Nina brought her lunch to school with her everyday since peanut butter and jelly was sometimes served in the cafeteria. She would purchase a milk in the earlier years, but as she moved to the next building, the milk was located inside of the kitchen where peanut butter maybe. We felt it no longer to be safe for her to grab a milk that might have been touched by someone who touched a peanut butter sandwich.
They designated a peanut free table for Nina, but she ended up always eating alone. It was very difficult for her. We came up with a plan to have her sit where she felt safe (instead of a peanut free table by herself). She would look at what everyone was eating and if no one had peanut items on their tray or in their lunch she would sit at that table. We also either put paper towels or large napkins in her lunch box so that Nina could place them on the table to sit her lunch box on. She would then eat the items out of her lunch box without placing them on the table. This worked out well for her through the rest of her schooling.
The peanut free table is a fabulous idea and was great of our school to do for Nina, but when there is only one child with a peanut allergy, it makes it hard for them to find others who will sit with them at lunch. Students would worry that they would get in trouble for sitting there with her.
Now that Nina is in college, she is able to eat in the cafeteria at her university. They are very aware of food allergies and post allergen warnings as needed. I don’t believe she has found any items with peanuts in it (aside from prepackaged candy in vending machines) in the