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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

Yes Debra, my son has a peanut and brazil nut allergy.  When we first arrived and went to the Pole Vie Locale to register him for junior school and for the school cantine, I told the assistant about the allergies.  Initially she said he'd have to see the school Dr but I had the letters from his consultant in England which she could understand.  When he started school we were again told he'd need to see the school Dr, despite providing the evidence and treatment plan from the UK.  In short, that consultation never happened and about 6 weeks later I got a projet d'accuiel individualisé direct from the school Dr, with the treatment plan copied from the UK document.  He changed to college in September, and before he started friends told us that, like your son, he'd have to see an allergiste annually for tests and that we'd need a new PAI every year.  In the UK we were told quite correctly that these allergies rarely go away and they only retest once, usually at 12 years of age.  This is partly to see if your child is one of the rare few who loses the allergies, but mainly to reinforce the need for care as the child is going into adolescence, so they don't become complacent.  Seeing an allergiste annually is quite frankly a waste of time and money, except of course if you're the allergiste! 

Anyway, before term started I went to the college and saw the head teacher, who speaks fluent English and was very helpful.  I showed her the PAI I'd received 3 months earlier and she just said it was fine and she passed that onto the cantine.  No need to see anybody for this school year at least.  OK, they know I'm a Dr and that might have made a difference, but I think it was more that the head was helpfully pragmatic.   I will strongly resist taking him to the allergiste next year either.  Aside from being completely uneccessary, apparently in France they take loads of blood tests and have never heard of EMLA (the local anaesthetic cream we use a lot in the UK before taking blood from kids - much kinder).  As with you Debra, I know what he's allergic to, and don't need it to be ritualistically confirmed.  I haven't pulled the 'je suis médecin' card yet, but I certainly wouldn't be scared to if it meant my son avoids uneccessary medical intervention.


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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

A very wise friend, told us years ago when we were having many problems with our youngest son, that his Dad had to be there at every meeting as they would not take a woman seriously. I had been hitting my head against a brick wall for months and had seen teachers and the head several times.

So Debra, being female probably puts you at a disadvantage immediately. And Daft Doctor, being male means that you will probably be taken more seriously to start with and if they know you are a Dr, then you are indeed a man to be taken very seriously.

Appointment made and off the pair of us went. The Head didn't really look at me, addressed everything to my husband, and my husband said not a word, I said everything. My husband is quite deaf, meant that he didn't catch much anyway. Papa got a big handshake at the end of the meeting after everything had been sorted, and I didn't.


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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

That sounds like our appointment with the allergy specialist, Idun!  The fact that my husband is my son's stepfather and wasn't actually around to witness the history I was describing seemed irrelevant - he still had to repeat it after me!

DD one of my son's allergies is eggs and that is one of those which they can grow out of by around age 11.  The test is to feed him a home made cake made with four times as many eggs as usual.  This is done under close observation in hospital.  They note how long it is before he shows a skin reaction, a hay fever type reaction, or complains of stomach ache and has diarrhoea and vomits.  My son has been through this test once at 11 and his reactions were so violent the hospital said it was unlikely he would ever grow out of the allergy.  No way I want to repeat that experience for him every year, never mind the arms full of skin *** tests. 

For three years I took his lunch into college every day, where he wasn't allowed to eat it  (no packed lunches allowed) but we went for a picnic in the local park, sitting in the car in winter.  This year I lied on the forms.  He has no allergies according to the paperwork.  At 15 he is well aware of what he can and can't eat and what the symptoms are if he accidentally eats something he is allergic to or something he didn't know he was allergic to - and he self treats with his secret supply of antihistamines. 

www.remaininfrance.org
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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

I am sorry to hear of the sexism, but not surprised unfortunately.
On the issue of having to see Doctors all the time, as I said above the idea of 'self-certification' when you are off ill doesn't really exist. Adults have to have the 'arrêt de travail' signed by a Doctor that I linked to.

