Thursday, March 10, 2011

We're not nuts

Yesterday my allergic kiddo came to me with a concern. Someone in her class had brought breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom.
This is not an unusual occurrence, as breakfast is provided free to all children, and they often take it to class in order to avoid being tardy. The reason it made her nervous yesterday, though, was that the child brought honey nut cereal to the classroom. Her school has been fabulous about keeping nuts, and nut products, out of the classroom so that she can have a safe environment in which to learn.
When I questioned my daughter it came out that she did not think the teacher was aware of the situation. I kindly reminded her of her need to speak up and help the teacher to maintain a safe environment by pointing out nut products in the classroom. I asked her if she would like to speak to the teacher, or if she would prefer me to address it. I am trying so hard to give her the opportunity to advocate for herself, without making it a required burden just yet. At her request, I stopped in before school to bring it up.
The teacher was apologetic, immediately concerned about safety, and expressed her discomfort with children bringing breakfast to class. She requested that I speak with the principal and nurse as well, to make sure the problem was addressed at all levels.
I stopped by and had a friendly word with our school nurse, who has been so incredibly supportive in every aspect of keeping the classroom a safe zone.
By the time I got back to the front of the building I met the principal, who was just returning to her office, right outside her door. I asked if I could take a minute of her time, to which she smiled and replied "It's already handled."
What? I finished speaking with the classroom teacher less than 5 minutes ago! Unbeknownst to me, the classroom teacher had gone straight to the principal to share my concern. The principal had proceeded directly to the cafeteria to check the ingredients of the offending food, and immediately pulled it off the shelf. Pulled it off the shelf. Decided not to serve it again.
I never would have requested the school to stop serving this. Ever. I only ask that no nut products come into the classroom. For our principal to take the safety of allergic children in the building so seriously, without any prompting, is moving beyond words. Honestly, I teared up a little driving home. I'm tearing up now, just thinking about it. No arguments, no debates, no justifications needed from me. Just an incredibly forward thinking principal making a decision that student safety comes first, and understanding that she can offer other cereals in her building.
I love our school.