October 28, 2012

Innocent Ingenues, Allergy Antagonists or School District Scammers?

Here’s a great story we found via Inside Los Gatos, and by “great” this time we actually do mean “great.”  It’s got a number of hot buttons, so fire up your righteous outrage!

Los Gatos Family Continues to Fight School

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies. Los Gatos Union School claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

By Stephanie Chuang, NBC Bay Area, Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012, Updated 9:15 PM PDT

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies, school claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

In a story we first told you on NBC Bay Area last Friday, the tension between one South Bay family and the Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) is coming to a head.

Tuesday morning, the Edwards family walked 9-year-old Ella and 7-year-old Sarah into the Van Meter Elementary school office – only to be greeted by the superintendent and two police officers.

“That’s when my heart sank, when I heard there were police officers just to prevent my girls from going to the school they belong in,” said Shuly Edwards, the girls’ mother, before she began to cry.

121026-vanmeter-ella-sarahThis story has a mom claiming her daughters have been kicked out of five different schools because of their nut allergies.  It has a district superintendent retorting the family is scamming the district because they actually live elsewhere.  It’s got threatened lawsuits. And of course, it’s got video of the girls being cute on cue. 

Due to all the highly pressurized and flammable contents, we hope this will lead to a veritable flamefight lively discussion. And just to pour some gasoline on the fire, we’ll get you going with some of the ruder observations from ILG’s own commenters.  Below is the first video, with more background on the Edwards’ nut allergy claims.

121026-vanmeter-policeHere are some of the juicier rumors from Inside Los Gatos. (Burbed provides the comment summary as-is and without any implied warranty for accuracy. Some material appearing herein may not have been meant as a factual statement.)  The photo at right is also from the blog.

  • This family has a home in Campbell mom’s sister is renting from them
  • The same family was asked to leave Mulberry School (private) because of unreasonable food demands of others; mom is a troublemaker.
  • The same mom was in a different news story about her chronic migraines (Confirmed!)
  • Van Meter Elementary already has a nut-free lunch table
  • Family provided two addresses and the first one was fictitious; were investigated for 5–6 weeks.  They have until next Wednesday to provide all paperwork or they’re out again.

We laugh at the foolish reporter in the follow-up video (top) for comparing Los Gatos Elementary to Moreland and Campbell school districts. Stephanie Chuang asked administrators at the latter two if they had ever called police to resolve a residency dispute.  As all readers of Burbed know, only Real Bay Area cities have Real Bay Area schools worth lying to get your kids into.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

26 Responses to “Innocent Ingenues, Allergy Antagonists or School District Scammers?”

  1. Tracy Tea House Says:

    NUTZ… Really strange that they show these little girls in the news clip. usually people just have the girls feet shown and never their faces. When we used to be in the Not RBA ( Richmond) Our neighbor’s kids had to have accommodation for their severe nut allergies. Don’t know about the district thing, but it’s not unusual to ask for a nut free class. Our neighborhood center was nut free because of this. Sorry not to toss a match, I agree with this Mom, except not about putting the girls pics up.

  2. sdj Says:

    Now I know why they call California the land of fruits and nuts! Bonkers!

  3. SEA Says:

    It’s not like they could move to Palo Alto to escape the nuts.

  4. Jb Says:

    Ok, so the district has a PI on retainer to investigate 4 – 5 cases a month…that is truly only RBA. But – clearly – the mom is way over the top. She is using the nut thing – and her kids. Those are the two I feel sorry for. The nut thing is so covered in schools – epi pens, nut free tables, nut free snacks at preschools, elementry…etc. (wipes in case you had touched nuts at one of my kids schools). And 504 plans are typically used when children have disabilities such as blindness, needing a wheelchair….have not heard it being used for a nut allergy. My nephew has a dairy allergy – needed an epi pen recently after touching (not ingesting) cream cheese at grandma’s house (he is fine). But he attends public elementry school just fine…

  5. sprezzatura Says:

    What I don’t understand is how it’s only this generation of kids that has such a high percentage of deadly serious allergies. If this had been going on in the past kids should have been dropping dead left and right from lack of nut free lives.

    Instead it seems to be a new thing. What’s the cause?

  6. nomadic Says:

    I was wondering the same thing, sprezzatura.

