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It's not fair.

(35 Posts)
vwvic Tue 05-Jul-05 16:58:55

Got back from school a while ago after having a discussion with one of DD1 teachers. The school are having a "fruit day" next tuesday, and as dd1 has anaphylactic reactions to kiwi fruit I was rather worried. The end result is that the school have said they cannot maintain a safe environment for her, as there will be kiwi fruits present. Therefore, they feel unable to have her in school on that day as they are reluctant to take responsibility for her safety.

She's 5, and quite able to say no to kiwi fruit if it's a distinct ingredient, IYSWIM. She just can't be totally relied upon to think of it if presented with a "mixture", such fruit salad, or fruit juice.

I know that rationally this is the best solution, and no way would I want to put her at risk... I just feel so sad that she has to be excluded from this. Allergies are just so unfair.

Thanks for listening to me rant.

soapbox Tue 05-Jul-05 17:01:18

No - not acceptable.

They must ensure that no one brings kiwi fruit in.

Exclude the fruit not the child FGS!

A child in my DD's class has a nut allergy - they don't exclude her from the end of term parties they ask all parents to ensure their party food offerings are nut free. Not too difficult to do is it!

spidermama Tue 05-Jul-05 17:01:52

My son's intolerant to wheat and dairy which means most party food. I normally relax the rules because it's a party but he suffers next day. I know 'intolerance' is not as bad as 'allergy' so I feel for you.
Kiwi fruit though? I haven't heard of that one before. Is is common?

KBear Tue 05-Jul-05 17:02:45

What a shame - shame for her generally to have such an allergy and shame for her to be excluded. Could they not have one class without kiwi fruit - would the children notice or care if they left kiwi fruit out all together? Couldn't they say - "and these are kiwi fruit but as you know XXXX is allergic and it's quite dangerous for her to be near or ear them - so ask your mum to buy some next time she's shopping so you can all try them"?

vwvic Tue 05-Jul-05 17:13:20

Part of the problem is that kiwi fruit allergy isn't very common at all. We frequently get the "how odd- are you sure?" questionning. Kiwi allergy is related to latex and banana allergy too.

The other problem is that the fruit is being donated by a large supermarket, no parent/child is bringing any in. The school is in a very economically deprived area, so the head feels that they cannot ask the parents, and must rely on the donations. She also feels that it would be "unaccountably rude" to ask that they do not give specific fruit. Especially when this The school has about 400 children.may be one of the few chances the vast majority of these kids have to try fruits different to "normal" ones. Her views, not mine.
I get the feeling that she feels that DD1's needs must be sacrificed for the greater good of the rest of the school. DD1 is the only child with kiwi allergy, and one of 5 kiddies with a nut allergy.

vwvic Tue 05-Jul-05 17:17:59

I asked exactly that Kbear. They said that the children would be visiting different classrooms to do different activites, therefore there would be a great risk of contamination, a point I agree with.
I just wish (unreasonably, I know!)that kiwi friuts could be eradicted right now.

vwvic Tue 05-Jul-05 17:20:14

Sorry about the typo's. I guess I'm not thinking too clearly right now.

KBear Tue 05-Jul-05 17:37:02

I see the school's POV but still think if you kept her off school for whatever reason for the day they would want to know why it wasn't within your power to get her to school - works both ways. She shouldn't miss a day's school because it's too difficult to take care of her that day. Alternative arrangements should be made and if that involves you going in to school that day to supervise her perhaps that might be an option.

bunny2 Tue 05-Jul-05 20:12:22

Can you go in to help? My ds is going on a school trip to a afarm on Friday and, due to his multiple allergies, the school have asked me to go too. I think it is wrong to exclude a child on the basis of an allergy, what happened to equal opportunitites?

starlover Tue 05-Jul-05 20:14:34

that is totally outrageous!

at most schools kids with packed lunches etc aren't allowed to take nuts in, in case an allergy child is affected...
how is this not the same?

why is it SO difficult for them to not have kiwi there????????/ that's so out of order!

foxinsocks Tue 05-Jul-05 20:15:46

Are you in the UK? Personally, I think that's a bit odd. Dd's school get free fruit at break time and we had a letter a few weeks ago saying they would be having strawberries and if anyone was allergic to them, to send a letter in so that the teachers knew who had to be excluded from getting them (so they could get a different fruit).

I can see where the school is coming from but as every school is now used to nut allergies (and presumably they have an epipen trained person there), I cannot see why they can't keep her to one side and just give her fruits that she can have.

feelingold Tue 05-Jul-05 20:42:40

What a shame your dd will miss out, I am sure she would have enjoyed joining in with her class mates.
However from the schools point, I think things in this country have gone totally mad and schools are so afraid that they might get sued for anything and everything that kids miss out on so much.

giraffeski Tue 05-Jul-05 20:49:15

Message withdrawn

starlover Tue 05-Jul-05 21:02:31

agree with giraffeski too... i am sure that the supermarket would be MORE than happy to leave kiwi fruits out!

vwvic Tue 05-Jul-05 22:47:51

Thanks for all your responses guys. Our school is just about the worst I heard of with regard to allergy care. They have no policy about "clean tables", nor do they ask for for nut free snacks etc. In fact, one of the desserts for packed lunches is peanut butter cookies. They also do not take any responsibility for epipens either; the policy is if they suspect there may be a reaction to something they phone a parent for them to administer the adrenaline/ make the decision to call an ambulance. Shocking really, but despite high level campaigning from me and the other mothers who this concerns, there have been no changes made to policy. I think you hit the nail on the head, Feelingold.

