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LuvMySon

Public School Lunch And Celiac

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To any helpful parent,

My son was diagnosed with celiac disease 2 years ago. I have always packed his lunch with gluten free meals and sometimes needed for the food to be heated in the cafeteria microwave for about 45 seconds. The cafeteria assistants were very understanding and helpful until this year. A new principal told my child he could not ask for his meals to be heated up (this was after a lengthy discussion about his disease.)

Has anyone encountered any problems with lunch issues at school......and do I have any legal recourse or should I just deal with it.

Thanks for any help!!!

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To any helpful parent,

My son was diagnosed with celiac disease 2 years ago. I have always packed his lunch with gluten free meals and sometimes needed for the food to be heated in the cafeteria microwave for about 45 seconds. The cafeteria assistants were very understanding and helpful until this year. A new principal told my child he could not ask for his meals to be heated up (this was after a lengthy discussion about his disease.)

Has anyone encountered any problems with lunch issues at school......and do I have any legal recourse or should I just deal with it.

Thanks for any help!!!

You probably don't have much of a legal recourse. Generally students aren't permitted to heat up foods with the school microwave because then they would have to make it available for all students. I think you're best off sending foods that your child can eat unheated. It sucks, but that is pretty much how it is.

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To any helpful parent,

My son was diagnosed with celiac disease 2 years ago. I have always packed his lunch with gluten free meals and sometimes needed for the food to be heated in the cafeteria microwave for about 45 seconds. The cafeteria assistants were very understanding and helpful until this year. A new principal told my child he could not ask for his meals to be heated up (this was after a lengthy discussion about his disease.)

Has anyone encountered any problems with lunch issues at school......and do I have any legal recourse or should I just deal with it.

Thanks for any help!!!

I think you have a legal right. Since Celiac effects eating, a life necessity, the school has to if requested provide your son with a gluten free meal. Try looking under Americans with disabilities act and maybe request a 504. You might also try having a doctor write you a note saying that your child suffers from Celiac and would benefit from the use of a microwave and fridge. Another idea is go to your district dietician/food supervisior. Let her be aware of your concerns, she might instruct the lunchroom to heat it up. Have you tried talking to the school nurse or his teacher. They might be more responsive to your needs than a new principal. A side note to keep in mind a diabetic is allowed to keep snacks/juice in the nurses office so I would think this could/should be treated same.

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You definitely have a leg to stand on!!! I'd look into a 504 plan under the Disability Act. It will protect your child from things like this. Also, is there a teacher who has a microwave in his/her room that you could talk to about heating food up in there instead of using the cafeteria? Also, could you get a note from the Dr. about this?

Keep us updated!

Kassandra


Dairy/Casein Free- March 2007

Gluten Free- May 2007

Soy Free- August 2007

Sugar Free- January 2008

Starch Free- January 2008

Egg Free (again!)- February 2008

Sulfur Free- May 2008

Dx'd Lyme Disease and co-infections- December 2007

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Why don't you try heating it up before he goes to school and put it in one of those thermos things - they mention it all the time on this site and really recommend it, it has just slipped my mind the actual name of it!!

i always think that i can't actually be bothered with fighting all these big shots... BUT if there were a bunch of celiacs in teh school then all of you together could fight it!! Good luck!!

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If the Principal is new, schedule a meeting. Bring in all of the paperwork. Explain Celiacs. Explain the bread is AWFUL unless heated. Explain and educate. Explain how it worked in the past. Then start talking about how the Principal wants to handle things. Maybe some legal reason has changed so that your kid cannot have his lunch heated in the lunch room? My point is to find out everything you can, attend a lunch if needed. Once you have all your ammo, go have fun :P .

You absolutely can have your son declared a 504 which can include use of a microwave. How old is your son? Can he use the microwave by himself or does he need assistance? Since you are looking into a 504, get everything mapped out. What are the other problems zones for your child? Hoilday parties, field trips, cooking demos in the classroom, science experiments, special accomodations in the event your child is glutened, etc.