    You guys are all being so serious. If rentards are allowed to attend RBA schools, then why can’t people rent an apartment in the district and send their kids to the schools – even if they live somewhere else? Seems kind of like a technicality to keep them out. Reminds me of something I read about PA, where if the parents are divorced, then BOTH have to live in the district for the kids to attend the schools. Seems a bit unfair.

  7. Mole Man Says:

    Reading this story gave me a migraine and nut allergies.

  8. mabeldu Says:

    i may mess up the spelling – munchausen by proxy. seems like there’s a ridiculous amount if issues we now need to care for; some parents have more probs than the kids. some lids do have issues, but a lot of parents take advantage to milk the system, or figure out how to make a hangnail a lawsuit.

    back to really important things – a friend in the east-bay-non-RBA just got outbid by $100k. and they’re a couple area codes away from 650 and google… wow… there’s something in the air, and it ain’t the super fund leakage.

  9. Real Estater Says:

    Guys, go check out the new Apple Store in Palo Alto!

  10. Real Estater Says:

    Giants win! We are #1 !!!!

  11. Petsmart groomer Says:

    The new Microsoft store in the Stanford shopping center is pretty cool too. You can tell where Apple got their inspiration from.

  12. madhaus Says:

    I’m assuming all the increased allergies are from environmental toxins affecting our autoimmune systems, as I know adults who have developed allergies to food, pets, etc as well. There, a nice tie back to yesterday’s total downer of a post.

    nomadic, you might enjoy this story about another use for renting empty apartments.

  13. Petsmart groomer Says:

    At the end of the day, we’re just dealing with a nut case.

  14. ALR Says:

    It amazes me how people are so eager to speak regarding something they really know nothing about. For all those who think this Mom is Nuts, not true. 84% of children with food allergies will have a reaction at school. As little as a milligram of an offending food can cause life threatening anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylactic reactions result in death and symptoms can develop in minutes. To the comment from the so to speak “peanut gallery” above regarding peanut allergies are so covered, my nephew has a 504…. Each individual school district in the state of CA create food policies. In this case, LGUSD does not have a policy and parents of children with food allergies have asked for one. Yes, a 504 will help prescribe instructions on how to deal, but in this particular school consistency is lacking and since this particular principal doesn’t support or enforce any food policy for her staff, your plan is only good as the teacher your child has. As far as the ignorant individual claiming munchausen. False food allergies and their severity are real and in order for this family to receive any 504 plan they need to have documentation of their allergy, test results and physician sign off on plan. The only justice for those who cry overreactive parent is to hope that individual develops a life-threatening food allergy themselves or bless them with a child who has them. Since life-threatening allergies can happen at any time to anyone, this is highly probable. Until then the only hope is education, advocacy, tolerance.

    As far as this district, there are 100’s of parents who are renting, using Grandma’s address etc. Many have been reported but we still see those families in our district despite the fact they don’t live in district. This case is quite interesting that they chose this particular family to investigate. I am not sure whether district claims are true, after all they allowed the family to stay, also if this family is not sincere in their desire to be residents in this school they are paying a heavy emotional price. Parents in this school treat this Mom horrible since the news story. There is complete lack of empathy for other side of this story…safety of children. From my understanding the only parents who share empathy in to this Mom…parents who have battled with food issues in this district and this school.

    An actual parent in district and parent in this particular school

  15. Real Estater Says:

    Tim Cook visits new RBA store

    Cool exterior pic

  16. Real Estater Says:

    Congratulations to excellent Palo Alto schools!

    >>A student in Palo Alto’s 25th percentile on the SAT would be in the 75th percentile if measured against California or nationwide averages, according to data presented by Wilmot.

    >>Nearly a quarter of 2012 graduates achieved recognition as National Merit semi-finalists or commended scholars — standing reserved for the top 2 percent of scorers in the nation on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.

    >>More than half — 53.1 percent — of the 3,154 exams taken in 2012 earned the top score of 5.

  17. PK Says:

    #12 – not a fan of the hygiene hypothesis?

    My sister has a severe allergy to peanuts, but growing up she never had any special accommodation. Just an epi-pen and the burden of asking people before eating unknown food. She’s still alive.

