Peanut/ Tree Nut Allergy + conj heart disease = not happy school

At birth, our daughter was dx with PJRT form of SVT (her heart beats too fast). Through the years she hs stayed on heart medicine and beta blockers. Currently she is on Atenolol and is taking 35mg per day. Back in July of '10, we found out that S has a severe peanut/ tree nut allergy (RAST rating 6) and we were told that the next reaction could be fatal because she is ana. The tricky part is that the beta blocker can actually prohibit the EPI pen from working- which is very scary. Her Dr. has said that she needs 'complete avoidance' and this is how we live now. Her current school has done a lot with in her classroom and I cook/ bake, provide special lunches,etc. to ensure that there will be no nut product present. As for the upcoming school year, things are changing because of a group of parents that do not believe the peanut/ tree nut allergy is as bad as Dr.'s say they are. This is very sad and scary- especially for us. The school district here has stated that there will not even be a 'nut free' table in the lunch room because it is a false sense of security. I have been to the school board multiple times, spoken with the school nurse and the school's principle- I have even called the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) to file a complaint. The nurse over the entire district told me that our daughter and other children need to learn how to 'get along' in the real world. This is HORRIBLE! How apathetic can someone be? I was also told that they would sit someone in between S and a person who brings peanut product for lunch and this should be sufficient. The school nurse also informed me that nut allergies are not air born and I told her that my daughter's reaction walking into a room with nuts would tell her different. These people are highly educated, medical professionals that are being told how to take care of our children by parents that are ticked off that their kid can't bring pb&j for lunch! The school nurse also told me to 'back off' bringing so much attention to our daughter- she said tha it will put a 'bull's eye' on her and come 6th, 7th and 8th grade kids will bully her by bringing handfuls of peanuts to school and throw them at her. Seriously? We have been to 3 other private schools- 1 Catholic, and they said they could not accommodate us, 2 Christian schools do not have nurses on campus. I finally spoke with the principle of the school (public) and she has said that I will need to sign a form that gives her access to all of S's medical records, put her on a 504 plan (federal plan) and then we will have a meeting to see what she can do for our daughter. I am so lost right now- If S had a latex allergy, the entire school would be latex free; if she was in a wheel chair, they would have to install ramps; so why does this school system feel as though they do not have to make accommodations and/or modifications for children with a peanut/ tree nut allergy?

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So I wish I had some advice, but I wanted to encourage you. I think you need to file the 504 in order to initiate discussions on accommodations and appropriateness of the school environment. I have a daughter with serious, multiple food allergies. We did find a private school that was small, low S/T ratio, and a nurse that was willing to accept and accommodate our daughter. Luckily, there is no cafeteria in the school and the classrooms are nut-free. Also, the parents only bring in treats all of the kids can share, including my daughter and other food-allergic children. It is a team effort, and I could not say enough wonderful things about the administration, teachers, and other parents that make this happen for her. The school only goes until 5th grade, so we are about to find out what else is out there! (However, by then, a child should own his or her allergies more and be able to find a way to live in a world that is not programmed to protect them. Scary, but somewhat of a reality.) GOOD LUCK.

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