Home Ec (now known as Family and Consumer Sciences– AKA FaCS) is the latest gluten free challenge for our family. A week ago I posted about my worries about this class that Emma was scheduled for — right out of the gate at the beginning of fall trimester (see post by clicking here). Which left little to no time for us to prepare.
Initiating Gluten Free Questions with Teacher
So Emma is scheduled to be cooking in her FaCS class this fall, so I emailed her teacher on Tuesday morning asking about Emma….
“[She] has celiac disease and can only eat gluten free food. How would you suggest we proceed to ensure she can get the full experience of her FaCS cooking class this fall? I am willing to supply gluten free ingredients if necessary. I look forward to discussing details with you further.” Amy’s quick email to Emma’s FaCS teacher
I kept the email short, sweet and direct.
Two days later I received a response that basically said she is expected to do the cooking but can bring a snack if the food isn’t safe. The three things she listed that they are making are chocolate chip cookies, some type of Pizza bread and spaghetti. She did offer that Emma could bring her own gluten free noodles on spaghetti day.
I wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and truth be told I’m not entirely possible I know what I’ll be satisfied with.
I tried to write an email back to her:
I considered asking if they make accommodations for vegetarians, people who can’t handle pork, or kids with nut allergies to prove they’re already (likely) making accommodations for others. Or I thought about telling her that Section 504 of the Americans With Disabilities Act means she should be able to get that full experience without discrimination (click here for more info on Section 504 and creating a plan). Or that if she inhales any flour flying by crazy 7th graders, she could still get sick from that.
Taking Gluten Free & Celiac Concerns to School Administrators
But after 2 hours of trying to craft the perfect email. I picked up the phone and called the school’s guidance counselor. She was very receptive and felt that my first step should be chatting with the school nurse.
I explained to the nurse my concerns– flying flour, cross contamination, Emma feeling singled out, Emma not getting the full experience that of course I, as Mama Bear, feel she deserves. Plus, I explained that others really have done this successfully…so I feel we should be able to work something out. The nurse understood celiac disease and the issue of exposure.
I told the nurse that I needed some quick answers on the next steps to take because if we need to do a 504 plan for Emma (no she hasn’t had one before) to get her adequate accommodations for this class, I will need to pull her out of the class for now to get this figured out. Perhaps she would have to take it in the spring.
So the nurse said she would talk with Emma’s teacher and the assistant principal and get back to me Monday (today). I thought that sounded like a good solution for now.
Asking Further Questions….
In the meantime, before I ever talked with the nurse, I actually called my contact in the district nutrition department. I wanted to ask if the FaCS class already purchased foods from them for cooking. I thought it would be an easy way to find out if the FaCS ingredients were gluten free because the nutrition department has already checked on it’s food.
What I learned is that the FaCS class in our district likely doesn’t buy from the nutrition department, but that they could if they were looking for gluten free items. Whew! That’s an easy fix if necessary. I am glad I have that in my back pocket as what I perceive to be an easy solution to a potential problem.
It will be interesting to hear how things transpire this week. I will keep you all posted so we can all learn from each other.