moved into the school, she bought an apple corer and went from child to child slicing up their apples when they were finished eating. You never saw so many apples being chosen at a school lunch.


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I wonder how they will handle students with hypoglycemia or diabetes who require immediate foods when they begin to feel rough? Surely their policy will address such issues.

When will they catch on that the federal guidelines still allow white flour and fried foods in all meals? That needs to be addressed as well for all the students' well-being. Just try being a celiac disease patient and finding something to eat in a lunch room at a public school!


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    • Hi Ironic Truth, Thanks for Replying. Wow I get bad joint pain too. So my opinion especially if he is eating gluten is to get him tested. I wish I had been tested when I was eating gluten 8 years ago .  I had tried 8 years ago initially to figure out what the heck was going on with me and my immune system. I started with a GP, went to Allergist/Immunologist etc. I gave up 4 doctors later when nothing seem to be found and you sense they start thinking lady you're a nut job . My cousin a diagnosed Celiac took over 2 years to be diagnosed and she is a nurse. My husband said for years "I think bread is bad for you" and in a desperate attempt to help myself -I gave up wheat after 2 weeks felt better 2 months later I went total gluten-free and felt very much better that was 4 years ago. So I have suspected NCGS or Celiac for a few years now. However getting someone to test you for it when you were classified IBS 20 years prior-well as is chronically heard on the forums here is perhaps the biggest challenge of all. One then just finally says ok I will just try this gluten-free thing myself. I was gluten-free for 3 1/2 years and improving. Then  I got gluten-ed in March of 2016 and I had worse symptoms then ever the joint pain arrived. I went to a new allergist who refereed me to another Allergist/Immunologist who deals with Celiacs and Food Intolerances. I did see a Rheumotologist in July 2016 since the muscle and joint pain was still lingering, who tested me and reported no antibodies. Back to the specialist who did more test and suggested the gluten challenge. It's likely me failing to complete 2 weeks caused it but the symptoms got real bad and I thought I'm going to have worse issues if I don't stop this.  Today my fingers are just starting to heal they were peeling during the gluten challenge among all the other symptoms I get, which I attribute to dehydration. The dry peeling fingers did not improve until I got the IV the day of the scope. Bizarrely I was looking forward to the scope hoping I'd get an IV with Meds and fluids becaus eI felt I needed it. I did see one abstract, I can't get my hands on the full article as you stated their is a link: Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Jan;50(1):126-9. Celiac disease and intestinal metaplasia of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus). Maieron R1, Elli L, Marino M, Floriani I, Minerva F, Avellini C, Falconieri G, Pizzolitto S, Zilli M So I will pursue the path of monitoring the  Barrett's. Despite no official diagnosis for me, you are right Gluten is bad for me, I should avoid it, I will, and I'll stay on the forums. Good luck with you Boyfriend he is lucky to have you looking out for him.
    • Hi Sunshine, There is a program called a 504 plan that some schools will follow if you get one approved.  It helps the school identify proper ways to deal with a child's particular needs.  Probably it is helpful to have a 504 plan, but they may require a formal diagnosis for it.  I suggest you talk to the school and ask them about it.  Tell them the situation with the kid and about the stress he would need to go through to get diagnosed.  They may be willing to work with you without a formal diagnosis.   I am not saying you absolutely have to have a 504 plan for him.  School districts vary and some may be more accommodating than others.  A 504 plan may give you certain rights, but I  am no expert on them. The gluten challenge is 12 weeks of eating gluten for blood tests.  The payback for being formally diagnosed is questionable IMHO.  Treatment is the same regardless, eating gluten-free for life.  One thing to be aware of is that celiac disease has a genetic factor.  So he got the gene from one of the parents.  Anyone else in the family could have celiac develop at some point.  So testing every couple years for all family members is a good idea. Welcome to the forum!
    • Thank you everyone. I appreciate all of the information and support.  I am feeling overwhelmed right now and it was really getting me down yesterday. I don't feel so hopeless now. 
    • Okay. I think I will start with an allergist and a dietitian. 
    • Yes, that list I posted includes stuff to look out for in your cosmetics as well, I think. Spices get contaminated often depending on brands, sources, and packaging plants, you have to find brands that are certified, I find Spicely Orangics works here. Supplement wise I am on a ton. I take combinations of Liquid Health Brand, Stress & Energy and Neurologic Support for B-Vitamins, I take Doctors Best Chelated Powdered Magnesium. I drink a bunch of almond milk and eat a lot of nuts, seeds, green leafy veggies, and a huge viarity of foods always having a mix to balance out my needs in vitamins (I studied alot an worked with a dietician to learn what contains what and find my balance). I found a IBS targeted probitotic from jarrow seems to work best with me and no bloat. List of other supplements if you want but with celiacs different people can get different deficiencies and you should probably talk to a dietician and see about having your own regiment built up. I just listed the common ones. I was thinking about this later on and after I got off the stuff for awhile I found myself randomly vomiting from some foods, none of the brain fog, numbness, Just throwing up. Ended up I developed intolerance to certain foods like egg yolks, soy, and a few others things. I also developed allergies to corn where I would just get sores in my mouth and digestive tact and run 99-102F Fevers when I ate anything contaminated with it. And a peanut allergy that caused me to distend and swell throwing up for hours and getting a rash later on. My different reactions to different foods made my dietician laugh at how odd my body is (we both did after talking for awhile) and my doctors found it interesting and kept on wanting to run more test.
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