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Who's responsiblity is this?
Old 08-25-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Our hot lunch program comes prepackaged. Parents receive the menu a month in advance and choose to order for the entire month or send a lunch with their children. Most kids will bring their lunch on days there's something they can't or won't eat.

This year, I have a student with some severe food allergies. I was informed by her last two teachers that her family rarely sends a lunch on those days she can't have the hot lunch. The previous had to find something for her to eat on those days. How has this become the responsiblity of the school? I understand monitoring snacks and treats brought in for birthdays or parties, but a lunch when the menu has been sent home?


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Our school is sneaky
Old 08-25-2010, 03:38 PM
 
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Perhaps you can adapt our strategy for kids who have parents who "forget" to send lunches...

We use whole wheat bread that is still good, but in my opinion tastes like cardboard, and usually a piece of american cheese. If condiments are not out for the regular meal, then no condiments go out. Sometimes it's a very dry sandwich.

Kids who are really hungry appreciate the sandwich and don't starve. The other kids complain to their parents and don't eat. We saw a dramatic decrease in kids coming to school without food.

Of course, being a small school, we know there are a couple of kids who have parents that need assistance and we take care of those kids.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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Is the child on free lunch? If they are then I would think something might have to be supplied for the child.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:31 PM
 
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Sometimes I think parents understand full well that the responsibility falls on them, but are happy to let someone else do the work. Sometimes just calling them on it works wonders.

How about a cheery phone call where you let them know what the problem is? Maybe ask if there are a few non-perishable items they can send in (crackers and cheese packs, tuna salad in the little cans, pudding, whatever) that you can offer her if she can't eat the meals. I've done this with snacks before when I knew kids had multiple allergies.

If you have a nurse on site, she can do the calling for you since it is essentially a medical issue.
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What our schools do
Old 08-25-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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Bearing in mind that this kiddo has food allergies, which may include peanuts, I mention this anyway. Our schools also do lunch orders, so kids who don't preorder can't buy a full lunch--just milk, chips, ice cream and the like. Kids who forget their lunches are given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with a carton of milk. That's it. I don't know whether the family is charged for it after the fact. More commonly, kids failed to bring snack; they'd order lunch, but forget they needed snack too. I always kept a selection of things in the classroom--cracker packs, granola bars, etc.--that I could hand out quietly as needed. I'm quite sure I was taken advantage of more than once, but I was OK with it because I knew it was really needed in some cases...


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School responsibility?
Old 08-25-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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That is a good topic. If it is a public elementary school and receives federal funds, I don't think they can deny food under any circumstances. The choice might be limited, like the p-nut butter/jelly post, but food must be given. As well, allergy situations must be provided for if parents pay or receive free lunches. Our cafeteria has been outstanding in accommodating our children with needs. Even if the lunch is pre-packaged, a plan should be worked out for the child's sake and I agree that it is the parent's responsibility to provide. Could you ask your p for some protocol on this one so that it is taken care of for the child? Maybe a planning session with the p and parents would finally put a workable plan in place. Navigating the school system and knowing what can be done is tricky for parents and sometimes they're not even sure what to ask for.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:09 AM
 
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I don't really have a problem with it being the responsiblity of the school but I have a huge problem with it being the responsibility of the teacher. This is the job of the parent to contact the school, nurse, cafeteria and work something out.
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Parents must submit paper work
Old 08-26-2010, 07:57 AM
 
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that includes a statement by a doctor that the student has allergies and requires a special diet, and those forms are relayed to the person in charge of meals, the secretary, and the nurse. A parent can not simply send a message without medical back up that a child has an allergy. I think that there is also a form about diet restrictions for religious reasons, too.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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Sounds like this child needs to be on a 504 plan.
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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this becomes a situation for the school nurse to handle - no lunch-child goes to the nurse who helps them find something to eat and of course will be furious and call the parent. A couple times of this happening and something will get done.


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Old 08-27-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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The child needs to have a lunch. Every child must eat everyday. What is your worry. We have kids who come to school for free lunch and free breakfast. Who cant afford the uniform. Do you want cheese with your whine. laugh out loud.

And you have to be careful about what alternatives to give this student. She could die in the lunchroom. Or in your room. Think about this she could die.

Does she carry an epi pen? Is there a pen in the office.

I complained about my shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.
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Not your responsibility
Old 08-28-2010, 06:44 AM
 
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As other others said, if the child is on free or reduced lunch, then the school, meaning cafe, has to provide a safe alternative. If the child is not, then the school, meaning again cafe, has to provide something to every child. And it can be merely a peanut butter or cheese sand and milk. And, yes parents are still charged for the meal.

However, it is not your duty to find something for the child to eat. There seems to be a breakdown in communication somewhere. If she has the proper papers stating she has allergies in the nurses office, then during lunchtime, I would send her to the nurse and allow the nurse to call her parents and ask what time they would be arriving to bring "Amy" her lunch.

In response to the ventinginproc, yes the child could die from eating the wrong foods. So, parents have the ultimate responsibility to ensure their child is safe at all times and the proper precautions are taken. So, if they don't this constitutes neglect to me.

And, this is why we have so many neglectful parents who take schools and teachers for granted. Because know one is making them be responsible or be accountable for THEIR children that they birthed.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses. This is not a public school; it is faith-based. We have no school nurse, and the menu is completely out of our control. The food service does not provide any alternatives-not even soy milk or vegetarian meals.

ventinginproc, this is exactly the reason *I* don't plan on providing this child with a lunch. I agree she needs to eat every day, but I'm not willing to risk providing her with something that will cause a reaction. So accusing me of whining is hardly appropriate to your other criticisms.
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Ichigo, don't worry
Old 09-04-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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about what ventinginproc said. It is so easy to accuse others of things when they haven't got a clue as to what is going on. I think most of the comments you got were good feedback. I think that the response about it being a form of neglect for the parent not to make sure there is something appropriate for their child to eat was the best response. Ultimately, as parents, we are responsible.
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