I think that this carries over to children and school. Added to the way in which nurses are not used in France for tasks that they perform perfectly well in the UK and you can see why non-Doctors (or non-French Doctors in DD's Case) are not taken seriously.

There is a certain rigidity in France that puts people into very defined boxes, and if you aren't in the 'right' box you don't count.  At the same time those in the boxes are bitterly defended by those in them already.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

NormanH said: There is a certain rigidity in France that puts people into very defined boxes, and if you aren't in the 'right' box you don't count. 

I'll have to remember that expression, ''if you aren't in the 'right' box you don't count'.  Thankyou, we've lived with it for the last 20 odd years now, and I've never found a good way of saying it.


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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

Hi Debra, my son had an egg allergy when he was small, discovered after giving him some eggy bread and confirmed when he was again violently sick within a minute or two of starting a fried egg.  Fortunately, by about age 6 he grew out of it, discovered accidentally when he had some cake at a party and didn't react.  We slowly graded him up to having little bites until we were confident he was ok, then he was chomping omlettes and all sorts, no problem.  In your particular circumstances I think you were wise to say nothing on the paperwork, its absolutely outrageous that the canteen would say they wouldn't feed him but he couldn't eat his packed lunch in school either!  Some of the French seem to think that if you're not out at work all day you've got nothing better to do that queue outside the schoolgates at 11H30 to cart your son/daughter home for 2 hours for lunch.  That hardly promotes independence and social interaction, as well as severely restricting your day.

On that subject, but slightly off topic, its interesting, but we rent out property in the UK to foreign students spending 6 months in the UK as part of a course in their own country.  Without exception, the German boys and girls do all of the contacting, arranging accommodation, paying rents, etc themselves.  With French students however it is always the parents, never the students themselves, even if it is just to report a leaking shower or something.  It is quite a marked difference, which given its consistency can only be a cultural thing or related to upbringing.  Not ideal however for being pitched into the real world!


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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

I have just re-read Debra's post in which she says 'no packed lunches allowed'
I don't think the establishment have the right to refuse this, but  the family must take full responsibilty:

Comment faire si mon enfant a besoin d’un régime alimentaire particulier ?

Pour mettre en place un régime alimentaire spécifique pour votre enfant, il est nécessaire de préparer et mettre en œuvre un projet d’accueil individualisé (PAI). Dans ce cadre, la mise en place de "paniers repas" doit être favorisée. La famille assure alors la pleine responsabilité de la fourniture du repas, du conditionnement et du transport.

This and  answers other things such as your first question on this thread can be found at

http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid52727/mon-enfant-est-au-lycee-questions-reponses.html



As for school meals, allergies etc see here:
http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid90/la-restauration-au-college-et-au-lycee.html




The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.
- Bertrand Russell
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Re: Procedure when absent from school because of sickness?

Idun at one of her first school council meetings when the cantine was being discussed. 'Well the children could bring a packed lunch'. I may have well said that we'd line them all up and shoot them. When a whole committee is looking daggers at such an innocent question, that is a lot of eyes. Marie-Ellen, a nutritionist by profession announced that children had to eat a hot meal at lunch time in winter, AND it was not equilibre. But I  am a little more imaginative than to accept sweeping statements from a professional......... although everyone else believed that she had cited some universal law, so I said that it was doubtful that eskimos did and it was far colder in the far North. Also, I pointed out that none of them knew what children ate when they went home for lunch and sometimes the cantine was not equilibre either.

I was on a loser; absolutely not possible.

To be honest, I find it astonishing as to how many kids have allergies to food in the UK, and really did not know of one in France. I was on enough school councils for this to become an important subject at some point. I cannot say there are none, as I'm sure that there are, but is there a reason why? I remember when they proscribed aspirin for children in the UK; they were still dishing them out to kids in France, but I wouldn't accept them, as I figured that there was perhaps something 'different' about us brits.  What, I have no idea, although sometimes there really are differences.


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