My child has a severe nut allergy. I have tried very hard to avoid the 504 route, but this year I had to threaten to implement a 504 in order to get the school nurse and officials to behave correctly regarding the nut allergy. Another issue. The point is, they jumped into action at the mention of the 504.

Good luck!

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Why don't you try heating it up before he goes to school and put it in one of those thermos things - they mention it all the time on this site and really recommend it, it has just slipped my mind the actual name of it!!

i always think that i can't actually be bothered with fighting all these big shots... BUT if there were a bunch of celiacs in teh school then all of you together could fight it!! Good luck!!

I bought a pretty inexpensive (8$) Barbie thermos at Target and we use it about 3 days a week. Our school is very supportive of us, but I don't expect them to cater to her. I have 2 kids, they have 400!! I heat whatever I made-or leftovers (which is handy) to almost boiling and seal it up-if I do this before I leave for work (545am) it's still really warm at 1245 when she eats. I put her lunch in an insulated lunch bag, so the warm stuff stays warm and other days I pack sandwiches, pasta salads, hard boiled eggs, etc..the sky's the limit! and I add an ice pack and the ice is still frozen at lunch. I just mix it up all the time so she's getting a huge variety. I let her help plan and make meals which she gets really excited about.

Good luck with it all! :)


Rachelle 20dance.gif

Daughter diagnosed 1/06 bloodwork and biopsy
-gluten-free since 1/06

Son tested negative-bloodwork (8/07), intestinal issues prompted biospy (3/08), results negative, but very positive dietary response, Dr. diagnosed Celiac disease (3/8)

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this just sucks. i am so not excited for my 3 year old to graduate pre-k (8-12) and move on to all day school. My kiddo is in private school, and i grew up in private school, so i do not know alot about public schools, but isnt every child entitled to a hot meal? If so, tell them that... that they can either get a totally seperate set of pots and pans, and spoons, and they can go through all the trouble to make sure that they have a gluten free meal for one student, or they can zap the lunch that you made her for 30 seconds. it seems like an easy choice to me. sorry you have to deal with this. good luck!


Breanna

& Bayleigh <3

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this just sucks. i am so not excited for my 3 year old to graduate pre-k (8-12) and move on to all day school. My kiddo is in private school, and i grew up in private school, so i do not know alot about public schools, but isnt every child entitled to a hot meal? If so, tell them that... that they can either get a totally seperate set of pots and pans, and spoons, and they can go through all the trouble to make sure that they have a gluten free meal for one student, or they can zap the lunch that you made her for 30 seconds. it seems like an easy choice to me. sorry you have to deal with this. good luck!

I'm not sure it's that they are not entitled to a hot meal, but I feel the risk of trusting a full-on cooked meal for my child at school is too much of a risk for error. I can control what my child safely eats by packing her lunch every day. Even with a 504 plan, who knows if they'd mess it all up? I'm not willing to take that risk at all!

I can totally understand wanting to have access to a microwave. I wish my daughter could have access to a microwave at lunch because leftovers make the best lunches. We have managed just fine without. I can understand the frustration of having access to a microwave for so many years, then being cut off. It seems that kids with special eating needs should have special considerations, but it is like pulling teeth to get them!

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:unsure: I have been thinking about this a lot lately too... I really would like Lucas to be able to have a hot lunch, at least some days, now that we're going into the cool months. I would love it if someone could throw his food in the microwave at lunchtime, but I just don't see it happening. Besides, his teacher is very well-meaning, but utterly clueless. I have told her 5 times, plus sent it in writing twice, that fresh, washed fruit is ok to give him-- and still she either calls or simply won't let him have it. Using a microwave for him might send her into a nervous condition.

I'm going to try the thermos thing.

-Sarah


-Sarah

--Son, Lucas, age 7. Gluten-free since May 2007

--Son, Ezra, age 5. Gluten-free 10/13/07. Bipolar tendencies, massively improved on gluten-free diet! He's also allergic to a jillion antibiotics.

--My mother has Celiac Disease, dx'ed by Positive Blood Tests and Biopsy. Diagnosed Sarcoidosis 6/08.

--Myself, Gluten-free since 8/07

Time heals all hurt of heart... but time must be won.

