Joining My Boys With Food Allergies High School School Council

Well, I finally did it…I joined my boys’ high school School Council. After 3 years of their Vice-Principal, now the Principal, inviting me to join…I felt that this year was the year to do it.

Michael’s upcoming Graduation played a big part in my decision. Graduation events planned for the 2013/2014 year…an Annual Graduation Christmas Dinner, Graduation Day and of course, The Prom.  As each of these Graduation events involve food, research will be needed to determine a plan of action due to Michael’s food allergies to dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberries. I felt the best option for me, as a parent of children with food allergies, to figure out all the Graduation events was to get ‘on board’ and join the School Council.

“Why?”, might you say, “did I not join sooner?”  Well, each and every parent of a child/children with or without food allergies will have their own reasons for joining or not joining a School Council. Personally, I felt I needed a purpose/goal to commit myself…the idea of raising awareness of anaphylaxis to set into motion some safe-guards at Graduation events for students with food allergies gave me reason to join.

Over the years, I have been building a rapport with the Vice Principal/Principal, office staff and teachers in regards to setting up both Michael and Matthew’s Anaphylactic Emergency Plan and Medical Profile for their respective teachers and to raise more of an awareness of anaphylaxis in the school setting. When Michael started in Grade 9, there was not a system in place for the students with food allergies that met with Sabrina’s Law…now, office staff and teachers are fully aware and up to date.

Joining the School Council gives me the opportunity to reach out and raise awareness about food allergies in another forum. Michael’s unique list of food allergies continues to label us as trailblazers. It has opened the door to many educational moments…hopefully, paving the way for other students living with food allergies.

So, how has my presence at School Council regarding the raising awareness of food allergies at Graduation events progressed thus far?  I am happy to report…great!

School Council and the teachers with whom I have dealt with so far have been very accommodating…they seem very interested in the inclusion and safety of all students.

The first Graduation event was the Annual Graduation Christmas Dinner whereby, the Principal, Vice Principals and teachers put together a turkey dinner complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes and veggies for the graduating class…all cooked at the school during the day for the evening event.

Due to fact that the meal included some of Michael’s food allergens and the risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen was high…I decided to cook a complete turkey dinner for Michael at home to bring to the event.

One teacher was in charge of organizing the event.  We emailed each other in great detail…I even offered to bake Mini Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes for the graduating class’s dessert.

All was set until I received an email from the teacher in charge that Michael had not purchased a ticket. Apparently, Michael had not heard the announcements to purchase tickets and he had missed the deadline. After consulting with his friends…he decided not to go as not many of them were attending. It was his choice…too bad, because I hear it was quite the event!

Michael may have missed out on the event of the year…but at least the school is now aware of the possibility of students with food allergies attending such events.

I must say, I am enjoying my time at School Council. Should I have joined earlier? Perhaps, but I am here now and that is all that matters.

Next up…Graduation Day snacks and the main event…dinner at a Golf Club before the Prom.

For parents of a child/children with food allergies…Have you joined the School Council?  If yes, what has been your experience?  If no, are you considering it?

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