To clarify, the school themselves have asked that she does not go in on Tuesday. They do not allow parents to accompany their children under any circumstances.

I'm sad, furious, and totally dejected. I can't help but feel that the school is totally failing in it's duty of care. TBH, this incident is just the last in a long series, and we're seriously considering a change.

Thanks once again for your thoughts.

bobbybob Wed 06-Jul-05 06:11:49

vwvic, I am shocked, amazed and confused on your behalf. My mother actually said today that she thinks latex allergic ds should just stay at home rather than deprive other kids of balloons at parties. Yes because a balloon is so much more important than another child leading a normal life free from trips to the hospital or having his feelings hurt isn't it (sarcastic emoticon).

I would call the head and say that this is discrimination on the grounds of disability. They don't even need to tell the supermarket - they could throw the bloody things away, or give them to the other kids to take home. Depriving your daughter of even one day of education for a stupid green fruit, no I'm sorry it's just not on.

My mother also thinks that peanut allergic people just shouldn't fly rather than her have to have some rice snacks on those flights.

Podmog Wed 06-Jul-05 07:08:55

Message withdrawn

tatt Wed 06-Jul-05 09:02:45

second podmogs advice - this is discrimination and a disgrace. Tell the bloody staff to eat the kiwi fruit if they don't want to upset the supermarket or give them to the children to take home with them. In a hurry but I've posted elsewhere on mumsnet about the document about meeting medical needs in schools, think I gave a link. Under Health and Safety legislation they have a duty of care to your child and this is most definitely not meeting it.

The anaphylaxis campaign sometimes have volunteers who will help you talk to a school.

mandyc66 Wed 06-Jul-05 09:28:42

They should have said NO KIWI!!! its easy a big black marker pen and a piece of paper stuck on the door (are children bringing it in?) Then if any came in put it to one side and not use it!!!
I am a stroppy cow and wouldnt have let this go!! I would have even ended up ringing the lea!!! but thats me!!!

vwvic Wed 06-Jul-05 09:58:20

Right, just got back from another long and quite stressful meeting at school. Basically, bolstered by your lovely responses I decided to (albeit politely) kick some a*se.

I used words such as "failing in duty of care" and "discriminatory behaviour"- the change in the heads attitude was quite amazing! Unfortunately, nothing's really changed. She again refused to contact the supermarket, saying it was now really too late in the day to start specifing certain items be included/excluded. My gut feeling is she cannot be bothered. She has also said that she is sorry nothing can be done this time, but more consideration wil be given to allergic childrens needs next time. Not really good enough is it?

I'm going to look into the DRC- I didn't realise that it would be applicable to us. Podmog, I may take you up on your offer. Our LEA is a bit crap tbh- they are the ones who issue the warnings that school lunches contain nuts. Maybe it's a case of waiting for changes to happen.

Bobbybob- your mother sounds just like members of me family!

starlover Wed 06-Jul-05 10:02:33

vwvic... take it further!

i am astounded that in regards to children with epipens they wikll not administer them! Do they not realise that in the time it has taken for them to phone parents and then an ambulance a child could die?????/
they are completely and utterly irresponsible.

Don't wait for changes... make them happen!

mandyc66 Wed 06-Jul-05 10:04:07

a friend went through this years ago and managed to get staff trained with epipen. it was a slog!!!

foxinsocks Wed 06-Jul-05 10:07:54

Somewhere in your thread (sorry, a bit pushed for time to read it all again!), you mentioned that there were 5 (was it 5?) other children who had nut allergies. I would get together with those parents and campaign to make the school a nut free zone and to get them to take allergies more seriously.

I cannot believe that children are allowed nut snacks when there are children with nut allergies attending (especially in primary school when the kids are still so little).

I can't understand the school's mentality - are they waiting for a child to suffer a terrible allergic reaction before they do anything?

SoupDragon Wed 06-Jul-05 10:39:18

Um... Is it not a simple matter to remove any kiwi fruit from the delivery and only use them as seperate kiwi fruit (ie not in a mix) with all teachers/helpers aware that your DD must not have any? As you say, your DD is quite capable of refusing Kiwi fruit where it's obvious.

Or just remove them full stop.

QZebra Wed 06-Jul-05 10:53:15

Would it be too difficult to just send in a bit of fruit for your DD, and she's under strict instrux not to have any of the stuff provided by the school? Is that so impossible?

I know everyone thinks different, but I don't think the head is that out of order in saying the Kiwi fruit can't be (easily) left out completely. There should be a compromise solution...

Our preschool has a gluten intolerant child who can't even touch the stuff. On days she goes to preschool the whole session uses modelling clay instead of playdough. When she goes to big school she'll have to be careful at lunch times, but it's not a case of banning sarnies for everyone else. Solutions can be found...

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