Post # 1
I was just surfing through some news sites and found an interesting article about parents picketing at a school where somewhat extreme measures are being taken to protect a student with peanut allergy. In addition to forbidding any peanut products in the school, kids also have to wash their hands and rinse out their mouths several times per day. There have been allegations that kids’ mouths have been disinfected but those are refuted. The school is also bringing in a peanut sniffing dog to make sure no one has peanut products.
Obviously I’ve heard of this kind of thing before, and it seems to be getting increasingly common. I really don’t have a strong opinion on it… or maybe more accurately I’m torn.
On one hand, it isn’t the child’s fault that they have a severe allergy and if I was their parent I’d want everything possible done to keep them safe.
On the other hand… if the allergy is SO severe that merely sitting at a table with someone who had a pbj for lunch could kill you… why wouldn’t you keep that child at home? The steps required to completely eliminate risk in a school setting seem so cumbersome and It does seem a bit unreasonable to expect hundreds of other families to change their lives to accommodate your child.
So I really don’t know. I was wondering where others fell on this issue?
ETA: this is the article I was reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/22/peanut-allergy-edgewater-elementary-school_n_839091.html
Post # 3
As a public school kindergarten teacher, I understand where the post is coming from. God forbid if anything were to happen to a child on our watch it is our butts on the line. We live in a country where lawsuits are common so extreme measures sometimes must be taken. I don’t always agree with it but I understand it.
Post # 4
@miss.skinner: Excellent point about lawsuits. I guess the question is more…. what is reasonable for these parents of children with severe allergies to expect?
Post # 5
I think it can get a little excessive to say the least. FI’s mom is a principal of an elementary school and has a student with a MILK allergy. This child eats in a separate area from all the other kids and desks/hands are sanitized before the child returns. Even still this student’s parents are pushing to have ALL milk products banned from the school. This means breads, cupcakes to celebrate birthdays.. basically ANYTHING made with milk.
In a case where proper precautions are being taken and the allergy is that extreme it’s my opinion that the child needs a different educational situation.
Edit to add.. it’s not lactose intolerance, I mean a legit allergy with epipen and everything.
Post # 6
I teach in an elementary school, and we have to deal with this, too, albeit thankfully not to this extreme!
My question is, what about when this child is shopping at the mall, or at an amusement park? Or, what if this child wants to accompany a parent to the grocery store? I understand that the school should take some precautions, but you also have to think about other aspects of life, too. Having every aspect of life live up to those standards would be impossible.
I can see designating certain tables in the cafeteria as peanut-free tables. I can certainly understand wiping them down with a special solvent, to make sure that everything is okay.
One possible way would be when class lists are constructed, the other parents are notified that their child is being placed in a classroom that is designated as a “peanut free zone”. If a parent has a problem with that, they could request that their child be moved. This could happen before the school year starts. It doesn’t blatantly identify the child with the allergy (and also, protecting HIPPA rights), and yet, it gives parents an option.
Post # 7
To me if a child has such a severe allergy to something then the child needs to be in a different environment until they are older and understand their allergy better and can protect themselves. To make a school get rid of all MILK or PEANUT products is absolutely CRAZY!
Post # 8
@MrsSawyer: Thats ridiculous!! My child had an allergy to eggs.. as along as he didnt eat them he was fine..He has since grown out of the allergy and was tested and he is no longer allergic.. wierd I know! But anywho, Milk isnt like peanuts! A peanut allergy is way worse.. Kids shouldnt even be near a peanut ! I agree with not having peanut products in the same class room or around a child .. But if it were my child and I was that worried I would have him home schooled!!
Till this day My 5 year old wont eat mayo cuz he says it has eggs in it.. lol!
Post # 9
wow. I have a special child and I would hate to hear that he should seek education in a different place because of his deadly allergy. Peanut allergies can be SEVERE. They can kill. A simple whiff of something containing peanuts can be deadly. I will accommodate any way necessary if I heard a child at our school had an allergy.
Post # 10
I think it can be a little excessive. I think it just makes sense that the child who has the allergy to not sit next to the child who brought peanuts or milk or whatever. If the allergy is so severe then I don’t know. You can’t isolate the child but I think schools need to take precautionary measures but nothing too extreme where they can’t let a child bring in certain food. That’s too extreme.
Post # 11
People should make REASONABLE accomodations for students with allergies, but at a certain point it crosses the line into infringing on other students. Also as a parent, I would not trust my child’s life to other children- children can’t grasp the concept of how serious it is. What are these children going to do when they grow up? Not go out of the house? Not use public transportation? Insist that every dorm, store, workplace, etc they ever go to be peanut free? You can’t go around banning every thing that someone might have an allergic reaction to. I have a relative that has an anaphalactic reaction to mangos- should we outlaw those too?
Post # 12
My daughter’s gym is peanut free and they are very strict about it. We even have to clean our hands before we enter.
A child has a right to a free, appropriate education. To deny a child that because of a severe allergy is unfair and illegal.
Post # 13
I have to agree with some others, at some point your child is going to be in a public place with peanuts. Peanut free tables make sense, but not allowing a child to have a pb&j cause one child in their school has an allergy? Removing all traces of peanut? It isn’t reasonable. Guess what parents? Just cause your kid has an allergy doesn’t mean Walmart will stop selling peanut butter or the major leagues won’t have cracker jacks anymore. If your child is THAT allergic, keep them at home till they are old enough to take care of themselves, give an Epipen if they need it but don’t exspect everyone else’s 7 year olds to be responsible for it too.
Post # 14
The percentage of children who have a peanut allergy so severe that simply being around another person who has ingested peanuts (not licked them or anything) is so low. The peanut sniffing dog, what if another student has a severe pet dander allergy? If my child was in a school that had such outrageous and silly peanut policies, I’d switch schools. The school mandates that the children rinse their mouths out with WATER. Like that really rinses away all traces of the allergen? Or they actually do a good job? This is ridiculous.
Post # 15
My mother is an elementary school teacher and has a child in her class with a severe peanut allergy. Her class is deemed a “peanut-free environment” so none of the other children in the class are allowed to bring in peanut products. Other children in the school are allowed to have peanuts/peanut butter/etc. but not in the classroom.
Post # 16
I’m not sure if it’s true or not. But I believe that kids need to be exposed to a lot of potential harmful foods when they are in their younger years. If they are isolated, it just makes them that much more sensitive. I always had a allergy to cats but the more I was around them, the better my symptoms became until my body learned how to deal with it. If we isolate our kids from all these potentially hazardous foods, then the possibility is there that more kids will develop allergies. Like I said, that is just my theory!