Halloween, food allergies, a rant, and a reply

medium_540926535I posted this as a reply on a post over at BlogHer, but I thought it warranted its own space here.

We also prefer give out stickers, halloween-themed pencils, and silly-band type treats. I take my boy trick or treating, but then I have to go through everything and make sure it’s safe. He’s been a trooper about it, but it does kind of bum me out to have to toss out 75% of his “candy haul.” On the upside, it’s fewer days of being relentlessly bugged every twenty seconds for a piece of candy even though the answer was “no, and don’t ask again til after lunch” about a minute ago, and it’s only 8:00 in the morning!

What has really driven me bats this year is the SCHOOL! It’s our first time in public school, and it’s ridiculous. When I went in to register him, I took his medical documentation to prove his allergy (gluten), and was told that we could fill out x-form and y-page and jump through a hoop or two and that the school would accommodate his needs. Well, they don’t. They do NOT make accommodations for gluten allergies here. They also do NOT have any sort of list of ingredients on school foods that they will make available to me. So, my son qualifies for free lunch, but it costs me four or five times as much as it would cost me to feed him at home. And he’s constantly being given “treats” for different things at school. Not ONCE has one of them been a safe food. Not ONE SINGLE TIME.

His birthday is this Friday. I was asked if I was sending cupcakes. I am not. I wish I could. But the school says they must be CUPCAKES (not cookies. That’s not okay for some reason. What the heck??), store-bought, in the original packaging with the ingredients listed and peanut-free. That’s doable in theory. Except there is not a single local store that carries any such thing WITHOUT GLUTEN. I’d have to drive an hour to spend something in the neighborhood of $50 to make that happen locally! So, not only does he not get to bring cupcakes in on HIS birthday, but if somebody ELSE brings in birthday cupcakes, he can’t eat them, AND the teacher can’t tell me in advance if there’s going to be a birthday so that I can send my own child something safe.

I don’t understand. If we can accommodate any allergies, shouldn’t we accommodate all of them and/or just ban food from classroom parties?



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