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I'm going to try the thermos thing.

-Sarah

We love ours and use it a few times a week. We do rice, soup, chili... all sorts of stuff. As long as you heat up the thermos before filling it, it stays plenty warm by lunch.

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I'm not sure it's that they are not entitled to a hot meal, but I feel the risk of trusting a full-on cooked meal for my child at school is too much of a risk for error. I can control what my child safely eats by packing her lunch every day. Even with a 504 plan, who knows if they'd mess it all up? I'm not willing to take that risk at all!

I can totally understand wanting to have access to a microwave. I wish my daughter could have access to a microwave at lunch because leftovers make the best lunches. We have managed just fine without. I can understand the frustration of having access to a microwave for so many years, then being cut off. It seems that kids with special eating needs should have special considerations, but it is like pulling teeth to get them!

I completely agree with you, i would never let my kid eat a school lunch. I dont even let her eat food her grandmothers cook. Everyone has a learning period with this diet, and i dont want my kid to go through the learning period again. I was just thinking that if you brought it up that every child is entitled to a hot meal, they would be way more willing to warm up food you send than actually attempt to prepare it themselves.


Breanna

& Bayleigh <3

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I plan to implement a 504 right away when my son starts school, and on there I'll request that he has occasional use of a microwave. I'll try my best to send things that do not need to be heated, but on some days, like pizza days, it would be nice if he could use one. You are your child's best advocate. Don't let the school push you around!


Jenny

Son 6 yrs old, Positive blood work, Outstanding dietary response, no biopsy.

Household mostly gluten free since 3/07

Me: HLA-DQ 02 & 0302 (DQ 08), which I ran & analyzed myself!Currently gluten lite, negative tTG, asymptomatic

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with my DD we use a thermouswhen ever she has a hot meal to bring.

My concern which I have discussed with this board is the what if she forgets he lunch and I can't bring her one. The nurse and the cafeteria people weren't as helpful as I was hioping with the school lunches or with heating up a lunch if she forgot hers. So thakfully her teacehr said she would do it in the what if situation.

I am very tempted to put the 504 plan in place but I haven't yet.

For those of you that have the 504 plan doe sit help with other children too? Or would it just be for my DD?

DH thinks I am crazy and shouldn't bother for the what if case.


DD almost 8 Dx Celiac and Chronic gastritis 9/2007 gluten-free since 9/2007 seasonal allergies and mold allergies.

DS 5 seasonal allergies and dustmite allergies.

DH Ulcerative Colitis, had colon removed 10/2000, has Jpouch and doing great!

Me Hyperthyroidismdx 2004 was on meds for a yr went into remission 2005 with the stress of my DD Celiac DX my thyriod acted up so I am back on meds.

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I plan to implement a 504 right away when my son starts school, and on there I'll request that he has occasional use of a microwave. I'll try my best to send things that do not need to be heated, but on some days, like pizza days, it would be nice if he could use one. You are your child's best advocate. Don't let the school push you around!

I'm not from the States, but I had the impression a 504 was if the school was providing lunch. :huh:

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


Linda, Mom to Ty (11 years old)

Ty was diagnosed by blood test June 7/05

biopsy Aug 11/05, diagnosis confirmed Aug 18/05

Mom, Dad and big brother Celiac-free.

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My daughter can not have her lunch heated at school. They do not have a cafeteria where they sit down and eat. They have a lunch cart that comes around with the meals. At least this year they have two meal options, one of which is a salad. She has other food allergies and would not be able to eat the salad dressing or perhaps some of the other things on the salad bar. Not sure what all the offer. But I have told her this would be one option if she forgot her lunch. Last year I sent in a can of Orgran pasta and told her to open it and eat it cold if she needed to. They only get 20 minutes for lunch so there really isn't time to be heating things up. Plus the teacher said they can't keep making exceptions for people because if everyone wanted a lunch heated up there would be no time to eat.

Another option might be to have the child keep some sort of food in their backpack at all times. It would have to be something compact like a Boomi Bar, cereal bar, breakfast bar, or perhaps some sort of fruit snacks or dried fruit. This would be better than having no lunch at all.