    As to this generation, I can’t even get a bag of peanuts on an airplane. I don’t like this whole “if one person can’t handle it, no one can!” mentality.

  18. nomadic Says:

    madhaus, that’s an easy one to solve. Rentards should not be allowed to hold public office. (Would you want someone so irresponsible making decisions for you?) If the person owns property in the state, then they should only be eligible in their district. :-P

  19. Real Estater Says:

    >>The new Microsoft store in the Stanford shopping center is pretty cool too.

    I was there over the weekend. The store was mobbed! They need to open another one on University Ave.

    >>You can tell where Apple got their inspiration from.

    What are you talking about? Microsoft obviously stole the idea from Apple. It never occurred to them to open a retail store until well after Apple demonstrated its success.

  20. madhaus Says:

    #11 wins the Internet.

    Also note #14, new post from parent at the school in this story. Just rescued it
    from comment moderation. It seems that all comments by new participants go there
    for the first time; this is not something we set anywhere.

  21. L G Lorax Says:

    #4 JB – I am glad your experience with food allergic children has been better than mine. My kids attend school in the LGUSD, and it was the superintendent who recommended we go the 504 route since NO POLICIES ARE IN PLACE. Each school has peanut-free tables if they feel like it, year to year. No uniform policies on parties and food. Epi Pens are the last resort – proper policies, like the ones you’ve heard about, are what keep the Epi Pens in the office and out of the children. So no, the “nut thing” is not “so covered” in public schools. California has no uniform policies as other states do. It’s left to each district, and in Los Gatos, each school. Every principal is different, and the answers they give change year to year. I’m not ready to call this mom crazy, as I’ve been there. Sending a child into an environment that contains things that could KILL them is enough to make anyone appear crazy.

  22. SEA Says:

    #5 & 6: Has the rate of childhood mortality remained constant, or gone up? I would have guessed it is lower today.

  23. madhaus Says:

    I did a little googling on the topic. There’s very few deaths due to food allergies, and I found a suggestion that the data from FAAN was exaggerated because it was done or funded by the makers of the EpiPen. But the rate of food allergies has gone up, as has the rate of hospitalizations.

    I’d post CDC numbers but there aren’t any on deaths because the rate it too low to show up. The debunking piece I found was on Huffington Post, which isn’t a source I trust.

  24. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > What are you talking about? Microsoft obviously stole the idea from Apple. It never occurred to them to open a retail store until well after Apple demonstrated its success.

    You don’t remember microsoftSF?

  25. Tarheel Says:

    #12 It’s nice to know your sister is still alive with her peanut allergies but please don’t compare what you think you know of your sister to others with individual allergies. There is no exact science to allergies and how sensitive one individual may be. For instance, what was your sister’s level on her RAST or ELISA test? Do you know if her levels are the same as others? Did you know that reactions are different in each individual due to the mast cells and what parts of the body the reaction occurs? Are you aware that those who have asthma in conjunction with a severe allergy have an increase risk? No these are things the non-food allergic person doesn’t think of. Just because your Mom, Dad, Sister survived with peanut allergies does not mean it isn’t a threat to another individual. The Federal government and American Disabilities act just recently started recognizing severe allergies as a disability and therefore any institution receiving government funding must respect the rights of those who qualify.

    As for the airplane ride you feel your rights are violated on if flying with a severe anaphylactic passenger. How would you feel if your plane would need to make an emergency landing for a child in cardiac arrest due to an intolerant individual who couldn’t wait to eat their bag of peanuts. Yes, this happened during a flight with my child who was in ICU for two weeks. Yes, he is still living and maybe his sister will make the same comment when she is older, I was pregnant with her when it occurred.

  26. madhaus Says:

    #25, Tarheel, I didn’t say anything about peanuts, sisters, or airplane rides. I believe you are responding to #17, PK.

    Both the rate of asthma and the rate of allergies have gone of significantly since I was a kid. I don’t think I knew anyone with asthma then, and only one kid who was allergic to anything. When my kids were in elementary school, we always polled the parents over allergies, and only once was one of my kids in class with NOBODY allergic to nuts (which meant shared snacks with nuts were acceptable, that one year). Inhalers are everywhere.

    Hygiene theory? Is that the one where kids are all allergic because their parents wouldn’t let them play in (read: eat) dirt like we did in the bad old days?


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