Lack of Awareness & Accommodations for Anaphylaxis

So as spoken about in my previous post I am facing a serious change in my high school. They are planning to switch to a single lunch instead of the current 2. Our school was built to have 2 lunches so if they do this we will not all fit in the cafeteria, therefore food will be allowed to be eaten throughout the halls and in the forum. I met with my principal today with my mum to discuss how this is risky for allergic students. There will be a higher risk of contact and inhalation reactions. It is my right to have a safe learning environment where I can feel safe and know that they have done everything can to ensure my safety. If they choose to go ahead with this plan and don’t make accommodations they will be breaking 3.5.1 of Sabrina’s Law. “Developing strategies that reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic agents in schools and COMMON SCHOOL AREAS.” I feel that the reason they are having a hard time accommodating is lack of awareness. If they were aware of the severity of anaphylaxis they would be more accommodating with allergies. I continued to stress to the principal that this was lives that he was risking and he did not see how that was more serious than the benefits of his common lunch.

I have been asked to speak at the next staff meeting on June 3rd to speak on behalf of allergic youth. I plan to stress the severity of anaphylaxis and how they can be accommodating. During
this time I will also be retraining them on how to use epipen and allerject. I just really hope that by hearing me talk they realize how serious this is and the emotional and physical effects of anaphylaxis that we deal with daily.

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7 thoughts on “Lack of Awareness & Accommodations for Anaphylaxis

  1. If, after all other avenues are explored and the school doesn’t accommodate people with allergies then maybe the students with allergies and their supporters/friends should have a peaceful demonstration outside the school! Call the media and watch what happens!!!

  2. The high school my boys attend has two lunches…as long as they do not injest their food allergens, they are fine. I hope you find some allies at the staff meeting…there may be teachers with children with food allergies or they know a family member or friend with them that may help you with your cause. I know there are some at my boys high school. It does help to have teachers on your side. Are there any other students with food allergies at your school that would attend the staff meeting as extra support? Bring as much information as you can. Schools are a place of education and should be open to being educated about food allergies…especially when you have Sabrina’s Law backing you.

  3. I think you’re really brave to be such an activist in your school, and in general. It’s hard to constantly stand up for your rights — the very basic right of not having to have a life threatening illness — especially when people aren’t always open to hearing from you. Keep being strong, keep fighting for what you believe in, and know that people everywhere – who don’t even know you – are on your side, even if the principal isn’t.

    It’s so hard to have airborne allergies. Especially to foods that aren’t peanuts. I have issues at work frequently where I have to leave while my coworkers prepare and eat their lunches. And I get scared every time we have a lunch meeting. With time, and with witnessing my reactions, they’ve started to accomodate me more (warning me when they are making salads since I can’t be around leafy greens, asking me if there’s a dish I prefer they order off the take out menu for the lunch meetings). It’s not a perfect system. But it’s slowly getting better.

    The truth is, people eat everywhere and don’t think about it. Subways, movie theaters, airplanes. If your school fails to provide a safe environment for you, the only consolation I can offer is that it will prepare you for the future. No one in my high school cared about food allergies. Thank god mine were less severe then. But there were a few instances when I did have a reaction. Two come to mind, one where I was on a mandatory school weekend trip and was told a pasta dish did not have mushrooms only to discover it did – and the EMT told me I was having a panic attack, not an allergic reaction (I was having both) and had to drive to a pharmacy to find Benedryl, handed it to me, and sent me on my way without further help; and another when cabbage from someone’s salad spilled on me at an extra curricular lunch meeting, and I took Benedryl and left school early. My school didn’t handle either occurrence properly. In hindsight, they were totally irresponsible. But I did learn an important lesson: I had to be my own advocate. I had to learn my own tricks (covering my nose and mouth when people ate, sneaking off to the bathroom when allergens were around, going for random walks outside when allergens were around, not eating if I was exposed to an allergen in the air, popping Benedryl secretly). Those tricks don’t always work, and they get exhausting, but having them as second nature helps me as an adult where I don’t get a say in the safety of my environments.

    Keep fighting the good fight. Your advocacy may not help you, yet, but if it helps the kids younger than you, you’ll have done something amazing. And you will be safe. You know what to do if you get sick. And you have a support system that will take care of you, even if your school blatantly ignores you.

    Good luck and stay strong!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words! I do agree that if my school fails to provide a safe environment it will prepare me for the future, but if they do I might die. They will be breaking Sabrina’s Law and have no right to provide an unsafe learning environment without accommodations. They have seen my allergies in actions and seen me being pushed out on stretchers countless times. Airborne allergies are very hard but they have to work with me and do all they can to keep me safe. I may know how to cover my mouth and run but what if this is not enough. My last reaction was so close I thought I was sure to die. I am going to keep fighting and I will fight until they accommodate and their is not food in common school areas like hallways and forums. This is something they can control and they have another thing coming from myself and my family if they don’t.

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