I bought my daughter and assortment of thermoses and other containers. She got some more thermoses for her birthday. She has tall ones for soup and shorter ones that can hold leftovers or other more sold foods. I would caution you against buying the kind you can put in the microwave and then put the lid back on. She had some of those last year and they tend to get a vapor lock or something. At any rate, several times they couldn't get the lids off at school and she had to go without her lunch, save for something like an apple or cookies that I had put in.

I am always on the lookout for small, prepackaged things that require no refrigeration and that can be served at room temperature. I've gotten turkey sticks, salami slices, chips, 2 slice packages of bread, jelly and jam, almond butter, applesauce, canned fruit, cookies, etc. If I'm in a super hurry one morning, I can grab enough of these things to make up a lunch.

I also bought her a couple of insulated lunch bags from Built NY. I got the kind with the separate compartment for the bottle of water. I can put cold food in these and it will stay cold for up to 4 hours. And best of all, it folds flat when not in use.

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My dd has a lot of allergies, like Julie's dd. We also do not have access to a microwave. Lunch time is about 20 minutes. We use a thermos about 3 times/week. It works great - except for chicken nuggets. We have also sent cold items in there, like smoothies. To me, it's easier to pack what I know works than fight for her 'right' to eat a school lunch.

She has forgotten her lunch before too. I have had to take it to her.


Mom of:

Carleigh~ 10 years old, allergic to wheat, milk, peanuts, strawberries, and many EAs. She is currently soy-light and egg-light ~ celiac testing inconclusive by allergist.

Gluten-Free since 10/05 She's a gymnast. : )

Nick ~ 13 years old with no known allergies.

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Sorry Im not dealing with schools as of yet but I wanted to mention what we use to keep our foods warm and separate from the cold foods. The food in the thermos in the pack keeps it very warm.

http://www.landsend.com/pp/ThermaCoolLunch...;origin=search+

That's cool! I will definitely get one. I also bought a laptop lunch kit not very long ago. :lol:


Jenny

Son 6 yrs old, Positive blood work, Outstanding dietary response, no biopsy.

Household mostly gluten free since 3/07

Me: HLA-DQ 02 & 0302 (DQ 08), which I ran & analyzed myself!Currently gluten lite, negative tTG, asymptomatic

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Jenny- We love ours! We actually have two, one for my daughter and one for me. Its really convenient for us when we are out and about for food. The thermos has to be bought separate but they carry them or you can get them for a regular store.

What's a laptop lunch kit? :)

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Thanks glutnfreefamily for the site for the cool lunch carrier..... We have a few cheap ones that do not stay hot until lunch!!! I ordered two for the grandkids..

Their school allows the use of the microwave but our problem is the lunch ladies have to use the micro & they never bring their lunch back to them for 10 min or longer so they never have time to actually finish the lunch...They also are allowed a safe box in their rooms for snacks & use of the teachers fridge & freezer....If only we could get the lunch ladies to deliver their meal back to them as the kids are seated when they go in & must not get up so they can't get it themselves....We also go to lunch a couple times a week at school & take in special lunches as they live close to the school but it is a hassle as they eat at different times...

One big problem we have is the first grade teacher decides she is offering cooking class several times a month.... we tried to explain the cc issues with her but she blew us off. Her comment was "oh, yes I know about celiacs , the kid gets a sick stomach"I could have gotten very nasty at that point but my daughter kept kicking my foot so I didn't explode!!!!Only 11 years to go........graduation...

mamaw

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buffetbride- Thanks I have seen bento boxes, I had no idea they were called that , those are really neat :) My daughter loves little compartments of food. I should pick her up one too.

mamaw- We plan on homeschooling while she is little so we wont have the school issues but I can see it being a pain for the kids in so many ways due to food and I know our local kindegarten uses playdough at least twice a week. My mil is the same way and calls it our little allergy issues. Like its sneezing :rolleyes: I hope this lunch box work better for you :) A different thermos might help also. I have heard good reviews of the nissan thermos's. We use an old thermos but its really hard to turn so it might be hard for kids.

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