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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back to School with Celiac

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With all the back to school hype currently going on, I started digging into the laws of school lunches and the special diets of those with Celiac.  I found some very interesting information that will hopefully be of use.

It can be daunting to have to send your child to school knowing that they may get sick off of what they eat at the school for breakfast or lunch.  There are a couple of options if this worries you.  

The ever popular make your child their own school lunch every day to ensure that they don't get sick.  Or you can talk to the school administrators.  According to Section 504 or the rehabilitation act of 1973, school must provide reasonable accommodations for any disability.  Celiac can be considered a disability and therefore the school should make gluten free accommodations for your child.  

In order to take advantage of this program, you must have Doctor Proof to take to the school administration before school starts.  Please make sure that it states that your child has a disabling reaction to Gluten as well as if bread product must be used then a substitution of gluten free has to be included.  This makes sure that the school knows that your child cannot under any circumstances come into contact with gluten.  You should start this process as soon as possible.  

Should it be found that your child meets the requirements for this program and the school is a participant in the federal lunch program then at no time can the school ask you to provide the gluten free items.  They will have to provide the gluten free items for your child at no additional cost to you as the parent.  Please, do not let them talk you into providing for the school.  That is unless you will be personally making the meal.  

There are health reasons for this, a school cannot guarantee the safety of any food that they did not purchase.  By even asking you to provide items for your child’s lunch is against health code violations as well as against the federal lunch program.  

If the school participates in the federal lunch program and your child qualifies, then do not let the school tell you that they will not or cannot accommodate this need.  Some schools will do this in order to save money.  A school cannot discriminate based on a special need.  By refusing to provide Gluten free meals for your child, they have discriminated against your child and this should be brought up to the school board.  However, this is only if the school participates in the federal lunch program.  There is no recourse if they do not participate in this program.  

Question:  Will you be providing meals for your GF Child this year or talking to the school about accommodations. 

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