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Old 05-04-2012, 10:51 AM   #1
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Epi-pen mamas- opinions please

We just got notice that dd got into the charter art academy we are interested in for kindergarten. We have 2 school options. School 1- the art academy and school 2 our local regular public school. The charter art academy is public not private. Anyway- what would you choose...

School 1 is very small, has several completely peanut/tree nut free rooms- with posters visable to remind all parents. Action plans with pictures get emailed to ALL facality. Action plans are posted in the chid's main classroom as well as all elective class rooms. The school fosters a community feel to their school and get older children (school goes from kindergarten to 8th) in keeping their kids safe. This is made easy by the fact the action plans are posted in elective classrooms so that older kids are able to see the pictures, ect. There is also a fair amount of interaction between grade levels. They currently have several students with multiple and severe food allergies- 1 in which gets his own dedicated equipment (computer, art supplies, etc) that no one else is allowed to use or touch. During the info session the teachers were very open with me and made me feel very confident that they can and will keep dd safe. The problem- no epi pen in the classroom. This is actually done for safety because the kids do not stay in one classroom or with the same teacher all day (they go to music room, art room, etc). if the epi were to be on a teacher it would have to make mulitple tranfers during the day, keeping it in the office allows them to know where it is if it is needed. The school is really small and there is not a lot of distance from the office to any other point in the school. The kidergarten rooms are 10 feet away from the office. oh and this school has been doing full day kindergarten for several years.

School 2- large school. Action plan only given to the nurse, office and the child's teacher. Classes can be peanut/treenut free, but its not posted at the door (i could probably get that done). There is not a lot of communication between teachers. During the info session the teachers were very vague with their answers and I don't really feel to confident in them. They have had other allergy kids who need epi-pens, but didn't sound like it was something they have dealt with a lot (I have a feeling that i am not the only parent choosing alternative options to the local school based on allergies). The coming school year will be their first year doing full day kindergarten. It is also their policy to keep epi-pens in the office however I was told they have in the past and on occasion had them in the classroom. I got the feeling that it would be an ordeal, but I might be able to get the epi in the classroom.

So what appears to be a more experienced, better equip school- but definately no epi in classroom or school with less experience and less people involved in dd's care, but I might be able to get the Epi in the classroom?


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Old 05-04-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
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Re: Epi-pen mamas- opinions please

Definitely the first one...they seem to understand the whole process & be much more accomodating to it in general than the second school. I'd rather them know what they're doing and not have an epi-pen in the room vs. them not really know what they're doing and *maybe* having an epi-pen in the room.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #3
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Are you in Michigan? The law states that your child can have the epi pen in the room at all times and the bus, (or any school sponsored activity) as long as you have a doctors note and they may require another to be held in the office.

They have to allow it, it is the law. they do not have their own epi pens in MI though. You would have to have a set for her to bring to school.

Last edited by ktmelody; 05-04-2012 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:13 AM   #4
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Re: Epi-pen mamas- opinions please

I would go for the first school.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:33 AM   #5
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Re: Epi-pen mamas- opinions please

Normally, I'd say #2/traditional BUT, in your case #1, no question. One of my neighbors is having horrible problems with our neighbor school with this issue. They are NOT very careful from what she has said and how they are doing things like just a nut free table (which she had to fight for), sucks as it alienates kids plus still in the room. I'm not sure about the epi pen situation with her. I know when I have the child, she just gives it to me and it goes in the diaper bag so its no big deal. My experience - we have a few minor minor allergies that cause a rash. Our preschool teacher completely dismisses it. She's a nice woman and means well, but its not her issue/priority (vs. someone like me who is hyper sensitive to kids and allergies and very careful) so a few times she has though, oh, he can't eat this but its ok to touch it. We'll second time she didn't let him touch the fruit but someone must have touched him with the fruit as he had a minor rash (first time I made a fuss, second time why bother). So, after this experience, and knowing ours isn't life threatening, there is NO WAY I'd take a chance with a severely allergic child. If a school is not sensitive to it and you have another option, pick that one. But, just my opinion so take it at that.
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Old 05-04-2012, 02:47 PM   #6
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Option one. Without question. While (so far) DD doesn't have any severe allergies. I do! LOL I have 3 that require an epi pen. (one of which is cats! I have a nightmare time with setting up playdates with that one! This is made a million times worse because most people have never heard of a cat allergy that bad, so when you ask if they have cats before arriving they say nope, but I drive there walk in the door and IMMEDIATELY start to get hives! I choke out "You said you did NOT have ANY CATS !?!" And am always told "Well fluffy never leaves the upstairs it shouldn't be a problem." (this is always said in a perky voice which hacks me off worse LOL!!!) I swing open the door with epi pen in hand and usually say very sternly "As you can CLEARLY SEE its a MASSIVE PROBLEM!!!" As my now puffy hive covered self steps into the yard to stab myself before my airway shuts! What kills me about these situations is they ALWAYS say "No one is THAT ALLERGIC to cats! You need to see an allergist and take shots or something. Your just being silly!" I usually get REALY PO'ed at this. I mean needing to be able to breath isn't silly to ME LOL!
Sorry I rambled there LOL but that I felt would explain why I feel so strongly that school #1 is far and away the way I would go in your situation and whichever you choose I wish you and your family the best
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:04 PM   #7
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Re: Epi-pen mamas- opinions please

I would do option one and try to get around the issue of not having an epi-pen in the classroom. How many refills do you get with insurance? I get like 5 or 6 for mine, and just filled them every month until I had them all (with only a $10 copay so it was worth it to me) and we have one in the diaper bag, one in my purse, one at my parents, one in my kitchen, etc. If she is only going to be transferring to maybe 3 rooms, then you need that many for school plus keep one on you. Maybe you have enough time before school starts to stockpile them and have each room have one?

My niece is in second grade, so this is obviously for an older child, but she has one in a fanny pack thing, and the teachers do bring it from classroom to classroom when transferring her and her classmates. A couple of other kids have allergies and a couple have inhalers, so my sister just called the other parents with these issues, asked if they wanted to do some community negotiation with the school, and now all the kid's meds are in that fanny pack bag together with names on them, and they go from classroom to classroom with the kids. I think they are actually using the old one from her ergo baby, lol.

My main thing for picking school number one is that they are already fostering a preventative approach to allergies which means not only do they take it seriously, but they must have familiarity to have put these procedures in place. That familiarity will lead to faster administration of the meds if anything does happen.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #8
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I too would choose school one for all the above mentioned reasons. I have a DD with a severe peanut allergy, hers is only if ingested, but it is quick acting and starts as soon as it hits her mouth. I never thought about looking into schools who are more proactive about allergies being she is not even 2 yet, but I probably should since here in NJ kids are required to be registered and in school at age 3.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:44 PM   #9
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First one hands down. We went through horrors trying to make my ds's school safe for him. They finally took action now that he is in the 3rd grade( we fought since kindergarten ) and now thankfully he is not even allergic to nuts.
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