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Parents Go Nuts over First Grader with Peanut Allergy

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Parents of students who attend first grade with a girl who has a life-threatening peanut allergy want her removed and home-schooled, instead of following the special rules to protect her health.


"That was one of the suggestions that kept coming forward from parents, to have her home-schooled. But we're required by federal law to provide accommodations. That's just not even an option for us," said Nancy Wait, spokeswoman for the Volusia County School District.

"To protect the girl, students in her class at Edgewater Elementary School are required to wash their hands before entering the classroom in the morning and after lunch, and rinse out their mouths, Wait said, and a peanut-sniffing dog checked out the school during last week's spring break," according to Reuters.

"If I had a daughter who had a problem, I would not ask everyone else to change their lives to fit my life," said Chris Burr, a father of two students at the school.

School leaders are meeting this week to address all the parents concerns.

Momlgoic wants to know -- how would you feel if your child were part of this little girl's class? Also, how would you feel if your child were asked to leave due to a health issue?

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47 comments so far | Post a comment now
JG March 23, 2011, 12:30 PM

I’m so on the fence regarding peanut allergies. My son will ONLY eat PB & J sandwiches so what am I supposed to feed him? He has sensory integration issues to feeding issues are huge with him. I can’t force him to eat something else. I would be livid if I were told that I had to find something else for him to eat.

On the other hand, if I were that girl’s parents I would want everyone else to accommodate my child for my child’s safety.

Ugh…there is no right answer.

Lisa R. March 23, 2011, 12:33 PM

Are you kidding me?? The parents—THE PARENTS—want this child to be pulled out of school & home-schooled so their children (who probably are not even complaining about this) will not be inconvenienced by washing their hands several times a day?? It does not say in the article that the children cannot bring anything peanut-related to school in their lunches (although they would have to sit at a different table, not w/the girl w/the allergy), or that their lunches will be examined. Only that they have to wash their hands & rinse their mouths. And that’s too much to ask of these adults?? Peanut allergies are SO common now that most schools have rules to accommodate kids w/an allergy. At my son’s school, if their is a child w/an allergy that teacher will request that any snacks sent in be store bought, so they can review the ingredients list. This child should not be a prisoner in her own home because people are thoughtless, lazy, mean & uneducated. Not to mention very fortunate that their children do not have a food allergy. This is unbelievably selfish. Shame on those parents!!!!!

Expat Mum March 23, 2011, 12:34 PM

It’s not so much how I’d feel as what I’d do - which would be to point out, as the article did, that they can’t be kicked out of schools because of an illness or disability.
However, I wouldn’t expect every other child’ life to change either. There’s a certain risk involved when your child has a life-threatening allergy because the environment can’t be controlled 100% of the time.
If my children attended a school where the parents were so callous I’d probably be thinking of going elsewhere anyway.

K8 March 23, 2011, 12:38 PM

Oh darn. This little girl’s classmates have to wash their hands a few extra times a day, and a supplemental food substance isn’t allowed in school. Shucky, shucky darns.

As a person with a nut intolerance, myself, (I won’t DIE, but become violently ill) I appreciate the actions this school is taking. When I worked in a Deli, my boss has a policy that certain products could not be made during the 4 days a week I worked…and my co-workers AND the customers were happy to oblige!

Kristy March 23, 2011, 12:39 PM

This is ridiculous. It’s public school, and this girl needs to be take care of. We make adjustments for kids in wheelchairs, why not allergies? These aren’t her fault. Why punish her and her parents? I’d be fine with having my kids in her class. She has a right to be safe in her class.

mannix March 23, 2011, 12:49 PM

My daughter has a child in her class that has a fish, soy, dairy, and peanut allergy. All kids have to wash their hands when the enter and after they eat. I don’t mind that at all since it helps cut down on germs. The child sits at a seperate table but is still with the other children. He does not share his school supplies with anyone else.

mannix March 23, 2011, 12:51 PM

My daughter has a child in her class that has a fish, soy, dairy, and peanut allergy. All kids have to wash their hands when the enter and after they eat. I don’t mind that at all since it helps cut down on germs. The child sits at a seperate table but is still with the other children. He does not share his school supplies with anyone else.

Nicole March 23, 2011, 12:52 PM

That child has a right to be in school, and the school is legally obligated to make arrangements for her. This is indisputable.

It’s also not the point. At least, it shouldn’t be.

If this girl’s allergies are as severe as the parents say, they should not put her in public school. NOT BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE THERE (BECAUSE SHE ABSOLUTELY DOES), BUT BECAUSE ANY MISTAKES COULD COST THAT CHILD HER LIFE.

It is easier to protect a child with a fatal allergy in the home where visitors are fewer and allergens can be watched for with greater vigilance than in a school environment with so many students and so much potential for a fatal mistake.

That girl’s parents are risking her life every day they send her to class, precautions or not.

