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AIBU for being angry that DS school gave him dairy and most probably gluten

(70 Posts)
newsparklylife Mon 04-Dec-17 07:55:48

DS is 14, in year 9 at secondary school. He can't have gluten or dairy. He isn't coeliac but his actual diagnoses is 'non coeliac gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance and IBS' . This isn't something i've come up with it is an actual diagnoses from a paediatric gastroenterologist.

Earlier this year we qualified for free school meals, spoke to the school whether it was practical for them to provide food for DS and they were very positive they could. DS was delighted and had dinner every day, then he started getting tummy aches, and diarrhoea and a few times I've had to collect him from school due to the severity. He knows when this has been caused by something he's eaten rather than a bug.

He sent me a photo of a pasty delighted that the school had got him one, I check the website of the company and find it has dairy in it. Then he has another meal that he insists he can taste dairy in (had to collect him that day he was doubled over in pain).

After many emails to his tutor and the kitchen manager it is agreed that yes the pasty does have dairy in, they won't give me ingredients for the other meals DS insists had either dairy or gluten in.

I'm angry, DS has had to come home from school, he's been really unwell on the days I've had to collect him and I feel the kitchen aren't actually getting the severity of what they've done.

They've now said they can offer him a sandwich, pasta or jacket potato every day. DS now too frightened to eat anything from them so currently won't eat anything prepared in the school kitchen as he is worried he'll have to come home and his attendance will be affected (which incidentally isn't bad he's just obsessed with (ADHD issues))

Would you take it further and make a fuss? I sway between wanting to create a shit storm and just wanting to leave it as don't think I'll get anywhere!

itusedtobeverydifferent Mon 04-Dec-17 08:00:38

Yes, I would. Mostly because we also deal with allergies and intolerances and so many people just don't take it seriously. It's so frustrating.

Xtrabroken Mon 04-Dec-17 08:03:38

I actually don't think yabu.
You didn't just presume and dump a dietary need on them you actually asked and checked and they said they could.
I have taught kids who were allergic to diary and would have ended up in hospital very ill.

Either they can offer a meal or they can't in which case they should be honest.

ChronicPainDaddy Mon 04-Dec-17 08:04:25

I would as if they're dismissive of your sons dietary needs are they the same with other more serious ones such as nut allergys would be my worry.

LIZS Mon 04-Dec-17 08:09:03

Yanbu in expecting him to be offered a suitable meal for his intolerances. However at 14 your ds has to learn to question the content of items such as a pasty (pastry - usually flour and butter) and avoid, whereas a Jacket potato should be fine but be careful of the topping.

MarthaArthur Mon 04-Dec-17 08:10:43

Yanbu kick up a stink op. The school are not keeping your child safe and wilfully ignoring his medical condition which is not ok at all. I have intolerences to certain things that renders me doubled up in pain with severe digestive trouble its no laughing matter. Hope your poor son is ok now.

Catsize Mon 04-Dec-17 08:10:54

Willingly (at least negligently) giving a child food that makes them ill? The school is in loco parentis. If a parent did this to their child, what would you think? Yanbu to be very angry.

Cabininthewoods69 Mon 04-Dec-17 08:14:47

We live with allergies in our house. It's so easy to manage these days with all the free from food.
I would ask for menus for the week in advance to double check them. I know it's a pain but they clearly are not experienced in this.
Instead of making a fuss could you suggest some training for them

VivaLeBeaver Mon 04-Dec-17 08:14:50

It sounds like he was told it was gluten and dairy free so not his fault.

Sadly he will get this all his life. Friend had it in a catered ski chalet where they insisted they'd used gluten free flour in a cake. He was ill and they denied it but only had normal flour in the kitchen when he went through the cupboards.

PopadomPointer Mon 04-Dec-17 08:21:19

I work in school mealssmile
Are the kitchen staff employed by the school or the local council?
If it's the council get the contact details for the head of school-meals department,then raise holy hell.


Gubbins Mon 04-Dec-17 08:21:40

My 11 year old has various food allergies, some moderate, some severe. She knows what she can definitely eat and she knows what might be risky and she steers well clear of those. It sounds like your son needs to have a better understanding of what’s in his food.

If you’re not confident of that then ask to see the weekly menus so you can go through them with him and pick out the foods he should choose. There should be plenty.

IceniLacuna Mon 04-Dec-17 08:24:51

Yes you should take this further. Someone harmed your child deliberately by deciding to consciously go against specific details of which foods would make him ill and lying to your DS that the food he was eating was safe. That person should be subject to a disciplinary process and at the very least recieve a formal written warning.

