Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oh, I'm Mad and Sad!

I have been doing a lot of ranting lately, dear readers, and for that I am sorry.  But my latest mad and sad item is really bad (why do I sound like Dr. Seuss?).  Anyway, Jamie’s school has an overnight field trip for 5th graders.  No, I’m sorry, let me correct that – the ENTIRE DISTRICT has an overnight field trip for the fifth graders.  They go to a ranch and spend three days and two nights observing animals in the wild, testing water quality, hiking, canoeing, doing some real hands-on science stuff.  BUT – and here’s the part that pisses me off – the ranch is refusing to guarantee its food is peanut or tree nut free, AND is refusing to supply any alternate food for Jamie because “it isn’t in its contract” with the school system to do so.  I’ve already contacted the Texas Dept. of Ag that overseas the school lunch program, and since the food is not in any way associated with the school nutrition services, they don’t have to provide an alternative lunch for Jamie.


Jamie could have gone if I had sent a cooler full of food with him, and the ranch would have supplied a separate table for him to sit at and supplies for Jamie to wipe down the table, BUT – here’s another thing that has me mad and sad – the economic downturn has hit me really hard, and Jamie’s health insurance co-pays increase 923% (that’s not an exaggeration) next month, so I can’t afford to send a cooler of food with him on the trip, so Jamie can’t go.


Poor kid is being punished because of something he can’t help.  I asked the assistant principal if Jamie would be the only one not going, and she said “No, there will be some not going because of discipline problems”.  Excuse me?!?!  The only other ones not going are because they’re in trouble?


I’m no Pollyanna.  I of all people should know the world is not fair and that sometimes things just downright suck, but it breaks my heart that Jamie is being punished for something he has no control over, and is missing this opportunity to go ramble in an honest-to-goodness Texas ranch for three days with his friends and go hiking, canoeing and learn about nature actually out in nature.  This goes beyond suckage.  And the real kicker here?  The ranch they’re all going to is a Christian fellowship camp in the summer that advertises its “openness” and “welcoming policies for all.”  HA!  What a crock!


Tooz said...

Did you check with the ranch to see what their policy was towards kids with tree nut allergies? Were they the ones who said he could bring his own food, eat by himself, and wipe down the table before he ate? I hate to see them get grouped with the school in the bad-guy list, if their own policy was different from the school's.

I agree, it is a rotten deal when a child is deprived of an outing that other children are allowed to go on, and NOT because of behavior but because of special needs. That is, maybe, illegal--if you're interested in carrying this any further, you might call the local branch of ACLU to see how they look at it. It might be too late for this year, but it might, just might, get a policy change that can help in years ahead.

Love you.

Anonymous said...
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Animal said...

Your comments about suckage are hereby defended! And, with that previous offer, I hope things DO work out!

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I removed your comment because I didn't think you wanted the world to see your phone number. For the rest of you, here's what Tiff said - minus her phone number:

Hey girl. I would be thrilled to provide a cooler of yummy, never-touched-a-peanut-in-its-life food for Jamie's trip. Please let me.

And, I struggled with my pride, but a deep desire for Jamie to be able to go on his trip (and Tiffany doing some fast-talkin') convinced me accept gracefully - tearfully thankfully - her generous offer. You rock, Tiff! And Jamie sends his gratitude!