(And I’d be worried too, because if so many people are throwing a fit about the precautions there’s a greater likelihood that someone will maliciously expose her to peanuts to make a point)

Jane March 23, 2011, 12:52 PM

I would support that child! It’s not that big of a deal. My childrens school made changes for children with peanut allergies. The kids with food allergies to peanuts sat at a seperate table that was cleaned differently during lunch. The whole school K through 8th washed hands before lunch and after lunch. Each class with a student with allergies asked every family to refrain from sending anything with peanuts.
Parents who have a problem with that really need to dig deep and ask themselves a question. What if that was my child? This is so sad.

Michelle March 23, 2011, 12:55 PM

I am personally a homeschool mom with two girls with severe food allergies. I would NEVER put their safety in the hands of the school. Not because the school isn’t diligent, but because it is impossible for them to watch only my children at all times. One cookie makes it past them, one bite, one peanut, one piece of egg, some gluten, a casein product — doesn’t matter what the food allergy is, it’s just too dangerous.

I can’t tell you how many intelligent people I know that haven’t the slightest idea on how to deal with food allergies. I’ve had people make exclamations like “Well, it’s organic, so it can’t hurt them!” or people that don’t realize that milk/casein is hidden in hundreds of ingredients — so this means they would have to memorize the contents of the contents of every food known to man because “peanuts” are not the only thing that kill people with severe food allergies.

Although I do feel that making other children in the class wash their hands before entering the class is a good idea and can help teach them awareness, it is ridiculous to think that it’s sufficient. Kids are messy, they don’t properly wash their hands, they wipe their hands on their clothes, their hair, their things… It is all incredibly disruptive and distracting. They have needs too, and those needs are generally met in the classroom, but if the teacher has to focus all of her attention on one child, that’s just not fair to anyone. Then there is the confusion of sharing and not sharing, the action of singling out one child in the class… making them automatically different.

I could go on for hours and hours on how NOT SAFE it is to send a child with severe food allergies to a public school. If the parent does not want to homeschool at all, then I would suggest they consider a small private school where the teachers are 1:3 or 1:5 or consider one on one tutoring.

Now, we decided to homeschool well before the food allergies showed up so we didn’t need the extra reason, but I feel that if a child has a life threatening food allergy, they should not be sent to a public school with a teacher student ration of 1:12 or more.

MomOf4 March 23, 2011, 1:03 PM

To Chris Burr. If it was your child, I’m sure you would think different.

Michelle March 23, 2011, 1:08 PM

I also wanted to add that no one but the parents of the non allergic children seem to be thinking of the permanent mental trauma it would cause the child who accidentally exposes her and causes her death — not to mention the rest of the class having to witness the entire event.

And no, home school is not isolation! I can’t believe some people still think that.

paulette hicks March 23, 2011, 1:09 PM

Ok, so it’s a crime to have your kids wash their hands several times a day? Or rinse their mouths out after eating? I’d be greatful for my grandchildren to be made to do that! Any child has to right to go to any public school and not have to worry about getting sick!

nancy March 23, 2011, 1:30 PM

too bad it is not just about washing their hands a few extra times a day here ladies. also rinsing their mouths, inhibiting their diets, and having a peanut sniffing dog? what the heck?

nurse your kids and this wouldn’t be an issue.

Anonymous March 23, 2011, 1:33 PM

My daughter had a friend in class who had allergies especially to anti bacterial hand gel. All the other kids use it but she was provided a special soap alternative for her use only and on days that parents helped out in the room or field trips we were all advised about her allergy. I don’t think asking the kids to wash their hands a little extra or rinse their mouths. But if they start prohibiting others from eating what they want, thats too far. they should just seperate the kids at lunch and have the children with the peanuts or whatever in their lunch wash of when they finish eating.

lindsey March 23, 2011, 1:42 PM

gotta say that even tho the kid has a right to be there, if the allergy is so extreme that kids have to wash their mouths out (never heard of that policy) then the kid needs to steer clear of the school. it sucks, but again - if its that severe that just hand washing can’t protect her, its just not safe.

Celina March 23, 2011, 2:04 PM

The child has every right to go to public school, but if her allergy is life threatening, why would you want to send her?? My child doesn’t have any allergies and if he had a child in his class who had an allergy we would comply with hand-washing, diet change (only during school hours),and rinsing

Lmf March 23, 2011, 2:04 PM

Ahhh ignorance is bliss!

Kelly March 23, 2011, 3:08 PM

My only comment is, if this child has a life threatening allergy, what happens “IF” someone accidentally forgets the rules? Kids are kids, what if someone forgets to wash & rinse? The child with the allergy has a reaction and, heaven forbid dies? How is the child who “forgot” going to be treated? Could they be charged because their actions caused the death? I would be afraid to have my child potentially exposed to something that could kill them. Tough topic to discuss, that’s for sure.

Elisa1840 March 23, 2011, 3:28 PM

God forbid people go out of their way to accommodate someone. Regarding Chris Burrs quote, I guarantee he’s only saying that because he’s not in the situation. If anything having the kids wash their hands etc makes it better for everyone around. They should try to accommodate her and help her not feel singled out. If they make her leave it’s only going to impact the child negatively down the road because she’s already being looked at like the “odd girl out”.

There has to be a happy medium here. Lets not isolate the child just to make things easier.

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