A choice of jacket or pasta every day (assuming they have identified a pasta sauce and a jacket topping that won't make yor DS ill that the pasta is GF) is actually the best they can really be expected to achieve given their constraints. I wouldn't advise trusting the sandwich offer as some gf breads contain dairy and most non-butter margarine-type spreads contain some dairy.

Your DS's worry is understandable and to be expected but he needs to be able to function in the world - he's not that far off adulthood. Being able to choose a jacket potato with a known-to-be-safe topping is part of that.

ByThePowerOfRa Mon 04-Dec-17 08:25:34

Yanbu. People can be really dismissive of intolerances and allergies and it’s dangerous. People working in a school canteen should take it seriously.

SoupDragon Mon 04-Dec-17 08:26:44


The school are very lucky your son is "just" unwell rather than being at risk of anaphylactic shock.

SoupDragon Mon 04-Dec-17 08:28:29

It sounds like your son needs to have a better understanding of what’s in his food.

He was told the food was fine for him.

whattoweartomorrow Mon 04-Dec-17 08:31:06

I think saying he should have a better understanding is unfair. I have a dairy intolerance. Mass-produced pastry is often made with oil, and dairy free; there are all kinds of substitutes. In a restaurant, I will err on the side of caution if someone seems unsure, but in a situation where I had been told things were free from dairy by an authority who should know, with no ability to check the packaging- well, you have to trust them.

I agree with kicking up a fuss, was your initial meeting with them documented? It's been years since I accidentally ate something containing dairy and then earlier this year DH bought the wrong brand of bread and I had a slice and then tried to figure out why I felt so rough and stomach-crampy. It's really unpleasant and debilitating and not on when it's out of your control.

katymac Mon 04-Dec-17 08:31:17

They are required by law to tell you if a food contains an allergy

Most restaurants deal with this by having a list - in DD's old school they had this list on the wall and small stickers/signs next to gluten/milk/eggs/veggie

Surely all they have to do is print you the list

notapizzaeater Mon 04-Dec-17 08:32:16

Have they had a. Copy of the doctors letter, that is the only way our council will take it seriously.

Can you ask for the menus and look to see if there is anything that can be adapted. I sat down with the cook and went through it and picked what he could and couldn’t have.

DivisionBelle Mon 04-Dec-17 08:37:03

Quite shocking that they will not tell you the ingredients in the food they are feeding your child!

Have a look through all the school’s policies, inclusion, school meals etc, see if it says anything that they are not adhering to, and speak to them.

It is totally wrong that someone entitled to FSM is not able to rely on the providers and access what you need and are entitled to.

They need to have better regard for his health.

mintyneb Mon 04-Dec-17 08:42:08

As already mentioned, by law they have to tell you if one of the 14 main food allergens are present in an item.

I would definitely take this further. My 10dd has a severe allergy to milk so in your DS's shoes there would have been a real chance she could have died or at the very least needed a trip to hospital.

The caterers, whoever they are employed by, need to show much greater standards of care

rcb17 Mon 04-Dec-17 08:50:39

You are not being unreasonable. The school has a duty of care towards your child. Making your child ill and lying to you about it are not consistent with that. They have made him afraid to eat, that is cruel. They definitely know if the foods they give him contain gluten and dairy because they either use the raw ingredients or they use pre-made food which legally has to have the 14 allergens labelled on the packaging including cereals and milk.
I vote shit storm.

irvineoneohone Mon 04-Dec-17 08:53:00

It's very sad the standard of knowledge varies. I don't trust anybody but myself, that include school kitchen staff.
I ds never eats anything even he was told it's fine, unless he sees the ingredients himself. We learned a hard lesson. And he is only 9.

irvineoneohone Mon 04-Dec-17 08:53:36

*My ds, not I

FreshsatsumaforDd Mon 04-Dec-17 08:58:56


Ds has food allergies and I was called into the school on several occasions when he was given food that contained dairy and provoked a severe reaction. The first aid lady was trying to put the blame on Ds and muttering that they would not be able to cater for him, as she ignored us and busied herself in her office.

I said the words, Duty of Care, and found that her attitude did change.
Teachers Duty of Care

It is difficult enough for children who cannot eat certain foods, and they should be able to provide foods that are naturally dairy and gluten free.

SeriousSteve Mon 04-Dec-17 09:00:11

This boils my piss. What if your son had an anaphylactic episode due to ingesting dairy? Would be taking this to Governors, Head, LEA.

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